Reader’s Links, March 29, 2018

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About Eeyore

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

146 Replies to “Reader’s Links, March 29, 2018”

  1. Time to Get Tough with Turkey
    The U.S. has lots of leverage – let’s use it.
    March 29, 2018
    Kenneth R. Timmerman

    The Trump administration is trying to walk a fine line between Turkey, which it still refers to as a NATO ally, and our Kurdish allies on the ground in northern Syria, and it has become increasingly painful and disheartening to watch.

    For the past two months, as Turkish troops have pounded civilians in the northern Syrian city of Afrin, Turkish President Recip Tayip Erdogan has verbally assaulted and taunted America.

    After initially threatening to kill U.S. liaison officers working with the Kurds, Erdogan then warned the U.S. commander in Syria, LG Paul Funk, to beware an “Ottoman slap.”

    The fact that U.S. commanders – undoubtedly under the direction of Defense Secretary Mattis – continued to avoid any direct contact with Turkish troops only emboldened Erdogan. Just before the final assault on Afrin last week, he taunted: “NATO members are not powerful enough to stand up to Turkey… [T]hey do not have the cheek.”

    Once YPG fighters withdrew from Afrin on March 15, and civilians evacuated in the following days, Islamist militias backed by the Turkish army swooped into the city, destroying Kurdish cultural sites and plundering homes and businesses.

  2. Jericho, We Have Not Forsaken You
    An excursion to the ancient city reveals its historic and spiritual Jewish nexus.
    March 29, 2018
    Ari Lieberman

    We departed from Kochav Yair, a quaint, affluent town in central Israel, at precisely 7 a.m. Our destination was the ancient city Jericho, one of civilization’s oldest and the first to be liberated by the Israelites when they crossed the Jordan River some 3,400 years ago. Our guide was former Deputy Chief of Staff of the Israel Defense Forces, Uzi Dayan. Ironically, he also happens to be nephew to the late Moshe Dayan, who as Israel’s Minister of Defense, led the IDF to victory during the 1967 Six-Day War and returned the city of Jericho to its rightful owners.

    Dayan’s manner of speaking is authoritative and deliberate, likely a product of his years of service in the military. His spiritual and nationalistic connection to the land is obvious. And his knowledge of its history and geography is impressive. This is a man who wanted to impress upon us the historical and spiritual nexus of Jericho to the Jewish people and the Land of Israel. He succeeded beyond expectation.

    Jericho is located in Judea & Samaria near the strategic Jordan Valley, about 70km south of the Israeli city of Bet She’an. We approached the city from the north driving along Route 5, which cuts across part of the breathtaking Samarian landscape and then took a number of smaller roads until reaching Route 90. At Route 90, we traversed southward toward Jericho.

  3. Confronting Golden West College on its Enforcement of Sharia
    A lame response from the public information office.
    March 29, 2018
    Gary Fouse

    Last week, I received a standard, template response from the public information office at Golden West College in response to my letter to their administration complaining about the conduct of Golden West staff in trying to silence questions about Islam from the audience at their Islam 101 event on March 14. It was an event to which campus cops were actually called in order to enforce Islamic blasphemy laws. Here is the response:

    We have received your comments and appreciate your voiced concerns. As you know, Golden West College recently opened a scheduled class to the public which included a presentation and opportunity to engage in questions and answers. The event was intended to be an introductory educational overview of Islam as part of an intercultural program for students in the class. We understand that the presenters and audience members have varying views about the effectiveness of the event. We are regretful that when campus security was called to help ensure the safety of the environment, that anyone may have felt uncomfortable, singled out, or discouraged from expressing their opinions.

    We work hard to ensure that faculty and staff on campus treat others with dignity and engage in respectful interaction with others. We fully support free speech and the right to express diverse thoughts. We are apologetic that the event did not serve the intended purposes for all. We remain committed to the inclusive values and mission of Golden West College. Thank you.

    Not even a name was attached to this letter (email). And whoever wrote this response had the gall to state, “We fully support free speech and the right to express diverse thoughts. ”

    And yet, campus police were called in because they didn’t like certain questions.

  4. Brother accused of sending more than £2,000 to his sister who left for Syria when she was just 16 denies funding terrorism (dailymail, Mar 29, 2018)

    “A Hampshire man accused of sending money to his teenage sister after she fled to Syria has denied a terror charge.

    Salim Wakil, of Fleet, is accused of sending just over £2,000 through a money broker to Lebanon last year.

    The money is said to have been sent on to Wakil’s sister – named only as ‘Sumayyah’ – in Syria, much of which was then held by terrorist groups at the time.

    Wakil, 24, appeared before Westminster Magistrates, charged with one count of funding terrorism.

    He denied the charge and his case was transferred to London’s Old Bailey, where Wakil will come before a judge on April 17.

    Mark Carroll, prosecuting, said: ‘This is an allegation that Salim Wakil has sent a substantial amount of money to his sister who is in Syria.’

    Wakil’s sister is said to have travelled to Syria in 2014, when she was just 16.

    The charge Wakil faces is that he ‘entered into an arrangement with reasonable cause to suspect money would be used for terrorism’ in February 2017.

    Under the Terrorism Act 2000, is illegal for anyone to receive, transfer or hold funds if they ‘know’, ‘intend’ or has ‘reasonable cause to suspect’ it may be used for the purposes of terrorism…”

  5. Iraqi gang who brought scores of illegal Afghan, Syrian and Albanian immigrants into the UK is busted by Spanish Civil Guard (dailymail, Mar 29, 2018)

    “Members of an Iraqi gang suspected of helping migrants from five different countries into Britain have been arrested in Spain.

    Europol, the EU’s law enforcement agency, said it had broken up a gang responsible for people smuggling.

    It is thought the seven suspects offered illegal migrants, mainly Albanian citizens, passage from Spain to the UK.

    The raids have also been captured on shocking video footage.

    The gang are also believed to have helped people from Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Syria into the country.

    Authorities said the gang used regular ferries from the northern Spanish ports of Santander and Santurtzi to carry out their criminal activities.

    They were able to sneak migrants through restricted areas at the ports and hide them in trailers, containers, caravans and lorries waiting to board the ferries.

    The gang also helped transport migrants to the Spanish towns of Cantabria and Biscay from other countries and temporarily housed them there. The investigation began when Spanish authorities detected a growing number of Albanian citizens trying to access Santurtzi port – and launched a ‘day of action’ on March 19, arresting seven people including Iraqi, Albanian and Spanish nationals.

    The Spanish Civil Guard raided three houses – two of which were being used as safe houses…”

  6. Afghan British army interpreter who drugged and raped 14-year-old girl months after being allowed to live in UK is jailed for more than seven years (dailymail, Mar 29, 2018)

    “An Afghan interpreter with the British Army has been jailed for drugging and raping a 14-year-old girl just months after he was allowed to live in the UK.

    Asadullah Najibullah, 28, plied the girl and her two friends with vodka and cannabis after luring them to his flat to celebrate Bonfire Night.

    Najibullah then called for a taxi to pick up her friends, leaving him alone in the flat with the 14-year-old, who smoked some more cannabis.

    A court heard he then took off the girl’s clothes and raped her while she lay unconscious on November 5, 2016.

    She only became aware of what happened when he sent her a photograph of her passed out and her mother contacted police…”

  7. Turkish Intel Arrests Six Members of Gulen Movement in Kosovo – Reports (sputniknews, Mar 29, 2018)

    “Officers of Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT), in cooperation with Kosovo’s intelligence service, have detained 6 senior alleged members of the Islamic cleric Fethullah Gulen’s movement, accused by Ankara of being behind the 2016 failed coup attempt in the country, local media reported Thursday.

    The detention took place following the Ankara-led operation against the Gulen movement in the Balkan region, the Anadolu news agency said, referring to its sources.

    According to the agency, the detainees are accused of helping FETO members flee Turkey to countries like the United States…”

    • USA: Trump vows ‘we’ll be out of Syria very soon’

      We’ll be coming out of Syria very soon. Let the other people take care of it now,” US President Donald Trump said during a speech on his infrastructure initiative in Richfield of Ohio on Thursday.

    • Soros and his partners in “crime” are the ones pulling the strings on the gun control movement, they are behind most of the left wing hell raising in the West.

  8. Will Iraq be next to abolish controversial ‘marry your rapist’ law? (reuters, Mar 29, 2018)

    “Iraqi women are ramping up pressure to abolish a law that lets rapists off the hook if they marry their victims, after Tunisia, Jordan and Lebanon scrapped similar articles last year.

    Activists plan to demonstrate and use billboards to condemn the controversial law ahead of May parliamentary elections in the predominately Shi’ite Muslim, conservative society.

    “We want to say to the Iraqi government – give women justice,” Rasha Khalid, a lawyer and member of Baghdad Women’s Association, a local rights group, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from the capital.

    “Iraq is has to keep up with its surrounding neighbours like Tunisia and Lebanon and other countries that abolished this law.”

    Egypt repealed its law in 1999, and Morocco overhauled its law in 2014 following the suicide of a 16-year-old girl and the attempted suicide of a 15-year-old, both of whom were forced to marry their rapists.

    Khalid wants to raise awareness so that voters can demand change going into the polls, as Iraq struggles to recover from a three-year war with Islamic State militants.

    Intisar al-Jubory, who has pushed for the amendment to be put on parliament’s agenda, said “mass pressure” is needed.

    “The repeal of this article preserves the dignity of women victims (against) the greatest humanitarian crime of rape,” the female parliamentarian said in a statement.

    Women are often forced to marry their rapist to protect family honor and avoid societal shame, said Suad Abu-Dayyeh, Middle East consultant for the rights group Equality Now, urging reform to end the “re-victimisation” of women.

    “It is a clear violation of their rights,” she said by phone, adding that the law rewards men for committing rape.

    Many women reject the law, which also exists in Bahrain, Kuwait, Libya and Syria…”

  9. [....Indigenous traditional knowledge ??? ...]

    BREiTBART – South African Convicted of Murdering Four Children to Sell Ears to Witch Doctor

    A judge in South Africa sentenced a man to four life sentences in prison on Tuesday for the murder of his nieces and nephews – whose ears, he confessed, he planned to sell at a high price to a witch doctor for use in potions.

    Southern African countries have spent much of the last decade fighting violence fueled by witch doctor, or traditional herbalist, demands for body parts to use in their ceremonies and potions.

    In nations like Tanzania and Malawi, the body parts of albino people can fetch as much as $75,000 for a whole body, according to United Nations studies. Tanzania has the largest albino population on the continent.

    In South Africa, 32-year-old Ben Zimele Mbhele pleaded guilty to killing his two nieces and two nephews, aged between four and 12, last year after meeting a man who told him that the children’s ears would sell at a high price to a witch doctor that he knew.

    more :

  10. Hamas to Swarm Israel’s Border, Sparking Fear of New ‘Passover War’

    Hamas using civilian protest as cover for mass military operation against Israel

    The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is planning a mass demonstration along Israel’s border on Friday, prompting fears of a new war with the Jewish state ahead of the Passover holiday, according to regional experts and U.S. officials who say they are closely monitoring the situation.

    On the heels of a recent military exercise that observers described as “unprecedented,” Hamas leaders have called for some 100,000 Gaza Strip resident to engage in six weeks of mass demonstrations along the Israeli border as Jewish families gear up for the Passover holiday, which begins Friday evening.

    Regional experts closely tracking the situation say the demonstrations are meant as cover for a mass military campaign to swarm Israel’s border and stoke violence against the Jewish state.

    The situation is being closely monitored by Trump administration officials, who outlined concerns that Hamas could use civilian protesters as human shields as cover for attacks on Israeli forces.

    Tension are high ahead of the mass demonstration, dubbed the Great Return March, with the United Nations already imploring Israel to not attack children or other civilians.

    Officials with the U.N. Relief Works Agency, or UNRWA, a body routinely cited for its anti-Israel bias, have already endorsed the demonstrations, stoking further concerns the U.N. is setting the stage to blame Israel for any violence that could erupt. UNRWA has offered medical facilities to any Palestinian who may be injured during the weeks of protest.

    State Department officials told the Washington Free Beacon that they are aware of the upcoming protests and will be tracking the situation closely.

    “We are aware of calls by Hamas asking people to march along the Israeli border over the coming weeks,” one U.S. official told the Free Beacon.” We will monitor the situation and developments closely.”

    The State Department emphasized that it still considers Hamas a terror group and is aware of its routine use of human shields during terror operations.

    “Our position on Hamas has not changed,” the official said. “It is a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization. Any use of human shields is absolutely unacceptable.”

    Omri Ceren, a managing director at The Israel Project, a D.C.-based organization that works on Middle East issues, warned that Hamas is using civilian protests as cover for a massive military operation that could launch another regional war.

    Evidence suggests Hamas has already prepared to flood Israel with armed assets during the demonstration and has even positioned equipment such as tractors to shift the ground and erect fortifications.

    “Hamas is trying to trigger a Passover War and the U.N. seems eager to help them,” Ceren said. “Hamas is preparing thousands of civilians to rush Israel’s border, tear down the defensive fence, and provide cover as Hamas fighters flood into Israel.”

    While Israeli military officials have planned to use as little force as possible to control any violent eruption, things could get out of hand quickly, Ceren said.

    “The Israelis will do everything possible to prevent escalation and avoid casualties, but this is the kind of thing that could go really bad really quickly,” he explained.

    “Meanwhile the U.N. is supporting Hamas and setting up Israel to get blamed for anything that happens to Hamas’s human shields,” Ceren said. “American lawmakers were already inclined to view the U.N. as biased and unhelpful when it comes to Israel and this can cement that view.”

    U.N. officials have moved to put the onus for preventing violence on Israel in recent days.

    Nickolay Mladenov, U.N. special coordinator to the Middle East peace process, urged Israel to show restraint during the demonstrations, even if violence erupts.

    “The use of force by Israel must also be calibrated. Israel must uphold its responsibilities under international human rights law and humanitarian law,” Mladneov was quoted as saying. “Lethal force should only be used as a last resort, with any resulting fatalities properly investigated by the authorities. I once again urge the security forces to exercise maximum restraint to avoid casualties.”

    “I call on all sides to exercise restraint and to take the necessary steps to avoid a violent escalation,” he was quoted as saying. “It is imperative that civilians, in particular children, not be targeted and that all actors refrain from putting children at risk at any time.”

    Observers have been warning that Hamas is not seeking a peaceful protest, but a military campaign in the guise of civilian demonstration.

    “The plan is to build to a crescendo day by day until May 15, the day after Israel’s Independence Day, when Hamas hopes tens of thousands of Gazan civilians, interspersed with some military folks, will storm the security barrier, an action that could provoke a forceful response from Israeli security,” Tzippe Barrow, a Jerusalem-based correspondent for CBN News warned in a recent report.

  11. Hamas to Swarm Israel’s Border, Sparking Fear of New ‘Passover War’
    Hamas using civilian protest as cover for mass military operation against Israel
    Hamas militantsGetty Images
    BY: Adam Kredo
    March 29, 2018 1:35 pm

    The Palestinian terrorist group Hamas is planning a mass demonstration along Israel’s border on Friday, prompting fears of a new war with the Jewish state ahead of the Passover holiday, according to regional experts and U.S. officials who say they are closely monitoring the situation.

    On the heels of a recent military exercise that observers described as “unprecedented,” Hamas leaders have called for some 100,000 Gaza Strip resident to engage in six weeks of mass demonstrations along the Israeli border as Jewish families gear up for the Passover holiday, which begins Friday evening.

  12. UK: Cambridge Analytica whistleblower calls for 2nd Brexit

    Cambirdge Analytica whistleblower Christopher Wylie demanded a second Brexit referendum during a rally in London’s Parliament Square on Thursday.

  13. VICE News – Germany Accuses Muslim Migrants Of Converting To Christianity To Get Asylum

    Salman Barbari was born in Iran to a strict Muslim family from Afghanistan. Last month he got baptized and became a Christian at Trinity Lutheran Church in Berlin. The potential consequences for his future and safety are vast.

    Under Islamic law, Barbari could be sent to jail in Iran for converting to Christianity. In Afghanistan, he could be put to death. But his conversion could also allow Barbari to stay in Germany. He is applying for asylum here, and under German law migrants like himself can’t be deported if they face persecution at home.

    Barbari told VICE News his conversion is sincere. “I didn’t get baptized to get asylum or anything like that.”

    The German government may not believe him. It has rejected more than 90 percent of recent asylum applications submitted by members of Trinity Lutheran’s congregation.

    Pastor Gottfried Martens’ ministry has focused on migrants since 2015. Today, 1400 of his 1600 congregants are Iranian and Afghan. Martens is furious that the German government is getting ready to deport both long-time Christians and recent converts like Barbari, who have completed three-month-long baptism classes at Trinity Lutheran as well as baptism exams.

    “The state is a kind of secular version of the Holy Inquisition,” Martens told VICE News, “because the state says we can look into the heart of those people and can say who is the true Christian and who is not.”

    The rejections themselves come in the form letters filled with template text blocks that often question the authenticity of of a convert’s beliefs. The fact that the decisions are based on short interviews conducted by administrators who have no religious background is particularly frustrating to Martens.

    “I think a secular state is not able or not allowed to make such judgments about the faith of people.”

    The increase in rejections may seem surprising given who is running the German government. Chancellor Angela Merkel is both the head of the Christian Democratic party and the daughter of Lutheran pastor. But she also faced significant backlash against her migrant-friendly policies in the months leading up to Germany’s national elections last year. During that time, Germany processed more asylum applications than all other EU countries combined. Since then asylum approvals have dropped.

    Andrea Lindholz, a member of the governing Christian Social Union, says rejections are not politically motivated.

    “Different aspects play a role. How did the person live his life in his country? How did he practice his faith there? Why did he decide to convert and how is he living his faith day to day?” Lindholz told VICE News. “In that context the pastor can only be one consideration and not the only one.”
    Lindholz emphasized that simply converting is not enough to receive asylum, even if converts could face repercussions in their home countries.
    “I don’t want to rule out that wrong decisions were made, but there is the possibility” of appealing rejections in court, she said. “It is a tough topic, and you will never find a satisfying solution.”

    • jihad watch – 6 Liberal Jewish groups slam Bolton for “anti-Muslim bigotry,” “bellicose ideology”

      Six Jewish organizations have condemned the “appointment of Trump’s new national security adviser, arguing he will ‘endanger the national security of the US, Israel and our allies.’”
      Times of Israel – “Liberal Jewish groups slam Bolton for ‘bellicose ideology, anti-Muslim bigotry’”

      […]“His long record shows him to be a fierce advocate for belligerent policies that would endanger the national security of the US, Israel and our allies around the world,” said the Wednesday statement, which was jointly issued by J Street, Americans for Peace Now, Ameinu, T’ruah, the National Council of Jewish Women and the New Israel Fund.

      Chief among their complains was Bolton’s record of encouraging an armed confrontation with Iran to curtail its nuclear ambitions while proclaiming the death of the two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinians….

      He has been accused of having deep and extensive ties to anti-Muslim hate groups, including the American Freedom Defense Initiative, which has been condemned by the Anti-Defamation League as “consistently vilifying the Islamic faith under the guise of fighting radical Islam.”

  14. reuters – Ex-FBI deputy McCabe’s online legal defense fund nears $300,000 in hours

    Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, who was fired by the Trump administration but has said he was terminated because he is a crucial witness in the Russia investigation, has raised more than $292,000 in seven hours to help cover costs defending against other ongoing government probes, the funding website showed.

    A statement on the GoFundMe internet page unveiled earlier on Thursday said the goal was to raise $150,000 from the public but it was raised to $250,000 because of a response that “has been remarkable and beyond our expectations.”

    The action represents an escalation of the battle between McCabe and the administration over his firing amid heavy criticism by President Donald Trump. It also raises the prospect that McCabe could legally challenge his termination in the future.

    “Andrew McCabe’s FBI career was long, distinguished, and unblemished,” the statement said. “His reward for that has been a termination that was completely unjustified, amidst repeated ad hominem attacks by the President of the United States.”

    The page features a photo of McCabe with his wife, two children and the family dog, Jeremiah.

    On March 16, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that he was terminating McCabe after the Justice Department’s inspector general concluded that the Federal Bureau of Investigation veteran had leaked information to the press and misled investigators about his actions.

    The report used as the basis for the firing has still not been made public. Following McCabe’s termination, Trump took to Twitter, where he declared it was a “great day for Democracy.”

    McCabe’s dismissal came less than two days before his 50th birthday, when he would have been eligible to retire from the Federal Bureau of Investigation with his full pension.

    McCabe has disputed the findings by the inspector general’s office. He said he believes he is facing administration retaliation because he is a crucial witness into whether Trump may have tried to obstruct a criminal probe now being led by Special Counsel Robert Mueller into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

    While he was the FBI’s No. 2 official, McCabe was deeply involved in overseeing investigations related to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server, and whether Russia colluded with Trump’s campaign. Trump has denied that any collusion occurred and Russia has denied meddling.

    Reuters has reported that McCabe kept contemporaneous notes following his conversations with Trump, as well as notes related to former FBI Director James Comey’s conversations with Trump.

    Trump fired Comey in 2017, prompting Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein to appoint Mueller as special counsel. Trump later acknowledged in a televised interview that he fired Comey over “this Russia thing.”

  15. Tunisia army clashes with armed group on Algeria border (memo, Mar 29, 2018)

    “Tunisian army troops have clashed with an armed group near a residential compound near the country’s western city of Kasserine.

    According to a statement by the official spokesman of the Tunisian Defence Ministry, Belhassen Al-Waslati, the armed group, which was equipped with weapons, came close to one of the residential compounds in Kasserine.

    The army targeted them, forcing them to flee, Al-Waslati added. He pointed out that the military operations in the area are still carried out with the aim of tracking the armed group’s base.

    The army and security forces have for years been carrying out operations against extremist armed groups that are fortified in mountainous regions in Tunisia, especially Kasserine that is close to the Algerian border.These groups often pledge their allegiance to Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb or Daesh.”

  16. Swedish agency backtracks following child marriage brochure storm (thelocal, Mar 29, 2018)

    “Sweden’s National Board of Health and Welfare (Socialstyrelsen) has withdrawn an information brochure targeted towards people moving to the country while married to children after it provoked widespread outrage.

    The brochure “Information for those married to a child” starts by explaining that marrying someone under the age of 18 is not allowed in Sweden, outlining the reasons why, and noting that a child who comes to the country married will be treated as a lone child without their parent or guardian under Swedish law and given the corresponding social services care.

    A separate section details that having sex with someone under the age of 15 is a crime, regardless of whether a marriage is in place or not.

    It is the brochure’s language in particular that has provoked criticism. In a section with advice for anyone who is married to a child, it states:

    “Since children under the age of 15 have an absolute right to protection from sexual acts it is improper for you to live together if the child is under 15”.

    The leader of the Moderates in the Riksdag was not impressed with the content.

    “The biggest failing is that the word ‘prison’ isn’t present, but rather it gives a bit of advice and tips on how to respond if you have a relationship our marriage laws forbid,” Tobias Billström told news agency TT.

    “Facepalm. Unacceptably flat. The brochure has to be withdrawn without delay. Child marriage should be completely forbidden,” Liberal leader Jan Björklund wrote on Twitter.

    Man tar sig för pannan. Oacceptabel flathet. Foldern måste dras tillbaka utan dröjsmål. Barnäktenskap ska vara totalförbjudet.

    — Jan Björklund (@bjorklundjan) March 29, 2018
    And Sweden’s Minister for Children, the Elderly and Gender Equality also expressed her discontent.

    “There should never be any doubt over which laws and values apply in Sweden. It is not permitted to enter into child marriage. That cannot be compromised and that, and the information on it must be crystal clear,” Lena Hallengren said.

    On Thursday afternoon Socialstyrelsen removed the brochure from their website, explaining that they did so because it had provoked strong reactions.

    “The material has provoked strong reactions and many comments. We have withdrawn the material and will revise it,” Petra Rinman, head of Socialstyrelsen’s knowledge centre for lone refugee children said in a statement.

    The government agency added that the material is part of a government commissioned request for them to spread information to children believed to be married, as well as partners, parents and other relations over the laws and practice in Sweden.

    “Sweden does not permit those who are under 18 to enter into marriage in the country. According to current legislation however the general rule is that marriage which is legal according to the law of the country in which it was carried out should be recognized in Sweden. New legislation is currently being prepared by the government,” Socialstyrelsen’s legal head Pär Ödman stated.

    In December a report commissioned by the Swedish government proposed ways to make it more difficult for child marriages from abroad to be recognized in Sweden, including that the country would not recognize a marriage if one of the parties is under 18 at the point of arrival in the Nordic nation.”

  17. Germany: FDP defends Muslim candidate Aygül Kilic after hijab poster sparks right-wing ‘hate’ online (DW, Mar 29, 2018)

    “Aygül Kilic was a little-known candidate for the Free Democrats until her electoral poster ignited an online controversy. One of Kilic’s party colleagues says those vilifying her for wearing a hijab should “go to hell.”

    Germany’s business friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) has defended one of its hijab-wearing Muslim candidates after her electoral poster sparked hostile reactions on social media.

    Aygül Kilic, a candidate for a local election in the northern German city of Neumünster, posted a photo of the poster on her personal Facebook account on March 25.

    Critical comments and posts quickly spread on Facebook and Twitter, with many people questioning how the FDP could condone a candidate that wore an allegedly oppressive and illiberal form of Islamic clothing.

    ‘Right-wing’ reaction

    The local FDP party in Neumünster released a statement defending Kilic against what it said were “hateful” and “right-wing” comments.

    “The Free Democrats in Neumünster have been subject to strong criticism and hateful comments that clearly have right-wing origins,” the party said.

    “The people who are progressive and liberal are those who DON’T recommend or dictate to people from other cultures, religions or nationalities what to wear,” it added.

    National reactions

    National lawmakers also weighed in on the controversy.

    Beatrix von Storch from the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) asked in an ostensibly sarcastic Twitter post whether Kilic rejected traditional Islamic law that “legally declares Christians and Jews second-class citizens.”

    FDP lawmaker Konstantin Kuhle defended Kilic, writing he was “proud to belong to a party that gave women like Aygül Kilic the opportunity to be a part of the political decision-making process.”

    ‘Go to hell’

    FDP deputy leader Wolfgang Kubicki had harsher words.

    Speaking to German daily newspaper Die Welt, he said: “Whoever vilifies a Muslim candidate with or without a headscarf should go to hell. We’d rather do without votes than betray our values.”

    The newspaper’s outspoken pro-FDP editor, Ulf Poschardt, gave his two cents as well, calling on Kilic’s supporters to resist “intimidation.” All liberals, he added, knew “what happens under the headscarf is what’s important.”

    Kilic, who is standing for an election on May 6, has yet to respond to the outcry.”

  18. Whoa

    Intelligence officials fear China’s global ‘kidnapping’ program has reached America

    Some U.S. intelligence officials fear that the Chinese government is conducting sophisticated “kidnapping” programs in the United States in order to spirit their nationals back to the mainland, where they face arrest and imprisonment on political and corruption charges. Beijing has openly admitted to repatriating more than 3,000 people “who had escaped overseas” since late 2012, Xinhua reports, although the U.S. intelligence community believes China’s strategies in Western nations often involves pushing the definitions of coercion and kidnapping.

    In one example cited in the report by Foreign Policy, a Chinese-Canadian billionaire was snatched from his hotel in Hong Kong in 2017 and was loaded — likely sedated — into a wheelchair and rolled out through the lobby with a sheet covering his head. Similar stories have also come out of Australia, a U.S. intelligence partner, including one about a man who was allegedly drugged by Chinese security forces and transported back to the mainland on a state-owned shipping vessel.

  19. The Disappeared

    China’s global kidnapping campaign has gone on for years. It may now be reaching inside U.S. borders.

    By Zach Dorfman
    Illustrations by Anthony Freda for Foreign Policy

    March 29, 2018

    Before he disappeared from his luxury apartment at the Four Seasons Hotel in Hong Kong on Jan. 27, 2017, Xiao Jianhua, a Chinese-Canadian billionaire, favored female bodyguards. Why, exactly, was unclear: Perhaps he simply liked being surrounded by women; perhaps he trusted them more than men.

    Whatever the reason, those guards weren’t much help when a group of mysterious men showed up at his apartment that January day and took him away. According to anonymous sources who viewed the hotel’s internal video feed and later spoke to the New York Times, Xiao, who may have been sedated, was rolled through the Four Seasons lobby in a wheelchair, a sheet covering his head. He was then reportedly loaded onto a boat and ferried to the Chinese mainland.

    In what has become a familiar script for such disappearances, an initial police report filed by a family member was quickly withdrawn, and Xiao later issued a statement denying that he had been kidnapped. More than one year later, he remains in mainland China, and though he has not yet been charged with any crime, his businesses, under government direction, are expected to sell almost $24 billion in investments, which will reportedly be used to repay state banks.

    Such stories are not unique. In October 2015, Chinese government operatives kidnapped Gui Minhai, a Hong Kong-based book publisher and bookstore owner, from his apartment in Thailand. Months later, Gui, a Swedish citizen, resurfaced in China, declaring on state television that he had turned himself in to face decade-old drunk driving charges. Gui’s colleague, Lee Bo, a dual Chinese-British national, also appears to have been kidnapped in Hong Kong in December 2015 by Chinese security forces and brought back to the Chinese mainland.

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