Reader’s Links, Aug. 22, 2018

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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.

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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

139 Replies to “Reader’s Links, Aug. 22, 2018”

  1. EU Sees Idea to Create ‘Independent SWIFT’ to Secure Iran Deal – Source (sputniknews, Aug 22, 2018)

    “The European Union views German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas’ idea of creating a European equivalent of the SWIFT payment system as a contribution to the efforts to preserve the Iran nuclear deal following the United States’ withdrawal, an EU source told Sputnik on Wednesday.

    “As part of the measures aimed at preserving the Iran nuclear deal, there is a goal to retain mechanisms to carry out financial operations that would let Iran continue benefiting from the agreement, it is an important part of the work … Various ideas [on the matter] are being voiced, and at present, one can say that it is an important contribution in terms of efforts to secure the Iran nuclear deal,” the source said when asked about the European Union’s attitude toward the proposal.

    The source, however, declined to comment on whether the proposal would be considered at the EU level.

    On Tuesday, Maas suggested in an op-ed for the Handelsblatt newspaper that Europe should set up payment channels independent from the United States and develop its own equivalent of the SWIFT system to shield its companies from US sanctions on Iran.

    His statement came as the first batch of US sanctions on Iran, previously lifted under the nuclear deal, took effect last week. The sanctions target Tehran’s acquisition of dollar bank notes, trade in gold and other metals, transactions related to the Iranian rial, and purchases of cars and commercial passenger aircraft.

    The second wave of sanctions, which will target the oil and gas industry in Iran and its energy sector, as well as the transactions with the Central Bank of Iran, is slated for November…”

  2. Belgium knife attack: ‘One dead and several wounded’ in restaurant stabbing horror (express, Aug 22, 2018)

    “ONE person has died and several others have been injured after a stabbing in a restaurant in Belgium, according to a witness, as helicopters and ambulances scramble to the scene.

    Police and emergency vehicles have been deployed to the scene following the reported stabbing in a Herve restaurant in Belgium.

    A witness said to local Belgium media: “There was a stabbing in a restaurant

    “A lady was stabbed in the restaurant.

    “We are talking about a knife attack in a restaurant, there is one dead and serval wounded.

    “There are eleven helicopters”.

    Photos show police and ambulances deployed to the scene following the incident, which occured at around 5pm on Wednesday August 22.

    The region of Herve is located in the East of Belgium, close to Germany.

    Officials have yet to confirm the incident or the number of people hurt.

    Belgium lowered its terror threat level in January after three years of high alert following the Brussels bombings, but soldiers have continued to guard the key sites.”

  3. Belgian Police Gave Up Trying to Control Migrant Arrivals, Waved Through Illegals to UK (breitbart, Aug 22, 2018)

    “Local police in west Belgium have been told to wave through third world migrants seeking to travel to Britain, as authorities said that trying to deal with the massive illegal immigration influx was putting “basic policing” at risk.

    Attempts to search for and intercept migrants in transit have kept officers in Kruibeke very busy since the Flemish town became a major “hub” for migrants seeking to break into Britain after the Calais ‘Jungle’ was dismantled, according to police chief Wim Pieteraerens.

    After consultation with the town mayor, officers in Kruibeke will no longer engage in proactive efforts to stop illegal immigration, Pieteraerens told local media, explaining that policing migrants in transit took up too large a proportion of the force’s capacity…”

  4. al jazeera – Erdogan: Attack on economy same as attack on call to prayer

    Turkish president vows his country will not be brought to ‘heel’ in ongoing dispute with Trump administration.

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has vowed his country will not be brought to heel amid an ongoing diplomatic crisis with the United States.

    Without naming the US directly, the Turkish leader on Monday said that there was no difference between attacks on the country’s economy and attacks on “our call to prayer and our flag”.

    “The goal is the same. The goal is to bring to heel Turkey and the Turkish Nation, to hold it captive. We are a nation that prefers to be shot in the neck rather than to be chained at the neck,” he said in a video message before the of Eid al-Adha holiday.

    Ties between Turkey and the US have deteriorated over a number of issues, such as conflicting aims in the Syrian conflict, Ankara’s planned buy of a Russian anti-aircraft system, and the detention of US Evangelical pastor Andrew Brunson, who Turkey accuses of supporting terrorist groups.

    The US has rejected the accusations against Brunson and has demanded his release under the threat of punitive measures against its NATO allies.

    Earlier this month, the US slapped sanctions on two Turkish ministers over Brunson’s house arrest, and promised further measures if he was not released.

    Lira crisis
    Erdogan has also blamed outside powers for a burgeoning economic crisis, reflected in the tumbling value of the country’s currency, the lira.

    The currency hit a low after US President Donald Trump announced tariffs on Turkish metal imports, falling to just over seven liras to the dollar but later recovered slightly to six liras to the dollar.

    Turkey announced equivalent sanctions on US-produced goods, amounting to $1bn in total.

    Erdogan has denounced Washington for declaring “economic war on the entire world” and holding countries “for ransom through sanction threats”.

    A day after Trump’s tweet on August 10, the Turkish leader wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times, warning the US was jeopardising ties with Ankara, and that Turkey could look for “new friends and allies”, raising fears that it could turn towards Moscow.

  5. Sweden rape: Most convicted attackers foreign-born, says TV (BBC, Aug 22, 2018)

    “About 58% of men convicted in Sweden of rape and attempted rape over the past five years were born abroad, according to data from Swedish national TV.

    Public broadcaster SVT said it had counted all court convictions to present a complete picture in Sweden.

    But Sweden had thousands more reported rapes, and there is no ethnic breakdown for those.

    Immigration and crime are major issues in Sweden’s general election campaign. The vote is on 9 September.

    The anti-immigration Sweden Democrats hope to make significant ground, although they have slipped to third place in the latest opinion poll.

    The Mission Investigation programme, due to be broadcast on Wednesday by SVT, said the total number of offenders over five years was 843. Of those, 197 were from the Middle East and North Africa, with 45 coming from Afghanistan.

    “We are very clear in the programme that it is a small percentage of the people coming from abroad who are convicted of rape,” chief editor Ulf Johansson told the BBC.

    He pointed out that the number of reported rapes in Sweden was far higher, so no conclusions could be drawn on the role of immigrants in sexual attacks.

    Is Malmo the ‘rape capital’ of Europe?

    When Sweden took in its highest number of asylum seekers in 2015, the number of reported rapes declined by 12%. At the height of the migration crisis, some 160,000 migrants arrived there – more per capita than any other EU country.

    The steep rise in migration also raised questions about Sweden’s ability to integrate immigrants. The centre-left Social Democrat-led government soon introduced restrictions and the number of arrivals fell dramatically.

    The SVT programme revealed that in cases where the victim did not know the attacker, the proportion of foreign-born offenders was more than 80%.

    A former police officer born in Afghanistan told the programme that some young Afghans who had come to Sweden in recent years had views that differed significantly from Sweden’s idea of sexual equality.

    Responding to the report on Wednesday, key figures in both the populist Sweden Democrats (SD) and the centre-right Moderates said foreigners convicted of rape should be deported.

    The latest opinion poll on Wednesday suggests the populist party’s support has dipped in recent weeks to just over 19% in the polls, but it is still on course for its best performance yet. The Social Democrats are leading the polls while the Moderates are just ahead of the anti-immigration SD.

    When asked why SVT had decided to produce a potentially inflammatory programme ahead of the election, Ulf Johansson stressed that every political party was tackling issues around immigration and it was important to give Swedes a better insight into their society.

    “I don’t think this will have an effect on the election,” he said. “There has been a lot of debate already about this and it’s just more facts in an existing debate.”

    In May, Sweden changed its laws, to make sex without consent rape. Until then prosecutors had to prove that violence had been used or the victim had been exploited in a vulnerable condition…”

  6. MEMRI TV – Marine Le Pen’s Political Advisor Jean Messiha against Muslim Immigration to France

    Egyptian-born French economist Jean Messiha, who serves as political advisor to Marine Le Pen, said that there was a need to stem the influx of immigrants to France, saying that “some of them even seek [cultural] independence to some extent,” and that “in some areas in France, laws other than the French laws are implemented.”

    He further said: “We are at war now. Our country is under invasion, and we are fighting this invasion.”

    Agreeing with the Dream TV interviewer who suggested that some French neighborhoods had become like the Taliban, Messiha added that a “fundamentalist Islamist militia” had been checking people’s grocery bags at the supermarkets and removing non-halal products.

    The interview aired on July 25, 2018.

  7. San Francisco: Straws Banned, Needles Free!

    A downtown San Francisco sandwich shop is poking fun at the city over an upcoming ban on plastic straws and a free needle program that has irked some residents, reported SF Eater.

    The site reports that some menus at The Sentinel restaurant on New Montgomery Street include this notation: “Napkins, straws, and bags are available upon request. You can still get needles for free though. Welcome to SF.”

    Part of the barb refers to city policies banning plastic straws and requiring restaurants to make napkins and condiment bags available only on request, which take effect July 1, 2019, reported The San Francisco Chronicle.

    The other part refers to a city health department program providing clean syringes to drug users, reported Fox News. The effort seeks to curb diseases spread by sharing needles.

    Under that program, implemented in 1993, San Francisco distributes an estimated 4.45 million syringes each year, reported Curbed.

  8. “Allahu Akbar” Rules at Minnesota Vikings Stadium
    Super Eid “rally” features roster of scary speakers with Jihadist ties.
    August 22, 2018
    Matthew Vadum

    As Islamic leaders with ties to terrorism addressed them, thousands of Muslims chanted the jihadist battle cry “Allahu Akbar” at taxpayer-funded U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis yesterday as part of a huge celebration of the Muslim festival of animal sacrifice known as Eid al-Adha.

    One media estimate put the size of the crowd at 30,000.

    “Allahu Akbar” is not an innocuous phrase. It is generally the last thing victims of Muslim terrorism around the world hear as their lives are cut short at the hands of groups like Islamic State or al-Qaeda. The phrase means “God is greater,” but there is more to it. It is a cheer that goes back to the still-celebrated Muslim slaughter of Jews at Khaybar in 628. It means the Muslim deity, Allah, is greater than the religions of those vanquished by Islam. It is an active, actionable threat to all non-Muslims, a belligerent statement of Islamic supremacy.

    As Daniel Greenfield writes:

  9. BBC – South African man sacked after viral racist rant

    A South African man has been sacked from his family business after making a racist slur in a video widely shared on social media.

    Adam Catzavelos filmed himself on a beach, saying it was “heaven on earth” as there were no black people there.

    He said a derogatory term used historically by white people to denigrate black South Africans. [ i.e. kafir ]

    Racism remains a major issue in the country, where white-minority rule ended in 1994.

    A woman was recently jailed in South Africa for using the offensive word.

    The hashtag #AdamCatzavelos began trending in the country on Tuesday when the video went viral on social media.

    Twitter users identified Mr Catzavelos and called on businesses to boycott his family’s company, which manufactures marinades and sauces and where he worked as a marketing director.

    ‘Disgusted but not shocked’

    Yet another racist video is causing a stir in South Africa. Many have taken to social media calling for action. Many have expressed anger and even disgust – but very few are shocked. This is perhaps because the country has been here before – it seems it is yet another lesson not learned.

    In March, a woman was jailed for using the highly offensive “K-word”, and the government is planning to criminalise hate speech to stem such outbursts.

    But despite prosecutions it seems the message is not getting across. As many in the country debate what should happen to Adam Catzavelos, there is a growing impatience within the black community with turning the other cheek and forgiving the unrepentant.

    It has left many to wonder what can be done to end racist intolerance 24 years after the end of apartheid’s divisive white-minority rule.

    His brother, Nic Catzavelos, sent a statement to the BBC on Wednesday saying the family was “appalled” by the video and “rejected racism in any form”.

    “Adam Catzavelos has been dismissed with immediate effect from the family business, St George’s Fine Foods, and his minority shareholding will be unwound as soon as practically possible,” it said.

    “Given the high-profile nature of this development, the business has been temporarily closed for the protection of all its staff. We have no further comment at this stage.”

    A South African steakhouse, The Butcher Shop, said it was “boycotting” Mr Catzavelos and had stopped “serving any bastings or sauces” by St George’s Fine Foods.

    Another customer, the restaurant chain The Baron Group, said it had a “zero-tolerance policy” on racism and had “terminated” its contract with the marinade firm.

    South African bank Nedbank and Radio 702 also distanced themselves from Mr Catzavelos, who took part in their business accelerator programme in 2014.

    Criminal case ‘planned’

    South Africa’s Culture Minister Nathi Mthethwa said use of the “K-word” was “absolutely unacceptable” and “had no place in our society”.

    “We must all work together to isolate racists and report these incidences to law enforcement agencies so they can be held accountable,” he tweeted.

    Opposition party the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) said it planned to file a criminal case against Mr Catzavelos.

    Social media has unearthed numerous cases of racism in South Africa.

  10. The Southern Poverty Law Center’s Perfect Storm
    And why religious freedom is at stake.
    August 22, 2018
    Daniel Greenfield
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    The nation’s longest running civil rights mail order scam has almost $450 million in assets.

    The Southern Poverty Law Center, founded by a lawyer who had formerly defended a violent racist who beat a Freedom Rider on behalf of the KKK, has a swollen bank account but is headed for a reckoning.

    Like most big scams, the SPLC is a victim of its own success. The Klan, which its founder had once helped before launching a lucrative career of fighting it, is irrelevant. And the SPLC’s efforts to expand into fighting the Christian groups it deems “homophobes” and critics of Islamists whom it accuses of “Islamophobia” have begun to backfire on the venerable civil rights mail order scam organization.

    “We will not partner with groups that unfairly defame Americans for standing up for the Constitution or their faith,” Attorney General Jeff Sessions told attendees at the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Summit on Religious Liberty.

    Those remarks came in response to revelations of a relationship between the FBI and the SPLC.

    • 1) The Chinese Economy is shakier then I thought.

      2) Why the blood samples? Is the Chinese Government setting up a data base for new donors when rich transplant customers show u p?

  11. What The Left’s Defense of Brennan Really Exposes
    Why the Deep State is fretting.
    August 22, 2018
    Bruce Thornton

    The progressives’ hysterical response to President Trump stripping the security clearance from ex-CIA boss John Brennan reveals the sandy foundations of progressive ideology and its technocratic rule. Trump, of course, was responding to Brennan’s blatant politicization of his office, both while working for Obama, and now as a paid talking head on MSNBC. Like all attacks on Trump, the defense of Brennan is so intense because any assault on the federal Leviathan threatens to expose the false assumptions justifying its concentrated and unaccountable power.

    The rush to the barricades on the part of bipartisan anti-Trumpers and deep-state veterans was a harrumphing “how dare you sir” rhetorical misdirection away from the privilege and power enjoyed and abused by the deep state. The fundamental justification for that power is the technocratic expertise its functionaries presumably possess. From the start progressives have rationalized their dismantling of the Constitution’s separated powers, and their expansion of federal offices and agencies, by touting “the beneficent activities of expert social engineers who would bring to the service of social ideals all the technical resources which research could discover,” as progressive theorist Herbert Croly put it.

    The practice of letting retired security agency members keep their security clearances is defended on this notion that agency veterans exclusively possess collective skills and wisdom that could be useful for subsequent presidents and agency heads. The problem with that rationale is that there’s not much empirical evidence backing it up. What foreign policy success since World War II could be produced to buttress this claim that a college of “wise men” can be, or has been a helpful resource for policymakers?

  12. Real Treason: Brennan Defended Hamas and Hezbollah
    “Jihad is a holy struggle, a legitimate tenet of Islam”.
    August 21, 2018
    Daniel Greenfield

    John Brennan is all over the news, playing the victim for having his security clearance pulled. It’s obvious from his record that he should have never had any access to classified information considering his toxic and radical views.

    After Helsinki, Brennan accused President Trump of treason. He’s since doubled down on the accusation.

    But if you want to see treason, look at his own past comments. As I discuss in today’s article on Twitter’s censoring of David Horowitz when he tried to discuss Brennan’s record and Islamic anti-Semitism.

  13. Far Left Watch: Violent Antifa Group Plans “Red Army” To “Annihilate” Conservatives

    Red Guards Austin, a self-proclaimed Marxist-Leninist-Maoist violent antifa group, has called for the formation of a “Red Army.” The group itself is based out of Austin, Texas, but works in tandem with Red Guards Kansas City, Red Guards Pittsburgh, Red Guards Los-Angeles, and Red Guards Charlotte to “annihilate” those they believe are “collaborators” or “fascist.”

    According to Far Left Watch, a recent blog post from the far-left group’s website calls to form a “Red Army”:

    “…we encourage the formation of paramilitary organizations on two levels. The first being those who are mainly unarmed but are prepared and trained to carry out fist fighting or using blunt weapons like axe handles or flagpoles as well as shields and basic armoring. The second level is the more advanced embryo of a Red Army, which is trained militarily and operates as soldiers all the time, engaging in production and mass work among the proletariat and the oppressed nation’s people.”

    They go on to advocate for unyielding “physical confrontation” towards anyone they consider to be a fascist stating:

    “It is time for Austin to stand up, to shake off bad leadership trying to impose itself on antifascism and come together under a better model of actual resistance and not token performance. When we organize and lead actions the fascists do not march every step they take is met with physical confrontation and they are bombarded from all sides.”

    • I screwed up the html coding.

      Anyone who thinks this group is going away does’t know much about history. They are prepared to go after those they hate no matter who is in the White House, they want to create a climate of fear in the US that will allow them to take over and run things the way they want. The fact that their policies will turn the US into Venezuela never enters their minds, after all they are special and can make Socialism work where no one his history has been able to do this.

  14. Islamic state chief, in rare speech, urges followers to persevere

    Islamic state leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in his first purported speech in nearly a year, has called on followers to persevere, according to a statement posted on the group’s media outlet.

    “For the Mujahideen (holy warriors) the scale of victory or defeat is not dependant on a city or town being stolen or subject to that who has aerial superiority, intercontinental missiles or smart bombs,” Baghdadi said in a recording posted on his al-Furqan media group.,7340,L-5333621,00.html


    CAIRO (Reuters) – Islamic state leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, in his first purported speech in nearly a year, has called on followers to persevere, according to a statement posted on the group’s media outlet.

    “For the Mujahideen (holy warriors) the scale of victory or defeat is not dependant on a city or town being stolen or subject to that who has aerial superiority, intercontinental missiles or smart bombs,” Baghdadi said in a recording posted on his al-Furqan media group.

    Reuters was unable to verify whether the voice on the recording was Baghdadi’s.

    Islamic State, which until last year controlled large areas in Syria and Iraq, has since been driven into the desert following successive defeats in separate offensives in both countries.

    Baghdadi, who declared himself ruler of all Muslims in 2014 after capturing Iraq’s main northern city Mosul, is now believed to be hiding in the Iraqi-Syrian border region after losing all the cities and towns of his self-proclaimed caliphate.

    The secretive Islamic State leader has frequently been reported killed or wounded since leading his fighters on a sweep through northern Iraq. His whereabouts are not known but Wednesday’s message appears to suggest he is still alive.

    One of his sons was reported to have been killed in the city of Homs in Syria, the group’s news channel reported earlier this year.

    Baghdadi’s last message came in the form of an undated 46-minute audio recording, released via the al-Furqan organization in September, where he urged followers across the world to wage attacks against the West and to keep fighting in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere.

    audio :

  15. VIDEO: 200 UK-Bound Illegal Migrants Storm Lorries in Small French Town Every Day (breitbart, Aug 22, 2018)

    “Around 200 illegal migrants a day are trying to break into lorries leaving for the UK from the French port of Ouistreham, as the migrant crisis shifts away from the previous hotspot of Calais.

    Police in the small French port town, a three-hour drive south of Calais, say the migrants are attempting to board ferried bound for the English port of Portsmouth.

    Local officers told the BBC, which broadcast the shocking footage, that the huge increase in security in Calais meant migrants are shifting their focus.

    Frederic Aubanel, a police general in the Calvados department, said Monday night that up to 200 migrants a day would attempt to breach lorries.

    “There are 150 to 200 migrants or between 100 and 150 – it depends on the time of year – who try, no matter what the cost, to get into the port, to get to the UK,” he said.

    Adding: “It’s every day – it’s every day we have people who get into the lorries.”…”

  16. Just Two Percent of Swedish Political Candidates Live in High Migrant Populated Areas (breitbart, Aug 22, 2018)

    “Despite around five percent of Sweden’s total population living in migrant majority areas, just two percent of the candidates running for Sweden’s national election next month live in such areas.

    Using data from Statistics Sweden, a new report from Swedish broadcaster SVT shows that few political candidates, only two percent of regular candidates and one percent of “top candidates” actually live in migrant areas despite many on the left being the largest advocates for mass migration into the country.

    Many of the heavily migrant populated areas are also classified as “vulnerable” or known as no-go areas like the Stockholm suburbs of Rinkeby, Husby and Tensta or the Malmö suburb of Rosengard due to high levels of crime and unemployment. Malmo, which has one of Sweden’s largest migrant-background populations, has an unemployment rate double the Swedish average.

    “I think it is important that, when discussing these areas in the political debate, there is representation from here, it is important both for democracy but also for a comprehensive picture,” said Social Democrat lawyer Lawen Redar from Kista, which neighbours both Husby and Rinkeby.

    University of Gothenburg professor of political science Peter Esaiasson argued that without people from vulnerable areas in parliament it would be harder to assess the situation there as to whether people were being alarmist about an area or not sounding the alarm enough about hidden problems.

    In the past several left-wing and feminist politicians have tried to enact change in no-go areas on a local level with the local authority in Husby attempting to implement “feminist urban planning” to improve the safety and quality of life for women in the area.

    Feminist and former Left Party politician Zeliha Dagli lived in one of the vulnerable areas, the Stockholm no-go suburb of Husby, and announced last March that she was moving due to constant harassment and threats from fundamentalist Muslim migrants.”

    • Avg IQ = 68
      World Factbook, gleanings:
      Angola scores low on human development indexes despite using its large oil reserves to rebuild since the end of a 27-year civil war in 2002.

      …more than 40% of Angolans live below the poverty line and unemployment is widespread, especially among the large young-adult population. Only about 70% of the population is literate, and the rate drops to around 60% for women. The youthful population – about 45% are under the age of 15 – is expected to continue growing rapidly with a fertility rate of more 5 children per woman and a low rate of contraceptive use.…

      [Note: They kill each other off by the hundreds of thousands on a routine basis. So there's that.]

      Continued low oil prices, the depreciation of the kwanza, and slower than expected growth in non-oil GDP have reduced growth prospects, although several major international oil companies remain in Angola. Corruption, especially in the extractive sectors, is a major long-term challenge that poses an additional threat to the economy.

      Overuse of pastures and subsequent soil erosion attributable to population pressures; desertification; deforestation of tropical rain forest, in response to both international demand for tropical timber and to domestic use as fuel, resulting in loss of biodiversity; soil erosion contributing to water pollution and siltation of rivers and dams; inadequate supplies of potable water.

  17. Syrian militant leader slams Turkey and defends evacuations in new video (mee, Aug 22, 2018)

    “Abu Mohammed al-Jolani said that the former al-Qaeda affiliate Hayat Tahrir al-Sham had become the ‘greatest defender of Sunnis’ in Syria

    The leader of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS) militant group has described it as the only legitimate defender of Sunni Muslims in Syria, and said Turkey was not a reliable ally against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

    In a video posted on Facebook, Abu Mohammed al-Jolani, leader of the group formerly known as the Al-Nusra Front, said that both HTS’s enemies and allies recognised that the group had “now become the greatest defender of Sunnis in Syria”.

    He warned that the ceasefires agreed between rebel groups and pro-government forces in the south of country would not be repeated in the north, and urged rebel forces to shun negotiations with Assad…”

  18. Russia says over 63,000 troops have fought in Syria (alaraby, Aug 22, 2018)

    “Russia has sent over 63,000 troops to Syria over the course of its involvement in the conflict, the Russian defence ministry said on Wednesday.

    A total of 63,012 Russian personnel have “received combat experience” in the war-torn country, the ministry said in a video about Russia’s campaign to support the Syrian regime dating back to September 2015.

    This number includes 25,738 ranking officers and 434 generals as well as 4,349 artillery and rocket specialists, it said.

    Previously, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said in December 2017 that over 48,000 military personnel had taken part in the Syrian campaign.

    President Vladimir Putin in December last year ordered his armed forces to pull the bulk of troops out of Syria.

    But the Russian president later clarified that the military would remain in Syria for “as long as it is beneficial” and was not planning to withdraw yet.

    The ministry said on Wednesday that the Russian air force had conducted more than 39,000 sorties that killed “over 86,000 militants” and destroyed 121,466 “terrorist targets”.

    It said its forces had tested 231 types of modern weaponry in Syria including aircraft, surface-to-air systems, cruise missiles and others.

    The video made no mention of Russia’s civilian or military casualties in the conflict.

    Last month, Airwars reported that Russian airstrikes had killed at least 2,882 civilians in 2018, largely due to aggressive regime assaults on Eastern Ghouta and Deraa backed by Moscow.

    The group says at least 3,445 civilian casualties can be directly linked to Russian airstrikes, but estimates that the actual number of deaths could be as high as 18,000.

    Russia has been accused of deliberately targeting schools, hospitals and market places with airstrikes.

    Moscow’s intervention in the multi-front war in Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad has been a turning point in the conflict.

    Since it started in 2011, Syria’s war has killed more than 350,000 and displaced millions.”

    • The advantage of having experienced (blooded troops) can not be over stated, it takes one or two battles/fights for the personal to shift into combat mindset. Once they are blooded the shift comes when they enter the combat zone.

  19. Even ACLU Finally Warning that Censoring of Alex Jones is ‘Dangerous’ for Free Speech

    It has been curious that the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been silent on the censoring of right-winger Alex Jones, but now the civil rights group is finally speaking out to say that the attacks on Jones’ free speech is a dangerous precedent to set.

    The ACLU is particularly worried about the misuse of “hate speech” claims to quash people’s free speech.

    As reported by The Hill newspaper:

    Ben Wizner, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s (ACLU) speech, privacy and technology project, warned Monday that bans against Alex Jones and Infowars could set a dangerous precedent.

    Wizner told HuffPost that the hate speech policies many social media companies cited when they banned Jones can be “misused and abused.”

    Earlier this month, Jones’s content was pulled from Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Vimeo for violating policies related to hate speech. He was later hit with a temporary suspension by Twitter as well.

  20. “Cohen Attorney Lanny Davis Is Registered Foreign Agent for Pro-Russian Oligarch Wanted by US Government and Linked to Putin” by Jim Hoft – August 22, 2018

    “Cohen’s plea deal is prosecutor’s attempt to set up Trump”
    By Mark Penn – August 22, 2018

  21. CBC – Bernier takes aim at Tory leader | Power & Politics

    Maxime Bernier tweets about Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer as the party unveils its immigration policy.

    The Power Panel with Amanda Alvaro, Tim Powers and Kathleen Monk weighs in.

  22. Opening door to migrants, some Italians defy government line (abcnews, Aug 22, 2018)

    “Italy has made headlines as a hard place for migrants recently, with racist attacks against blacks on its soil and a new government closing Italian ports to people rescued in the Mediterranean Sea.

    But not all Italians are on board, and some are even reaching out to migrants.

    Barbara di Clemente, a 79-year-old grandmother, opened her heart and home to Moriba Mamadou Diarra from Mali, hosting him at her two-bedroom apartment in Rome for the past four months. The 18-year-old says he fled his country because there, his “rights had been denied” and he couldn’t study and build a better future for himself.

    She says that taking in Diarra, who dreams of playing professional soccer, has been her own way of helping someone in need while making a political statement against Italy’s populist, anti-migrant government. Di Clemente is among a growing number of Italians who have applied to host young migrants, stepping in to fill a gap in government services even as the number of new arrivals to Italy plummets.

    “Something in my soul spoke to me,” Di Clemente said of her decision to host Diarra, adding that having lived through World War II, she is particularly sensitive to wars and poverty.

    She contacted Refugees Welcome, a humanitarian group founded in Germany in 2015 that helps organize migrant hosting and now has chapters in 16 countries. The Italian chapter, which normally registers one or two hosting offers per day by Italians, saw an 80 percent spike in offers since the June 10 decision by Interior Minister Matteo Salvini to turn away a rescue vessel carrying more than 600 migrants rescued from the Mediterranean.

    Sara Consolato, the group’s spokeswoman, says volunteers want to show the migrants that not all Italians agree with the government’s hard line. “They are a minority, but they exist,” she said. “They don’t identify with these policies and they feel the time has come to take action.”

    Some gestures don’t rise to letting a complete stranger move in but are no less significant, and have come amid a spate of racist attacks against blacks and non-Italians. A coffee shop owner in Adria in northern Veneto — a region that has long supported Salvini’s anti-migrant League party — started printing out cash register receipts last month stamped with “No to racism, yes to an integrated Adria.” Another local businessman took out newspaper ads with the same message.

    Although the League’s popularity has soared since it took power with the populist 5-Star Movement after March 4 elections, some 72 percent of Italians support the principle of asylum and 61 percent feel concerned about the rise of racism and discrimination, according to a survey by pollster Ipsos MORI and commissioned by More in Common, a nonprofit organization that works against xenophobia.

    However, the survey also found that only 18 percent of respondents view the impact of immigration on the country positively. The survey consisted of online and phone surveys of 2,000 people between 2017 and 2018. The margin of error was between 0.4 and 2.1 percent.

    Di Clemente, a retired therapist, said that while watching the news she had thought several times about welcoming a refugee in her home. After a check-up by Refugees Welcome, Diarra was assigned to her apartment in Rome.

    “We introduced ourselves, and I told him: ‘My heart is racing, and yours?’ And he said: ‘Mine, too,'” Di Clemente recalled of their first meeting.

    She set two basic rules right away: No smoking, no drugs.

    “The truth is that I don’t smoke, so I felt good about moving in with her,” Diarra said.

    He said he loves their frequent trips to a nearby sports center, where he trains and plays soccer.

    “Soccer is what gives me the strength to get up in the morning, to go study, to work,” he said, wearing the jersey of the Italian national soccer team. “It pushes me to become a better person.”

    Diarra was among some 15,000 unaccompanied minors who arrived in Italy by boat in 2017. For a few months, he lived in a residence for migrant children in Rome, where he attended school and studied Italian.

    When he turned 18, he was transferred to a reception center for asylum-seekers, a 90-minute drive from Rome, where he said he received very little support in his attempt to learn Italian and integrate into society. He was relieved to return to Rome.

    Living together presented some challenges. At first, Di Clemente was bothered by Diarra’s reluctance to look into her eyes when they spoke. Diarra explained that in his culture young people don’t face older people out of respect, but the woman insisted that he adapt to Italian culture. She said she also taught him to do the Italian double-cheek kiss.

    Diarra, a practicing Muslim, observed the fasting month of Ramadan earlier this year, despite Di Clemente’s concerns that he should not attend soccer practice while fasting. He decided to compromise by breaking the fast on training days and adding a number of fast days after the holiday.

    In the kitchen, Di Clemente appreciates their cultural differences. “The things he cooks are better than what I cook,” she said with a laugh.

    Diarra now works at a summer camp by day and plays soccer in the evening, as he waits for his asylum application to be processed.

    According to data released by Vatican charity organization Caritas, the Interior Ministry rejected more than half of the 41,379 requests in the first half of 2017. It granted refugee status to only 9 percent of the applicants, while the remainder obtained a residency permit for “humanitarian” or other motives.

    Most applicants reside in reception centers across the country. After receiving the papers, they can apply to enter centers of “secondary reception,” but fewer spots are available there, and some end up living in tent camps.

    Despite criticism from many humanitarian groups, Interior Minister Salvini — whose motto is a Trump-like “Italians First” — has recently announced that the government will limit benefits to the migrants who have already received protection status. He’s also vowed to reduce aid for asylum seekers. Salvini often uses the phrase “The party is over” when he refers to migrants.

    Paolo Morozzo della Rocca, the Rome-based supervisor of migrant services of the Sant’Egidio Catholic charity, said it’s counterproductive to keep migrants in a limbo without helping them to build a future for themselves.

    Diarra, who stressed his belief in the importance of learning Italian and integrating into Italian society, said he doesn’t pay attention to what Salvini says.

    “I don’t like him,” Diarra said. “He speaks in the name of the Italian people, but I don’t think the Italian people are like that.””

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