Reader’s Links for December 10, 2020

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

129 Replies to “Reader’s Links for December 10, 2020”

  1. Dianne Feinstein’s Missteps Raise a Painful Age Question Among Senate Democrats

    In a hearing on November 17th, Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, who, at eighty-seven, is the oldest member of the Senate, grilled a witness. Reading from a sheaf of prepared papers, she asked Jack Dorsey, the C.E.O. of Twitter, whether his company was doing enough to stem the spread of disinformation. Elaborating, she read in full a tweet that President Trump had disseminated on November 7th, falsely claiming to have won the Presidential election. She then asked Dorsey if Twitter’s labelling of the tweet as disputed had adequately alerted readers that it was a bald lie.

  2. Indian police use violence as a shortcut to justice. It’s the poorest who bear the scars

    By Mohit Rao

    Bengaluru, India (CNN)It was minutes into India’s Independence Day when police stormed a slum in the western state of Gujarat where Hira Bajania, 65, was sleeping. In the black of night, he was dragged from his home, taken to a nearby police station and accused, with 11 other men, of stealing cell phones.
    As dawn broke on a day commemorating India’s freedom, one by one the men were taken from their cell to be interrogated for up to 30 minutes, according to a complaint subsequently filed to police, and seen by CNN. They were bound, stripped, beaten, abused and, according to two people in the group, tortured sexually and told to confess. Many returned to their cell limping, unable to stand or sit, say several of the men. All denied the charges.
    At around 5.30 p.m. the next day, Hira Bajania, a ragpicker, collapsed after being beaten. “We told them, ‘He is dead. You’ve killed him.’ The police thought he was pretending,” says Shankar Bajania, no relation, who is one of the men picked up on August 15, 2019.
    Hira Bajania was not pretending. Shankar Bajania says he saw, through the police station windows, his lifeless body put in a police jeep. At the hospital, he was pronounced dead.

  3. The Chanukah Underground

    We used to take religious freedom for granted. Then the lockdowns came.
    Thu Dec 10, 2020 Daniel Greenfield

    The Jewish holiday of Chanukah has two major symbols: the menorah and the dreidel.

    The menorah, a candelabra with eight branches, and one light above, memorializes the liberation of the Temple from the religious persecution of Antiochus IV Epiphanes, the Syrian-Greek ruler who had outlawed Judaism, and the other a spinning top recollects how Jewish children learning the word of G-d in the banned ‘hedge schools’ of ancient Israel would take out tops and pretend to be playing games when Antiochus’ inspectors arrived.

    American Jewish children had lit menorahs and spun their dreidels for generations without imagining that an Antiochus would arise in America. Let alone that he would arise in New York.

    In 2020, Chanukah came early when another abominable tyrant, fresh from killing 11,000 nursing home residents by forcing facilities to accept infected coronavirus patients, decided to adopt the medieval habit of blaming the virus on Orthodox Jews in Brooklyn. A swarm of inspectors from every department were sent out to schools and then to the hidden schools.

    And in 21st century America, children huddled in basements, afraid to make a noise, and then, if Cuomo’s men found them, were ready to claim that they weren’t in school, just playing games.

  4. Democrats Pay Off Intrusive IT Man Imran Awan

    And Biden taps Awan’s collaborator Xavier Becerra for HHS boss.
    Thu Dec 10, 2020 Lloyd Billingsley

    “Congress Pays $850,000 to Muslim Aides Targeted in Inquiry Stoked by Trump,” reads the November 25 New York Times headline. According to the story, the previously unreported settlement is one of the largest to resolve discrimination or harassment claims, in this case by people who “lost their jobs and endured harassment in part because of their Muslim faith and South Asian origins.”

    Reporters Noam Scheiber and Nicholas Fandos give no date for settlement and do not explain why it was “previously unreported.” Congress reportedly made the payment but the only House member quoted is Florida Democrat Ted Deutch, a leading figure in Democrats’ charge that candidate Donald Trump was guilty of collusion with Russia and a vocal proponent of impeaching President Trump.

    “It is tragic and outrageous the way right-wing media and Republicans all the way up to President Trump attempted to destroy the lives of an immigrant Muslim-American family based on scurrilous allegations,” Deutch told Sheiber and Fandos. As they explain, the settlement was also “an attempt to bring a close to a convoluted saga that led to one of the most durable — and misleading — story lines of the Trump era.”

  5. Trump Won His Other Campaign – Frontpagemag
    Larry Elder
    5-7 minutes

    To destroy media credibility.

    Convinced that President Donald Trump lost his bid for reelection, the media suddenly became less hysterical. Just like that, the media, at least to some degree, rediscovered concepts such as fairness and perspective, AWOL the last four years.

    Two weeks after the election, New York Times Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Nicholas Kristof haltingly, grudgingly and reluctantly, admitted that yes, Trump was right. Banning in-person school education to fight COVID-19 was and is bad policy. Kristof wrote: “Some things are true even though President Trump says them. Trump has been demanding for months that schools reopen, and on that he seems to have been largely right. Schools, especially elementary schools, do not appear to have been major sources of coronavirus transmission, and remote learning is proving to be a catastrophe for many low-income children.” Kristof, of course, could not acknowledge Trump’s correct judgement without the “somethings are true even though Trump says them” snark. But remember, this is The New York Times, a paper that has not endorsed a Republican for president since 1956. Little steps.

  6. (Richard: We are slowly returning sanity to the US legal system and then the Dems decide to openly steal the Presidential election so they can force us back into insanity.)

    Ohio Fast-Tracks Bill Eliminating Duty to Retreat

    In the spirit of getting things done, especially given the current climate, lawmakers in Ohio are trying to fast-track a bill that would give residents of Ohio the right to stand their ground in the face of a life-threatening attack. reports:

    “Senate Bill 383 would eliminate the duty to retreat before using force in self-defense, defense of another person or defense of certain property. The change would expand the places someone could fire a gun from his home and vehicle to anywhere he has a legal right to be.

    Prosecutors’ would need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the shooter did not act in self-defense to convict that person.”

  7. 22 Michigan House Republicans Issue Letter Demanding ‘Complete Forensic Assessment’ of Election Results

    They are pushing for real transparency.

    A group of 22 Michigan House Republicans, led by state representative Matt Maddock of Milford, has released a letter demanding a “complete forensic assessment” of the state’s election results.

    “The 2020 General Election contest was one of the most monumental in living history. We have seen record levels of turnout, record levels of civic engagement, and thousands of voters have reached out to the Legislature to demand a thorough investigation in order to improve transparency in this election,” the letter reads.

    “There are also high numbers of witnesses who have written, signed, and executed affidavits alleging voter fraud. Credible witnesses have made allegations that implicate our poll books, records, processes, and more. There are numerous irregularities that have been witnessed, and a variety of claims that must be properly investigated by the Michigan Legislature to fulfill our duty to the public to ensure the integrity of our elections,” it continues.

  8. Rush Limbaugh: Conservative States Are ‘Trending Toward Secession’

    Rush Limbaugh, noting conservatives have very little in common with people in certain states, said he believes conservatives in some states are “trending toward secesstion” — a concept he’s not ready to accept.

    Limbaugh made his comments on his radio show on Wednesday.

    “I actually think that we’re trending toward secession,” he said. “I see more and more people asking what in the world do we have in common with the people who live in, say, New York? What is there that makes us believe that there is enough of us there to even have a chance at winning New York, especially if you’re talking about votes.

    (Richard: Assuming they do secede it won’t do any good, the left will not accept anyone getting out from under their control. They will come into the new nation after us. Personally I am against secession, look at the maps of the counties that Trump won and you see almost all of the nation voted for trump with just a few big cities going for Biden. This would betray the freedom lovers in the states that the big cities carried for Biden and it would leave the US weakened and open for some nation like China to try and conquer us by a military invasion.

    • The demonrats have been selling us to China for decades. If we let ourselves be neutered, no military invasion will be necessary.

      Asymmetrical warfare we’ve been experiencing for months will only intensify. Tactics we won’t recognize as “war” – or those who do will be silenced. We’re deeply infiltrated, our underbelly is rotten.

      We’ve not decoupled our supply lines. Shipments of essential medicines experience “malfunctions” and we’ll start dying. The enemy has eyes on our critical infrastructure: eyes that see better and are more reliable than our own.

      This is the hill.
      Right here, right now.

      • Sorry, not just the “demonrats”. Not even the “left”.
        Never-Trumpers, faithless GOP.

        The Chinese professor explained the DeepState to his audience. Wall Street, not Main Street.

  9. (Richard: If Biden is sworn in the flood of illegal immigrants will begin.)

    Thousands in South America planning caravans to the U.S. border to seek asylum from Biden

    Miami Herald | Dec 10, 2020 | News | 3
    Thousands in South America planning caravans to the U.S. border to seek asylum from Biden

    File photo – 2018 Migrants from South America outside the town of Arriaga., Mexico. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

    Thousands of Cubans have started to join other migrants in caravans heading for the U.S. southern border to apply for political asylum, Cubans in Latin America have told el Nuevo Herald.

    From Guyana to Paraguay and Chile, Cuban migrants are posting notes on social networks to join the caravans, which have already created problems in Suriname because of border closures due to the coronavirus. Nearly 500 Cuban migrants, including children and pregnant women, are stranded in campgrounds there.

    “I came to this country three years ago with my two children and my husband. I came from Cuba to escape the misery, but we’re in the same situation here. Without work and without assistance, living in a neighborhood with drugs and violence,” Janet Figueroa, one of the members of a caravan in Suriname, told el Nuevo Herald.

    Suriname, like Guyana, allows Cubans from the island unrestricted entry, so in recent years the two countries have become jumping-off points for migrants heading for the United States or other countries with large Cuban communities, such as Chile and Uruguay.

    Figueroa, 36, is traveling with her husband and two children. She is asking the Guyana government for permission to move on “in search of the American dream.”

    “We don’t want to hurt anyone. We only want to get to the United States and join our relatives,” she said. Several cousins in Miami have promised to help her family if they manage to pass the tight requirements for asylum applications along the southern border.

  10. Facebook Fact Checker Funded by Chinese Money Through TikTok
    By Petr Svab
    December 10, 2020 Updated: December 10, 2020

    While Facebook portrays its army of fact-checkers as independent, the money behind at least one carries a distinct taint. One fact-checker, Lead Stories, is partly paid through its partnership with TikTok, a social media platform run by a Chinese company that owes its allegiance to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). TikTok is currently being probed by American authorities as a national security threat.

    Moreover, the organization that’s supposed to oversee the quality of fact-checkers is run by Poynter Institute, another TikTok partner.

    Lead Stories says it’s been contracted by ByteDance “for fact checking related work” referring to TikTok’s announcement earlier this year that it has partnered with several organizations “to further aid our efforts to reduce the spread of misinformation,” particularly regarding the CCP virus pandemic which originated in China and was exacerbated by the CCP regime’s coverup.

  11. Georgia County Says It Couldn’t ‘Duplicate’ Election Results, Secretary of State’s Office Investigating
    By Jack Phillips
    December 10, 2020 Updated: December 10, 2020

    Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger on Wednesday evening said his office is investigating Coffee County after officials there said they could not recertify the results of a recount.

    “All counties were to be completed by Wednesday night, Dec. 2, at midnight, as instructed by the secretary of state. By Thursday, there were six counties finalizing their recount upload. On Thursday, Coffee County officials were working with the secretary of state’s office and Dominion Voting Systems to resolve a discrepancy of 50 votes,” said his office in an email.

    Coffee County was the “sole remaining” Georgia county that hasn’t completed uploading its recount, according to the secretary of state.

    A letter from Coffee County Board of Election officials on Dec. 4 said it “cannot certify the electronic recount numbers given its inability to repeatably duplicate creditable election results.” Raffensberger announced the recount was certified on Dec. 7.

    “Any system, financial, voting, or otherwise, that is not repeatable nor dependable should not be used,” the letter added. “To demand certification of patently inaccurate results neither serves the objective of the electoral system nor satisfies the legal obligation to certify the electronic recount.”

  12. Massachusetts nursing home to begin accepting coronavirus patients and some people are sounding the alarm

    ‘This is putting the most vulnerable in harm’s way’

    A Massachusetts nursing home is set to begin accepting coronavirus patients as some people are sounding the alarm that it might lead to deaths among those most susceptible to the virus.

    POLL: Who do you trust the least?

    Willow Manor in Lowell announced on Tuesday that they would have a portion of their facility isolated in order to accept COVID-19 patients. Some staff members and residents will be dedicated to those patients and not intermix in order to prevent spread of the virus.

    State Rep. Marc Lombardo criticized the move and called it “insanity” in a tweet.

    “While we are restricting people from attending Church due to COVID concerns, MA is allowing long term care facilities like Willow Manor in Lowell to take in outside COVID patients,” he tweeted.

  13. Leftist militants have stockpiled weapons, spike strips, armed guards at Portland autonomous zone

    Police chief said force will be used if necessary to end occupation but asked militants to leave before it comes to that


    Leftist militants on their third day of occupying several residential blocks in Portland, Oregon, over a foreclosed house have stockpiled weapons, homemade spike strips, and armed guards at the entrances of their autonomous zone.

    POLL: Who do you trust the least?

    But the city’s police chief said cops will use force if necessary to end the occupation.
    What’s the background?

    The autonomous zone was set up Tuesday — the same day leftists militants were caught on video chasing Portland police away from the foreclosed house. In fact, they kicked and threw rocks at retreating police vehicles and ran up on cops and appeared to try to steal their equipment while taunting and threatening them as they literally chased officers down a street.

    “We ain’t f***in’ around!” one militant was heard yelling at cops while another leftist declared, “I’ll knock you the f*** out, bitch!”

  14. Dems Do Unthinkable With Slanderous Attacks Against Famous Colleague
    GOP Presidential Staff
    3-4 minutes

    Dems Do Unthinkable With Slanderous Attacks Against Famous Colleague

    December 10, 2020 Uncategorized

    Yikes. Either Dianne Feinstein alienated progressive staff on Capitol Hill more than we realized with her hug of Lindsey Graham, or Gavin Newsom might need to make two Senate appointments this year. In a stinging report, New Yorker’s Jane Mayer hints that Feinstein has begun struggling with dementia, although that word never gets uttered.

    Instead, as one “well informed Senate source” told Mayer, it’s been like taking the keys to the car away from Grandma. Or like Groundhog Day, but not in any comedic sense:

    • Republican leaders of the Michigan House of Representatives have removed Rep. Cynthia Johnson, D-Detroit, from her committee assignments in response to a video she posted Sunday on Facebook.

      House Speaker Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, and Speaker-elect Jason Wentworth, R-Clare, issued a joint news release Wednesday stating Johnson made threats in the video.

  15. Senate Committee Plans First Federal Hearing on Election ‘Irregularities’
    By Zachary Stieber
    December 10, 2020 Updated: December 10, 2020

    The Senate will hold a hearing next week on irregularities that took place during the 2020 presidential election.

    “I am mindful that many of the issues that have been raised have been, and will continue to be, appropriately resolved in the courts. But the fact remains that a large percentage of the American public does not view the 2020 election result as legitimate because of apparent irregularities that have not been fully examined. That is not a sustainable state of affairs for our country,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

    “The only way to resolve suspicions is with full transparency and public awareness. That will be the goal of the hearing.”

    The committee will hold the hearing on Dec. 16. Additional details, including witnesses, will be made available next week. The hearing is not yet listed on the committee’s calendar.

  16. Chinese Military Bases in The Caribbean?
    Lawrence A. Franklin
    8-10 minutes

    Of concern to US security interests is China’s seaport expansion project at Kingston, Jamaica, as well as at Freeport, Bahamas, China’s possible new base of operations 90 miles off the US coast. The projects are an opportunity for Chinese Communist Party intelligence operatives to suborn the sovereignty of Caribbean countries by luring them into “debt trap” economic dependency on China. Sri Lanka’s inability to pay back loans for Beijing’s modernization of the port of Hambantota (pictured) has resulted in the South Asian country’s effective loss of the port. (Photo by Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP via Getty Images)

    China’s Communist Party (CCP) seems to be implementing a multidimensional strategy in the Caribbean, reaping economic, political and potentially military gains a few miles offshore the United States. China’s ultimate objective of its Caribbean strategy may well be to confront the US, not only with its presence near the mainland US, but also with a situation analogous to America’s military presence in the region of the South China Sea. There, China created new islands in the sea, pledged not to militarize them, then went and militarized them.

  17. New York State Assembly Introduces Bill Mandating COVID-19 Vaccine
    By Meiling Lee
    December 8, 2020 Updated: December 9, 2020

    New Yorkers will no longer get to decide if they will receive a COVID-19 vaccine if a bill calling for a mandatory vaccine gets approved.

    New York State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat who represents New York’s 67th Assembly District, quietly introduced a bill on Dec. 4 that would require “COVID-19 vaccine to be administered in accordance with the department of health’s COVID-19 vaccination administration program and mandates vaccination in certain situations.”

    Every New Yorker, except those medically exempt, are required to receive the vaccine if the state’s vaccination efforts do not achieve “sufficient immunity from COVID-19.”

    Rosenthal told WGRZ-TV the bill was “a protective health measure” that would “ensure that our residents are safe and protected against further spread.”

  18. House of Representatives Rams Through TPS Amnesty for Hong Kong Residents, Chinese Citizens

    A free pass to millions of Chinese citizens.

    Big League National Security
    House of Representatives Rams Through TPS Amnesty for Hong Kong Residents, Chinese Citizens

    A free pass to millions of Chinese citizens.

    Published 3 days ago

    on Dec 7, 2020

    By Richard Moorhead

    Share Tweet Flip Print

    The House of Representatives passed the Hong Kong People’s Freedom and Choice Act of 2020 through a unanimous voice vote in the chamber on Monday. The law enables residents of China’s special territory to claim temporary protected status in the United States, thus making them immune to most forms of American immigration law enforcement.

    While Hong Kong’s status in the People’s Republic of China remains tenuous, with the island possessing an active anti-Communist movement, the TPS amnesty provided to Hong Kongers represents a serious national security threat to the United States. Hong Kong’s population of 7.5 million people are almost entirely regarded as Chinese citizens, and many Hong Kongers are staunchly loyal to the Communist Party of Mainland China.

  19. Federal Judge Who Dismissed Sidney Powell’s Michigan Lawsuit is Far-Left, Anti-Cop, Pro-Affirmative Action Obama Appointee

    She is enforcing the steal.

    arlier today, U.S. District Judge Linda Parker dismissed a Michigan vote fraud lawsuit filed by attorney Sidney Powell while spitting in the face of every whistleblower who has bravely emerged to expose the grotesque cheating that occurred in the city of Detroit and other Democrat-dominated inner city slums on election day.

    Parker dismissed Powell’s lawsuit on Monday as a “an amalgamation of theories, conjecture, and speculation,” and opined that investigating voter fraud cannot be done because it would undermine “faith in the democratic process.”

    “For these reasons, the Court finds that Plaintiffs are far from likely to succeed in this matter,” she wrote in her conclusion.

  20. French Police Investigate Suspicious ‘Allahu Akbar’ Letters Sent to Priests (breitbart, Dec 10, 2020)

    “French investigators in the department of Vaucluse have launched an inquiry after seven priests in the department received suspicious letters simply containing the words “Allahu Akbar.”

    All seven priests received the hand-written letters on December 9th and reported the suspicious letters to the local police who have stated they are taking the matter very seriously.

    “Letters written by hand were sent by the Post Office to seven black African priests with their names and the address of the rectory where they live. On the mail is only the word ‘Allah Akbar’ in French and Arabic,” vicar general of the diocese of Avignon Pascal Molemb Emock told French media.

    According to a report by La Depeche, the Avignon prosecutor’s office has taken up the investigation in conjunction with local police.

    A source close to the investigation told the newspaper, “These are not direct death threats, but in the context of a terrorist threat, this case is taken very seriously.”

    One of the priests commented to French broadcaster France 3 said he would be careful but added that he had no intention to stop his work saying, “I am not afraid for myself, I will continue to live alone in my rectory.”

    The letters come weeks after a Tunisian illegal immigrant killed three people in a church in Nice and injured several others. The attacker is also reported having yelled “Allahu Akbar” during the attack.

    In recent years, churches and priests have been targetted by radical Islamic terrorists in France, such as the attempted terror attack in 2015 by Franco-Algerian Sid Ahmed Ghlam, who murdered a French dance instructor but failed in his attack on his church targets.

    The most well-known terror attack against a clergy member in France took place in 2016 when Father Jaques Hamel was murdered and beheaded during mass at a church in Normandy by terrorists affiliated with the Islamic State terrorist group.”

  21. US Troops in Middle East Put on High Alert Over Possible Attack from Iran, Report Claims (sputniknews, Dec 10, 2020)

    “Reports have emerged recently that Iran allegedly could be preparing to conduct a military strike in the region in what is presumed to be the last days of President Donald Trump in office.

    The American troops currently deployed to the Middle East region have been placed on “heightened alert” due to a potential strike by Iran, Politico reported on Thursday, citing a military official.

    The Pentagon is closely watching “troubling indicators of potential attack preparations” on the part of Tehran, the official said.

    Rumours have arisen recently that reducing US military personnel in the Middle East, namely in Iraq and Afghanistan, would provide an opportunity for Iran to carry out military strikes in the region. An Axios report also claimed last month that the Israeli military was put on alert over fears of potential retaliatory attacks against Israel by Iran.

    Top US general in the Middle East, CENTCOM chief Frank McKenzie has confirmed Thursday reports of a drawdown of American diplomatic personnel in Iraq to reduce exposure to possible Iranian attacks. The move, described as small-scale and temporary, is timed to the upcoming first anniversary of the US airstrike that killed Iranian top military commander Qasem Soleimani on 3 January.

    “That is a small drawdown… The Ambassador will remain, core embassy functions will remain”, McKenzie said in an interview to the Defence One media outlet. “It was a smart thing to do to reduce our attack surface”.

    Speculation over a potential military attack has intensified following the assassination of Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. Iranian officials have accused the Israeli government of targeting Fakhrizadeh for a long time, claiming he was killed by its Mossad intelligence agency and pledging to take revenge for his death…”

  22. Probe Sought Into Nagorno-Karabakh ‘Decapitations,’ Other ‘War Crimes’
    International human rights groups are urging both Azerbaijan and Armenia to urgently conduct investigations into war crimes allegedly committed by both sides during weeks of recent fighting over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region.
    Amnesty International has analyzed 22 videos depicting “extrajudicial executions, the mistreatment of prisoners of war and other captives, and desecration of the dead bodies of enemy soldiers,” the London-based human rights watchdog said in a statement on December 10.
    Two of the clips show “extrajudicial executions by decapitation” by members of Azerbaijan’s military while another video shows the cutting of an Azerbaijani border guard’s throat that led to his death, it said.
    “The depravity and lack of humanity captured in these videos shows the deliberate intention to cause ultimate harm and humiliation to victims, in clear violation of international humanitarian law,” according to Denis Krivosheyev, the rights group’s research director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
    “Both Azerbaijani and Armenian authorities must immediately conduct independent, impartial investigations and identify all those responsible,” Krivosheyev said.
    Louis Charbonneau, the United Nations director at New-York based Human Rights Watch, said the abuses described by Amnesty were “war crimes” that should be investigated.
    “Azerbaijan and Armenia authorities [should] investigate, identify [people] responsible & hold them accountable,” Charbonneau said on Twitter.
    Amnesty International “authenticated the footage as genuine, and technical tests conducted on the videos indicate that the files have not been manipulated,” the statement said, adding that a forensic pathologist verified the details of the injuries.
    International humanitarian law prohibits acts of violence against prisoners of war and any other detained person, the mutilation of dead bodies, and the filming of confessions or denunciations for propaganda purposes.
    Amnesty International’s call comes one month after a Moscow-brokered cease-fire deal brought an end to six weeks of fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh — the worst clashes over the disputed region in three decades.
    The latest fighting left more than 5,000 people dead, including many civilians, and resulted in Azerbaijani forces retaking much of Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts.
    Both sides have accused each other of violating international law during the war.
    The region, populated mainly by ethnic Armenians, declared independence from Azerbaijan amid a 1988-94 war that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.
    Internationally mediated negotiations have failed to result in a resolution.

  23. December 9 2020 When The World Looked Away: The Destruction Of Julfa Cemetery
    In early December 2005, Nshan Topouzian, an ethnic Armenian bishop living in Iran, received an alarming tip-off. According to Iranian border guards, a demolition crew had arrived at the Armenian cemetery of Julfa, in the Azerbaijani exclave of Naxcivan.
    After driving through Iran’s rocky northern landscape to the Azerbaijani border, Topouzian was able to capture video footage of the final destruction of a cultural monument that, in its scale and artistry, was unlike anything else.
    Over several days, hundreds of ancient cross-stones, or “khachkars,” were broken into rubble by men in military uniforms and dumped into the river between Azerbaijan and Iran.
    The site was the burial ground for the city of Julfa, a prosperous medieval trading center. Julfa’s mostly Armenian population was evicted in 1605 during a conflict between the Ottoman and Persian empires.
    Khachkars are stone slabs historically used by Armenian Christians as memorials to the dead or to mark the location of significant events.
    Armenian tradition holds that no two khachkars are alike and all are sacred. They are often carved with lace-like details and fantastical creatures whose identity is lost to time.
    Many believe the cross-stones serve as a kind of mediator between heaven and the soul of those buried beneath.
    Since the first war for Nagorno-Karabakh broke out between ethnic Armenians and Azerbaijanis in the late 1980s, people as well as monuments have fallen victim to furious debates over who has the strongest historical claims to disputed land.
    In the Armenian capital, Yerevan, an Azerbaijani mosque was demolished in the early 1990s and remaining Islamic monuments were labelled “Persian.” In the Azerbaijani capital, Baku, authorities destroyed a historic Armenian church, while inside the Azerbaijani exclave of Naxcivan authorities began a systematic erasure of Armenian heritage.
    Despite extensive documentary evidence of the Julfa cemetery’s destruction, Azerbaijani officials have either denied the cemetery was Armenian or that it ever existed in the first place.
    In 2006, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev declared, “As you know, some Armenian circles, the Armenian lobby, and some influential politicians have recently raised a clamor against the alleged destruction of Armenian tombstones in Naxcivan; this is absolutely false and slanderous information; one more Armenian’s invention.”
    The Armenian that Aliyev was referring to may have been Simon Maghakyan, who has written extensively about Armenian heritage in Naxcivan. The U.S.-based researcher told RFE/RL that the destruction of the Julfa cemetery “was the largest single case of erasure” of Armenian heritage in the tightly policed Naxcivan region.
    But the 2005 destruction, which was only the final and most brazen demolition of the cemetery, went largely unnoticed by the outside world despite shocking Armenians and some Azerbaijanis.
    An Azerbaijani historian who grew up in Naxcivan and remembers passing by the cemetery as a child on the railway that runs alongside the site, spoke with RFE/RL by telephone.
    The Azerbaijani academic, who asked not to be named, says the destruction at Julfa offended not only Armenians but also many Azerbaijanis in Naxcivan: “They saw it as a part of their history, too,” and says school groups would often be taken to explore the historical site.
    Many people have criticized the silence from UNESCO after the 2005 razing of Julfa and contrasted it with the organization’s strong response to the 2001 destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban in Afghanistan, and of the ancient city of Palmyra by Islamic State militants in Syria in 2015.
    Maghakyan believes senior UNESCO officials were effectively bought off with the so-called “caviar diplomacy’ that oil-rich Azerbaijan is known for.
    An investigative report by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project found that in 2012-14, shadowy companies linked to Azerbaijan paid $468,000 to Kalin Mitrev, the husband of then-UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova. Mitrev has said the payments were legitimate fees for consultancy services. Bokova’s Twitter account was deleted on December 9, the same day this report was issued.
    In 2013, after a $5 million donation from Baku, UNESCO held a photo exhibition called Azerbaijan — Land Of Tolerance, at its Paris headquarters. In 2019, the UNESCO World Heritage Committee held its annual meeting in Baku.
    In response to an e-mailed query from RFE/RL, UNESCO Chief of Communications Matthieu Guevel did not directly address the organization’s lack of response to the 2005 Julfa destruction, saying only that UNESCO “has expressed on several occasions, in public and via diplomatic channels, its concern for the protection of cultural heritage everywhere in the world.”
    Guevel, however, pushed back against accusations of corruption, saying Azerbaijani donations represent only a fraction of contributions from UNESCO members.
    In light of reports of the possible destruction of cultural heritage sites by soldiers during the most recent conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Guevel says UNESCO is “now working with all concerned parties to dispatch a mission on the ground in Nagorno-Karabakh, with a view to assessing the situation and protecting the cultural heritage of this region.”

  24. Historical context of Azeri iconoclasm after the recent war in Nagorno-Karabach:
    November 16 2020 Cultural erasure may spark next Nagorno-Karabakh war
    If Azerbaijan truly wants peace in Artsakh it should allow Armenians to keep five sacred Christian monuments
    Azerbaijan’s recent 44-day war on Armenia-backed Artsakh, better known by its Soviet name of Nagorno-Karabakh, resulted in a Moscow-brokered deal earlier this week that effectively ends millennia-old Armenian existence in much of the region.
    In addition to land already lost on the battlefield, the deal dictates Armenians to cede to Azerbaijan many more territories by December 1. As they evacuate these lands, traumatized Armenians are leaving behind hundreds of sacred sites. Given Azerbaijan’s terrible record with cultural erasure, long-term peace may seem hopeless.
    Over the past 15 years, I have been researching cultural erasure as an understudied aspect of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. My research was prompted in December 2005 when, as a 19-year-old, I watched a newly-taped video of 100 Azerbaijani soldiers deliberately destroying Djulfa, the world’s largest medieval Armenian cemetery that at its height housed 10,000 medieval khachkars (cross-stones).
    Within a year, I produced a short film about the destruction. Last year, my conclusive report, co-authored with historian Sarah Pickman, demonstrated that Djulfa’s erasure was the grand finale of a systematic, covert, and total destruction of 28,000 medieval monuments that represented the indigenous Armenian past of the Nakhichevan region.
    According to Azerbaijan’s authorities, Armenians’ ancient past is fake news. A top Azerbaijani diplomat has dismissed my research as “a figment of Armenia’s imagination.” The 89 medieval churches, 5,840 cross-stones and over 22,000 historical tombstones of Nakhichevan never existed in the first place because, Azerbaijan insists, Armenians are not indigenous to the Caucasus.
    Until 1997, however, Azerbaijan had largely preserved these monuments after relabeling them “Caucasian Albanian.” Since the 1950s, in order to challenge Armenian antiquity and to create a myth of indigenousness, Azerbaijan has “Albanized” medieval Armenian Christianity by proclaiming it the stolen heritage of “Caucasian Albania,” a kingdom nowhere near Nakhichevan that existed until the 7th century.
    Despite its Turkic roots in Central Asia, Azerbaijan prefers to be seen as the Islamized heir to the long-extinct Caucasian Albanians.
    In practice, Azerbaijan’s “Albanization” of Armenian monuments is an inevitable erasure. In the short term, a medieval Christian monastery stripped of its unique Armenian lettered inscriptions may be preserved in Azerbaijan as “Caucasian Albanian,” but likely not permanently so.
    “Albanization” certainly did not prevent the destruction of even Agulis, the most culturally-rich town in Nakhichevan, where all sacred Armenian sites, including the Saint Thomas Cathedral that, per tradition, was originally founded as a chapel by a disciple of Jesus, were methodically destroyed by Azerbaijan’s military starting in 1997.
    The destruction of Agulis (Azerbaijani spelling Yukhari Aylis) was witnessed by its most prominent native son Akram Aylisli, the Azerbaijani novelist that currently lives under house arrest in the capital Baku, in part, for protesting this cultural erasure.
    Right now, hundreds of sacred Armenian sites are in the process of being transferred to Azerbaijan. Some were already captured on the battlefield, especially in the Hadrut region and in the prominent city of Shushi (Azerbaijani spelling is Shusha).
    Many others are in the process of being ceded to Azerbaijan under the ceasefire agreement. In light of how Azerbaijan erased 28,000 monuments in Nakhichevan, Armenians and cultural rights defenders rightfully fear a similar fate for the sacred sites of Artsakh.
    If history is a guide, this is how Azerbaijan will treat the sacred sites of Artsakh.
    First, it will destroy the numerous medieval statuesque khachkars that are nearly impossible to “Albanize” given their rich Armenian inscriptions. One of the most prominent khachkars at grave risk is the 14th century Angels and the Cross in the Vank village of Hadrut region, which Azerbaijan captured last month.
    Second, Azerbaijan is likely to swiftly destroy all lesser-known medieval Armenian churches, as well as medieval inscriptions on secular structures, especially those already under its control in the Hadrut region. In fact, video evidence suggests that Azerbaijani soldiers are already desecrating sacred sites.
    Third, the best-known Cathedrals will likely be “Albanized” and preserved in the short-term, although “Albanizing” the majestic Dadivank Monastery, for instance, will be a particular challenge given its over 100 Armenian inscriptions. Again, in light of what happened in Nakhichevan, Albanization of major sites is an unlikely hope for long-term preservation.
    Finally, for public relations and to underscore the myth that Armenians are not the indigenous peoples of Artsakh, Azerbaijan will likely restore the Holy Savior Ghazanchetsots Cathedral of Shushi it air bombed twice on October 8.
    Although Azerbaijani forces further vandalized the Cathedral after Shushi’s capture, the 19th century structure’s age fits Azerbaijan’s anti-Armenian historical narrative perfectly; a church of similar age has been similarly preserved in Azerbaijan’s capital of Baku for that very purpose.
    The likely token restoration of Shushi’s Holy Savior should not give anyone false hope: the monuments in real danger are the numerous medieval sacred sites that attest to the region’s indigenous Armenian past, especially if they are not well known.
    Cultural erasure and desecration are heartbreakingly painful for Armenians. Some Armenian families are literally digging up the burials of their ancestors to evacuate with them as they leave the lands that will soon be transferred to Azerbaijan.
    One day, perhaps, Armenians may reconcile with the idea that most of their early heritage has been erased. However, five ancient Artsakh monuments are particularly sacred for Armenians, their erasure would permanently scar generations to come:
    · Amaras, founded in the 4th century upon Armenia becoming the first Christian nation, preserves a 5th century mausoleum to a local saint. It is located in the Martuni region. As of this writing, it is unclear who controls the area.
    · Dadivank, the origins of which date back to a 1st century chapel founded by the earliest preachers of Christianity, was built into a monastic complex between the 9th and 13th centuries. Over the past few days, hundreds of Armenians have been flocking to the majestic monastery to light a candle one last time. It is located in the Kelbajar region.
    · Gtichavank, rebuilt in the 13th century, was a key Cathedral for the autonomous principality of Khachen and its Melikdom successors that relentlessly compromised with Arab, Mongol, Persian, and Turkic conquerors to ensure Armenian existence, even if it meant adopting Islamic names. (My mother’s own ancestral Armenian Christian family included names like Aziz, Manuchar, and Sultan.) It is located in the Hadrut region that Azerbaijan captured last month.
    · Tigranakert is a Hellenistic Armenian city likely founded by the Greek-speaking Armenian emperor Tigranes II and also preserves newly-excavated early medieval Christian temples. It is located in the Agdam region and has been recently shelled.
    · Tsitsernavank is one of the first basilica churches in the world. Some of its unique architectural features suggest that it may have been founded as a pagan temple before the year 301. It is located in the Lachin region.
    All of these sacred Armenian sites are within several kilometers of the current or upcoming Armenian-Azerbaijani line of contact. None of them are located in strategic areas. Having lost the 1990s Karabakh war and now won the second one this month, Azerbaijan should deeply consider preventing a third war.
    As painful as the loss of people, homes, lands, mountains, numerous khachkars and many lesser-known churches may be for Armenians, being allowed to keep Amaras, Dadivank, Gtichavank, Tigranakert, and Tsitsernavank may help Armenians heal.
    I am not asking for mercy. I am suggesting a potential path to peace.

    New photos from Azerbaijan’s recent destruction of the Talish Armenian memorial in Karabakh.
    We can only imagine how heartbroken the craftsman of the abstract “Blossoming Khachkar” — pictured in 2017 (left) — is, since this was one of Varpet Varo’s masterpieces, influenced by Djulfa.
    The memorial in part commemorated rebirth after the April 2016 war crimes in Talish, where Azerbaijan’s military mutilated (cut off ears) and executed elderly Armenian civilians.

  26. Turkey rescues 17 asylum seekers pushed back by Greece

    “The Turkish Coast Guard on Thursday rescued at least 17 asylum seekers off the northwestern Canakkale province after they were pushed back to Turkish territorial waters by Greece, a security source said, Anadolu Agency reported.

    The coast guard teams were dispatched to the scene when they learned that a group of asylum seekers, who were trying to reach the Greek island of Lesbos, were stranded on a life boat off Ayvacik district, said the source who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

    They were taken to the shore and transferred to the provincial repatriation center, it added.

    Turkey has been a key transit point for asylum seekers who want to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.

    Earlier this year, Turkey opened its gates to irregular migrants, accusing the EU of failing to keep its promises under a 2016 migrant deal.

    Turkey hosts nearly 4 million Syrians, more than any other country in the world.”

  27. Iranian prisoners to have fingers amputated after ‘sham’ theft conviction

    “Six men detained in an Iranian prison are being tortured and face having their fingers amputated after being convicted of petty crimes in what human rights organisations are calling “sham trials”.

    The inmates of Urmia Prison for petty crimes and taking part in peaceful protests are at risk of having their fingers amputated by prison authorities in an act that is being described as “unspeakably cruel”.

    “The Iranian authorities are yet again readying their tools of torture to deliberately mutilate and traumatise people through unspeakably cruel corporal punishments,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa said in a statement.

    The six men who have been convicted for theft are Hadi Rostami, 33, Mehdi Sharfian, 37, Mehdi Shahivand, 42, Kasra Karami, 40, and brothers Shahab Teimouri Ayeneh and Mehrdad Teimouri Ayeneh, aged 35 and 40. All of whom were convicted between September 2017 and November 2019 in unfair trials that denied access to lawyers and were tortured into confessing their crimes.

    They will soon have four fingers on their right hands completely cut off, as stipulated for certain types of robbery under Iran’s Islamic Penal Code.

    Rostami said Iranian authorities exhausted him physically and mentally until he agreed to sign a blank piece of paper on which Iranian police later added the details of the charges against him.

    Labour rights activist, Davoud Rafiee, 45, was flogged 74 times on his back on 23 November 2020 for “insulting” the minister of labour, after being arrested for staging a one-man protest when he could not afford a birthday present for his daughter.

    “Amputation is judicially-sanctioned torture, and a serious crime under international law. We call on the Iranian authorities to immediately quash the amputation sentences, abolish all forms of corporal punishment, and grant effective remedies to victims,” Eltahawy said.

    “Amnesty International urges the international community, including the EU, its member states and UN human rights bodies, to urgently intervene to stop the Iranian authorities from amputating the fingers of these six men,” she added.

    Eltahawy urged that officials who allowed this to happen must be held to account.

    “The judicial, prosecution and prison officials responsible for ordering and carrying out such acts of torture must be brought to justice in fair trials.””

  28. Migrants: Fire at warehouse in Barcelona, two dead

    “At least two people died and 17 were injured in a fire Wednesday evening at an industrial warehouse occupied by migrants on the outskirts of Barcelona. The fire started around 9 pm at a disused site in the city of Badalone, where between 100 and 200 migrants live in precarious conditions, according to municipal authorities. Images broadcast by local television stations and on social media showed high flames coming out of the building and several people hanging from the windows trying to escape. “I am deeply sorry for the loss of human lives and I thank the emergency services for their work, which saved dozens of people from the flames,” tweeted Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez”

  29. German pro-migrant group claims reporting on Arab and Middle-Eastern clans is ‘racist’

    “Germany’s Spiegel TV’s reporting on clan crime in the country has been deemed “racist” by a media group because it focused on Arab and Middle-Eastern criminal groups.

    The New German Media Professionals awarded Spiegel TV the “Golden Potato” award for portraying migrants in a negative light, claiming there was too much focus on the groups according to German news outlet Junge Freiheit.

    “The bottom line is that the reporting on organized crime in the German media and especially on Spiegel TV is distorted, stigmatized and racist,” the German pro-migrant media group stated.

    One of their complaints is that Spiegel TV allegedly restricts its reports on organized crime almost exclusively to clans. This would give the impression that “mafia-like associations in Germany are primarily Arab families or Romani”. The Federal Criminal Police Office statistics show that only 8 percent of organized crime is attributable to clan crime.

    However, where clans are active, such as in Berlin and North-Rhine Westphalia, they account for a disproportionate amount of crime. Berlin’s chief prosecutor, Ralph Knispe, said this year that clans are a big part of Berlin’s crime problem, with police seizing 77 of their properties in an effort to choke them financially.

    Other prominent criminal groups in Germany include Vietnamese, Chechen, Albanians, Russians, and there is a wide network of Italian Mafia associates operating a swell. German biker gangs also contribute to some of the organized crime in the country, but Germans represent a very small share of organized crime relative to their large share of the population.

    According to the Irish Times, there are up to 200,000 people operating in Arab clan structures in Germany, although many of them are not active in criminality. The clan groups are also responsible for high-profile thefts, extortion, and gang-land murders. Criminality from the clans is also growing, with North-Rhine Westphalia — seen as a hot-spot for Middle-Eastern clans — seeing a 30 percent increase in clan crimes last year.

    What constitutes a ‘clan’?
    The New German Media Professionals also criticized Der Spiegel for what it claims is over-coverage of criminal clans, with the organization also claiming that the term “clan” is reserved for Arabs and Romani and no other groups. The organization also points to prominent German families that are treated differently, writing that “German families owning private businesses such as the Aldi clan, the Bertelsmann clan or the Hohenzollern clan, are never mentioned in this context.”

    The argument fails to take a few distinctions into consideration. For one, those are private and legal businesses or aristocratic families. Aristocratic families may be subject to their own form of criticism, but they are not known for extortion, murder or drug trafficking. In countries such as Italy, there is also nobody referring to private family-owned businesses as mafias, as the mafia is a criminal organization and the family businesses are, quite clearly, an entirely different entity. Likewise, in Germany, it is unrealistic to refer to the Aldi brothers, which are small but wealthy family unit, as a criminal clan.

    Furthermore, Middle-Eastern, Romani and Arab clans are unique in their structure. They are often sprawling and can involve up to 1,000 family members all working together whereas German biker gang members, for instance, are mostly unrelated to one another. In fact, there is no “clan” to speak of when it comes to German biker gangs, although there may be some loose family connections among some members, but certainly there have never been any reports of dozens or hundreds of family members working together within such gangs.

    The Italian mafia, which indeed has earned its own criminal moniker, also often features extensive family connections among members, but historically speaking, most mafias also have never featured the same enormously extensive family networks present in Middle-Eastern and Arab clans. Many members also join the mafioso “families” as members but are totally unrelated to other members, whereas the Arab clans typically operating in Germany very rarely permit outsiders to join the clan.

    The issue of clans has grown in prominence in Germany over the decades, with the Irish Times writing:

    Berlin has about 20 families which can trace their arrival back to fleeing the Lebanon war in the mid-1970s. Some families have Lebanese roots, others were stateless families living there in refugee camps. Many arrived in Germany via East Berlin and applied for asylum in West Berlin or registered as students, and never left.

    By the time the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, some 20,000 such refugees were arriving in the united capital annually. Many, stateless and unable to work legally, turned to crime.

    Many of the stateless arrivals appeared in no statistics and police looked away, says criminologist Dorothee Dienstbühl, “because it involved ethnic minorities”.

    Diesntbühl’s comment on the issue points to the fact that in many instances, police have shown reluctance to take on the clans over fears of racism.

    In its report, the New German Media Professionals have also singled out reporting of other German media outlets on clan crime such as Bild, RTL, ntv, rbb, ZDF, Neue Zürcher Zeitung, Tagesspiegel, Berliner Zeitung, and Welt, claiming that coverage of clans is racist and unfair.

    Germany is not the only country facing the issue of Middle-Eastern clans. Recently, Sweden’s Deputy National Police Chief Mats Löfving said that 40 criminal clans are operating in the country. He said they migrated to Sweden for the purpose of obtaining power, making money, and further expanding their criminal syndicates.

    “These clans have come to Sweden solely to organize crime. They work to create power, they have a great capacity for violence, and they want to make money. And they do that through drug crimes, violent crimes, and extortion,” said Löfving, who made remarks during an interview on Ekot’s Saturday program on Swedish Radio.”

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