Reader’s inks for July 16, 2020

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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 must use it while we can.

About Eeyore

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

86 Replies to “Reader’s inks for July 16, 2020”

  1. Iranian, Russian Presidents Stress Countering US ‘Unilateralism’

    “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin slammed the US for seeking to extend an arms ban against Tehran, calling for efforts to confront Washington’s “unilateralism.”

    In a phone conversation with his Russian counterpart, Rouhani highlighted the importance of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and preserving it.

    He called on the remaining parties to the agreement, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), to confront Washington’s unilateralism and put an end to the UN arms ban on Iran…”

  2. Jordan’s Judiciary Dissolves Muslim Brotherhood

    “Jordan’s top court has dissolved the country’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, an official said Thursday, citing the group’s failure to “rectify its legal status”.

    “The Court of Cassation yesterday (Wednesday) issued a final verdict ruling that the Muslim Brotherhood group is dissolved and has lost its legal status, for failing to rectify its legal status under Jordanian law,” the official said, requesting anonymity.

    Since 2014, Jordanian authorities have considered the group illegal, arguing its licence was not renewed under a 2014 law on political parties.

    It continued to operate, but its relations with the Jordanian state deteriorated further from 2015 when the government authorized an offshoot group, the Muslim Brotherhood Association, AFP said.

    Sheikh Hamza Mansur, head of the organisation’s ruling council, said the group would appeal against Wednesday’s ruling.

    “The Muslim Brotherhood … is a model of moderation and an important element in strengthening national unity, so dissolving it is not in the national interest,” told AFP.”

  3. Bahrain fines Iranian banks on money-laundering charges

    “Bahrain’s High Criminal Court on Thursday sentenced three Iran-owned Future Bank officials to five years in jail and fined each with up to 1 million Bahraini dinars ($2.65 million) in two money-laundering cases, Bahrain News Agency reported.

    The court also fined Future Bank and three other banks BD14 million and ordered the confiscation of the illegal transfer amounts that reached BD500,000, chief prosecutor Mohammed Jamal Sultan said.

    According to the case documents, the public prosecution has discovered an Iranian plot involving several entities, including some sanctioned internationally for funding terrorism, to carry out financial transactions while evading scrutiny.

    Future Bank, operating under the supervision of Bank Melli Iran and Bank Saderat Iran, carried out thousands of international financial transactions while providing covers for Iranian entities by concealing and deliberately removing basic information when transferring funds via the SWIFT network, the chief prosecutor said.

    The public prosecution is still investigating the remaining illegal activities that include how the Iranian banks carried out international transactions in violation of the law prohibiting and combating money laundering and terrorism financing, as well as the laws and banking regulations in force in the kingdom, he added.”

  4. ‘Take a more robust role’: US hits out at Europe over Libya inaction

    “A senior United States diplomat has urged Europe to take “a more robust role” in the Libyan conflict, starting with a focus on Russian military contractor Wagner Group and the roles played by Russia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates – countries that are allegedly violating a UN arms embargo.

    David Schenker, the State Department’s assistant secretary for Near East affairs, made the remarks during a virtual think-tank event on Thursday.

    “There is a lot more they [Europe] could do. They could, for example, designate the Wagner Group. If they aren’t going to take out a more robust role, then this thing is going to drag on,” Schenker said.

    He added that the Europeans’ naval mission in the Mediterranean Sea, ostensibly to help enforce the UN arms embargo on Libya, had been limited to countering Turkey.

    “The only interdictions that they [the EU] are doing is of Turkish military material that they’re sending to Libya. Nobody is interdicting Russian aircraft, nobody is interdicting Emirati aircraft, nobody is interdicting the Egyptians,” Schenker said.

    “They could at least, if they were serious, I think, call them out – call out all parties of the conflict when they violate the arms embargo,” he said.

    Since 2014, Libya has been split between areas controlled by the internationally recognised government (GNA) and territory held by forces loyal to renegade commander Khalifa Haftar…”

  5. Greek expulsions of Syrian and Palestinian asylum seekers must be investigated, says HRW

    “Greece forcibly returned asylum seekers and migrants who had arrived at land and sea borders with Turkey during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, and failed to take “any precautions to prevent the risk” of spreading the disease, Human Rights Watch reported.

    The rights group said on Thursday that after it reviewed nine cases, interviewing 13 survivors and witnesses, it “found no evidence that [Greek] authorities took any precautions to prevent the risk of transmission of Covid-19”.

    “Greek authorities did not allow a nationwide lockdown to get in the way of a new wave of collective expulsions, including from deep inside Greek territory,” said Eva Cosse, Greece researcher at Human Rights Watch.

    “Instead of protecting the most vulnerable people in this time of global crisis, Greek authorities have targeted them in total breach of the right to seek asylum and in disregard for their health.”

    Six asylum seekers, from Syria, Palestine, and Iran, including a 15-year-old unaccompanied girl from Syria, described three incidents to the rights group in which the Greek coastguard, police and unidentified armed masked men coordinated and enforced returns to Turkey from three Greek islands: Rhodes, Samos, and Symi.

    Others interviewed by HRW described separate incidents in which police officers rounded up people in the Diavata camp for asylum seekers, located 400km from the land border with Turkey.

    One individual – a 33-year-old Syrian using the pseudonym Marwan – said that on 8 March, the Greek coastguard engaged in life-threatening manoeuvres to force a small boat carrying him and 22 others back to Turkey.

    “They started pushing back our boat, by creating waves in the water, making it hard for us to continue… It was like a battle – like living in Syria, we thought we were going to die,” Marwan told HRW.

    Additionally, Greek security forces stripped the migrants of their clothes, leaving them in either just their underwear or just a basic layer, and took their possessions, including personal identification documents, money, telephones, and bags, before pushing them back to Turkish waters.

    The group of six told HRW they were picked up, placed on larger coastguard boats, and once they reached the maritime border, were forced onto small inflatable rescue rafts – with no motors – and left adrift.

    According to HRW, Greece’s actions violated multiple human rights laws, including the law against collective expulsion under the European Convention on Human Rights.

    The findings add to a growing list of abuses collected by NGOs and media involving migrants being forcibly pushed back from Greece to Turkey, either by Greek law enforcement officers or unidentified masked men.

    Last month, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) reported that migrants were being arbitrarily arrested in Greece and pushed back to Turkey.”

  6. Former FBI agent Ali Soufan fears Saudi government is targeting him: Report

    “A social media campaign being waged against a former FBI agent appears to involve some of the same individuals who targeted Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi before he was murdered, the New Yorker reported.

    Ali Soufan was contacted by the CIA in early May and informed that al-Qaeda were plotting an attack against him. Soufan, who was a lead investigator with the FBI around the time of the 9/11 attacks, was told that information collected by the agency was “specific enough” to warrant him being debriefed on the situation.

    Two weeks later, a social media campaign – similar to one initiated against Khashoggi before he was killed in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018 – began targeting Soufan, the New Yorker reported.

    “Mr. Ali,” one Twitter user wrote, “Make yourself dead, beginning of the end.”

    Soufan reported the messages to the FBI and also hired private cybersecurity experts, who traced at least part of the campaign to an official in the Saudi government.

    The security experts determined the campaign was launched by Hussain al-Ghawi, a self-proclaimed Saudi journalist who runs a YouTube programme that broadcasts Saudi propaganda. Ghawi was also involved in the social media campaign against Khashoggi.

    In his posts on Twitter, Ghawi accused Soufan of entering into an alliance with Qatar in order to malign Saudi Arabia, and also claimed that Soufan had been given Qatari citizenship, the New Yorker said.

    Soufan established a security advisory company in New York in 2005, of which he is the CEO. One of the firm’s clients is the government of Qatar, which hired the Soufan Group to train some of its police and intelligence forces.

    “Its purpose,” Ghawi said of Soufan’s company, “is to absolve Qatar of supporting terrorism.”

    His post was retweeted thousands of times by a legion of bots and fake accounts that had made threatening comments against him, the New Yorker reported.

    Ghawi had posted similar messages about Khashoggi, which were also retweeted by a wave of unverified accounts in the months leading to the Saudi journalist’s murder.

    Ghawi also accused Soufan of being involved in the US torture programme while working for the FBI, despite Soufan’s widely reported refusal to take part.

    While Soufan has denied Ghawi’s claims, he has been a vocal critic of the Saudi government. Last year, when Vice-President Mike Pence posted on Twitter, blaming Iran for the 9/11 attacks, Soufan replied, reminding the vice-president that 15 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia.

    ‘Directly linked to Saudi Arabia’
    Similarly, Omar Abdulaziz, a young Saudi activist living in Canada, has also reported a social media campaign against him, which started after he was informed by authorities of a Saudi plot to target him.

    Like Soufan, Abdulaziz, a well-known critic of the Saudi government, was a friend of Khashoggi.

    In December 2018, Abdulaziz told Middle East Eye that he may have come close to Khashoggi’s fate months before the journalist’s death, when two Saudi government agents came to Montreal, the Canadian city Abdulaziz has called home for almost a decade, to convince him to return to the kingdom.

    Abdulaziz was granted asylum in Canada in 2014, and has since been tweeting and posting videos criticising the policies of the ruling family and the crown prince, particularly regarding the crackdown on his opponents that began in 2017.

    He has also spoken publicly about Saudi Arabia’s use of internet trolls on Twitter and his own fight against them.

    Zachary Schwitzky, one of the experts hired by the Soufan Group to examine data collected about the Twitter accounts attacking the men, said the information recovered showed “classic signs of a state-supported campaign”, according to the New Yorker.

    Soufan told the magazine that the online threats as well as the government intelligence he had received left him concerned that both he and Abdulaziz were under attack by operatives of the Saudi government.

    “Jamal was murdered by Saudi operatives,” he said, according to the magazine. “The threat against Omar is confirmed by Canadian authorities to be directly linked to Saudi Arabia. It seems highly unlikely that the threat against me would not be connected, as well.”

    Another aspect of concern to Soufan was that the details in the social media attacks aligned with information the CIA had shared regarding the suspected al-Qaeda plot against him.

    Agency officials told Soufan that he could be in danger while travelling to Qatar, where they feared he might become a target. That threat was also made in certain social media messages. The CIA said he was likely being targeted over his past work with the FBI, which the social media accounts had also suggested.

    “The disinformation campaign used false narratives and dangerous imagery about me that directly aligned with elements of the threat,” Soufan told the New Yorker.

    Soufan added that he did not think the Saudi government would attack him directly, but he was concerned that the country could hire al-Qaeda operatives to target him instead.

    “It wouldn’t be the first time a state actor uses militants or terrorists to do its dirty work,” he told the magazine.

    The Soufan Center, an international risk-assessment think-tank launched by Soufan, said in a statement on Thursday that it was “very concerned about the recent disinformation and intimidation campaign targeting” its founder.

    “We will continue monitoring this situation and hope that the ongoing investigation will make it more difficult for the entities involved to malign, harass, and threaten civil society and independent voices online in the future,” said former senator Joe Donnelly, the group’s chairman.”

  7. IAEA: ‘Things will be bad’ for Iran if inspectors denied access

    “United Nations’ (UN) International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief said ‘things will be bad’ for Iran inspectors are denied access to suspected nuclear sites by the end of July, i24 News reported.

    IAEA’s Director-General Rafael Grossi expressed his concern for Iran’s refusal to allow access and said it was an “absolute necessity for us to resolve this issue very soon”, adding that Iran should grant his inspectors access.

    Grossi has threatened measures, including to inform IAEA member states of Iran’s lack of cooperation regarding inspections, which may embolden the renewal of an arms embargo currently being pushed by Israel and the US.

    Last month, the IAEA said in a report on Iran’s nuclear activities that “Iran’s refusal for several months to allow inspectors to access two sites is a major concern.”…”

  8. Death toll in Turkish migrant boat sinking rises to 40

    “The death toll from a migrant boat sinking in Lake Van in eastern Turkey rose to 40, the local governor’s office said on Thursday, after nearly three weeks of search operations, Reuters reports.

    The boat, which sank on June 27, is believed to have been carrying 55-60 migrants, according to Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu. Five people have been formally arrested in relation to the incident.

    Lake Van is near the border with Iran, from where migrants regularly cross into Turkey heading west toward Europe from Iran, Afghanistan and other countries.

    Seven people died and 64 were rescued when a boat carrying migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan sank on Lake Van in December.

    More than a million people reached Greece from Turkey in 2015-16, although the numbers later dropped sharply under a 2016 agreement between the EU and Turkey for Ankara to take migrants back in return for funds.

    Earlier this year, tens of thousands of migrants tried to cross into Greece via land and sea borders after Ankara said it would no longer stop them. Turkey, home to 3.6 million Syrians, the world’s largest refugee population, had said it would open the frontier because it was alarmed by the prospect of another wave of refugees fleeing war in northwest Syria…”

  9. US, Gulf states impose sanctions on Daesh financiers in Turkey, Afghanistan

    “The United States and the Gulf Arab states have imposed sanctions on six targets they believe are associated with the terror group Daesh and its financing, the US announced yesterday.

    The Terrorist Financing Targeting Centre (TFTC) – consisting of the US, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman – was established in 2017 to sanction organisations, individuals and entities who finance terrorism regionally and internationally.

    The sanctions that the TFTC imposed consist of four targets in Turkey and Syria and two in Afghanistan, where Daesh has established a presence in recent years despite its territorial losses in the Levant.

    Entities based in Turkey and Syria which are accused of funding Daesh include Al Haram Foreign Exchange Co, Al-Khalidi Exchange, and the Tawasul Company – all money exchange companies which are already designated for sanctions by the US.

    Al Haram Foreign Exchange, based primarily in Turkey with a presence of 19 offices as well as with branches across the Middle East, is on the list due to the US Treasury Department’s claims that “ISIS [Daesh] members in Syria received instruction to conduct all financial transactions with Al Haram Exchange.”

    Al-Khalidi Exchange is also mainly based within Turkey where it owns 18 offices. It also, however, had branches in former Daesh-held territory in Syria, with officials from the Kurdish militias in north-east Syria reportedly backing up those claims.

    “Al-Khalidi was the most important financial transfer office in the region,” said the Treasury Department. It “used to move money to fund ISIS-held areas,” making it the “largest financial exchange office that dealt with ISIS.” From its office in Sanliurfa in south-east Turkey, the department said, “Hundreds of thousands of dollars per day passed through” to Daesh.

    As for Tawasul Company, it is located and based in the Syrian city of Harim in Idlib province, currently the last major stronghold of the Syrian opposition and which is dominated by militias deemed to be affiliated with Al-Qaeda.

    The fourth sanctioned entity is a Syrian national named Abd Al-Rahman Ali Husayn Al-Ahmad Al-Rawi, who is based in Istanbul and is part of “the al-Rawi network”, a group which primarily consists of Iraqis, and which was reportedly conducting smuggling operations on behalf of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in the 1990s in order to circumvent US sanctions.

    According to the Treasury Department, Al-Rawi had a “hard-currency liquidity of several million dollars in Syria” and “served as ISIS’s general financial manager”. He was also “responsible for external ISIS money transfers originating from and destined to foreign countries.”

    Regarding the sanctions on Afghan entities, they consist of a charity named Nejaat Social Welfare Organisation, which the Treasury Department says “was used as a cover company to facilitate the transfer of funds and support the activities of ISIS-K [ISIS in Khorasan].”

    The charity is said to have “collected donations on behalf of ISIS-K from individuals in Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, and other Middle Eastern countries,” which was then “transferred from the Gulf to Asia – via the banking system – where an ISIS-K coordinator would collect the transferred funds.” This charity, according to the Department, had offices in the Afghan cities of Kabul and Jalalabad and “distributed the funds to ISIS-K commanders.”

    The sixth sanctioned entity is the director of this organisation, a 50-year-old Afghan named Sayed Habib Ahmed Khan who is reportedly a resident of Kuwait.

    The Gulf states’ sanctioning of these six entities comes after many of them were already sanctioned by the US last year. It also comes at a time when other revelations have arisen proving that other players in the Syrian conflict have been funded by international figures and business networks through front companies, tax havens, and smuggling operations.

    An example of this is the revelation earlier this week of a Syrian-Russian business network – run by President Bashar Al-Assad’s own extended family members – which transferred millions to the Assad regime and helped develop its chemical weapons arsenal.”

  10. Egypt: 138 years in jail for Muslim Brotherhood supreme guide

    “The Supreme Guide of the Muslim Brotherhood, Mohamed Badie, has been sentenced to a total of 138 years in jail in Egypt, the group’s spokesperson revealed on Tuesday, adding that he is awaiting rulings in another 47 cases.

    The Court of Cassation; the highest appeals court in Egypt, on Tuesday upheld the life terms handed to Badie on charges of violence and murder.

    “The supreme guide was handed seven final prison sentences totalling 138 years,” Talaat Fahmy wrote on Facebook, adding that ironically, the same court had acquitted the former Egyptian Minister of Interior Habib Al-Adly, and fined him 500 Egyptian pounds ($31).

    Fahmy described Tuesday’s ruling as “politicised”.”

  11. Turkey’s defense minister says Armenia will be ‘brought to account’ for attack on Azerbaijan

    “Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar has vowed Armenia will be “brought to account” for its attack on Azerbaijan, saying Turkey is closely following developments in the region.

    Akar met with Azerbaijani Deputy Defense Minister and Commander of Air Forces Ramiz Tahirov on July 16.

    “The pain of the Azeri Turks is our pain,” he told reporters during the meeting.

    Turkey “condemns this villainous attack,” the minister stated, adding that the move “goes over Armenia’s head.”

    “They will be left under the trouble they started. They will be drowned under this plot and certainly pay for what they have done,” he said.

    Turkey slams Armenia over ‘smear campaign’

    Meanwhile,the Turkish Foreign Ministry on July 16 slammed statements from Armenia which Ankara says was a “smear campaign” against Turkey.

    “This hypocritical attitude of Armenia, which has maintained an illegitimate occupation in the territory of Azerbaijan for many years, clearly and obviously reveals who the main obstacle to the establishment of permanent peace and stability in the South Caucasus is,” the ministry said in a statement.

    Armenia’s foreign policy based on “slandering” will not be beneficial to anyone, said the ministry. “This approach is a manifestation of a mentality that creates its identity only from a unilateral understanding of history and tries to justify its unlawful aggression,” it said.

    This “faulty attitude of Armenia that triggers aggressive nationalism is sad, but not surprising,” said Ankara.

    Armenian authorities should act “wisely and learn as soon as possible to be part of solutions instead of problems” in the South Caucasus, it noted.

    Turkey cannot be involved in any international processes related to the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

    Following the tension between Azerbaijan and Armenia, statements by the Turkish authorities “not only contain commitment of unconditional support to Azerbaijan but also exhibit clear regional ambitions towards the South Caucasus, which the President of Turkey, along with other officials, attempt to substantiate by referring to Turkey’s ‘historic mission’ in the region,” the Foreign Ministry said.

    “Invoking its historical mission and ethnic or religious affiliations, Turkey has already destabilized the situation in a number of neighboring regions: The Middle East, Eastern Mediterranean and North Africa causing immeasurable sufferings to the peoples of those regions,” the Armenian ministry added.

    “With its approaches, Turkey is a security threat for Armenia and the region, and broad regional and international cooperation is needed to counter it,” read the statement.

    On July 12, four Azerbaijani soldiers died and four others were injured in a border clash with Armenian troops.

    Seven Azerbaijani soldiers, including one major general, have been killed in border clashes with Armenian troops, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry said on July 14.

    Kerim Veliyev, deputy defense minister, said many Armenian army military vehicles and positions have been destroyed in two days of clashes. Armenia says four of its troops – two of them officers – were killed.

    The United Nations has urged both sides to reduce tensions at the border.”

  12. 123,000 migrants request official papers in Italy

    “The Italian interior ministry said Thursday that it had thus far received 123,429 requests for the regularisation of undocumented migrant workers. Some 11,101 are currently being assessed, it noted. The procedure has been open since June 1 and will end on August 15. Cleaners and caregivers make up the bulk of both the requests already assessed, 87%, and those currently being worked on, 76%.

    An average of 3,000 requests were submitted every day between July 1 and July 15, with the Lombardy region seeing the highest number of requests for caregivers and cleaners and Campania for agricultural workers. Most of those requesting permits as cleaners or carers were from Ukraine, Bangladesh or Morocco, while Albanians, Moroccans and Indians are the largest number of those requesting permits as agricultural workers. The vast majority of employers requesting the regularization for their employees are Italian nationals. (ANSA).”

  13. 30 migrants flee centre in Messina

    “Some 30 migrants fled a reception centre at Messina Wednesday night, sources said Thursday.

    There was a revolt in the centre and a finance guard officer was wounded in the leg after objects were thrown, they said.

    He is not in a serious condition, however.

    An unspecified number of the escaped migrants has been caught and brought back to the facility, but many poured out through a gap in the fence and hid in the surrounding countryside.

    Police are still looking for them. (ANSA).”

  14. Republicans Roll Out Resolution Accusing Ilhan Omar of ‘Anti-American’ Remarks

    “Minnesota House of Representatives Democrat Ilhan Omar has been accused by members the Republican party of violating her oath to defend the US Constitution, following a speech earlier this month in which she called on the US public to tear down “systems of oppression” and fight racism and inequality.

    Members of the Republican party have put forward a resolution condemning the statements of Rep. Ilhan Omar that they describe as “anti-American.”

    The resolution, which accuses Omar of having “a documented history of expressing anti-American sentiments” was introduced by Arizona Rep. Andy Biggs and co-sponsored by eight Republican representatives.

    It adds that Omar, and other members of Congress, have been “advocating for a Marxist form of government that is incompatible with the principles laid out in the founding documents of the United States.”

    The GOP resolution accused Dems of “violating their oath to support and defend the Constitution of the United States.”

    Omar’s office described the allegations and the legislation as a “false smear.”
    The GOP resolution follows an anti-racism speech Omar made at a press conference earlier this month in which she stated that “we must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it.”

    Her remarks follow calls for legislative changes, including the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020, which has been passed by Democrats in the House of Representatives, but stalled by the Senate.

    “We can’t stop at criminal justice reform, or policing reform, for that matter,” Omar said. “We are not merely fighting to tear down the systems of oppression in the criminal justice system. We are fighting to tear down systems of oppression that exist in housing, in education, in healthcare, in employment, in the air we breathe. As long as our economy and political systems prioritize profit without considering who is profiting, who is being shut out, we will perpetuate this inequality. We cannot stop at the criminal justice system, we must begin the work of dismantling the whole system of oppression wherever we find it.”…”

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