Reader’s Links for December 19, 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.

This way, under the various posts of the day, conversation can take place without as much ‘noise’ on the various links and articles and ideas in the main posts and all the news links being submitted can be seen under these auto-posts by clicking on the comments-link right below these ones.

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

About Eeyore

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

168 Replies to “Reader’s Links for December 19, 2018”

    • Japan Announces First Aircraft Carriers Since World War II

      The Japanese government announced on Tuesday that it will deploy aircraft carriers for the first time since World War II as part of a defense strategy that will involve purchasing a great deal of American military hardware, a course of action U.S. President Donald Trump has strongly urged.

      Japan’s aircraft carriers will be the 27,000-ton JS Izumo and Kaga, which currently serve as helicopter carriers. The military will refit the ships to launch U.S.-made F-35B jet fighters, which require very little runway space for takeoff and can land vertically, a capability known as “short takeoff/vertical landing” or STOVL.

      The Defense Ministry stressed that Izumo and Kaga will not carry fighter jets at all times, only when they are needed to deal with particular security situations. Each ship will be able to carry about a dozen F-35bs, less than one-fifth the strike power carried by current U.S. aircraft carriers and considerably smaller than even the more modest carriers fielded by some other navies.

  1. The Austrian right-wing extremists want to suspend the naturalization of the Turks

    Austria has announced that it will suspend the naturalization of the Turks following a decision of the Constitutional Court declaring a program of deprivation of citizenship unlawful.

    Heinz-Christian Strache, Vice-Chancellor of the Freedom Party of Austria, justified this radical move on Tuesday, December 18, with Ankara’s lack of cooperation in an investigation to determine whether thousands of Austrian citizens of Turkish descent have not retained or retained their former nationality, which is strictly prohibited.

    more :

  2. Can Hamas Disrupt Commercial Flights to Israel?

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Hamas has repeatedly threatened to disrupt commercial flights to Israel, a threat intended to deter Israel whenever a violent round of hostilities erupts. This threat hearkens back to the flight ban that was imposed on Israel during 2014’s Operation Protective Edge following a Hamas rocket attack on Yahud. While the flight ban was more a reflection of the Obama administration’s desire to put political pressure on Israel than a reflection of genuine safety concerns, Israeli decision makers do seem to consider the Hamas threat to Ben-Gurion Airport to be viable. In fact, it is more a propaganda message than a concrete threat.

    During the last short round of hostilities between Hamas and Israel (November 12-13, 2018), the Islamist organization’s spokesperson threatened to launch long-range rockets towards Tel Aviv as well as towards Ben-Gurion Airport. The Israeli Airports Authority adjusted flight routes to Ben-Gurion for incoming flights in response to the Hamas threat.

    This was not the first time Hamas has threatened to disrupt regular commercial flights to Israel by mentioning Ben-Gurion as a potential target. Hamas is well aware that the airport, as the main venue into Israel, is a spectacular strategic asset, so a deterrent message regarding the airport is likely to be taken seriously by the Israeli authorities.

  3. Can Trump be Europe’s Salvation?
    One Islam expert says yes.
    December 19, 2018
    Bruce Bawer

    Islam: Europe Invaded, America Warned is a new English translation of a book that has sold 50,000 copies since appearing in Norwegian three years ago – a figure that, given Norway’s small population, is equivalent to over three million copies in the U.S. Its author, Hege Storhaug, who — full disclosure – is a longtime friend, former employer, and (frankly) heroine of mine, began her career as a left-wing feminist writing about the rights of women and girls and ended up becoming a supposedly right-wing critic of Islam because she recognized the Religion of Peace as, by far, the greatest threat to females in Norway.

    Hege has now been fighting on the Islam front for a quarter-century. She’s advised members of the Norwegian parliament on the subject, handed them tons of material documenting the social and economic consequences of Muslim immigration, and made a number of specific proposals that have resulted in legislation (and, alas, many more proposals that have gone nowhere). Unsurprisingly, her work has made her enemies not only among the nation’s Muslims but also on the radical left, members of which, on New Year’s Eve 2006/7, broke into her Oslo home and beat her up. She now lives in a secret location outside the city, and since the Norwegian edition of her book came out she’s routinely been accompanied to her public events by a cohort of armed police officers. The cops didn’t even tell her beforehand that they’d decided to start guarding her: she found out about it on November 4, 2015, the day before her book’s official publication date, when she showed up at a small-town community center to deliver a lecture and found three – count ’em, three – police cars parked out front.

  4. Iran Threatens U.S. And Its Allies With “Drugs, Refugees, Bombs And Assassination”
    Congress, meanwhile, remains willfully blind.
    December 19, 2018
    Michael Cutler

    On December 9, 2018 The Hill, posted an article, that was short and to the point, “Iran: US sanctions will open doors to ‘drugs, refugees and bombs and assassination’ in west.”

    The article focused on the remarks of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made on December 8, 2018 at what was described as an “Anti-terrorism event” in Tehran. In his remarks Rouhani stated that if nations continued to adhere to the boycott against Iran that was reimposed by President Trump over the bogus Iranian nuclear deal that had been negotiated by the Obama administration, that Iran would not be able to continue its purported efforts to combat drug trafficking.

    As reported in The Hill article:

  5. Trump Gives Hope to Nation on Border Wall after Republicans Cave Again

    On Tuesday White House Spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced the Trump White House would back down from their promise to shut down the government if Congress did not pass legislation that included funding on the border wall.

    White House spokeswoman made the comments Tuesday morning on FOX News Channel.

    Sarah Sanders: “We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion.”

  6. The New Normal: Female Trump Supporter SLAPPED AND ASSAULTED Outside of Flynn Hearing (Video)

    Fourteen victims of anti-Trump rioters at a Trump campaign rally in San Jose, California in June 2016 filed a class action federal civil rights lawsuit in July against San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo, Police Chief Edgardo Garcia, the City of San Jose and several named and unknown attackers.

  7. BBC – What’s behind Hungary’s protests?

    ( 9 min 22 )

    Thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest against Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz government.

    Protests have reached fever pitch in objection to the government’s controversial new labour law – which will see workers doing more overtime.

    The state broadcaster has been targeted by those demanding the scale of the demonstration be clearly shown.

    Newsnight’s Mark Urban reports on a wider mistrust in an increasingly illiberal Viktor Orban government

    Times journalist Edward Lucas joins Emily Maitlis in the studio.

    + comments on the YT page ( people not buying it )

    • Belgium Parliament – The Gilets Jaunes have spread to Belgium and Germany –

      – Raoul Hedebouw (Workers party from Belgium) .. Both Macron and Édouard Philippe have had to back down after almost no real change in French government for 10 years this is the first anti-government victory in a long time

      .. the Gilets Jaunes have spread to Belgium and soon they will impact the EU .. does this give you the jitters?!? it should .. it gives me no pleasure to say this

      .. the GJ movement is in the process of radicalizing and becoming more violent .. they are asking to remove the taxes on fuel and second they also DEMAND a tax on the rich

      .. the prime minister knows it is possible to establish a tax on the rich here and in Belgium .. do not tell us that there is no money left to invest in daycares for children and pensions for the elderly

      .. when people are telling us that they can not longer make ends meet after over a year we need to send a clear message

      – Charles Michel (Prime Minister Belgium) .. we need to find a compromise and a way to slowly introduce a fuel tax to bring usage under control and encourage “environmental behaviors”

      – Raoul .. (to Charles) I don’t believe you really understand the seriousness of this movement and how angry these people are at the moment .. they are currently organizing for even larger demonstrations than before

      .. why should the middle and lower classes pay even more when they are already broke? the working classes pay dearly for the rises in fuel prices and you are still talking about pollution .. that is not the immediate problem

      .. I told you that this problem would happen 3 years ago .. the spending budget for Belgium in 2014 was 16 Billion and now has jumped to 27 billion and yet we cannot find anything to help these people and stop the violence on the streets

      .. this violence has many causes but a main one is making people live on 1000 Euros a month which is a type of violence itself .. you have told the working people no more help and if you do not negotiate there will be more violence coming

      .. this is a scandal and the Gilets Jaunes will spread all over Europe if you do not compromise .. this revolt is because the people have waited 10-15 years and nothing has truly changed .. and if it stays this way the worst is yet to come from the mobs of angry people

    • AFP trying to defuse the movement by diffusing the brand.
      Astroturf dispersion isn’t going to the convince the French, AFP. No less embarrassing for your Petit Prince.

    • Les forces de l’ordre ont démantelé le campement des “gilets jaunes” à l’entrée de Margencel, en Haute-Savoie, dans la nuit du 18 au 19 décembre. Les manifestants ont accueilli pacifiquement les gendarmes, dansant sur un air d’Edith Piaf et chantant la “Marseillaise”. Ces images ont été tournées par une participante et diffusées en direct sur Facebook. Extraits.

    • Marine Le Pen talks about Yellow Vests protests + Emmanuel Macron, Gilets Jaunes, English subtitles

      Some background to this.

      Last Monday (10th December) President Macron gave a televised address in which he announced some reforms intended to placate the yellow vest protests.
      This was a big event in France – 23 million people watched it (more than watched the world cup final).

      This video is Marine Le Pen’s response to Macron’s speech (this wasn’t televised, it was posted on her Facebook page the following day )

      CSG = a social charge payable by everybody
      SMIC = minimum wage
      GAFA = four internet giants = Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon
      CICE = tax credit to help companies hire people and be competitive

      “Reculer pour mieux sauter” is a saying in French = taking a step back in order to help you jump forward = taking a step back in order to take two steps forward.
      “Unfair competition” is a phrase Le Pen uses a lot, it means for example French farmers having to compete with foreign agriculture, where wages are lower and there are less environmental standards etc.

      “UMP-PS system” UMP and PS are the two mainstream parties that have dominated France for decades. UMP are centre right (now called Les Républicains), PS are centre-left.

      La République En Marche = Macron’s party

      Le Pen is saying here that Macron is not an outsider, his government is made up of establishment figures from the UMP/LR and PS.

  8. Iran: Toward a Plan B

    by Amir Taheri
    December 19, 2018 at 5:00 am

    For four decades Iran has been in world headlines, not always for the best of reasons. Many countries have had problems with Iran in its current version as the Islamic Republic. In turn, the Islamic Republic has not been able to find the place it covets in a global system that it rejects as a creation of the “Infidel”.

    Those having problems with the Islamic Republic have contemplated, planned and, in some cases, even tried quite a few Plan A options to deal with the Islamic Republic. These range from efforts to persuade the current leadership in Tehran to change aspects of its behavior to economic warfare, “crippling” sanctions, and, on occasions, even military action.

    All those plans failed to produce the desired result because they were based on the assumption that the Islamic Republic is a classical nation-state and likely to respond as such.

    However, in its revolutionary emanation, Iran has experienced what could only be called an historic schizophrenia in which its identity as a revolutionary cause is in conflict with that of its identity as a nation-state.

    The net result is that it can neither respond as a nation-state, which implies some degree of compromise with reality, nor, lacking the power required, as a messianic revolutionary force, impose its will on its adversaries.

  9. The Great Turkish Brain Drain

    by Burak Bekdil
    December 19, 2018 at 4:00 am

    This author once described a Turkish university as “just a group of buildings gathered around a library and a mosque,” to paraphrase a quote from Shelby Foote. Today, universities in Turkey are increasingly becoming seats of Islamic learning, zeal and government bootlicking.

    Life, for many scholars, is gloomy. Since the attempted coup in July 2016, nearly 6,000 academics have been dismissed from public universities under emergency decrees, including 378 who had signed a January 2016 Academics for Peace petition condemning the government’s security operations in the Kurdish southeast. Another 38 academics from public universities and 48 from private universities have been dismissed by their universities and were told by university officials that the reason was signing the petition. Scores of academics (more than 265) who signed the “peace call” are being prosecuted on charges of terrorism.

    “The Turkish government’s crackdown is targeting academics and damaging its universities,” said Hugh Williamson, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Academics and students should be free to express, teach, and research controversial or critical ideas without risking dismissal or imprisonment”.

    It is not surprising that only two Turkish universities, out of 200 or so, have made their way into the Times Higher Education’s top 500 universities list. There is not a single Turkish university in the top 350 list.

  10. Vatican Refuses to Offer Asylum to Asia Bibi

    Cdl. Pietro Parolin: ‘It’s an issue inside Pakistan’

    VATICAN CITY ( – The Vatican is not offering asylum to a persecuted Catholic woman in Pakistan.

    After years of struggle in the courts, Aasiya Noreen “Asia” Bibi — a Catholic mother of five — was acquited of charges of blasphemy in the Pakistan Supreme Court on Oct. 31. Islamic fundamentalists all over Pakistan immediately began protesting the acquittal. Many of the protesters demanded Bibi’s death for her alleged blasphemy against the prophet Mohammad.

    Since her acquittal, Bibi and her family have lived in fear for their lives. Many countries, such as Italy and Canada, have considered offering asylum to Bibi and her family members. Efforts to help the persecuted Catholic family have also been proposed in the United States and the United Kingdom.

    But Cdl. Pietro Parolin, the Vatican’s secretary of state, has said that the Vatican is not working to offer asylum to the family. He reportedly explained in November that the Vatican is not engaging in diplomatic activity to try to save Bibi, adding, “It’s an issue inside Pakistan, I hope it can be resolved in the best way.”

    Some are criticizing Cdl. Parolin’s statements on Bibi from November in light of his apparent support for migrants to Europe. Cardinal Parolin spoke at length about the issues of migration at a Dec. 10 conference in Morocco, arguing in part that “it is essential to adopt an inclusive approach in addressing migrants’ needs.”

    In 2009, Bibi was getting water from a well when a Muslim woman declared that both the water and the vessels used to obtain it were now “haram,” an Islamic term meaning “forbidden” or “unclean.”

    The woman shouted to other Muslim women working in the fields. The women gathered around and engaged in fierce arguments with Bibi. They kept pressuring her to convert to Islam. The Christian woman sealed her fate when she shot back, “What did your Prophet Mohammed ever do to save mankind?”

    The Muslim women became furious. Bibi ran away amid shouting and spitting. A Muslim mob violently harassed her a few days later, and the woman was covered in blood by the time local police arrested her.

    Bibi was sentenced to death for the crime of blasphemy against Islam in 2010. Her attorneys kept appealing the conviction, battling it out in the courts for years. The case drew the attention of human rights organizations around the world.

    Asia Bibi was sentenced to death for blasphemy in 2010.

    In 2011, the governor of Punjab, Salman Taseer, was murdered by his bodyguard after he tried to seek clemency for Bibi, who lived in the province of Punjab. The governor’s bodyguard, in turn, was found guilty of murder and executed in 2016.

    A new political party formed in support of the governor’s killer, championing him as a loyal adherent to Sharia law. This pro-Sharia party, the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP), was connected to the Islamic protests this year opposing the Supreme Court’s acquittal of Bibi.

    At a news conference in Lahore, Pakistan on Nov. 8, leaders of TLP called for the public execution of Asia Bibi. A banner behind them during the conference stated, “Blasphemy is terrorism. Serve justice. Hang Aasia Bibi.”

    Some protesters have held signs calling for the hanging of Bibi. She and her loved ones have been in hiding, fearing for their lives.

    There were reports in November that Asia Bibi had fled the country. But a spokesperson for the Pakistani government debunked these claims as “fake news,” clarifying that Bibi was in a government safe house with her husband, Ashiq Masih.

    In Pakistan, people accused of blaspheming Islam often fall prey to extrajudicial killings by Islamic fundamentalists.

    Pakistani authorities initiated an apparent crackdown on the Islamist protesters in late November. Hundreds of protesters and TLP leaders were arrested owing to concerns that the protests were disrupting public life in Pakistan.

    Before that, there were numerous arrests throughout the month of November in response to violence and vandalism during the protests — including clashes with police.

  11. Canadian sentenced to 40 years for ISIS plot to attack Times Square, subway

    A Canadian who confessed to plotting terrorist attacks in New York City for the so-called Islamic Statewas sentenced Wednesday to 40 years’ imprisonment.

    U.S. prosecutors had asked for a life sentence for Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy, who pleaded guilty to working with ISIS to attack Times Square and the New York subway system.

    The defence, meanwhile, had asked for leniency, depicting the 20-year-old as an isolated, mentally ill addict who, with treatment, could “grow old in peace in Canada.”

    “Today’s sentence reflects the severity of his conduct and holds him accountable for his terrorist activities,” Assistant Attorney General John Demers said in a statement.

    The family’s lawyer, Denis Edney said Elbahnasawy’s mother, Khdiga, was removed from the courtroom after learning the sentence.

    “Khdiga shouted at the judge and was taken out of the courtroom,” Edney said.

    The judge told El Bahnasawy he was “doing him a favour” by sentencing him to 40 years, Edney said.

    “[The judge] felt he was balancing the seriousness of [El Bahnasawy’s] intent for action, while at the same time balancing it with his mental issues,” Edney said.

    While there’s no requirement for the US Bureau of Prisons to do so, the judge said he would do his best to make sure El Bahnasawy was placed in a prison that provided proper mental health treatment, Edney said.

    The case combined many of the themes of contemporary terrorism: through social media, an ISIS member in Syria worked with a mentally unstable recruit to plot mass killings in the West.

    The plot spanned four countries but the FBI successfully infiltrated it and arrested El Banhasawy in New Jersey in May 2016 following an undercover operation.

    “In the name of ISIS, Abdulrahman El Bahnasawy planned an elaborate attack to wreak havoc and destruction on New York City,” U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman said.

    “He planned to detonate bombs in Times Square and the New York City subway system, and to shoot civilians at concert venues.”

    While he pleaded guilty to seven counts of terrorism, his family and lawyers said he had been in an out of treatment centres and blamed the undercover agent for contributing to his radicalization.

    El Bahnasawy was born in Kuwait and moved to Ontario with his parents as a child. Beginning at age 14, his parents sent him to drug treatment centres in Kuwait, Toronto and Egypt.

    Following his release from an Egyptian treatment program in 2015, he returned to Canada and became fixated with online Islamist extremism.

    From his bedroom in his parents’ suburban Toronto home, he began corresponding with Abu Saad al-Sudani, a “high-level ISIS recruiter and attack planner” in Syria, according to prosecutors.

    “He was exceptionally vulnerable to ISIS messaging,” his lawyers argued. “Isolated, he found a friend in the undercover agent, who praised his worst ideas and was instrumental in bringing them closer to reality.”

    Prosecutors said the portrayal of Banhasawy as a vulnerable, weak victim “could not be further from the truth” and called him “dangerous and calculating,” with a “steadfast desire to kill.”

    His alleged co-conspirators, Talha Haroon and Russell Salic, were arrested in Pakistan and the Philippines for extradition to the U.S., while Sudani was killed in an airstrike.

  12. Saudi-led coalition ‘destroys drone’ in airstrike at Yemen’s Sana’a airport (thedefensepost, Dec 19, 2018)

    “The Saudi-led coalition fighting on the side of Yemen’s government said it launched an airstrike at the airport in the rebel-held capital Sana’a, destroying a drone.

    It is the first airstrike that the alliance has confirmed carrying out since a ceasefire was agreed at peace talks in Sweden last week for the battleground port city of Hodeidah.

    The coalition said in a statement carried by the Saudi state-run Al-Ekhbariya news channel that it targeted an unmanned aerial vehicle and “destroyed the aircraft that was in the process of preparing to be launched.”

    The coalition said that the Houthis are using the airport “as a military camp in violation of international humanitarian law”.

    The strike Wednesday comes nearly a week after an agreement between the government and the Iran-aligned Houthi rebels on the withdrawal of fighters from Hodeidah and a planned swap of around 15,000 prisoners.

    A “mutual understanding” was also reached to facilitate aid deliveries to Yemen’s third city Taiz – under the control of loyalists but besieged by rebels.

    No deal was reached on the future of Sana’a airport, which has been closed to commercial flights for nearly three years.

    The airport will be discussed at the next round of talks, United Nations envoy Martin Griffiths said.

    The two sides have agreed to meet again in late January to define the framework for negotiations on a comprehensive peace settlement.

    The war between the Houthi rebels and troops loyal to President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi escalated in 2015, when he fled into Saudi exile and the coalition intervened.

    Since then, the war has killed some 10,000 people, according to the World Health Organization, although human rights groups say the real death toll could be five times as high.

    The conflict has also pushed 14 million people to the brink of famine in what the United Nations describes as the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.”

  13. Arizona Man Gets 12 Years in Prison for Helping Student Join ISIS in Syria (aawsat, Dec 19, 2018)

    “An Arizona man convicted of helping a New Yorker join the ISIS terrorist group in Syria was sentenced on Tuesday to 12 years in prison.

    Ahmed Mohammed el-Gammal, 48, a suburban Phoenix man who sold car parts, was sentenced by Judge Edgardo Ramos in Manhattan federal court.

    Gammal was convicted last year for helping Samy el-Goarany, who flew to Turkey in January 2015 and made his way to Syria. Gammal was arrested in August 2015, months before Goarany’s brother was informed that Goarany, a Baruch College student, was killed fighting for ISIS.

    “The consequences of Mr. Gammal’s conduct were tragic indeed,” Ramos said, because the 24-year-old student he helped reach Syria in 2015 was eventually killed in combat.

    Yet, he said Gammal was not the “typical terrorism suspect … the type of true believer” and he doubts he’ll commit another crime.

    According to prosecutors, Gammal and Goarany communicated extensively on the internet in the months before the student flew to Turkey and made his way to Syria days later to begin his military training.

    The trial was the first ISIS-related prosecution to occur in Manhattan federal court.

    During Gammal’s trial, defense lawyers argued that Goarany would have reached Syria anyway as he looked for meaning in life to erase his own feelings of inadequacy. They noted that others, including relatives, were unable to stop him from joining ISIS.

    Ramos stressed there was no question that Goarany was “very set on traveling to Syria,” with or without el-Gammal’s help.

    When he spoke before the sentence was announced, Gammal told the judge that he is a “proud American.”

    “I love this country,” he said repeatedly. “I ask for forgiveness and mercy.””

  14. Tunisia Dismantles Terror Cell Plotting Attacks on Security Forces (aawsat, Dec 19, 2018)

    “Tunisia announced on Wednesday the dismantling of a terrorist cell that was plotting attacks against the security forces, said the Interior Ministry.

    Most of the members of the cell, dubbed the Brigade of Jihad and Unity, were arrested and were being held in prison, the ministry said in a statement according to Reuters.

    The cell had pledged allegiance to an unidentified militant group abroad and planned attacks targeting security posts and patrols in the central province of Sidi Bouzid, it said.

    An explosive belt, grenades and bomb-making material were seized during the operation, it added.

    Tunisia has been on high security alert since 2015 when ISIS gunmen killed 38 tourists in a museum in the capital and on a beach in the resort city of Sousse.

    Since then security has improved with only sporadic smaller attacks, allowing the vital tourism industry to recover as foreigners have returned to Tunisia’s Mediterranean beaches.

    Authorities say more than 3,000 Tunisians have left to fight for terror groups in Syria, Iraq and Libya. Many of them have been killed in battle while others have been jailed or put under house arrest after returning to Tunisia.”

  15. “Confirmed: McCain Associate David Kramer Gave Junk Trump-Russia Pee-Pee Dossier to Jim Comey and Buzzfeed”
    by Jim Hoft – December 19, 2018

    “Buzzfeed Lawsuit Reveals Steele Dossier Disseminated Via Network of #NeverTrump Affiliates…”
    by Sundance – December 19, 2018

  16. UAE demanded extradition of opposition figures in exchange for British student’s release (memo, Dec 19, 2018)

    “The UAE asked Britain to extradite a number of members of the opposition in return for the release of British PhD student Matthew Hedges who was sentenced to life imprisonment.

    According to a source who spoke to Arabic news site Arabi21 on condition of anonymity, the UK refused the demand telling the UAE that its laws do not allow it to extradite asylum seekers.

    The Durham University student Hedges was arrested by Emirati state security officers at Dubai airport in May, after spending a fortnight in the country researching his PhD thesis on its security structure after the Arab Spring. He returned to the UK in late November after receiving a pardon.

    After Hedges was handed a life term by a court in Abu Dhabi, the British ambassador to the UAE toured the Emirates in what officials said was “a message from Britain” – which united the country – to demonstrate that it still has influence over it. “This has contributed to hastening the release of the British citizen.””

  17. Kuwaiti FM: ‘Saudi Arabia is brotherly country with whom we communicate on all issues’ (memo, Dec 20, 2018)

    “Kuwaiti Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khalid Al-Hamad Al-Sabah on Wednesday announced that talks between Kuwait and Saudi Arabia to find a solution to the Gulf crisis are ongoing, Anadolu Agency reports.

    During a news conference he held with his Dutch counterpart Steve Block in Kuwait, Al-Sabah said: “Saudi Arabia is a great brotherly country and we do communicate with them at all times and places and on all issues.”

    Since last year, Kuwait has been mediating to end the “worst” crisis in the history of the Gulf region, but, its efforts have yet to bear fruits.

    Since the summer of last year, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt have cut ties with Qatar and imposed “punitive measures” that Doha calls a “blockade”.

    The Saudi-led axis accuses Qatar of supporting terrorism, which Doha denies.”

  18. Daesh ideology, discourse have failed: Egypt’s Observatory for Monitoring Takfiri Fatwas (ahram, Dec 19, 2018),-discourse-have-failed-Egypts-Obser.aspx

    “A recent report published by Egypt’s Observatory for Monitoring Takfiri Fatwas and Extremist Ideologies at Egypt’s Dar Al-Ifta suggests that the Daesh terrorist organisation’s ideology and discourse have failed, and that the group has splintered into scattered offshoots and individual actors.

    The analysis centre of the observatory at Dar Al-Ifta – which is responsible for issuing Islamic edicts (fatwas) – conducted analysis of Daesh activity from 2014 to 2018.

    The study says that 2014 to 2016 witnessed a high volume of visual, print and audio-visual propaganda released by Daesh, where the organisation focused on promoting holy war and the expansion of their self-proclaimed state, as well as showcasing their military capabilities.

    The study also says that 2017 to 2018 saw a decline in the volume of propaganda released by the group as well as major losses in territory. In this period, Daesh sought to promote patience among its followers and warned of the consequences of fleeing the battlefield.

    The Observatory said that the initial phase after the organisation’s emergence, from 2014 to 2016, saw a state of disarray within the group, which lacked a clear social project in the areas it controlled.

    The report also said that 2018 saw a major decline in the organisation’s activities on all fronts.

    “The organisation has resorted to republishing old material and pamphlets, which reveals a decline in leadership and resources for the organisation,” the report said.

    The observatory says the future of the group is uncertain, as the number of its deserting members is expected to increase due to the absence of a clear strategy following the group’s failure to accomplish its goals.

    The observatory said that the dissident and fugitive members of the organisation will have to choose between joining the Al-Qaeda terrorist organisation and its affiliates or forming new separate groups and cells adopting a similar discourse or approach.

    The observatory said that Daesh has been attempting to regain control over its lost territories in Iraq over the past six month through guerilla warfare and small-scale urban combat, as the organisation has lost many members and resources due to battles, desertion or internal splits.

    Dar Al-Ifta’s Takfiri Monitoring Observatory was created in 2015 to track and combat extremism, reform religious discourse in Egypt, and respond to erroneous and extremist interpretations of Islam, especially those that promote violence. The observatory’s website produces content in 10 different languages.”

  19. Tucker: When it comes to lying, there’s a double standard

    The hypocrisy in Washington when it comes to lying, particularly when it comes to the media’s reaction to Michael Flynn

  20. Morocco Loses Appeal Against Boxer Moumni, French Journalists (moroccoworldnews, Dec 19, 2018)

    “Morocco has seen its libel complaints rejected by the French Cassation Court, the country’s highest judicial body.

    The court is adamant that states are not entitled to the same rights as persons.

    In a plenary meeting on Friday, the court’s judges delivered rulings on three “priority matters of constitutionality” (QPC), which were mainly concerned with the defamation icomplaints that Morocco had lodged with French authorities.

    According to AFP, Morocco seized French judicial authorities to denounce what it perceived as an organized defamation campaign to tarnish the North African country’s image, especially in terms of human rights and democratic overtures.

    “Morocco’s complaints notably targeted [a number of] French journalists and Zakaria Moumni,” the newspaper noted.

    While Rabat is suing the French journalists for their perceived unfair, biased, and “libelous” coverage of Moroccan affairs, the kingdom targeted Moumni, a Rabat-born former kickboxing champion, for “falsely” accusing Moroccan security services of resorting to torture and abuse in detention centers.

    Moumni, who maintains he was “repeatedly tortured and raped” by Moroccan operatives between September 2010 and February 2012 when he visited his native country, has since been an avowed critic of the Moroccan security system.

    Morocco has repeatedly sued the boxer for libel since 2015, but French judicial authorities have maintained that the case is “ineligible.”

    In the court’s latest decision after the Friday meeting, judges concluded that as far as libel law is concerned, “No state, French or foreign, can sue individuals.” It added: “The 29 July 1881 law [on freedom of speech] only condemns public defamation directed at individuals.”

    But Morocco, unsatisfied, rejected the Cassation Court’s ruling. The kingdom’s legal representatives argued that people should not hide behind the law to make slanderous remarks of an entire country.

    The court has scheduled a new hearing for April 12, 2019, giving Rabat the opportunity to appeal the latest decision. Given the Cassation Court’s history with complainant states on matters of defamation, a legal victory for Rabat seems unlikely.”

  21. (Is that a tattoo of “Palestine” on this sicko’s cheek – some people seem to think it is!)

    This is the first picture of a pervert who had sex with a corpse after breaking into a funeral parlour.

    Sick Kasim Khuram opened several coffins before choosing his victim .

    And not even a blaring burglar alarm – which went off when he broke into the Co-op site in Walsall Road, Great Barr, was enough to put him off.

    The 23-year-old’s picture was revealed by West Midlands Police after he admitted the sexual penetration of a corpse at Birmingham Crown Court on Wednesday.

    Khuram, of Kenilworth Road, Aston, also searched the property and stealing jewellery on November 11.

    Police arrived after the burglar alarm had been activated and Khuram was arrested at the scene.

    Khuram is due to be sentenced on January 31 next year.

    Det Chief Insp John Askew from force CID, said: “This is an horrendous and disturbing act.

    “Our thoughts remain with all those who have been affected by this crime.”

    Senior CPS prosecutor Baljinder Kaur , said: “This is an unusual case and it is difficult to imagine a more distressing violation of a loved one.

    “On the strength of the case built by the police and CPS the defendant ultimately pleaded guilty and will now have to face the consequences.

    “Our thoughts are with the families of the deceased.”

  22. Gender equality situation worst in Pakistan: WEF report (tribune, Dec 19, 2018)

    “Pakistan has been listed among the worst performers in the world when it comes to women empowerment as the country placed at the rock bottom of the World Economic Forum’s “Global Gender Gap Report 2018”.

    The country bettered only Yemen, the worst country with regards to gender equality. It joins the bottom bracket of nations, including Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Strangely, Pakistan is placed two notches lower than the war-devastated Syria…”

  23. Video of Iranian soldier humiliating and beating Afghan men sparks furor (khaama, Dec 19, 2018)

    “The video of an Iranian soldier beating Afghan nationals has sparked furor as the Afghan officials vow to raise the issue with the Iranian authorities through diplomatic channels.

    The video has gone viral on social media in Afghanistan during the recent days and has even attracted the attention of the government officials.

    The social media users have strongly condemned the beating of the Afghan nationals by an Iranian soldier in an unknown location.

    The video purportedly shows a group of at least nine men lined up beside a wall, are humiliated and slapped in the face by an Iranian soldier who repeatedly asks the men for what reason they have visited Iran.

    Deputy Afghan Foreign Minister Idrees Zaman has also reacted to the video and humiliation and beating of the Afghan men.

    “This is shameful and disgusting, to say the least. We are going to raise the issue with Iranian officials. We will not allow Afghans to be treated like this!” he said in a Twitter post.

    The Iranian authorities have not commented regarding the video so far.

    Thousands of Afghans cross the Iranian border to seek refuge in the country mainly due to the growing violence and lack of work who are often subjected to humiliation, torture, and detention.

    Earlier reports also indicated that the Iranian military authorities have on several occasions exploited the Afghan refugees and have deployed thousands of Afghan men to fight in Syria and Iraq.”


    Kasim Khuram, 23, has admitted having sex with a corpse after lifting the lids of ‘multiple coffins’ at a funeral parlour

    A burglar is facing a ‘substantial’ prison sentence after he admitted having sex with a corpse after lifting the lids of ‘multiple coffins’ at a funeral parlour.

    Kasim Khuram, 23, from Birmingham, pleaded guilty today to sexual penetration of a body at the Central England Co-operative Funeralcare home in Walsall Road, in the Great Barr area, on November 11.

    A judge adjourned Khuram’s sentencing for a psychiatric report until January 31, but warned the defendant he was facing a ‘substantial’ jail term.

    In a statement released after his appearance today, a Crown Prosecution Service spokesman said Khuram ‘forced open the door’ of the home at about 3am.

    ‘While inside the funeral home the defendant lifted the lids of multiple coffins and sexually penetrated one of the corpses.’

    Baljinder Kaur, from the CPS, said: ‘This is an unusual case and it is difficult to imagine a more distressing violation of a loved one.

    ‘On the strength of the case built by the police and CPS the defendant ultimately pleaded guilty and will now have to face the consequences.

    Khuram, of Kenilworth Road, Aston, appeared in custody in Birmingham Crown Court flanked by a security officer, and gave the thumbs-up to supporters in the public gallery during a 10-minute hearing.

    The 23-year-old also admitted burglary of the funeral home, breaking into the building with the intention of stealing.

    Wearing a black hooded top and trousers and sporting a Palestinian flag tattoo on the left side of his neck, he stood with hands clutched in front of him as the charges were read.

    Relatives of the deceased were in court during the hearing.

    The court heard he was briefly sectioned under mental health laws on arrest, after officers alerted by the parlour’s alarm turned up to find him still at the scene.

    Judge Francis Laird QC said: ‘I will adjourn your sentence to the date that has been raised in court.

    ‘I will allow your solicitors the appropriate time to present to the court a medical report which your solicitor thinks will assist in delivering the appropriate sentence for you.

    ‘But you must be under no illusion that you will receive a sentence of imprisonment for your offending in this case – a substantial sentence of imprisonment.’

    A Central England Co-operative spokesman said: ‘Our primary concern is for the families we serve and the welfare of our funeral colleagues who have all been deeply affected by this incredibly disturbing and unprecedented event.

    ‘The security measures at Great Barr are such that the alarm alerted the police, who were thankfully able to apprehend the suspect at the scene.

    ‘We would like to thank the West Midlands Police for their care and assistance and we will work to support them in any way possible.

    ‘We will not be making any further comment until the conclusion of this case.’

  25. Turkey wins case against US tariffs at WTO (hurriyetdailynews, Dec 19, 2018)

    “Turkey has won its first appeal at the World Trade Organization (WTO) against additional U.S. tariffs imposed on steel imports, Trade Minister Ruhsar Pekcan said on Dec. 19.

    The U.S had imposed the countervailing tariffs in question on the ground that steel products from Turkey were subsidized, Pekcan added.

    “We previously won a similar appeal against Morocco. We have a professional team, we will continue to do great jobs,” the minister said, speaking at a ceremony in Istanbul.

    The U.S. had already imposed 10 percent and 25 percent additional tariffs on aluminum and steel imports respectively from all countries on March 23.

    However, in August, U.S. President Donald Trump decided to double tariffs on aluminum and steel imports from Turkey to 20 percent and 50 percent, respectively.

    Trump tweeted at that time that he had authorized the doubling of tariffs, noting that “aluminum will now be 20 percent and steel 50 percent. Our relations with Turkey are not good at this time!”

    In retaliation, Turkey increased tariffs on several U.S.-origin products, including alcohol, tobacco products and cars.

    Turkey reciprocated by doubling additional duty on 22 U.S. products, tallying $533 million.

    In August, Turkey requested WTO dispute consultations with the United States concerning additional import duties imposed by the United States on steel and aluminum products.

    Turkey claims that the measures are inconsistent with a number of provisions of the WTO’s Agreement on Safeguards and the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994.

    Turkey’s iron, steel, and aluminum exports to the U.S. were $1.1 billion in 2017—0.7 percent of total exports, according to the ministry’s statement.

    Turkey’s steel exports were valued at $11.5 billion last year, accounting for 7.3 percent of its total exports worth $157 billion, according to the Turkish Steel Exporters’ Association.

    The U.S. was the top destination for Turkish steel exports in 2017.

    Turkey came in sixth place among the countries the U.S. imported steel from last year, while the share of Turkish steel was 7 percent of total U.S. steel imports.

    Turkey’s steel exports continued their upward trend, rising 35.2 percent year-on-year in the first 10 months of 2018, reaching $12.4 billion, the Turkish Steel Exporters’ Association (CIB) said in November.

    Steel exports soared 15.5 percent to 16.8 million tons this January-October compared to the same period in 2017.

    In October, steel exports rose 46.3 percent year-on-year, reaching 2.2 million tons, while value-wise, exports climbed 46.9 percent year-on-year, reaching $1.49 billion.”

  26. Greece violated Muslim woman’s rights: ECHR (hurriyetdailynews, Dec 19, 2018)

    “Top European rights court ruled on Dec. 19 that Greece violated basic rights of a Muslim woman, Chatitze Molla Sali, who did not want the application of Sharia (Islamic religious law) to her inheritance case, but domestic courts did so.

    In the case Molla Sali v. Greece, the will of the testator, who is Molla Sali’s deceased husband, was to inherit whole estate to his wife in accordance with Greek civil law. But the domestic court instead applied Sharia law and thus Sali was deprived of three-quarters of her inheritance.

    The domestic courts considered the will devoid of effect because the law applicable to the case was Islamic inheritance law. Greece applies Islamic religious law to Greek nationals of Muslim faith according to the 1920 Treaty of Sèvres and the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne.

    68-year-old Sali brought the case to European Court of Human Rights that she had suffered a difference in treatment on grounds of religion because had her husband not been of Muslim faith, she would have inherited the whole estate after his death in 2008.

    The Grand Chamber of the Court found that the difference in treatment was not been objectively and reasonably justified.

    Thus the Chamber ruled that there had been a violation of Article 14 (prohibition of discrimination) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

    The Court also noted that Greece was the only country in Europe which had applied Sharia law to a section of its citizens against their wishes.

    “That was particularly problematic in the present case because the application of Sharia law had led to a situation that was detrimental to the individual rights of a widow who had inherited her husband’s estate in accordance with the rules of civil law but who had then found herself in a legal situation which neither she nor her husband had intended,” it said in its ruling.”

  27. Migrants: Tunisia rejects practice of forced repatriations (ansamed, Dec 19, 2018)

    “Tunisia ”categorically refuses forced expulsions of its irregular migrants from their respective hosting countries”, Tunisian Social Affairs Minister Mohamed Trabelsi said, opening a seminar in Tunis on migration in relation to objectives of sustainable development.

    The minister added that the Tunisian government supports the right to access basic services and integration projects in hosting countries and does not accept for its migrants to return unless they are willing to do so.

    In his address, Trabelsi denounced the use of unilateral measures by some hosting countries, stressing that irregular migration can only be tackled with the help of conventions and international agreements.

    Trabelsi said an estimated 200,000 Tunisians are residing abroad without regular documents.

    He announced the presentation of a national strategy on migration to Parliament in 2019 with the objective of institutionalizing the system of migration, asylum and residence in Tunisia.

    Trabelsi continued by recalling that the majority of illegal migrants are fleeing war, human rights abuses and difficult economic conditions, insisting that the migration dossier should be handled with more responsibility and equality between northern and southern Mediterranean countries. He said the world economic system should be fairer. Lorena Lando, head of the mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), spoke about the relation between migration and sustainable development targets in the UN’s 2030 agenda, noting that a national strategy could be one of the possible solutions for Tunisia to tackle the migration dossier.

    According to IOM, there are an estimated 60,000 undocumented migrants in Tunisia, while Tunisian migrants living abroad without regular documents are about 1.3 million.”

  28. German states want to hold deportees in prisons again: report (DW, Dec 19, 2018)

    “Germany prohibited the housing people slated for deportation in prisons. But state leaders have said the practice — with a few changes — could be deemed legal again.

    Germany’s 16 states want to hold migrants slated for deportation in prisons, Die Welt reported on Thursday.

    This was reportedly decided by the state premiers at a meeting in December.

    A resolution called for a relaxation of rules that prohibit such practices, with the aim of housing deportation candidates in special wings of prisons separate from the prison’s criminal population.

    In 2014, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that keeping those slated for deportation in regular prisons violated the EU Return Directive. Since then, such migrants have generally had to be accommodated in special facilities.

    Police union in favor of plans

    The chairman of the Federal Police Trade Union, Ernst Walter, told Die Welt he welcomed the plans.

    “The only people who can be reliably deported are those who are already in deportation custody because thousands of people are evading deportation by temporary or permanent disappearance on the planned date of repatriation,” he was quoted as saying. Therefore the “increased provision of deportation detention is urgently necessary”.

    Limited capacity

    Current deportation facilities can hold fewer than 500 people, meaning holding all deportees is not currently possible.

    “Since the urgently needed construction of new deportation detention facilities in the federal states is taking far too long, I welcome the intention of the prime ministers to place deportees in normal detention facilities in separate wings again,” Walter said.

    Half of deportations fail

    Asylum-seekers are issued with temporary permits while their applications are being considered. If they are rejected and not offered any other type of residency permit, they are obligated to leave the country by a set deadline of no longer than six months. If that deadline has passed, they may be forcibly deported to their country of origin.

    People whose residency permits are not extended by authorities are also subject to deportation. Migrants convicted of a crime are also subject to deportation in most cases.

    In the first half of 2018, nearly 24,000 people were ordered to be returned to their home country. About 11,000 deportations were completed.”

  29. Migrants in France ‘suffering unprecedented abuses’ (thelocal, Dec 19, 2018)

    “Undocumented migrants living in makeshift camps in northern France have been subjected to an “unprecedented” violation of their basic rights over the past three years, the country’s human rights ombudsman said in a report Wednesday.

    Jacques Toubon said that migrants camped out along France’s northern coast and in Paris were “in a state of extreme destitution, deprived of all shelter and preoccupied with trying to fulfil their basic needs: to eat, to drink and to wash”.

    In 2015 he had already sounded the alarm over the plight of migrants in the squalid Jungle shantytown at the port city of Calais, which at its peak was home to around 10,000 people hoping to stow away on trucks crossing the Channel to Britain.

    The camp was razed in October 2016 and the migrants taken to shelters around the country.

    Since then “the situation has in fact significantly worsened”, Toubon said in his report on camps in Calais, Grande-Synthe and Ouistreham — all ports on the Channel coast — as well as in Paris.

    He accused the authorities of “trying to make (migrants) invisible” by regularly tearing down their camps without providing them with viable alternatives.

    President Emmanuel Macron has taken a dual approach to migration, speeding the asylum claims of people deemed to be bona fide refugees while vowing to speed up the deportation of so-called economic migrants.

    Toubon, a former justice minister under centre-right president Jacques Chirac, accused the authorities of adopting a policy founded essentially on “‘policing foreigners’, reflecting a form of criminalisation of migration”.

    He was particularly critical of the methods used by police to prevent the emergence of new settlements, including the use of tear gas during clearance operations.

    The situation was leading to an “unprecedented deterioration” in the migrants’ health, including their mental health, he said, expressing particular concern for unaccompanied minors.

    Last week, four leading migrant charities in Calais issued a report documenting allegations of police violence made by scores of migrants, including the alleged use of tear gas on 153 occasions between November 2017 and November 2018.

    The prefect in charge of public security in the region, Fabien Sudry, accused the charities of drawing on hearsay.

    Around 500 migrants are estimated to be living in the Calais area, with hundreds more living in Paris.”

    • what about the rights of the indigenous French population to live in peace and security,no mention,the same is true for all Europeans,in England we are never mentioned,it is as if we did not exist,we constantly hear from”community leaders”demanding this that and the other,but never from the English people,unless it is to vilify and insult them for racism or not working hard enough to keep our new masters in the style that they have rapidly become accoustomed to,but the wheel will turn and then we shall pay them back in full measure.

  30. Burglars now so brazen they don’t even wait until you’ve left home: With police nowhere to be seen, more and more victims are having terrifying encounters with intruders (dailymail, Dec 20, 208)

    “… Yet break-ins like these are becoming more common. The latest figures show that 58 per cent of burglaries occurred when the property was occupied — up from 53 per cent five years ago. At the same time, only one in ten crimes committed in England and Wales ends with anyone being charged.

    With budgets under pressure many forces no longer routinely investigate crimes such as burglaries, thefts and minor assaults. Which, it is claimed, sends out a message to criminals that they can go about their illicit business with little fear of being brought to book….”

  31. This case says it all. Just point to it next time the Catholic church or Dystopia or the like try to tut-tut from the moral high ground.

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