Contributor’s Links post for January 25th, 2019

Daily Links Post graphic

Each day at just after midnight Eastern, a post like this one is created for contributors and readers of this site to upload news links and video links on the issues that concern this site. Most notably, Islam and its effects on Classical Civilization, and various forms of leftism from Soviet era communism, to postmodernism and all the flavours of galloping statism and totalitarianism such as Nazism and Fascism which are increasingly snuffing out the classical liberalism which created our near, miraculous civilization the West has been building since the time of Socrates.

This document was written around the time this site was created, for those who wish to understand what this site is about. And while our understanding of the world and events has grown since then, the basic ideas remain sound and true to the purpose.

So please post all links, thoughts and ideas that you feel will benefit the readers of this site to the comments under this post each day. And thank you all for your contributions.

This is the new Samizdat. We muse use it while we can.

About Eeyore

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

96 Replies to “Contributor’s Links post for January 25th, 2019”

  1. Saudi Arabia added to draft list of countries posing threat to EU: Report (mee, Jan 25, 2019)

    “The European Commission has added Saudi Arabia to an EU draft list of countries that pose a threat to the bloc because of lax controls against terrorism financing and money laundering, two sources told Reuters on Friday.

    The EU’s list currently consists of 16 countries, including Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen and North Korea, and is mostly based on criteria used by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), a global body formed by developed nations.

    The draft list has been updated to address new criteria developed by the EU Commission since 2017. Saudi Arabia is one of the countries added to the updated list that is still confidential, one EU source and one Saudi source told Reuters.

    Under the new EU methodology, jurisdictions may also be blacklisted if they do not provide sufficient information on ownership of companies or if their rules on reporting suspicious transactions or monitoring financial customers are considered too lax.

    Saudi Arabia missed out on gaining full FATF membership in September after it was determined to fall short in combatting both money laundering and terror financing, Reuters said.

    Apart from reputational damage, inclusion in the list complicates financial relations with the EU. The bloc’s banks must carry out additional checks on payments involving entities from listed jurisdictions.

    Saudi authorities did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.

    The move marks a setback for Riyadh at a time when it has launched a charm offensive to bolster its international reputation in order to encourage foreign investors to participate in a huge transformation plan and improve financial ties for its banks…”

  2. Russia jails 11 Daesh members (memo, Jan 25, 2019)

    “The Moscow District Military Court has sentenced 11 Central Asian members of the Daesh militant group to prison terms ranging from six to 18 years.

    The Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) told TASS news agency that “the specified persons in two terrorist cells were simultaneously detained by FSB employees on November 12 2016, in Moscow and St. Petersburg”.

    FSB explained that “the terrorists, one of whom came from Syria, planned to carry out terror attacks, as well as mass murders of citizens in crowded places. They were going to capture all attacks on video for further release on Internet.”

    According to the Federal Security Service, the detainees faced charges of “plotting terror attacks, participation in terrorist societies and organisations, training for terrorist purposes and the illegal storage of arms and explosive devices.”

    According to the security service, six terrorists were sentenced to 14 to 18 years in jail while the rest were sentenced to six years’ imprisonment.”

  3. Hamas, PLO slam ‘blatant US interference’ in Venezuela affairs (memo, Jan 25, 2019)

    “Hamas and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation have joined Turkey and Iran in stressing their opposition to foreign interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela.

    The comments came as the US administration of President Donald Trump recognised opposition figure, Juan Guaidó, as interim president of Venezuela on Wednesday.

    In a statement, Hamas condemned “the blatant American interference in Venezuelan affairs”.

    Adding that this “is part of a continuing series of hostile US policies towards people and their choices, which is a threat to international peace and security.”

    PLO Executive Committee member Ahmad Majdalani said: “The barefaced American intervention in the affairs of countries, as is happening in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, is an extension of the Trump administration’s policy of denying the will of peoples.”

    Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro to offer support after Guaidó declared himself interim president and won the backing of the US and various Latin American nations.

    In a joint statement, a number of Caribbean countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and Grenada, said they “are following closely the current unsatisfactory situation in Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela,”

    They went on to reaffirm “their guiding principles of non-interference and non-intervention in the affairs of states, respect for sovereignty, adherence to the rule of law, and respect for human rights and democracy”, calling for “an urgent meeting with the United Nations Secretary-General to request the UN’s assistance in resolving the issue.”

    Maduro was sworn in on 10 January for his second six-year term in a presidential election which took place on 20 May 2018, but his main rivals rejected the election results, arguing that there had been “widespread irregularities” in the vote.”

  4. Iraq mulls law that would end foreign military presence (memo, Jan 25, 2019)

    “Muqtada al-Sadr’s Sairoon Bloc, which dominated Iraqi legislative polls last year, has submitted a bill to parliament that would, if passed, require all foreign military personnel to leave the country within one year, Anadolu Agency reports.

    At a Friday press conference in Baghdad, Sairoon Chairman Sabah Assadi said the proposed “Law against Foreign Military Deployments in Iraq” had already been submitted to Parliamentary Speaker Mohamed al-Halbousi for review.

    “The speaker’s office will now confer with the assembly’s security, legal, defense and foreign relations committees to discuss the next step,” Assadi said.

    If passed, he explained, the bill would require all foreign military deployments — including troops and advisers — to leave the country within one year of ratification.

    The US ended combat operations in Iraq in 2010, after which it ostensibly focused solely on training Iraqi forces.

    After a US-led coalition was established in 2014 to fight the Daesh terrorist group, however, roughly 5,000 US troops were redeployed to Iraq.”

  5. Pakistan lifts restrictions on foreign tourists in certain areas (gulfnews, Jan 25, 2019)

    “Pakistan on Friday announced a new e-visa facility open to 175 countries, and visa on arrival for holders of passports from 50 countries, under a “revolutionary” new visa policy

    Under the new policy the tourists can now visit all parts of the country including some previously restricted areas, Pakistan-administered Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan.

    The new visa policy is designed to encourage tourism in the country, known for its amazing landscapes, mountain scenery and cultural diversity, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry told journalists in Islamabad.

    Visas on arrival will also be provided to Indian-origin British and American citizens holding United States or United Kingdom passports.

    Pakistan is “a paradise for tourists”, Chaudhry said, adding the country has huge potential for “mountain tourism, religious tourism, beach and city tourism, and food tourism.”

    The ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party said it aims to make Pakistan a major tourist destination by introducing the tourist-friendly visa policy framed in consultation with concerned departments in a high-level meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan and attended by Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and other senior officials.

    “Tourists can go [now] anywhere in Pakistan, they don’t need no-objection certificates (NOCs) anymore,” Chaudhry said.

    The duration of diplomatic and student visas has also been extended from one year to three years, and one year to two years, respectively, while visas for religious purposes will remain valid for 45 days, the information minister added.

    Additionally, the process for acquiring a work visa for nationals of 96 countries for business purposes has been revised, Chaudhry said.

    In its new visa policy, Pakistan has also withdrawn restrictions on foreign journalists visiting the country.

    Tour operators who are approved by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) will now be allowed to bring groups of tourists to Pakistan.

    “The new visa policy is a big success for travel companies who had to go through cumbersome paperwork to invite foreign tourist groups. The move will give a big boost to foreign tourism and economy,” Fahad Aftab, managing partner of Travel One tour company in Islamabad, told Gulf News.

    Following a drastic improvement in security situation in Pakistan, the number of foreign tourists rose to 1.75 million in 2017, according to Pakistan Tourism Development Corporation.

    Recently, the government also announced opening of Kartarpur Corridor to Sikh pilgrims to boost religious tourism. Last month, British Airways became the first Western airline to resume flights to Pakistan after a 10-year absence, due to improved security situation.”

  6. Egypt releases 6,931 prisoners to mark National Police Day/25 Jan revolution anniversaries (ahram, Jan 25, 2019),-prisoners-to-mark-National-Police.aspx

    “On the occasion of National Police Day and the anniversary of the 25 January revolution, the Egyptian interior ministry has released 6,931 prisoners and debt defaulters, as part of Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi “Prisons without Debt Defaulters” initiative.
    Some 4,063 prisoners were given a presidential pardon and released,

    Meanwhile, 2,868 debt defaulters were released after their debts were settled by the Tahya Misr state fund, the prisoners’ relatives, and other civil society and non-governmental organisations

    The Prisons without Debt Defaulters initiative was launched in August last year, with the aim of releasing those jailed for outstanding personal debts.

    Those imprisoned in Egypt for failure to pay debts are disproportionately women.

    The head of the Egyptian parliament’s human rights committee, Alaa Abed, said in August that the committee is in the process of amending two laws with the aim of eliminating prison sentences for individuals who default on debt payments.

    The Tahya Misr fund was established by El-Sisi in 2014 to support social and economic projects.

    According to the Prison Authority, around 100,000 prisoners have been released in total from 2014 to October 2018, including 15,960 debt defaulters.

    Those released include 46,000 who received presidential pardons, and 54,000 released conditionally.”

  7. Morocco: HRW’s 2019 Report on Morocco Lacks Credibility (moroccoworldnews, Jan 25, 2019)

    “The Moroccan government has commented on the 2019 Human Rights Watch (HRW) report on Morocco.

    The Interministerial Delegation for Human Rights (DIDH) said that “these political positions and these allegations and erroneous conclusions will be the subject of a detailed answer in the weeks to come.”

    Maghreb Arab Press (MAP) said that DIDH quoted Moroccan authorities who expressed their “total rejection of the political positions” and allegations included in the report on human rights in Morocco.

    The Moroccan authorities maintain that HRW “continues to adopt an approach that lacks objectivity and professionalism, based on estimates and general conclusions, selected and one-sided.”

    The statement added that the conclusions would likely distance the NGO from the “spirit of cooperation and the positive and constructive dialogue with the various actors concerned with the promotion of human rights in the kingdom.”

    DIDH contended that the negative comments in the report “reflect the predefined orientations of HRW.”

    The national delegation for human rights said that the report lacks credibility and is unrealistic, “which require investigations, reliable sources, and useful cross-references.”

    The statement added that the Moroccan authorities “consider that the introduction in this report of an isolated case concerning illegal immigration, claiming that the authorities have carried out a large campaign against thousands of migrants is an additional and clear indicator of the adoption of an erroneous and selective approach in this report.”

    Last week, HRW issued its report summarizing all human rights concerns that took place in Morocco in 2018.

    The NGO claimed that the Moroccan law enforcement used “excessive force in breaking up protests, as well as arrests of peaceful protesters,” noting protests about mining deaths in Morocco’s eastern town of Jerada.

    The report also said that the government launched a “large-scale crackdown on thousands of sub-Saharan migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees without due process.””

  8. Kenitra Man Tries to Derail High Speed Train to Avenge Brother (moroccoworldnews, Jan 25, 2019)

    “A man tried to derail the Al Boraq high speed train linking Casablanca to Tangier on Monday by throwing a three-meter tree trunk onto the train tracks.

    The gendarmerie arrested the 30-year-old man and recreated the crime scene, according to Moroccan news outlets.

    Morocco World News contacted the national railway operator (ONCF), but the company did not comment on the incident.

    The man, who lives in Kenitra Province, north of Rabat, reportedly acted out to avenge his brother’s death. His brother died when his head struck a high speed rail bridge while he was riding on top of a truck.

    Early Monday morning, the high speed train stopped for over 30 minutes before the path was clear. The individual does not suffer from a mental illness, according to Moroccan outlet Al Akhbar. He reportedly made a video of his plans.”

  9. ‘President’ of Austrian anti-state group jailed for 14 years (thelocal, Jan 25, 2019)

    “The 42-year-old woman, named in media reports as Monika Unger, created an organisation called the Staatenbund (“Federation of States”) in 2015, which counts around 2,600 members.

    She had attempted to “order” the Austrian army to overthrow the government as well as asking for military assistance from Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    The judge in the court in the southern city of Graz justified the heavy penalty, saying it gave a “clear signal that anti-state activities will not be tolerated”.

    Unger went on trial along with 13 other members of the movement who were arrested in a wave of arrests in April 2017 involving more than 450 police officers.

    Her second-in-command, a 71-year-old former police officer, was also found guilty of inciting high treason and sentenced to 10 years.

    Twelve other members were found guilty of “forming an anti-state association” and jailed for up to three years.

    The Staatenbund had given some members “diplomatic passports” as well as selling its own licence plates.

    It forbade members from paying taxes to the Austrian state and collected almost 40,000 euros in fees to have property entered in its own “land registry”, assuring that this rendered mortgages on those properties null and void.

    Unger admitted that she had tried to arrange the “arrest” and “trial” of elected officials, judges and bank employees in order to replace them with her own administration.

    She claimed she was the “victim of an oppressive system”.

    The Staatenbund is similar to “sovereign citizen” movements which have alarmed authorities in recent years in Austria and Germany, such as the German “Reichsbuerger” (“Citizens of the Reich”).

    Members are drawn from various ideologies, including anarchists, neo-Nazis, and those subscribing to more esoteric beliefs.

    In 2017 a Reichsbuerger militant was jailed for life in Germany for killing a policeman and injuring two others during a dawn raid on his house.”

  10. New Danish asylum curb could restrict refugee access to medicine and dental care (thelocal, Jan 25, 2019)

    “A proposed tightening of immigration rules could have a significant impact on refugees’ ability to pay unforeseen costs of vital services like medicine and healthcare.

    The Danish government’s projected ‘paradigm change’ in asylum policy could reduce the access of refugees to vital economic support in paying for medicines and other necessary one-off costs.

    Several organisations have advised against changing a current scheme which enables municipalities to provide subsidies for specific, often unforeseen costs incurred by hard-up refugees, newspaper Jyllands-Posten reports.

    The Danish Refugee Council (Dansk Flygtningehjælp) has said that the proposal, which underwent the first round of political process in parliament on Thursday, would “limit individual refugees’ ability to get help” with the costs of medicine, dental care and other “necessary one-off costs”.

    The bill also provides for a 2,000-kroner reduction in benefits payments to refugees who provide for dependents.

    “This will affect a group which is already economically pressed to its absolute limits,” the Danish Red Cross wrote in a response to the hearing stage of the bill procedure.

    Current rules enable refugees, like other people living in Denmark, to apply for assistance in covering the costs of specific one-off costs that they cannot afford themselves. Half of the money provided by municipalities in such instances is directly refunded by the state.

    But the proposed new legislation will change that by providing for a block subsidy only, paid by the state to municipalities for extra financial assistance to refugees.

    That means that municipalities will no long be certain of receiving the same state subsidies for the payments as before and may thereby have to change their policies.

    Meanwhile, another element of the bill, which cuts integration benefits paid to refugee families.

    “Put succinctly, this is making things harder for the people who are already struggling the most,” Danish Institute for Human Rights director Jonas Christoffersen told Jyllands-Posten.

    Martin Henriksen, immigration spokesperson with the Danish People’s Party, told the newspaper he hoped the result of the new legislation would be fewer subsidies for refugees.

    “Since we have cut benefits to refugees [via previous reforms, ed.], we have got the impression that some municipalities have compensated for some of the reduction by giving these subsidies. We want that stopped,” Henriksen said.

    “We are not interested in letting municipalities, with 50 percent economic support from the state, conduct local politics that contradict national policy on foreigners,” he added.

    In written comments provided to Jyllands-Posten, immigration minister Inger Støjberg did not directly answer whether she expected the bill to result in municipalities providing fewer subsidies to refugees, the newspaper writes.

    But Støjberg’s ministry confirmed that savings are expected to be made through the change, the report adds.

    The term ‘paradigm shift’ has been used to refer to a change in approach to asylum policy, initially driven by the anti-immigration Danish People’s Party, reflecting the view that the status of refugees should always be considered as temporary, and that their status should be revoked as soon as conditions in origin countries are deemed to enable this.

    That means less emphasis in general on assisting refugees to integrate, which would aid their long-term prospects in Danish society.

    The bill that provides for the new rule change is scheduled for its second and third parliamentary procedures in February, following normal process in Denmark for passing legislation.

    It was contained in the budget agreed between the government and Danish People’s Party in November last year and is expected to be voted through.”

  11. Paris mayor cranks up security with ‘Bobby-style’ police force armed with truncheons (thelocal, Jan 25, 2019)

    “Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo has announced there will be a new truncheon-wielding police force in the French capital in 2020, apparently inspired by London Bobbies.*French language learner article.*

    Paris will have a new municipal police force patrolling its streets next year, a 3,400-strong division of officers that will help out with everything from street cleanliness to noise disturbances.

    Up until now, the City of Lights was the only one of the ten largest cities in France not to have a municipal police force.

    Paris’s socialist mayor Anne Hidalgo (second left below) announced the measure on Friday, perhaps as a reaction to right-wing politicians who demanded that the French capital also have an armed municipal police force.

    Not yet officially named, Paris’s new ‘Met Police’ will be responsible for keeping the city clean and in order, fining anyone who don’t dispose of rubbish properly, caught throwing cigarette butts to the ground and other standard health and safety breaches.

    They will also handle noise disturbances and public order vis-à-vis travel in the city, with special emphasis placed on handling deregulated electric scooters.

    Although this new 24-hour taskforce’s powers don’t stretch past dealing with minor offenses, they will be armed with truncheons described by Paris Town Hall as “non-lethal” yet dangerous, and “ideal for combatting daily infringements”.

    This division will also be equipped with tear gas, bulletproof vests and direct access to CCTV footage.

    According to the French press, this new municipal brigade is being modeled on London’s Bobbies, slang for London’s Metropolitan Police Force, as well as other municipal police forces in Lyon or Bordeaux.

    Only 200 new jobs are being created for the new division as officers belonging to other taskforces are filing the majority of the other posts.

    Paris authorities have promised that this new unit won’t encroach on the powers of France’s national police.

    Hidalgo has put her decision down to the “high expectations of Parisians in terms of security”.”

  12. Stone on his indictment: This is about silencing me, criminalizing political expression

    Former Trump aide Roger Stone is accused of false statements, obstruction, and witness tampering and speaks out about these charges and his arrest on ‘Tucker Carlson Tonight.’

  13. Keeping ISIS fanatics at bay: How 30ft UK watch towers on Lebanon’s border are part of a £62million drive to repel a terrorist invasion (dailymail, Jan 26, 2019)

    “They are strategically located along the border – 39 watch towers protecting Lebanon from an Islamic State invasion.

    The 30ft towers, including seven used by the Army in Northern Ireland during the Troubles, are part of a £62million drive to repel IS forces based in Syria.

    Lebanese soldiers, mentored by British veterans including former paras and marines, are using the positions to catch or kill hundreds of fighters a month.

    A total of 11,000 Lebanese troops have been trained by a UK team, including 40 veterans, in how to use the towers to spot approaching terrorists since the project began in 2012. Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt yesterday insisted they had helped to stop an IS invasion.

    He said Lebanon now had its first secure border with war-torn Syria and was ‘a beacon of calm’ in the volatile region. ‘Thanks in part to our security co-operation, Lebanon is still the only country to have successfully repelled an invasion by Daesh [IS]’, he added.

    Veterans who served in Northern Ireland came under fire from militants as they helped to construct the towers with Lebanese troops on the 230-mile border. Lebanese military chiefs said that IS insurgents constantly try to sneak into their country so they can then take their fight across the Mediterranean and into Europe.

    Colonel Nabil Abdullah said: ‘Lebanon is a gateway to Europe. We are the first line of defence against any attack on Europe. It is good for the British people if terrorists don’t get through Lebanon.’ Lieutenant Colonel Giles Taylor, who leads a British team mentoring the Lebanese, said the towers and training had saved Lebanon from becoming a ‘basket case’.

    Standing at the top of T2-B Houerta tower overlooking thousands of miles of Lebanese territory, he stressed: ‘Everything you can see was owned by Daesh. This was until they were beaten back by the Lebanese army – the only army in the region to do this.’

    Lt Col Taylor’s team, including some who fought in Afghanistan, have helped build 76 watch towers and forward operating bases. He said: ‘We have helped the Lebanese army prevent the murderous spread of the Syrian civil war into Lebanon. We feel immensely proud of what we have done here.’

    The towers are made up of a stack of containers with an armoured deck on the top. The first seven guard posts were shipped from Northern Ireland. They are fitted with bulletproof windows and long-range surveillance cameras. A total of 39 have been built so far with more being planned.

    British ambassador to Lebanon, Chris Rampling, said: ‘For the first time ever we now have a border that is secure.’”

  14. Destination UK: Following migrants for a week, through four European ports (bbc,video, jan 26, 2019)

    “Migrants attempting to enter the UK illegally used to focus their efforts on the French port of Calais.

    But following a crackdown there, they have spread their efforts out to ferry ports across Europe, as far afield as northern Spain.

    BBC correspondent Colin Campbell spent a week visiting four different European ports to follow their trail.

    Many of the people trying to get to the UK are economic migrants.

    But an internal Home Office document seen by the BBC shows asylum claims have risen.

    That document says the number of migrants waiting for their asylum claims to be processed in the UK is “unacceptably high”…”

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