Reader’s Links, December 30, 2018

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About Eeyore

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

109 Replies to “Reader’s Links, December 30, 2018”

  1. Bangladesh elections: Deadly clashes mar vote (BBC, Dec 30, 2018)

    “At least seven people have been killed in clashes in Bangladesh as the country votes in a general election.

    The build-up to the poll has already been marred by violence and accusations of a crackdown against the opposition.

    The authorities ordered the shut-down of high speed internet until after the vote to prevent the spread of “rumours” that might spark unrest.

    The current PM, Sheikh Hasina, is tipped to win a third straight term. Her main rival is in jail.

    Minutes before polls opened, a BBC correspondent saw filled ballot boxes at a polling centre in the port city of Chittagong. The presiding officer declined to comment.

    Only ruling party polling agents were present at that and several other polling centres in the second largest city of the country.

    More than 100 million people are eligible to vote but reports suggest turnout has been low.

    Some 600,000 security personnel have been deployed to quell unrest…”

  2. Computer virus hits Tribune Publishing, Los Angeles Times

    LOS ANGELES (AP) — A computer virus hit newspaper printing plants in Los Angeles and at Tribune Publishing newspapers across the country.

    Tribune Publishing said a computer virus disrupted production of the Chicago Tribune and its other newspapers, the Chicago Tribune reported.

    The print edition of the Chicago Tribune was published Saturday without paid death notices and classified ads, while in other markets a similarly slimmed-down version of the Saturday newspaper will be delivered on Sunday, the company said.

  3. Investigators examining Trump golf club’s employment documents, lawyer says

    Federal and state investigators are scrutinizing the employment documents of immigrants without legal status who allegedly worked at President Donald Trump’s golf club in New Jersey, according to their attorney.
    Related Stories

    Profiting off presidency? Trump biz takes hit since election
    Trump resort worker: No regrets speaking out about abuse

    Anibal Romero, a Newark attorney who represents five undocumented immigrants who say they worked at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, said in an interview Saturday that he met with investigators from the New Jersey state attorney general’s office and two FBI agents in November, before the workers began to go public with their stories.

    Romero said he turned over fake green cards and Social Security numbers that supervisors at the golf club allegedly gave one of his clients, Victorina Morales, a 44-year-old Guatemalan national. He also gave investigators the pay stubs of Sandra Diaz, a Costa Rican native who now has legal status but said she was undocumented when she worked at the club for three years.

  4. N. Korea continues missile development


    N. Korea continues missile development


    2:30 pm, December 30, 2018

    The Yomiuri Shimbun North Korea has continued its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles despite declaring a halt to launches, having conducted a missile-linked radio wave experiment early this month, it has been learned.

    Despite sanctions limiting the North’s petroleum supply, the North Korean military is continuing to train at its usual levels. In response, the Japanese and U.S. governments plan to increase their surveillance of smuggling and other activities on the high seas, according to military and diplomatic sources.

    North Korea conducted a launch test of its radio telemetry, which is transmitted from equipment in a missile’s components such as warhead. When a ballistic missile is launched, telemetry provides essential information about the missile’s angle, location, speed and other factors to observers on the ground.

    In 2016 and 2017, North Korea launched about 40 missiles, including ICBMs. Ground-based telemetry tests are often conducted prior to an ICBM launch, and are considered an important sign of an impending missile launch.

    The U.S. military, Japan Self-Defense Forces and South Korean military are constantly monitoring North Korea for radio waves.

    • … transmitted from equipment in a missile’s components such as warhead.

      Somebody please get this guy’s editor another cuppa black coffee.

      The U.S. military, Japan Self-Defense Forces and South Korean military are constantly monitoring North Korea for radio waves.

      We’re nine kinds of stupid if we don’t have a KH-11 or KH-12 dedicated solely (if necessary) to the Korean peninsula.


      From the above URL:

      Experts believe the primary mirror is 2.4 meters in diameter, identical to the mirror size inside the Hubble Space Telescope, which Lockheed Martin derived from the KH-11 spy satellites.

      NR: I’m shocked… Shocked, I tell you! NASA’s civilian technology being made to serve national security purposes? Why, it’s simply unheard of. (There’s also a yuge backstory to the Hubble mirror’s astigmatism that centers on this exact incestuous tech relationship.)

      • The point is, and I’ve seen it reported elsewhere, Fatboy continues to work on ballistic missile development. Probably other stuff, most likely in Iran.

        No recent shots across Japan’s bow, true, but nothing like the sweetness and light celebrated by some of PTrump’s supporters. Kissy-face pix of Fatboy and Moon are disingenuous.

        Keep the sanctions, don’t trust Moon.

          • These babies are reassuring.
            – Those built-up islands the Chinese are so proud of? Stationary target practice.

            Is Shinzo Abe a “warmonger”?
            The Japanese seem to have emerged from a long pacifist spell. At least enough of them to keep voting for Abe.

            • Taking out the man made Islands would be considered a life fire exercise, a fact that eveyrone but the Chinese Public and the Western Left understands.

              The Baby flattops are the Japanese answer to first Clinton and then Obama cutting the US military and giving China a fee hand in the Far East. China fears them because Japan has a long and with the exception of WWII successful martial tradition. Japan has come close to conquering China a couple of times. Also China is afraid of the manufacturing power of Japan with its track record of quality construction.

  5. Brazil’s president-elect plans decree allowing wider gun ownership

    SAO PAULO (Reuters) – Brazil’s far-right President-elect Jair Bolsonaro said on Saturday he plans to issue a decree allowing all Brazilians without criminal records to own firearms, welcome news to many core supporters who want him to loosen Brazil’s strict gun laws.

  6. New laws are putting California further at odds with Trump
    By DON THOMPSONyesterday

    SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California Gov. Jerry Brown is leaving office Jan. 7 after signing more than 1,000 laws in his last year, further positioning the state as a bastion of liberal activism and goad to President Donald Trump.

    The laws, most of which take effect Tuesday, ease criminal sentences, tighten gun restrictions and address climate change, gender discrimination and sexual harassment.

    The Democratic governor approved 1,016 laws, the most in any of his last eight years in office. His 201 vetoes also were the most during his final two terms, as lawmakers passed a record number of measures.

    • Here’s one that reserves HOV highway lane access for low -income drivers: Automobile Club of Southern California. – Unless otherwise noted, these measures take effect January 1, 2019: Carpool Lane and Toll Lane Changes
      Senate Bill 957 authorizes the issuance of a Clean Air Vehicle (CAV) decal to specified zero and low-emissions vehicles owned by an applicant who makes 80 percent or less of the statewide median income and who has not previously obtained a decal prior to January 1, 2017. A CAV decal allows a single-occupant vehicle to access HOV (High Occupancy Vehicle, or carpool) lanes. This new law will be in effect until January 1, 2024.

      • Diddly bs.
        What a convoluted piece of nonsense to add to the regulatory burden, stack the bureaucracy higher and deeper!

        Tender-hearted Moonbeam bestows special highway access rights for The Poor, while the the middle-class taxpayer is vanishing. Poor natives scrounge behind feral illegal aliens.

  7. If you get your news only from CNN, you have no idea this story happened
    By Daily Caller News Foundation December 29, 2018

    A left-wing billionaire gave $100,000 toward an online misinformation campaign that mimicked Russian interference operations — but if you get your news only from CNN, then you have no idea that happened.

    Linkedin co-founder Reid Hoffman, an early investor in Facebook, was behind a six-figure misinformation campaign that involved falsely linking Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore to Russian influence operations during Alabama’s December 2017 special election.

    Hoffman funded Democratic operatives who staged a “false flag” — in their own words — meant to falsely link Moore’s campaign to Russian bots in order to boost Democratic candidate Doug Jones’

  8. Are We Hearing the Death Knell for Liberal Values?

    Editor’s note: Dr. Terri Murray’s new book Identity, Islam & the Twilight of Liberal Values is a critique of the Left and its ever-growing collusion with totalitarian ideology, including political Islam (Islamism). The following is a summary of the book’s central themes that Clarion Project asked Dr. Murray to write for our readers.

    The last years have seen a host of neologisms introduced into the political discourse. At the same time, old terms were resurrected with new meanings. This “newspeak” has suddenly gone mainstream – and not only with millennials. Words like “intersectionality,” “the AltRight,” “cis gender,” “trans kids,” “TERFs,” “Antifa,” “Islamophobia” and “populism” all have made their way into our everyday language.

    Yet, many of these terms contain unstated assumptions or conclusions that have not been argued for. But the reality is that once the words are treated as meaningful, the point has already been conceded.

    This peremptory use of words begs important questions that effectively short-circuit and supplant critical thinking and debate with cheap rhetoric and victimhood claims.

    • Yet, many of these terms contain unstated assumptions or conclusions that have not been argued for.

      Which—in another stunningly predictable case of Leftist projection—is the same “objection” (or Frankfurt-style “criticism”, more like) now being leveled against longstanding societal norms. Particularly those terms or mores that derive from any implicit recognition of the heterosexual nuclear family.

      As an example, not a single public school in America could get away with assigning children the Dick & Jane basal reading primers. Should some naïve traditionalist even dare try, interminable firings, arrests, lawsuits, court trials, and jailings would ensue as Leftist tripe volcanoes made endless hay about White Privilege, Social Justice, and Institutionalized Racism.

      Most Least amusing of all is the perpetual state of denial maintained by so many Fluid* Gender Zombies® from The Pronoun-Sensitive LGBTQXYZ&#@ Cult of Victimhood™.

      * As in: a frequent exchange of fluids.

      Nowhere does there seem to be any honest recognition of a single incontrovertible fact that—for all but an eyeblink in humanity’s most recent existence—all homosexuals were born of a heterosexual union.. Why so few from within The Pronoun-Sensitive LGBTQXYZ&#@ Cult of Victimhood™ seem willing to admit this remains a profoundly inexplicable mystery.

      But the reality is that once the words are treated as meaningful, the point has already been conceded.

      Yawn. This is just old Orwellian wine the Big Lie™ in a new bottle. Yes, it’s absolutely pertinent but let’s please call this recorked oenological vinegar precisely what it is.

      All that’s changed is the magnitude of each new Big Lie™ and the gullibility of those that happily swallow such monumental deceit in an unmasticated state whole.

  9. Turkey’s War on Christian Missionaries

    by Uzay Bulut
    December 30, 2018 at 5:00 am

    The day after American pastor Andrew Brunson was released from Turkish prison, another Christian who had been living for nearly two decades in the country was detained by Turkish authorities, and told that he had two weeks to leave the country — without his wife and three children. The American-Canadian evangelist, David Byle, not only suffered several detentions and interrogations over the years, but he had been targeted for deportation on three occasions. Each time, he was saved by court rulings. This time, however, he was unable to prevent banishment, and left the country after two days in a detention center.

    When he tried to return to his family in Turkey on November 20, he was denied re-entry. According to Claire Evans, regional manager of the organization International Christian Concern:

  10. The Growing Poverty of Political Debate

    by Amir Taheri
    December 30, 2018 at 4:00 am

    As the year 2018 draws to a close, what are the trends that it highlighted in political life?

    The first trend represents a growing global disaffection with international organizations to the benefit of the traditional nation-state. Supporters of the status quo regard that trend as an upsurge of populism and judge it as a setback for human progress whatever that means.

    Today it is not the United Nations alone that is reduced to a backseat driver on key issues of international life. Its many tentacles, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, too, have been reduced to a shadow of their past glory. In the 1990s, the two outfits held sway on the economies of more than 80 countries across the globe with a mixture of ideology and credit injection. Today, however, they are reduced to cheer-leading or name-calling from the ringside.

    The European Union, too, is clearly on the decline. Despite Pollyannish talk of creating a European army and closer ties among member states, the EU has lost much of its original appeal and faces fissiparous challenges of which the so-called Brexit is one early example. I believe that the only way for the EU to survive, let alone prosper, is to recast itself as a club of nation-states rather than a substitute for them.

    Less than a decade ago, the German philosopher Jürgen Habermas and the German Pope Benedict XVI claimed that the nation-state was dead and that in Europe at least, the way to salvation was a revival of Christianity as a cultural bond if not as a traditional faith.

  11. The US Withdrawal from Syria: A Blessing in Disguise?

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: However misconceived, President Trump’s decision to withdraw US forces from Syria might have a silver lining for Israel. It forces Jerusalem to reevaluate the basic assumptions of the “peace process” with the Palestinians that has been actively and coercively led in recent decades by successive US administrations.

    The Oslo process took place under unique global circumstances. The Soviet Union had just collapsed and the Cold War had come to an abrupt end with the West’s clear victory. The US became “the only remaining superpower” and the “End of History” loomed over the horizon.

    Since then, far-reaching changes have taken place. Russia has reemerged as a major global force and has reassumed its great-power status through direct military interventions in Georgia, Ukraine, and Syria. The US, by contrast, has substantially reduced its global involvement over the past decade and has lost its hegemonic position in the Middle East. In this respect, President Trump’s recent decision to withdraw US troops from Syria is but the continuation of the disengagement policy begun by his immediate predecessor.

    It is arguable, of course, that the withdrawal casts serious doubt on the credibility of the US as a strategic ally. Yet for all its attendant flaws, this step gives Israel a chance to reconsider its longstanding belief in seemingly unshakable US backing.

    • Good article.

      I’ve been waiting for Prof. Mordechai Kedar’s take for days.
      For sure he’s spoken with senior officials in the govts of the region. He’s got unique access and credibilty in the Arab world. Knows the tribes at a granular level better than almost anybody.

      They hate him, of course, because he knows exactly where they’re coming from and can’t be played. When he appears on tardish-TV programs, the panel of esteemed talking-ragheads goes berserk, but their ratings soar.

      The American Exodus from Syria

      Israel would, of course, much prefer that the American forces remain in Syria, but their pullout is far from a tragedy and even provides a window of opportunity.

      • That is what I have been reading, it gives Israel and Russia a window of opportunity to stop the Iranian Land Bridge. What interests me more is it allows us to shift trainers from Syria to various African nations. Given what seems to be happen down south some of them may be needed down there.

          • Africa has too many mineral resources for us to give that continent to any other nation no matter how long an alliance we have had with them. Especially when the radical left has a good chance of seizing control of that nation.

            This will be a job for the special operators.

            Another reason to send our people, the other nations will stop helping us if they see us keep our troops safe but put theirs in harms way. You have to prove you are willing to risk your people to get other nations to follow you.

            • Makes sense.
              Most convincing: France (or any of the others) may well fall into enemy hands (again).

              Prove ourselves by risking our own people?
              No way. Short memories, we’ve done enough.
              They get desperate they’ll follow the Strong Horse.

              Or not.

        • Russia’s not a factor in the land-bridge.
          I wish. It would open more opportunities, but they’ve avoided expenditures of resources there. An odd merc, a video, but it doesn’t amount to anything.

  12. Farage: UK Must ‘Stand Up to EU and France’ to End Channel Migrant Crisis (breitbart, Dec 30, 2018)

    “Brexit campaign leader Nigel Farage has demanded the Government “stands up to the EU and to France” to bring the Channel migrant crisis under control

    The Leave Means Leave co-chairman and former UKIP chief urged Home Secretary Sajid Javid to “ignore the civil service, the free movement lobby, and the EU itself and get a grip on this migrant crisis [to] do something to restore public confidence in politicians” in a Telegraph article.

    Javid has so far resisted calls to deploy more of Britain’s tiny fleet of Border Force cutters — which the agency’s union warns are “woefully inadequate” — to patrol the English Channel, suggesting that, paradoxically, this could actually incentivise more migrants to launch themselves across the sea on small boats and stolen fishing vessels…”

    • ‘We can’t take much more’ admit Dover locals as migrants arrive ‘by the boatload’ (express, Dec 30, 2018)

      “THE patience of Dover residents is reaching “breaking point” after a period in which more than 200 migrants have attempted to cross the English Channel in flimsy boats since November.

      On Friday morning, 12 people were rescued just a few miles from the shoreline in a tiny dinghy, while six Iranian men where detained on a beach in Kent today (Sunday). Home Secretary Sajid Javid has cut short his holiday in a bid to get to grips with the situation, which he has described as a “major incident”. Dover district councillor Georgette Rapley said: “We can’t take much more.

      “The residents are very worried. We are concerned about the influx of immigrants, who are coming by the boatload now.”

      Mrs Rapley told The Sunday Telegraph residents could see the boats as they approached the beach, adding: “It’s never been as bad as this.

      “Someone is going to drown soon.”

      She also said the finger was being pointed at the authorities across the Channel in France, with a growing perception that little if anything was being done to prevent the dangerous crossing attempts.

      She explained: “They’re probably glad to see the back of the migrants, but its Dover that’s paying the price.

      “The breaking point has got to come somewhere.”

      Mr Javid said he and French interior minister Christophe Castaner had agreed to step up action to deal with the problem during a phone conversation today…”

  13. Counter-Terrorism Police Brought in to Protect Butchers from Militant Vegans (breitbart, Dec 30, 2018)

    “British counter-terror police have been engaged in protecting meat industry workers as action by vegan activists has become move violent.

    Workers at abattoirs, farms, and meat-producing factories have been under increasing threat by far-left animal rights campaigners, with the British Poultry Council and the National Pig Association being just two of the bodies seeking support from the counter-terrorism force, reports the Mail on Sunday…”

    • Counter-Terrorism Police Brought in to Protect Butchers from Militant Vegans

      Consider this just another tine on the Culturally Marxist pitchfork with which Islamo-Leftism is currently pronging Western Civilization’s most sensitive parts.

      This horrendously ill-thought-out militant vegan agenda—like so many other blinkered and idealistic Leftist goals—inevitably will succumb to The Law of Unintended Consequences™ (as all of these pipe dreams do). They seek a fifty-one percent voting majority so that all consumption of animal products can be outlawed—eventually hoping to enact this prohibition worldwide.

      The modern world already has seen Leftist political systems like Nazism, Stalinism, and Maoism kill one or two HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE.. Were Abolitionist Vegans to ban all use or consumption of animals products, an immediate result would be several hundred million deaths.

      Like PETA’s releases of unadapted mink ranching populations into the wild (where they promptly starve to death), if large CAFOs (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations) were to simply “liberate” their their MILLIONS OF ANIMALS at once, all of them would promptly starve to death as well.

      So much for any putative humanitarian or animal welfare concerns on the part of Abolitionist Vegans. There’s is just one more Big Lie™ for hesitantly thoughtful Westerners to choke down as they learn about loathing themselves and all things American in general.

      • FYI: Even free range cattle will starve to death in a snow storm becasue they have lost the knowledge of how tto use their feet to scrape snow off the grass. If the snow comvers the grass they are either feed hay or they will starve.

      • This scares me on several levels but the scariest is the idea that they think they have enough political cover to openly break the law and destroy the stores of the butchers. How long before they decide to kill the butchers and their customers?

  14. UK: Clergy Members Warn Anti-Christian Hate Crime on Rise (breitbart, Dec 30, 2018)

    ““nti-Christian sentiment” is on the rise in Britain, Church of England priests told a survey which has revealed that more than two thirds of members of the clergy have been verbally abused in the past two years.

    During the same period, one in ten CoE priests suffered physical violence, with the same proportion reporting they had noticed an increase in anti-Christian hate crime, according to the study commissioned by National Churchwatch.

    Researchers at Royal Holloway, University of London, found that half of the 546 members of the clergy questioned for the government-funded study said that their work had become “more challenging” over the past 24 months.

    Of the one in five priests who said they had been threatened in the last two years, the vast majority said the threat was against them personally, however 20 per cent reported receiving threats against their family while 35 per cent said they had experienced threats against church property, reports the Telegraph.

    Comprising one quarter of incidents, demands for money topped the list of reasons behind verbal abuse, while more than one in six incidents were motivated by anti-Christian sentiment, academics found…”

  15. Bangladesh opposition leader rejects election as ‘farcical’ (abcnews, Dec 30, 2018)

    “The leader of Bangladesh’s opposition alliance called Sunday’s general election “farcical,” saying any outcome would be rejected and demanding that a new election be held under the authority of a “nonpartisan government.”

    Voters went to the polls to decide whether to give Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina a third consecutive term, in an election seen as a referendum on what critics call Hasina’s increasingly authoritarian tendencies.

    The election campaign was marred by allegations from the opposition of arrests and jailing of thousands of opponents of Hasina.

    Opposition leader Kamal Hossain said a few hours after voting ended that about 100 candidates from the alliance had withdrawn from their races during the day. He said the alliance would hold a meeting Monday to decide its next course.

    “We call upon the Election Commission to declare this election void and demand a fresh election under a nonpartisan government,” Hossain told reporters at a media briefing that was broadcast live.

    Calls to several Hasina aides seeking comment were not immediately returned.

    Bangladesh’s leading English-language newspaper, the Daily Star, said 16 people were killed in 13 districts in election-related violence.

    In the run-up to the election, activists from both the ruling party and the opposition complained of attacks on supporters and candidates.

    On Sunday, The Associated Press received more than 50 calls from people across the country who identified themselves as opposition supporters complaining of intimidation and threats, and being forced to vote in front of ruling party men inside polling booths.

    “Some stray incidents have happened. We have asked our officials to deal with them,” K.M. Nurul Huda, Bangladesh’s chief election commissioner, said as he cast his vote in Dhaka, the capital.

    The election campaign was marred by the arrests and jailing of what the opposition says are thousands of Hasina opponents, including six candidates for Parliament. At least a dozen people were killed in campaign-related clashes.

    “Hasina’s use of the state machinery to subjugate the opposition virtually ensures her electoral victory,” said Sasha Riser-Kositsky, a South Asia analyst for the New York-based Eurasia Group.

    Hasina has expressed great confidence in the outcome, already inviting foreign journalists and election observers to her official residence on Monday, by which time the results are expected to be known.

    While rights groups have sounded the alarms about the erosion of Bangladesh’s democracy, Hasina has promoted a different narrative, highlighting an ambitious economic agenda that has propelled Bangladesh past larger neighbors Pakistan and India by some development measures.

    Voters “will give us another opportunity to serve them so that we can maintain our upward trend of development, and take Bangladesh forward as a developing country,” Hasina said after casting her ballot along with her daughter and sister in Dhaka.

    Hasina’s main rival is former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, the leader of the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party, who a court deemed ineligible to run for office because she is in prison for corruption.

    The two women have been in and out of power — and prison — for decades.

    In Zia’s absence, opposition parties formed a coalition led by Hossain, an 82-year-old Oxford-educated lawyer and former member of Hasina’s Awami League party.

    Both sides were hoping to avoid a repeat of 2014, when Zia and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party boycotted elections and voter turnout in the South Asian nation of 160 million was only 22 percent. More than half of the 300 parliamentary seats were uncontested. The Awami League’s landslide victory was met with violence that left at least 22 people dead.

    On Sunday, some 104 million people in the Muslim-majority country were eligible to vote, including many young, first-time voters.

    Walking with a cane, Hossain, the opposition leader, cast his vote near his home in Dhaka, saying he was receiving complaints about vote-tampering and intimidation from various parts of the country.

    The more than 40,000 polling stations nationwide closed at 4 p.m., as the Islamic call to prayer came over loudspeakers.

    At a polling station in the ancient city of Panam Nagar, about 20 kilometers (12 miles) southeast of Dhaka, the counting of the roughly 1,600 votes cast began immediately after voting ended. Plastic bins full of paper ballots were dumped onto a sheet on the floor, where 10 people sat in a circle to organize and count the votes.

    One of the voters there, Haji Abdul Malek Mia, a 74-year-old father of five sons, said he wanted to see someone in power who would offer development. “Whoever is doing development, he should be there,” he said.

    About 600,000 security officials, including army and paramilitary forces, were deployed across the country in a bid to contain violence in Bangladesh’s 11th general election. The country’s telecommunications regulator shut down mobile internet services nationwide to prevent possible protests from organizing.

    The normally traffic-clogged streets of the capital were largely empty because of a ban on vehicles for everyone except election observers and journalists. Many Dhaka residents had left days earlier to vote in their hometowns.

    At one polling station, Istiaq Ahmed, a doctor in Dhaka, said it was critical that people “select the right government to maintain the development and enrich our country further.”

    Another voter, Sultana Rajia Rotna, said she went out to cast her ballot after hearing that the streets of Dhaka were peaceful.

    “I think the country has already developed much and it will be developed more,” she said in Bengali. “That’s why I’m here casting my vote.””

  16. Syria’s Assad authorizes Iraqi forces to strike IS in Syria (abcnews, Dec 30, 2018)

    “Syria’s state news agency says President Bashar Assad has authorized Iraqi forces to attack the Islamic State group inside Syria without waiting for permission from authorities in Damascus.

    Sunday’s announcement highlights the close relations between the two neighboring Arab countries. IS once controlled large parts of both countries when it declared a caliphate in 2014.

    Iraqi warplanes and artillery have in the past pounded IS positions inside Syria after getting the green light from Syrian authorities.

    The extremists have been defeated in Iraq but still hold a small area in Syria.

    On Saturday Assad received a letter from Iraq’s Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi calling for both countries’ coordination in “fighting terrorism.”

    President Donald Trump announced earlier this month that the U.S. will withdraw all of its 2,000 forces in Syria.”

  17. Germany presses Turkey to show restraint in Syria (abcnews, Dec 30, 2018)

    “German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pressed Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to respond with restraint to the planned withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria.

    Merkel’s office said the leaders spoke by phone on Sunday and both stressed the importance of the U.N.-led political process in efforts to end the conflict in Syria. A statement from the chancellor’s office said the Islamic State group has been pushed back but remains a “significant danger.”

    The statement said Merkel “expressed the expectation that Turkey would react with restraint and responsibility to the announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria.”

    On Saturday, Russian and Turkish ministers agreed to maintain cooperation in northern Syria as U.S. forces prepare to withdraw and Turkey threatens to launch a military operation against U.S.-backed Kurdish forces.”

      • Since the video clips are appearing everywhere on Twitter, maybe the ones I saw a few days ago were similar but today’s clips would be current news.

        Apparently, the FSA are claiming they plan on surrounding the town on three sides and will enter when Americans leave.

    • Syrian Army Stations Along Western Border of Manbij Region – Correspondent (sputniknews, Dec 30, 2018)

      “The Syrian army established itself on the territories along the western border of the Syrian region of Manbij, Aleppo province, a Sputnik correspondent reported.

      According to the correspondent, Syrian flags have been raised in settlements situated on the contact line with Turkey-aligned Euphrates Shield armed groups.

      “The army is establishing itself in the direction of the district’s northern border. Thus, the Syrian army should prevent the Euphrates Shield forces’ advance toward Manbij”, the source said.

      A source on the ground told Sputnik that the Syrian army continued to strengthen its positions in the northwest of the district of Manbij.

      On Friday, the Syrian army announced it had entered Manbij after receiving an appeal from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units’ YPG to take control over the city amid Turkey’s plans to start a military operation there. On Saturday, the Kremlin confirmed that Damascus had indeed regained control over the territory.”

      • Few “Turks” here are actually Turkish Army regulars. They’re Turkmen jihadis, from betwixt-&-between the borders of Syria and Turkey. Some call themselves “Ahrar al-Sharqiyah”. They’re loyal to the Sultan.

        ==>PT did NOT ask the Turk to refrain from killing Kurds. Odd, no? A more subtle plan may be at work…

        ~ Let's see how this plays out. ~

        TURN Assad, not from Russia (that’s baked in) but from IRAN.

        After PT’s surprise announcement, the UAE decided NOT to send troops, but to open its Syrian embassy ahead of schedule. The UAE’s hatred of the MB is second only to Egypt’s.

        That means the UAE is koshering Assad. Not some shady Sunni dictator from Sudan, but a big-money, core Gulf operator. It isn’t the dubious mercenary armies of the Gulf, it’s serious money-BOOTS walking here.

        Upon PT’s announcement, the Syrian Arab Army immediately set out for Manbij. Their mission: to “rescue” the poor lil’ _Syrian_ Kurds. Regular _Russian Army_ officers are accompanying them.

        ! Wait a minute !

        The Turk assumed Manbij was HIS!
        After all, PTrump didn’t tell him NOT to roll over that border, NOT to crush the “terrorists”.

        (The Turk calls all 30,000,000 Kurds "terrorists", speaks of "cleansing" the land of their "pollution". You think our President likes that genocidal talk?)

        … so the Sultan just assumed it would be another Afrin. He’d have his feral Turkmen bite off another chunk of Syria. Soon it would be de facto Turkey, like Northern Cyprus since 1974.

        He calls Russia to say he’s on his way for urgent consultations. Secretary calls back, sorry the President’s too busy to see you…
        …all he can do is send a delegation a few days later.

        Meanwhile, the Syrian _Arab_ Army (with _real Russians_) arrives, its flag is flying on the outskirts of Manbij! Kurds are sighing with relief.
        ~ ~ ~
        ==>Now the Turk will show any number of videos with turko-jihadis baying for Kurd blood near Manbij. And the Russian embeds with Assad’s army will smile like sharks. Just a token, all that’s necessary.

        No doubt some turko-jihadi may choose to martyr himself, but he won’t be serving as the Sultan’s proxy. ISIS will flare, they’ve been tacitly assisted by Iran and Turkey all along. Useful “enemies” aren’t licked.

        But that's really not our problem.

        Neither Russia nor Iran have the money it’ll take to rebuild Syria. But the rich Sunnis do. The ones who hate the MB.

        And the most populous, most prestigious Sunni Arab country, Egypt, will be delighted to bless this outcome that disempowers the Turk, Qatar, and the MB.

        (The Arab part’s crucial. A Turk, a Persian will never have the same legitimacy in the region. And Egypt, even impoverished, has more substance “face-wise” than the Bedouin Gulfies with all their sword-dancing.)

        The catch: Syria will have to tell the Twisted-Ragheads, “Thanks again, bye!”

        Russia keeps its interests, no heavy lifting. No doubt greatly relieved.

        ~ Let's see how this plays out. ~

        • Lets see how this plays out

          Interesting, I can see several advantages to the US,

          1) our people are freed up to go elsewhere.

          2) It costs Russia more money at a time when they are hard pressed, this will mean they have to pull back somewhere.

          3) It puts MB hating Egypt in an excellent position to make the Sultan start watching his back.

          4) There is a chance, possibly even a good chance that before 2020 Putin will have to ask the US to come back and help. (The probability on this depends on what Iran and the Sultan do).

          5) This puts Russia and Iran on a collision course, Putin with his ambition can’t afford to let Iran build its land bridge. But if Russia keeps letting Israel bomb the Iranian facilities how long before Iran is a semi hidden enemy of Russia?

          Interesting possibilities, I can see many Mideast experts getting a lot of headaches trying to figure out what is going to happen.

          • … I can see many Mideast experts getting a lot of headaches trying to figure out what is going to happen.

            In a geopolitical region where a thoroughly conflicted sentence like, “That means the UAE is koshering Assad.“, has actual meaning, all bets are off. You’d be wiser to punt on the trifecta at a professional pachinko tournament.

        • Richard – some general responses/observations.
          The PT gem:
          ~ Let's see how this plays out. ~

          Yep, 2,000 Americans have better things to do. Hopefully far from ebola-carrying cannibals.

          Occasionally I hear “Syria is Putin’s puppet”. That’s as cheap and inaccurate as calling Israel the USA’s puppet. Prof. Mordechai Kedar has written extensively about the complex relationship.
          For example:

          Moreover, killing jihadis is in the Russian national interest. Better in Syria than in Volgograd or Moscow. (And there, too. RT doesn’t cover it everyday, but it’s a nightmare.)

          Few realize how weak the Russians actually are. Putin’s not really up to fighting either Iran or Turkey. These are strictly allies of convenience. (China’s not much better.)

          Our own “moderate Sunni allies” have hardly looked benign:
          [Jan. 2014]
          …Saudi intelligence chief Prince Bandar bin Sultan [aka “Bandar Bush”] visited Putin in Moscow in his capacity as the ‘Prince of the Mujahideen’ in Syria, including those who hail from Chechnya, Dagestan, and the Caucasus in Russia’s backyard…

          …promising him ‘a safe and secure winter Olympics in Sochi’ if he would stop the material support of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. He offered Russia other incentives in exchange for withdrawing his support for Assad, ‘including a major arms deal and a pledge not to challenge Russian gas sales if Moscow scales back support for the Syrian government….’

          Didn’t happen. Putin may dream of empire: We all have dreams. In point of fact he faces threats as a pragmatist.

          Western propaganda has resurrected a Cold War bogeyman for its own objectives, which don’t correspond to our own. Cooperation might actually be in the interests of today’s Russians and the people of the West.

          3/ Egypt can’t cope with Giza, let alone go after the Turk. El-Sisi is as busy as a one-armed paper-hanger at home, impoverished and up to his neck in terrorists. It would help if Qatar stopped facilitating them via Libya, Sudan, and Gaza.

          (It would REALLY help if the family gas-station called Qatar got a new owner. Alas, the current sheikh is a major shareholder in our Deep State.)

          4 & 5/ Iran is bound to become a full-blown enemy of Russia. They can’t share Syria. Yet Russia has neither the boots to force out Shitte militias, nor the regional “management skills” of a Soleimani to command gaggles of mercs.

          If the plan to turn Assad starts to work, the Arab League will welcome the Prodigal Son and finance rehabilitation that squeezes out Iranian carpetbaggers. But they have to pay up. No welching this time.

          Israel will continue to take out enemies on its borders with or without anybody’s permission.

          Russia’s caught: it may issue stern warnings, but it’s unlikely to do much to stop Israel.

          The Twisted-Ragheads will go berserk.

          Northeastern Syria: The secular Kurds will get along just fine with Putin. If Assad refrains from killing them, allows them to keep their language and so forth, they’ll be ok.

          Let Putin and the Kurds play whack-a-mole. Count on the Turk continuing to incite jihadis. PT surely knows that the Turk is besties with ISIS. Get a pyromaniac to put out a fire? Sure.

          The Turk won’t side with Iran against Russia, at least directly, so exposure is limited on that end. Putin would dearly love to pull the Sultan from the Western orbit, if it could be done on the cheap. Talk, tweets, dinner.

          But the Turk has the MB/Deep State on his side AND he’s a megalomaniac, so who knows?

          The land-bridge through Iraq is a stretch of desert that’s of little to no interest to Putin. In the “Great Game” perspective, it’s last night’s sport’s scores. We can cover the few critical junctures across that vast sandbox from our current positions there and from Jordan.

          If stopping the physical advance of Iran has been an objective, we’ve had the WRONG people running the show. I’m not convinced it’s practical at this point.

          Too hairy.
          Icky propaganda:

          Why die for ___
          - Israel?!
          - Oil?!
          - Trump hotels?!
          - Putin Putin Putin?!

          Whatever. Israel will manage, we don’t need the oil, PTrump’s got hotels, and more tardish subjects are the last thing on Putin’s mind.

          If we choose to give up that route, the world won’t come to an end. More than one way to skin a cat.

          • First and foremost:

            Outstanding analysis, yucki! While none too optimistic—as if anything about the MME remotely merits it—neither do you indulge in the least Pollyannaish self-deception

            It is particularly heartening to see someone so well-versed as yourself cogently argue how and why Putin’s Russia is dysfunctional.

            I still don’t comprehend how people manage to pass off this dog’s-breakfast-of-a-KGB-spinoff as anything but oligarchic capture of Mother Russia’s economy, judiciary, and media—plus anything else they can get their grubby little mitts on … like Ukraine!.

            With modern-day Russia there is no war … just intervention, da? How many times I must tell you? For Crimean sakes!

            Not necessarily in order:

            Why die for ___
            – Israel?!
            – Oil?!
            – Trump hotels?!
            – Putin Putin Putin?!

            Exactol! America’s spilled enough of its own precious blood for these eternally ungrateful Muslim savages. Let Russia and all the other triangulating connivers waste their trillions while we chose our fights* more wisely (one can only hope).

            * From US bases in Iraq, that is.

            It would REALLY help if the family gas-station called Qatar got a new owner.

            Oh! So, “new owner” is the latest codespeak for old-school “property renovation”, eh? (It’s only because you like exploding gas stations so much!)

  18. Former Macron adviser used diplomatic passport after dismissal – reports

    French politicians are demanding explanations from President Macron. They want to know why a disgraced former adviser still has diplomatic immunity and represents France abroad.

    ...not really adviser but rather.... favorite bodyguard...

  19. Iran: Thousands of government supporters march through Tehran

    Thousands of Iranians marched through Tehran on Saturday on the anniversary of historic 2009 pro-government rallies.

    In 2009, mass pro-government demonstrations were held following the government’s hard-line stance against supporters of the opposition ‘Green Movement’, which was accused of being US-aligned.

    In a speech to supporters, Deputy Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Brigadier General Hossein Salami said: “Iran has saved up enough power to be able to stop any powerful aggressor, including the criminal US and its partners.”

    One marcher, Fatemeh Moeini, said: “In response to whatever you do against the Iranian nation, we will respond in a way that’s one hundred times worse than what you have done, and we will do it without fear.”

    The day is regarded in the Iranian calendar as the “day of insight and nation’s allegiance to religious leadership.”

  20. Iraq: Russia resettles 30 Russian children caught in IS war (abcnews, Dec 30, 2018)

    “Russia is resettling thirty children of jailed or deceased Islamic State members from Iraq, as those involved in the battle against the extremist group are still deliberating over what to do with the families of its defeated militants.

    Maksim Maksimov, the Russian ambassador to Iraq, said the children were Russian. He said more would be resettled at a later date.

    The children flew out of Baghdad’s international airport on a Russian state plane to Moscow on Sunday.

    An official at Iraq’s Justice Ministry said the children’s parents were either killed in the war on IS or held in Iraqi detention centers.

    Foreign governments have been reluctant to repatriate IS suspects and their wives, widows, and children, leaving authorities in Iraq and Syria to put them in camps and jails, instead.”

  21. Morocco: Terror charges brought in Nordic tourists’ deaths (abcnews, Dec 30, 2018)

    “Moroccan prosecutors have filed preliminary terrorism charges against 15 people who are suspected of links to the killing of two Scandinavian women in the Atlas Mountains.

    Morocco’s public prosecutor said in a statement that the charges include forming a gang to prepare and commit terrorist acts and premeditated murder. Three of the suspects faced additional charges for allegedly urging the others to commit acts of terrorism.

    The women, one from Denmark and one from Norway, were found dead in a remote mountain region on Dec. 17. Authorities have described the slayings as an alleged attack by followers of the Islamic State group.

    The 15 suspects were referred on Sunday to an investigating judge who handles terror-related cases. More suspects are expected to be charged in the coming days.”

  22. 16 dead in Bangladeshi vote opposition calls “farcical’ (abcnews, Dec 30, 2018)

    “More than a dozen people were killed in election-related violence in Bangladesh on Sunday, as voters went to the polls to decide whether to give Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina a third consecutive term amid opposition claims that her leadership has become increasingly authoritarian.

    The leader of Bangladesh’s opposition alliance called Sunday’s vote “farcical,” saying any outcome would be rejected and demanding that a new election be held under the authority of a “nonpartisan government.”

    The election campaign was marred by allegations of arrests and jailing of thousands of Hasina’s opponents.

    Opposition leader Kamal Hossain said a few hours after voting ended that about 100 candidates from the alliance had withdrawn from their races during the day. He said the alliance would hold a meeting Monday to decide its next course.

    “We call upon the Election Commission to declare this election void and demand a fresh election under a nonpartisan government,” Hossain told reporters at a nationally broadcast news conference.

    Calls to several Hasina aides seeking comment were not immediately returned…”

  23. Morocco: Suspects in Scandinavian tourist killings brought to court

    Suspects arrested in connection with the killing of two Scandinavian hikers, were taken to the Court of First Instance in Sale, near Rabat, on Sunday, amid tight security measures.

    The bodies of Louisa Vesterager Jespersen, 24, from Denmark, and Maren Ueland, 28, from Norway were discovered by other tourists in Morocco’s High Atlas mountains earlier in December, close to the village of Imlil. The pair were hiking together in the area.

  24. Saturday’s France Gilets Jaunes photo close-up: Police intentionally crushing the skull of a GJ with a bloody head injury.

    Also, it’s obvious from other videos I saw that police are targeting the heads of people.

    Here, the female officer is targeting the head while a man shames her.


    un ciudadano francés DE ORIGEN ARGELINO

    Mohammed EL RHARRAFI
    French ID 110884100178
    Born in 03/10/84

    SPAIN – BARCELONA – Man arrested while attempting to enter Barcelona’s Sagrada Familia with ammunition

    MADRID, Dec. 30 (Xinhua) — The Catalan regional police (Mossos d’Esquadra) on Sunday arrested a French national who attempted to enter the Sagrada Familia church with a bag containing 5 clips of 9 millimeter ammunition, according to the La Vanguardia newspaper.

    The man was detained by the police at around 5 p.m.local time after security guards at the entrance of the world famous church discovered the ammunition as the man passed his bag through a scanner.

    The man identified himself as a member of the French military and the Mossos accompanied him to his nearby vehicle. Inside the vehicle they discovered a firearm which had its serial number removed.

    According to reports, the detainee told the Mossos d’Esquadra it was a misunderstanding and that he had forgotten he was carrying the ammunition in his bag.

    He has been taken to the Les Corts police station in Barcelona while authorities attempt to confirm his story with French intelligence services.

    Spain is currently on a level 4 (high) alert for a possible terrorist attack, with special security measures all over the country ahead of New Year celebrations on Monday night


    Detenido un militar francés al intentar entrar armado en la Sagrada Familia

    + video + photos


    • Where did you get his name and Algerian background? I didn’t see it in the Twitter thread. I believe it though, photos show your typical north-african wangster, incl front-to-back cap.
      Strange that the story only mentions the clips and gun, photos show he had knifes too.

  26. Morocco tourist murders: Swiss-Spanish national arrested

    Morocco’s Central Bureau for Judicial Investigations said on Saturday the Swiss-Spanish national was suspected of “teaching some of those arrested… about communication tools involving new technology and of training them in marksmanship”.

    The Swiss-Spanish national followed an “extremist ideology”, the statement said.

    Police said four main suspects in the killings had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group, although investigators believe there was no contact with groups in Syria or Iraq.

  27. 69 migrants rescued off Malta: navy (france24, Dec 30, 2018)

    “A group of 69 migrants on a rickety wooden boat were rescued Sunday off Malta, the navy said, while 49 more were still at sea waiting for a country to allow them to dock.

    The migrants sent out a distress call 117 nautical miles southwest of Malta and a Maltese navy vessel was sent to their aid, a statement said.

    Meanwhile, the German NGO Sea-Eye said its rescue ship was responding to a report of another boat in difficulty with 24 migrants on board.

    The German-flagged ship already has 17 migrants from West Africa on board who were rescued on Saturday in international waters off the coast of Libya.

    At the same time, the Dutch-flagged Sea-Watch said it already had 32 migrants rescued on December 22 including three young children, three unaccompanied adolescents and four women from Nigeria, Libya and Ivory Coast.

    While Italy, Malta, Spain and the Netherlands have refused to accept the Sea-Watch 3 migrants, several German cities have offered to take them in.

    On Saturday a government spokesman, however, said Germany would only accept some of the migrants if other European countries also agreed to do so.

    Last week, a newborn baby and his mother were helicoptered from a boat to Malta

    More than 1,300 migrants have perished trying to reach Italy or Malta since the beginning of the year, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).”

  28. Egypt’s presidency sets up anti-sectarianism committee: Official gazette (ahram, Dec 30, 2018)

    “Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has issued an order to set up a higher committee to prevent sectarian incidents in the country, the official gazette said on Sunday.

    The committee will comprise members of the Armed Forces, military intelligence, general intelligence, the Administrative Control Authority and the National Security Agency. The committee will be chaired by the president’s advisor on security and anti-terrorism affairs.

    The committee will be tasked with “developing a general strategy to prevent and combat sectarian incidents and follow up on its implementation, as well as mechanisms to deal with sectarian incidents when they occur.”

    The committee will draw up regular reports on its operations and recommendations that will be submitted to the president.

    Sectarian attacks occur occasionally in Egypt, and the past few years have seen attacks on churches, the torching of Christian homes, and the forced displacement of Christians.”

  29. Hispano-Swiss Suspect Involved in Imlil Murders is a ‘Muslim Convert’ (moroccoworldnews, Dec 30, 2018)

    “Moroccan authorities arrested yesterday evening a man of dual Swiss and Spanish citizenship suspected to have strong connections to the terrorist squad which earlier this month perpetrated the death of two Scandinavian tourists.

    While the Swiss-Spanish suspect was “not physically involved” in the murder that claimed the lives of the tourists, investigations have so far uncovered both his identity and his “terrorist past.”

    Not of Moroccan descent

    Born Zoller G.K to a Swiss father and Spanish mother, the suspect converted to Islam in 2011 in Geneva’s Grand Mosque. After conversion, Zoller picked Abdellah as his Muslim name. The name remained his nom de guerre as his conversion to his new religion was quickly followed by radicalization.

    Prior to moving to Morocco in 2015, Abellah had already earned himself Geneva’s radicalized circles. In 2014, at the peak of his radicalization phase in Geneva, he even attacked jewelry to “finance his jihad and donate the rest of his war booty to ISIS,” a group to which he is believed to have pledged allegiance.

    According to Moroccan outlet Le 360, Abdellah was fully radicalized by 20014, a year before he moved to Morocco. A source from the Moroccan government confirmed the news to Morocco World News.

    Terrorist pedigree

    By the time he established himself in Marrakech, his Moroccan “home,” Abdellah’ Islamist pedigree had experienced a slight growth: from a lone pro-ISIS jewelry shop attacker, he had established himself as a recruiter, luring a number of his relatives to join radicalized cells.

    Speaking to le 360, a source with briefing on the ongoing investigations confirmed the many suspicions Moroccan authorities’ yesterday press release had said about “Abdellah.”

    Investigators are yet sure of the exact extent of the man’s involvement in the death of Louisa Jespersen and Maren Ueland, le 360’s source said.

    The article added, however, that elements at investigators’ disposal point to the evidence that Abdellah did communicate with and coordinated both the four-member death squad that killed the two tourists and the dozen others who were arrested afterwards.

    There is no doubt that Abdellah has terrorist and violent tendencies, the source noted, further confirming that the suspect trained the Imlil tragedy’s perpetrators to use advanced communication technologies.

    Addition to the Imlil incident suspects, Abdellah is also believed to have recruited a number of Swiss and English for ISIS-supporting groups.

    Further investigations are underway to unearth the full extent of Abdellah’s involvement in the Imlil tragedy as well as other similar actions he may have been planning prior to his arrest.”

  30. Turkish president vows to continue destroying terrorists (AA, Dec 30, 2018)

    “Turkey’s president on Sunday vowed that his country would continue to destroy terrorists as Ankara did in the past.

    “We went into the terrorists’ den, destroyed and continuing to destroy them,” Recep Tayyip Erdogan said indicating Ankara’s recent counter-terrorism operations inside Turkey and in northwestern Syria.

    Erdogan was speaking at his ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party meeting in Istanbul.

    In the last two years, Turkey has successfully carried out two counter-terrorist operations in Syria — Operations Euphrates Shield and Olive Branch — to eradicate the presence of YPG/PKK and Daesh terrorists near Turkey’s borders, and a third one is expected, east of the Euphrates River.

    In its more than 30-year terror campaign against Turkey, the PKK — listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU — has been responsible for the deaths of some 40,000 people, including women and children. The YPG is its Syrian branch.”

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