Reader’s links June 15, 2017

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Thank you all for those that take the effort to assist this site in keeping the public informed. Below, typically people can find the latest enemy propaganda, news items of related materials from multiple countries and languages, op-eds from many excellent sites who write on our topics, geopolitics and immigration issues and so on.

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

97 Replies to “Reader’s links June 15, 2017”

  1. Activists want India’s ‘hate-preacher’ Zakir Naik banned from Lebanon (alaraby, Jun 15, 2017)

    “Activists in Lebanon are launching a campaign to ban controversial Indian preacher Zakir Naik from entering the country, after a local cleric booked him for a speaking event to be held “soon”.

    The activists say the Salafi Muslim cleric’s views are “extremist” and “inflammatory”, and have no place in multicultural Lebanon – where a small but potent radical jihadi scene remains active.

    “Zakir Naik is an extremist preacher known to spread hate speech that attacks non-Muslims and moderate Muslims alike, and he has been banned from entering many countries,” Khaled Merheb, a lawyer and human rights activist, told The New Arab.

    Naik, a popular televangelist and Islamic preacher who has tens of thousands of followers on social media, was previously denied entry to the UK by then Home Secretary and current PM Theresa May for his controversial views.

    “Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behaviour,” said May at the time, in justification of her decision.

    Currently based in Saudi Arabia, he is wanted by the Indian authorities over alleged support for terrorism and alleged money laundering through his Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation.

    Naik denies the charges, insisting he condemns the killing of innocents, while his lawyers told Al-Jazeera in May that the IRF’s funds had all come through “legal channels”.

    Naik claims there is a campaign against him, fuelled by the Hindu nationalist agenda of India’s Modi government. But Muslim-majority Bangladesh also took action against Naik’s Dubai-based Peace TV network, following a deadly 2016 attack in Dhaka, saying the perpetrators may have been inspired by his sermons.

    Dangerous for Lebanon’

    “Good news! Praise be to Allah, the preacher Zakir Naik has agreed to come to Lebanon when I visited him this morning,” Sheikh Hassan Katerji, head of a local Salafi group, posted on Facebook from Saudi Arabia on June 11.

    Katerji, head of Lebanon’s little known Islamic Federation Society, said the visit would take place “soon”, once adequate preparations were made.

    “Tomorrow I will, God willing, begin contacts with the authorities to guarantee his safe entry and residence, which is [Naik’s] main condition [for coming],” Katerji later posted on Facebook.

    A petition was launched soon thereafter via the Avaaz platform, appealing for people to support a ban on Naik’s entry to the Mediterranean country. Activists behind the campaign are also threatening legal action.

    “Naik’s visit is dangerous on many levels,” said Merheb, the Lebanese lawyer. “It encourages extremism, creates tension between different religious communities in Lebanon and may inspire jihadis.” His views may be in violation of Lebanese laws regarding sectarian incitement, the lawyer added.

    Merheb was referring to numerous controversial remarks the Indian televangelist has made, including ambiguous views on terrorism and suicide attacks, praise of Osama bin Laden, the slain leader of al-Qaeda, and other statements supporting death sentences against LGBTQ people and “apostates”.

    Naik has previously defended himself, saying his remarks were taken out of context by his detractors. He has also criticised the Islamic State group.

    However, his brand of ultraconservative Wahhabi Islamic views that often justifies violence are said to have inspired would-be terrorists such as Najibullah Zazi, the Afghan-American linked to a 2009 New York City Subway plot, who was allegedly an “admirer” of Naik’s sermons.

    Neither Sheikh Katerji nor his office have responded to a request for comment.”

  2. Four killed in vendetta shooting in Upper Egypt’s Qena (ahram, Jun 15, 2017)

    “Four people were killed in a shooting that was part of a blood feud in Upper Egypt’s Qena governorate on Thursday, state-run MENA new agency reported.

    Unidentified gunmen with automatic weapons ambushed a vehicle the victims were riding, killing one man and three women, according to security officials.

    Another man and a woman were injured in the attack.

    Initial investigation suggests that the shooting was part of a blood feud between two families in the governorate’s Hogairat village.

    Blood feuds between families or tribes are not uncommon in Upper Egypt, particularly in Qena governorate.

    In 2010, Hogairat witnessed one of the worst-ever instances of a vendetta shooting in Egypt, when gunmen exchanged fire in a mourning tent, leaving seven dead.”

  3. Europe should take clear action against countries supporting terrorism: Sisi to Germany’s ARD (ahram, Jun 15, 2017)

    “Clear measures should be undertaken by Europe and the international community to deal with countries that aid terrorism, Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi told German public service broadcaster ARD in an interview during his two day official visit to Berlin this week.

    In statements reported by state news agency MENA, El-Sisi said that any action with European and international support should be resolute if the world is serious about combating terrorism.

    “If terrorism and terrorist organisations are not dealt with decisively, terrorism will rise and grow in the upcoming years,” El-Sisi said.

    On procedures that Germany should take to fight terrorism, El-Sisi said that the European country should impose more pressure on countries that support terrorism and extremist groups, adding that this was not only an issue of “armed combat.”

    “Such pressure could lead to a halt in funding, since such groups can not support themselves. Look at the terrorist groups around the world now; they are armed illegitimately, so where do they get such equipment and training?,” El-Sisi said.

    The president named several groups who have claimed responsibility for attacks around the world recently, including Daesh, saying that all these groups should be understood similarly.

    “I hope that we don’t limit our understanding of terrorism to Daesh only; instead we should consider that terrorism is in fact an extremist belief. What do you consider Nigeria’s Boko Haram and what is the difference between it and Daesh? What is the difference between Ansar Beit El-Maqdes in Egypt and Daesh? All those groups are similar and are not less dangerous than Daesh,” El-Sisi said.

    He stressed that ending terrorism could not be achieved only through “military and security solutions,” but must include “intellectual, security, military, cultural, societal, and religious combat.”


    The Egyptian President also spoke about Egypt and the Gulf’s latest strife with Qatar, explaining Egypt’s participation in an alliance that imposes sanctions on the small Gulf country.

    Egypt, along with Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and several other countries decided last week to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar, with Egypt accusing the Gulf country of having links to terrorism and of interfering in the internal affairs of other countries in the region.

    “I generally do not include names of countries in my talks, but all nations are aware of countries and organisations that fund extremist beliefs and terrorist groups. The international community should uphold its interests by creating a clear mechanism to restrain those countries and stop money from being delivered to such groups,” El-Sisi said.

    El-Sisi also responded to several contentions by German officials that the standoff increases the risk of war breaking out in the region.

    Last Saturday, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel told a German newspaper that the dispute between Qatar and the other Arab states could lead to war.

    “I don’t expect it,” El-Sisi said.”

  4. Qatar and the myth of humanitarian work (gulfnews, Jun 15, 2017)

    “Qatar has earned the brand of the single most favoured broker for terrorist organisations.

    Despite its small population and military power, Qatar has sought to punch above its weight by expanding its brand and influence abroad. To this end, Doha spent billions of dollars in ransoms to terrorist organisations across the world including Taliban, Al Qaida, Al Houthis, Al Nusra Front and Daesh.

    The modus operandi is financing through kidnapping for ransom. Doha leaps at the opportunity of hostage takings, pay ransoms and boost its brand and influence with countries of victims and — of course — with terrorist groups.

    What happens is that the terrorist group Al Nusra kidnaps a group of Fijian, Italian, Lebanese, Syrian, or Turkish people, throwing in the occasional American for good measure. Then, friend-to-the-world Qatar will sweep in and pay Al Nusra to return the hostages: $150 million (Dh550.9 million) for the Turks, $20 million for the Fijians, $30 million for the Lebanese, $16 million for the Syrians, $15 million for the Italians, and $150 million for the American.

    Often the hostages are humanitarian aid workers, nuns, bishops, UN peacekeepers, people especially lauded by the West. Once Sister Christian from the village of Maalulahas has been released, the world erupts in glorious thanks. Through this method, Qatar has been openly funding Al Nusra since 2013. Nevertheless, it boasts of their “achievement of humanitarian and moral principles.”

    In another episode, the Qataris took the Taliban Five terrorists in what seemed to be a political favour to the United States, accepting a quintet of high-ranking Guantanamo detainees.

    This way the Qataris give moral support to insurrectionists, asylum for terrorists, a diplomatic foothold for the Taliban-in-exile and a blind eye turned to terrorist financing via a network of fund-raising activities that operates in the open and permissive banking legerdemain.

    “It is well known that to find the terrorists you have to follow the money and at the moment it seems to be coming from Qatar,” Professor Anthony Glees of the Centre of Security and Intelligence Studies at the University of Buckingham said.

    A ransom of up to $1 billion paid by Qatar to Iranian and Al Qaida-linked terrorists in Syria to release kidnapped members of the country’s royal family may have been a trigger behind six nations’ cutting ties with Doha, officials have claimed.

    The hefty ransom reportedly secured the release of 26 members of a falconry party, which included some members of Qatar’s royal family, who were kidnapped while hunting in southern Iraq in December 2015.

    Qatar paid the ransom to an Al Qaida affiliate fighting in Syria and Iranian security officials, a person involved in ransom negotiations said in April.

    Yousuf Al Otaiba, UAE ambassador to the United States, said it is a striking and dangerous contradiction: Qatar invests billions of dollars in the US and Europe and then recycles the profits to support Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and groups linked to Al Qaida. “Qatar hosts the American military base from which the US directs the regional war against extremism, yet it also owns media networks responsible for inciting many of the same extremists,” Al Otaiba said.

    Dr David Andrew Weinberg, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, a think tank in Washington, DC, investigating Qatar’s links to terror funding, cited repeated allegations from officials of Mideast or Western governments to news outlets alleging that Qatar paid multimillion dollar ransoms to terrorist organisations.

    “In most instances, the purported recipient of such alleged Qatari ransoms was Al Qaida’s Syrian branch, but Qatar has also been accused of paying ransoms to Al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula and more recently to Kataib Hezbollah in Iraq and to the terror-sponsoring government of Iran,” Weinberg said.

    Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt and Bahrain have collectively designated 59 individuals and 12 institutions that have financed terrorist organisations and received support from Qatar.

    “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Arab Republic of Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and the Kingdom of Bahrain are unified in their ongoing commitment to combating terrorism, drying up the sources of its funding, countering extremist ideology and the tools of its dissemination and promotion, and to working together to defeat terrorism and protect all societies from its impact,” the countries said in a statement.

    The majority of those entities sanctioned are linked to Qatar and are a manifestation of a Qatari Government’s policy of duplicity, the statement read.

    In 2015, two senior Taliban officials travelled in and out of Qatar to meet members of the notorious Taliban Five — high-level prisoners from Guantanamo Bay who were traded to Qatari custody by the Obama administration for American prisoner Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. The Qataris facilitated the swap through the Taliban embassy they helped stand up in Doha. Leaked cables show US officials have long worried about how the Taliban and others may “exploit Qatar as a fund-raising locale.”

    There is also the Palestinian terrorist group Hamas, which enjoys safe haven in Qatar and also raises plenty of cash. Outgoing leader Khaled Meshal has long operated out of Doha. Hamas military official Saleh Arouri — suspected of masterminding the kidnapping and murder of three Israeli teens, sparking the 2014 war between Hamas and Israel — is now reportedly in Qatar after being booted out from Turkey.

    Despite all this, officials in Washington often turn a blind eye. Maybe it’s the value of the Al Udeid airbase. Maybe it’s Qatar’s massive foreign-investment portfolio. Or perhaps it’s some other reason.

    When the George W. Bush administration launched the war on terror, it overlooked Qatar’s track record, including that 9/11 mastermind Khalid Shaikh Mohammad had found shelter on Qatari soil.

    Neither Bush nor Obama punished the Qataris for terrorism finance. Indeed, Qatar should have been designated as a state sponsor of terrorism by the State Department. It never was.”

  5. Russia to beef up Syrian military in midterm (gulfnews, Jun 15, 2017)

    “Russia’s medium-term plans in Syria include improving capability of the Syrian armed forces which would allow relocation of Russian troops in the country to the existing Russian bases, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

    “We aim to establish a process of a political settlement (in Syria) between all the sides involved,” Putin also said during a question-and-answer session with citizens.

    He said that after boosting the capability of the Syrian military, Russia’s aviation will continue helping it where necessary.

    Putin also said Russia’s military industrial complex had benefited greatly from testing its latest weapons in Syria.

    Combined with this, the experience acquired by the Russian army in Syria, is “priceless”, he said.”

  6. Turkey convicts UN judge of ‘armed terror group’ membership (gulfnews, Jun 15, 2017)

    “A Turkish court has convicted a United Nations judge of membership in an extremist group, the country’s state run news agency reported” a conviction that drew a rebuke Thursday from the UN court he works for.

    Anadolu news agency reported that a court in Ankara on Wednesday sentenced Aydin Sefa Akay, a Turkish national, to seven and a half years in prison for “membership in an armed terror group.”

    Akay, a retired ambassador and a judge at the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals (MICT), was accused of links to US-based cleric Fethullah Gulen.

    Turkey claims Gulen was behind the bloody failed coup last summer. He denies the allegations.
    Akay was arrested in September as part of a massive crackdown on alleged followers of the cleric, drawing criticism from the UN. Following the guilty verdict, the Turkish court ordered his release under judicial control and barred him from leaving Turkey.

    Theodor Meron, the president of The Hague-based MICT, said in a statement following the conviction that he “deeply regrets this action of the Turkish authorities, in further breach of Judge Akay’s protected status under the international legal framework.”

    Meron reported Turkey to the United Nations Security Council in March for failing to comply with an order to release Akay. In January, the UN court had given Ankara until Feb. 14 to free Akay and halt legal proceedings against him, saying he is protected by diplomatic immunity.”

  7. Facebook Enlists AI, Human Experts in New Push Against Terrorism (bloomberg, Jun 15, 2017)

    “Facebook Inc. has hired more than 150 counterterrorism experts and is increasingly using artificial intelligence that can understand language and analyze images to try to keep terrorists from using the social network for recruiting and propaganda.

    Monika Bickert, director of global policy management, and Brian Fishman, counterterrorism policy manager, outlined aspects of Facebook’s latest efforts in a post to a new blog the company debuted Thursday. The blog, called “Hard Questions,” will address philosophical debates about the role of social media in society, from what should happen to a person’s digital history after they die to whether social media is good for democracy. The first post addresses how the company responds to the spread of terrorism online.

    “We agree with those who say that social media should not be a place where terrorists have a voice,” Bickert and Fishman write.

    The move comes as Facebook is being hounded by governments to do more to combat terrorism. Following attacks in London and Manchester in the past four months, U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May pressed other leaders from the Group of Seven nations to consider further regulation of social media companies to compel them to take additional steps against extremist content.

    Bickert and Fishman acknowledge this pressure in their post, writing that “in the wake of recent terrorist attacks, people have questioned the role of tech companies in fighting terrorism online.”…”

  8. SUV Jumps Curb, Strikes Multiple Pedestrians In Manhattan
    NEW YORK CITY — A black suburban plowed into a group1 of pedestrians in midtown Manhattan Thursday afternoon.

    The incident happened at West 37th street near the Lincoln Tunnel.

    Ten people were injured and fire officials transported at least one person to the hospital, others were being treated at the scene.

    It was unclear if the driver would face charges—the NYPD is investigating.

  9. ISIS is planning new wave of attacks on Europe with explosives-laden drones and female jihadis, EU law enforcement agency warns
    Europol says Islamic extremists bent on attacking Europe are trending younger
    Arrests for jihadi activities rose last year for the third year in a row
    Report says governments are paying attention to the use of drone explosives

    Europe’s top law enforcement agency says explosives that mimic those used in Syria and Iraq are a leading threat to the European Union, along with returning fighters and would-be jihadis blocked from traveling to the war zone.
    In a report Thursday summarizing trends from 2016 , Europol says Islamic extremists bent on attacking Europe are trending younger and more of them are female than ever before.
    Arrests for jihadi activities rose last year for the third year in a row: from 395 in 2014 to 718 in 2016.

    Nearly a third of those arrested were 25 or younger.
    The report says governments are paying close attention to the use of drone explosives by the Islamic State group in Iraq, for fear that homegrown extremists will replicate the weapons.

    ulian King, EU Commissioner for the Security Union: ‘In the most recent terrorist attack on London Bridge and Borough Market the victims had many nationalities.
    ‘Terrorists do not respect or recognise borders and in our resolve to defeat them we must draw on a new-found determination to work together, sharing information and expertise. We are stronger together.’

    Rob Wainwright, Europol Executive Director: ‘Never before has the need for information sharing become more evident as it has in the past two years, with the unprecedented form of jihadist terrorist attacks across Europe that led to 135 victims.
    ‘In contrast to ethno-nationalist and separatist terrorism, and most manifestations of both right-wing and left-wing violent extremism, jihadist terrorism has an international character and therefore needs an international answer from cross-border law enforcement.’

    Arrests: 1002 persons were arrested for terrorist offences in 2016. Most arrests were related to jihadist terrorism, for which the number rose for the third consecutive year: 395 in 2014, 687 in 2015 and 718 in 2016.
    Victims: Of the 142 victims that died in terrorist attacks, 135 people were killed in jihadist terrorist attacks.
    Age of terrorists: Almost one-third of the total number of arrestees (291 of 1002) were 25 years old or younger.
    Explosives: Explosives were used in 40 per cent of the attacks. Even though terrorists use a wide range of readily available weapons, explosive devices continue to be used in terrorist attacks, due to their high impact and symbolic power.
    Technical trend: Regarding the potential use of alternative and more sophisticated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the current trend in using weaponised unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as a drone, in the Syria/Iraq conflict zone might also inspire other jihadist supporters and increase the use of this kind of tactic.
    Terrorism financing: 40 per cent of terrorist plots in Europe are believed to be at least partly financed through crime, especially drug dealing, theft, robberies, the sale of counterfeit goods, loan fraud, and burglaries.
    Women and children: Women have increasingly assumed more operational roles in jihadist terrorism activities, as have minors and young adults. One in four (26%) of the arrestees in 2016 were women, a significant increase compared to 2015 (18%). In addition, the United Kingdom reported an increase in the number of women, families and minors engaging in the conflict in Syria/Iraq, and the Netherlands reported that more 40 children (age 0-12 years) have travelled to Syria and Iraq.


    ARTE, a public television station, came under fire after it nixed the screening of the film it commissioned about antisemitism because it was deemed too ‘pro-Israel.’
    Emmanuel Nahshon, the spokesman for the ministry of foreign affairs, on Thursday urged the French-German culture program ARTE to show a widely acclaimed documentary on contemporary antisemitism in Europe and in the Middle East.
    “Israel believes the film should be shown and we find the decision not to show it very disturbing. “Bild is to be congratulated for its initiative. The European public opinion should know the truth,” Nahshon told The Jerusalem Post by email.
    ARTE and its German sister news station WDR commissioned the film in 2015 but, when it was ready for broadcast earlier this month refused to air it.

    Historians and journalists with an expertise in contemporary antisemitism lauded Chosen and Excluded as a masterpiece for its expose on lethal antisemitism, European NGOs that finance hatred of Israel, and the growth of the BDS movement.

    ARTE and WDR spokespeople claim the film was supposed to cover only European antisemitism. The filmmaker Joachim Schroeder flatly denied the ARTE and WDR assertion. ARTE and WDR did not immediately respond to Post queries.

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