Reader’s Links for December 20, 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

97 Replies to “Reader’s Links for December 20, 2020”

  1. GUILTY: Scared Democrats Begin Accusing Vote Fraud Whistleblowers of ‘Sedition and Treason’

    They are scared of their vote steal conspiracy being exposed.

    As more evidence becomes available to the public indicating widespread electoral fraud perpetrated by Democrats, the guilty party is becoming more combative against whistleblowers who are risking their lives to expose the most horrendous crime in U.S. history.

    Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) appeared on CNN on Friday to claim crusaders for electoral transparency and accountability are guilty of “sedition and treason.”

    “These senators and members of Congress who have refused to acknowledge that we had a free and fair election in which Joe Biden beat Donald Trump by over 7 million votes, are bordering on sedition and treason,” she said.

    Trending: VIDEO: Michigan Election Worker Stops Investigation Into Suspicious Ballots at ‘Risk-Limiting Audit’ in Antrim County

    Her comments can be seen here:

    https://bigleaguepolitics.com/guilty-scared-democrats-begin-accusing-vote-fraud-whistleblowers-of-sedition-and-treason/

  2. ‘Asian’ Rape Gang Leader Released Just Eight Years Into 26-Year Term (breitbart, Dec 20, 2020)
    https://www.breitbart.com/europe/2020/12/20/asian-rape-gang-leader-released-just-eight-years-into-26-year-term/

    ““Asian” rape gang ringleader Ahdel ‘Eddie’ Ali has been released back onto the streets just eight years into a notionally 26-year term for raping and pimping girls as young as 13.

    32-year-old Ali was sentenced to a superficially impressive (by the standards of British justice, at least) 26-year extended sentence, including 18 years’ immediate custody and an additional eight years on licence after release — but as with most British sentences, the headline numbers haven proven misleading, with rights to automatic early release on licence and other anti-prison provisions kicking in well before he had served even a single decade behind bars.

    Ahdel Ali and brother Mubarek Ali — who has also been released after serving a tiny fraction of a supposedly 22-year term — led a gang including five other predators believed to have abused around 100 girls in Telford, Shropshire, from 2006 to 2009, with one victim of the city’s gangs describing her experience as “a whirlwind of rape every day, basically.”

    The Alis and their gang were convicted for offences including rape, controlling child prostitution, and trafficking, but all are now likely back on the streets, with the Alis’ fellow gang members having been sentenced to (also notional) terms of just two-and-a-half to seven years.

    “I am concerned that the law still allows for early release of serious sexual offenders, however, since the sentencing of Ahdel Ali and Mubarak Ali the law has changed to prevent this in future and I am proud to have played my part in this change in the law,” said Lucy Allan MP, adding that “On this occasion the authorities handled the matter correctly, informing relevant parties, including victims, of the tagging and the exclusion from the local area.”

    The authorities have not always bothered to consult with or even inform rape gang victims before releasing their abusers, often to the same areas where they committed the abuse, with some even running unexpectedly into rapists the government had pledged to deport while out in public.

    A spokesman for the Ministry of Justice claimed that “Serious sex offenders released on licence are closely monitored and can be returned to prison if they breach strict conditions such as curfews and exclusion zones” — but the ability of even the most stringent licence conditions to curb the activities of criminals intent on reoffending is seriously in doubt, with even convicted terrorists being able to carry out attacks while subject to them on multiple occasions.

    The government has given no indication as to whether or not Ali might be eligible for deportation, or if it will bother to make an effort to remove him if he is.”

  3. YouTube Removes Trump Lawyer’s Opening Statement From Senate Committee Hearing
    By Jack Phillips
    December 20, 2020 Updated: December 20, 2020
    biggersmaller Print

    One of President Donald Trump’s lawyers said YouTube removed his opening statement from a Senate Homeland Security hearing on election fraud.

    “YouTube has decided that my opening statement in the U.S. [Senate], given under oath and based upon hard evidence, is too dangerous for you to see; they removed it. To this day, ‘our evidence has never been refuted, only ignored.’ Why is Google so afraid of the truth? #BigBrother,” lawyer Jesse Binnall wrote on Twitter.

    Another video of his testimony at the hearing, uploaded on Dec. 17 by a separate account, appeared to still be up.

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/youtube-removes-trump-lawyers-opening-statement-from-senate-committee-hearing_3626087.html?utm_source=newsnoe&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2020-12-20-3

  4. the rebel – PUNISHED for PLAYING HOCKEY: Calgary police threaten to TASER young skater at outdoor rink

    Keean Bexte speaks to Ocean Wiesblatt, a young man who was playing hockey at an outdoor rink in Calgary before police showed up and threatened to Taser him for not complying with their demands.

  5. https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/robert-spencer/2020/12/20/obamas-latest-autobiography-rewrites-israeli-history-to-make-you-hate-the-jewish-state-n1221172

    Obama’s Latest Autobiography Rewrites Israeli History to Make You Hate the Jewish State
    BY ROBERT SPENCER DEC 20, 2020 1:22 PM ET

    Whatever the merits or lack thereof of Barack Obama’s presidency, he certainly leads all other presidents in the number of autobiographies he has written, with three compared to a number of his peers who are tied at one. However, his latest one, A Promised Land, is more than just an update on the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of the Most Undeservedly Celebrated Man on the Planet; it’s a full-on apologia for his policies as president, and a program for his impending third term, aka the Biden administration.

    The weighty 768-page tome not only tells you more about His Wonderfulness than you ever thought you wanted to know; it also provides a potted Leftist history of Israel that abundantly illustrates how Leftists see our most reliable ally in the Middle East, and why they hate it with such focused laser-beam intensity.

    Obama portrays Britain and then Israel as occupying powers in Palestine, without ever explaining who actually owned the land they were and are supposedly occupying. He makes no mention of the League of Nations Mandate for Palestine. As The Palestinian Delusion explains in detail, the Mandate directed the British to encourage “close settlement by Jews on the land” for “the establishment of the Jewish national home.” What gave the League the right to do such a thing? The dying Ottoman Empire had ceded Palestine to the League in 1918. Jews had lived in that land from time immemorial, and it was otherwise sparsely populated. It was a perfect place for the Jews who faced discrimination, harassment and worse in Europe and elsewhere to settle.

    Thus the common assumption, which Obama fosters, that the Israelis are illegitimate occupiers of a land that belongs rightly to the Palestinians, founders on the facts. There never was a Palestinian state. No Palestinian king, or emperor, or president. There never was a Palestinian nationality or ethnicity distinct from the nationality and ethnicity of the Arabs of the region. Palestine, like Staten Island or Georgetown, was always the name of a region, not a nation-state or ethnonational home.

    Obama also claims that the Jews “organized highly trained armed forces to defend their settlements,” without mentioning that in 1919, a Muslim leader, Amin al-Husseini, a member of a prominent Arab clan in Jerusalem, orchestrated a series of attacks on Jews all over Palestine. The following year, he instigated riots in Jerusalem during Passover. Amid mass looting and rapes, six Jews were murdered and over two hundred more injured. A court of inquiry found that “the Jews were the victims of a peculiarly brutal and cowardly attack, the majority of the casualties being old men, women and children.”

    This violence was ongoing. In August 1929 in Jerusalem, rioting Arabs murdered 133 Jews and injured over two hundred more, many in their homes. In Hebron, they murdered another sixty-seven Jews, and in Safed, twenty more. The British government-appointed Shaw Commission found that the riots “took the form, in the most part, of a vicious attack by Arabs on Jews accompanied by wanton destruction of Jewish property.” Obama mentions none of this.

    His description of the birth of the State of Israel is no more fair or accurate: “As Britain withdrew, the two sides quickly fell into war. And with Jewish militias claiming victory in 1948, the state of Israel was officially born.”

    The “two sides” were actually tiny Israel against the giant massed forces of Egypt, Syria, Iraq, Transjordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia. They didn’t “fall into war”; the Arab League declared war immediately after Israel declared its independence. Obama’s use of the term “militias” to describe the Israel Defense Forces is doubtless chosen for its resonance with the right-wing, racist, white supremacist militias that American Leftists hysterically imagine to be stalking the land.

    Even worse, Obama claims that “for the next three decades, Israel would engage in a succession of conflicts with its Arab neighbors.” One would get no hint from his account of the fact that Israel “would engage” in all these conflicts not out of some imperialist or supremacist impulse, but because each and every time, Arab forces carried out an unprovoked attack against the Jewish state. But Obama appears determined to portray Israel as the aggressor, trusting in the general ignorance of his readership.

    Obama’s animus toward Israel is so great that he even calls the Temple Mount “one of Islam’s holiest sites,” without ever mentioning its central importance in Judaism.

    A Promised Land thus includes a concise primer for Leftists to remind them of why they must hate Israel. As Obama’s dotty old puppet prepares to enter the Oval Office, this is not a good sign for America’s alliance with Israel, or for peace in the Middle East.

  6. https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/robert-spencer/2020/12/19/rep-debbie-dingell-demands-facebook-remove-criticism-of-islam-n1220996?utm_source=piano&utm_medium=onsite&utm_campaign=582

    Rep. Debbie Dingell Demands Facebook Remove Criticism of Islam
    BY ROBERT SPENCER DEC 19, 2020 11:16 AM ET

    The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) has always had friends in high places, and on Wednesday it celebrated another, announcing that it had “thanked Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-MI) – and the 29 congressional colleagues that joined her – in urging Facebook to take immediate action to eliminate anti-Muslim bigotry from that social media platform.” CAIR’s longtime spokesman Ibrahim “Honest Ibe” Hooper noted proudly that it was “one of several organizations named by Rep. Dingell in her press release announcing the letter.”

    Dingell and her colleagues demanded that Facebook’s chief Mark Zuckerberg “immediately implement” measures including the formation of “a working group comprised of senior staff focused on anti-Muslim bigotry issues”; enforcing “your hate content and hate group policies in a way that ensures militias and white supremacists cannot use your event and group pages to terrorize targeted communities”; agreeing to “an independent third-party review of the company’s role in enabling anti-Muslim violence, genocide and internment”; working toward and committing to a “100 percent proactive detection and removal of anti-Muslim content and all other forms of hate before it is even seen”; committing to “regular anti-discrimination training for your entire staff world-wide [sic]”; and “training key staff on civil rights issues and common words, phrases, tropes or visuals used by hate actors to dehumanize and demonize Muslims.”

    Joining Dingell in this call for sweeping censorship, according to CAIR, were a rogue’s gallery of the most sinister anti-free speech forces in Congress, including Representatives Rashida Tlaib, Ilhan Omar, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (where Ayanna Pressley, the fourth member of The Squad, was on this was not disclosed). Also signing were the House’s quietest Muslim member, André Carson, as well as Carolyn B. Maloney, Jahana Hayes, Max Rose, Barbara Lee, Eddie Bernice Johnson, Bobby L. Rush, Daniel T. Kildee, Jared Huffman, Kathy Castor, Gwen S. Moore, Lauren Underwood, Jan Schakowsky, Mark Pocan, Grace Meng, Bonnie Watson Coleman, Darren Soto, Donald S. Beyer Jr., James P. McGovern, Peter Welch, Jamie Raskin, Pramila Jayapal, Yvette D. Clarke, Raúl M. Grijalva, Earl Blumenauer, and Nydia M. Velázquez.

    No one could reasonably object to removing calls for “anti-Muslim violence, genocide and internment.” The problem arises over the demand that Facebook remove “anti-Muslim content…before it is even seen.” CAIR and its allies have for years defamed any and all opposition to jihad violence and Sharia oppression of women, gays and others as “anti-Muslim bigotry,” lumping such opposition together indiscriminately with calls for “violence, genocide and internment,” stigmatizing it all. This was not careless or rhetorical excess; it was a concerted, well-executed strategy. Now it is taken for granted that the slightest negative word about how Islamic jihadis use the texts and teachings of Islam to justify violence and make recruits among peaceful Muslims, and the smallest hint of disapproval of anything related to Islam, is immediately denounced and dismissed as anti-Muslim bigotry.

    Skeptical? Consider, then, the case of British journalist Julie Burchill. Apparently oblivious to the titanic dimensions of the irony, the publisher Little, Brown just canceled her book Welcome to the Woke Trials: How #Identity Killed Progressive Politics because of an “Islamophobic” Twitter exchange Burchill had with Muslim writer Ash Sarkar. In the course of the exchange, Burchill alluded to Muhammad’s marriage to a six-year-old girl when he was 51, an event that is attested to in the earliest available Islamic texts. Yet for stating something that millions of Muslims around the world take as axiomatically true, Burchill’s book on the cancel culture was canceled.

    And now Dingell and her henchmen are demanding that Facebook implement policies that will institutionalize and universalize such fascist hysteria. Even worse, the political climate is so rancid today that Dingell will pay no political price either for her association with Hamas-linked CAIR or for her open opposition to the freedom of speech. If she doesn’t know that Hamas-linked CAIR and its allies have for years been demonizing and stigmatizing honest discussion of the motivating ideology behind jihad terrorism as “anti-Muslim,” and that her demands will also likely result in the silencing of such discussion, she should know it. Dingell is actively aiding an endeavor to silence all criticism of Islam, which is all smeared in the same way, and enabling the tacit acceptance of Sharia blasphemy law, which forbids such criticism. She is, in short, the very definition of a useful idiot.

  7. Trump Campaign Files Supreme Court Challenge to Overturn Election Results in Pennsylvania
    By Jack Phillips
    December 20, 2020 Updated: December 20, 2020
    biggersmaller Print

    President Donald Trump’s campaign team on Sunday filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court to reverse cases by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court that changed mail-in ballot laws.

    The campaign’s case (pdf) is attempting to reverse three cases decided by the state’s Supreme Court that “illegally changed” the mail-in ballot laws “immediately before and after the 2020 presidential election.” The lawyers contended that the Supreme Court’s decisions are in violation of Article II of the Constitution and the 2000 Bush v. Gore ruling.

    The lawsuit is seeking “all appropriate remedies,” which includes the vacation of electors that were committed to Joe Biden and allowing the Pennsylvania Legislature to call up their own electors. The Electoral College already voted on Dec. 14, although the GOP in Pennsylvania said their own electors cast votes for President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in a bid to preserve legal challenges in the state.

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/trump-campaign-files-supreme-court-challenge-to-overturn-election-results-in-pennsylvania_3626145.html?utm_source=newsnoe&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2020-12-20-4

  8. Lawyer for Sidney Powell to Smartmatic: ‘File Your Lawsuit’
    By Jack Phillips
    December 20, 2020 Updated: December 20, 2020
    biggersmaller Print

    Lawyer Lin Wood said he will represent fellow attorney Sidney Powell after voting machine manufacturer Smartmatic demanded that she retract statements alleging the company was involved in voter fraud during the Nov. 3 election.

    “Knowing my background & experience in defamation law, Sidney [Powell] asked me to represent her & respond to SmartMatic litigation threat,” Wood wrote on Twitter. “Since everything Sidney is saying about election fraud is documented TRUTH, my response to SmartMatic was simple & to the point.”

    Smartmatic previously sent out a letter demanding retractions from Newsmax, One America News Network, and Fox News, according to a statement. Fox News’ Lou Dobbs and Newsmax issued responses after the letters were sent.

    Wood, who has successfully represented a number of high-profile individuals in defamation lawsuits, posted an email response to J. Erik Connolly with Benesch, Friedlander, Coplan & Aronoff LLP, the firm representing Smartmatic. Wood also posted the letter the firm sent to Powell that had demanded the retraction.

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/lawyer-for-sidney-powell-to-smartmatic-ms-powell-retracts-nothing-file-your-lawsuit_3626265.html?utm_source=newsnoe&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2020-12-20-4

  9. ctv news – Hundreds march in Montreal to protest the upcoming restrictions meant to curb the spread of COVID-19

    MONTREAL — Hundreds of people gathered in Montreal Sunday and marched through the city protesting municipal and provincial government restrictions put in place to stop the spread of COVID-19.

    As record numbers of new cases are reported daily, Premier Francois Legault announced all non-essential businesses would be required to close from Dec. 25 to Jan. 11.

    The Montreal rally began at 12:30 p.m. on Sherbrooke St. at McGill College Ave. with marchers heading towards Parc Lafontaine holding signs reading “We Reject your Great Reset,” “Better to die free that live without freedom,” “All Businesses are Essential” and others.

    Montreal police (SPVM) spokesperson Veronique Comtois said officers were on hand to ensure protesters respected health measures. She said there were no major issues, but that a full report was not available in the early evening.

    Many were not wearing masks or respecting a two-metre distance between one another and officers handed out fines.

    https://montreal.ctvnews.ca/hundreds-march-in-montreal-to-protest-the-upcoming-restrictions-meant-to-curb-the-spread-of-covid-19-1.5239414

  10. Rights Organization Requests Algerian Government to Halt Mass Deportation of Migrants
    https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2693411/rights-organization-requests-algerian-government-halt-mass-deportation-migrants

    “The Algerian League for the Defense of Human Rights (LADDH) has called on the government to halt the mass deportation of migrants from sub-Saharan countries.

    In a report published on Saturday, the League demanded that the government establish a “legal framework and mechanisms for receiving and accommodating migrants from sub-Saharan Africa, in line with the international human rights standards and in implementation of Algeria’s international commitments on asylum and refugee protection.”

    “Authorities are called upon to halt the campaigns of mass deportations of migrants.”

    LADDH also criticized “forced deportations,” stressing that such moves violate the laws and Algeria’s hospitality and good neighborliness.

    “The deportation of migrants shall be done individually, with each case examined separately, with full respect for the right to asylum for those who request it.”

    Combating human trafficking under the pretext of preserving national security must be carried out in line with respecting the rights and migrants’ dignity, the report added.

    It affirmed that over 1,528 Algerian clandestine migrants were expelled from France in 2018.

    French Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin visited Algeria in November and discussed with senior officials the deportation of Algerians who reside illegally in France or are extremist suspects.

    This matter was discussed in light of the beheading of a French teacher in October by a Chechen national.

    According to a 2019 data by the International Organization for Migration, there are 294,000 clandestine migrants in Algeria.

    Non-governmental organizations confirm that there are almost 500,000 migrants, most of whom work in construction projects and are from neighboring Mali and Niger.

    Human rights activists have stressed that the authorities have deported 16,000 Nigerians in 2020.

    Algeria’s official news agency quoted on Saturday an expert in migration affairs as saying that Algiers had previously been a transit country for migrants.

    He stated that it is now in the process of becoming a host country over the difficulty facing migrants in reaching European Union countries that closed their borders, a matter of serious concern for Algerian national security.

    Between early 2020 and September 6, 85 Algerian migrants went missing at sea, according to LADDH’s report.

    It pointed out that almost 5,500 migrants were also arrested on the Spanish coast.

    About 31,000 Algerian migrants live in Europe without residence permits, 2019 EU data showed.”

  11. New York Times says Caliphate podcast probably made up by ‘con artist’
    https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/new-york-times-caliphate-podcast-retracted-made-up

    “The New York Times admitted on Friday that its award-winning Caliphate podcast, based in large part on the apparent confessions of a self-styled Islamic State (IS) group executioner, did not meet its standards for accuracy and was likely made up by a “con artist”.

    The US newspaper launched a review of the 2018 series in September after Shehroze Chaudhry, a Canadian man prominently featured in several episodes in which he describes himself shooting hostages and witnessing other atrocities in Syria in 2014, was arrested in Toronto and charged with perpetrating a terrorist hoax.

    The review concluded that the series, presented by foreign correspondent Rukmini Callimachi, had given “too much credence to [Chaudhry’s] false or exaggerated accounts”.

    It said that fact-checking details about Chaudhry’s account of the time he claimed to have spent in Syria was “not sufficiently rigorous” and journalists had been “too credulous” in their reporting….”

  12. Brutal killing of Iraqi sisters by ‘drunken brother’ sparks outrage
    https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2020/12/20/killing-of-iraqi-sisters-by-drunken-brother-sparks-outrage

    “Two Iraqi sisters have been killed, allegedly by their brother, in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior said on Sunday.

    The brother was under the influence of alcohol when he carried out the attack, a ministry statement added without elaborating on how the women where killed.

    “The incident of the killing of the two sisters in Sadr City, east of Baghdad, was carried out by their drunken brother,” Major General Saad Maan confirmed, according to local reports.

    The horrific incident has been labelled as a so-called honour killing, according to the ministry statement…”

  13. Kuwait: 2 million Captagon pills, guns and liquor bottles seized
    https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/kuwait/kuwait-2-million-captagon-pills-guns-and-liquor-bottles-seized-1.76023079

    “Kuwaiti security authorities have foiled an attempt to smuggle two million Captagon pills, firearms and wine bottles that were brought into the country via in a truck coming from Saudi Arabia, local media reported.

    Suspects involved in the trafficking of drugs, weapons and liquor were also arrested during an operation carried out by Kuwaiti authorities in coordination with Saudi authorities

    The seizure was a result of cooperation and coordination between the Kuwaiti Ministry of Interior’s General Administration for Drug Control and the Saudi Ministry of Interior’s General Directorate for Narcotics Control.

    The coordination of both sides revealed that there was an attempt to smuggle a large quantity of Captagon pills inside the truck at Wafra area, the ministry said during a press conference…”

  14. Morocco’s Royal Navy Assists 127 Irregular Migrants in the Mediterranean
    https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/12/329379/moroccos-royal-navy-assists-127-irregular-migrants-in-the-mediterranean/

    “On Saturday, coast guards from Morocco’s Royal Navy assisted 127 would-be irregular migrants in the Mediterranean.

    Morocco’s state media said the would-be irregular migrants, who are mostly from sub-Saharan Africa, include 14 women and two minors.

    The Royal Navy found the migrants aboard makeshift inflatable boats.

    The coast guard gave the migrants the necessary care before escorting them to various ports in Morocco.

    Morocco is both a destination and transit country for migrants looking for better economic opportunities.

    Morocco’s approach to irregular migration is based on a humanitarian strategy, targeting human trafficking organizations.

    The North African country interrupted several irregular migration attempts this year.

    One of the latest operations took place in October when police in the city of Guelmim, in southern Morocco, arrested five individuals for their involvement in irregular migration and human trafficking.

    Another operation in October also led to the arrest of four suspects for their alleged involvement in human trafficking.

    Official data for 2020’s security operations against human trafficking is still not available. However, government statistics show that Morocco’s security services interrupted 74,000 irregular migration attempts in 2019.

    Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN) said that it apprehended 27, 217 would-be migrants last year. Moroccans accounted for 26% of those arrested trying to migrate without documents.”

  15. First Turkey-China freight train completes historic trip
    https://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/first-turkey-china-freight-train-completes-historic-trip-160975

    “In a major milestone, the first train carrying goods from Turkey to China reached its destination on Dec. 19, Turkey’s transport and infrastructure minister said.

    “Announcing Turkey’s power in logistics to the world from every city it passed through, the China Export Train is our victory in rail transport,” Adil Karaismailo?lu wrote on Twitter.

    The train set off from Istanbul on Dec. 4 and covered a distance of 8,693 kilometers (over 5,400 miles) across Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan, the Caspian Sea, and Kazakhstan to reach China’s Xi’an city.

    It followed the Trans Caspian East-West Middle Corridor via Baku-Tbilisi-Kars railway, according to a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement at the time of departure.

    The journey included more than 2,300 kilometers (over 1,440 miles) in Turkey, 220 kilometers (some 135 miles) in Georgia, 430 kilometers (over 265 miles) in Azerbaijan, 420 kilometers (some 260 miles) across the Caspian Sea, 3,200 kilometers (nearly 1,990 miles) in Kazakhstan, and 2,100 kilometers (over 1,300 miles) in China.”

  16. Turkey: 35 irregular migrants held
    https://www.aa.com.tr/en/turkey/turkey-35-irregular-migrants-held/2082548

    “At least 35 irregular migrants were held in southwestern coastal Turkey, security sources said on Saturday.

    Acting on a tip of suspicious activity at a building under construction in Fethiye in the Mugla province, local security units found at least 35 migrants, including women and children, said the source, who asked not to be named due to restrictions on speaking to the media.

    Among the migrants were nationals of Syria, Iran, Egypt, and Afghanistan.

    Sources said some of the irregular migrants had life vests with them.

    The irregular migrants will be sent to the local province migration management office.

    Turkey has been a key transit point for irregular migrants aiming to cross into Europe to start new lives, especially those fleeing war and persecution.”

  17. US says will ‘react’ if Iran seeks to avenge Soleimani killing
    https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20201220-us-says-will-react-if-iran-seeks-to-avenge-soleimani-killing

    “Washington is “prepared to react” if Tehran launches an attack to mark the first anniversary of the killing of powerful Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the head of US forces in the Middle East warned Sunday.

    “We are prepared to defend ourselves, our friends and partners in the region, and we’re prepared to react if necessary,” General Kenneth McKenzie, who heads the US Central Command (Centcom), told journalists.

    He was touring the region weeks before the anniversary of the January 3, 2020 killing of Soleimani by a US drone strike near the Baghdad airport.

    “My assessment is we are in a very good position and we’ll be prepared for anything the Iranians or their proxies acting for them might choose to do,” McKenzie, a four-star marine general, told a small group of journalists in a telephone interview from an undisclosed location in the region.

    The Centcom commander said he had recently visited Baghdad, where he met with the head of the anti-jihadist coalition, American General Paul Calvert, as well as the Iraqi army chief of staff, General Abdul Amir Yarallah.

    McKenzie said he had also gone to Syria to meet with American forces deployed in the small southern base at Al-Tanf, near the border with Jordan and Iraq.

    In an apparent sign of US military leaders’ concerns about Iranian intentions after Soleimani’s killing, McKenzie’s current tour was not announced in advance.

    Similarly, last week’s visits by General Mark Milley, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, to Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel and Afghanistan were kept secret until he had left the region.

    “I talk to my commanders about it every day and I think we will be ready,” McKenzie said.

    Even as the US Army continues troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan ordered by President Donald Trump — with a goal of drawing down to 2,500 in each country by January 15 — the Pentagon has substantially reinforced its posture around Iraq to dissuade Iran from launching any attack.

    The aircraft carrier USS Nimitz has been patrolling Gulf waters since late November, and two American B-52 bombers recently overflew the region in a demonstration of strength clearly aimed at Iran and its allies.

    Still, a volley of rockets exploded Sunday near the US embassy in Baghdad, causing material damage but no casualties, according to Iraqi security forces.

    It was the third attack on American military and diplomatic installations there since an indefinite truce was agreed with pro-Iranian groups in October.”

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