Reader’s Links for January 13, 2021


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

83 Replies to “Reader’s Links for January 13, 2021”

  1. USA Watchdog. $45/ silver? What does a $45/ silver world look like? What does a $2500/ gold world look like? So yes, we buy in because we must, but it is only to preserve and protect.

    And as an aside. Imagine all of the unimagined benefits our masters are discovering from lockdowns. Financial crisis events used to require a bank holiday. You know, preventing a run on the banking system by closing the doors? Well, this is no longer required, is it? Why not simply invoke another viral mutation, or say the numbers are up and shut everyone down? Cynical? Sure. But true? How about the next time we are shut down (tomorrow night in my neck of the woods), Dear Premier, you explain to us why you suddenly mandate masks be worn OUTSIDE while the WHO says we shouldn’t wear masks at all, and a considerable body of scientific study concurs. Show us the science. Show us why, for the first time, we quarantine the healthy. Show us the real numbers on middle-class Covid policy-driven bankruptcies, suicides, divorces, unemployment, debt, alcoholism, drug addiction and prozac prescription increases. Show us real-time hospital emergency areas to prove how truly overwhelmed they are. Compare Covid policy deaths to real Covid deaths. Show us the ages of those comparables. Let US decide. Show us the real picture rather than forcing the circumspect portion of the demographic to swallow your ra-ra “…Ontarians are tough…” nonsense.

    Let’s not kid ourselves. Gold and silver, in our current world, are also a misery index.

  2. Dear VTB readers, I notice more infighting among us. Passions and worries run high these days, I understand. We here all have a fairly good picture of what’s going on, I think, because of Vlad’s incredibly balanced, generous and careful lead for understanding, and because we have all been learning from each other.

    And fight away, I say, in the spirit of civil, meaningful discourse!

    Do not, however, bring this blog down by saying stupid things that the thought cops will use for their justification. If you’re writing drunk don’t press “Post Comment” without letting your comment gestate for good measure. Do not go away mad because your skin is too thin to take minor criticism. This little community needs all hands on deck. It took a long time to assemble, and some have departed, and I can say that those who did depart were generally great contributors. For those of you who left but still lurk, come back. Pride cometh before the fall, and you have fallen in no one’s eyes here. Trolls we are good at–they don’t last.

    Sorry, but I feel this needs to be said now, and Vlad is in a position, for multiple reasons, that prevents him from speaking completely freely.

    Badly-measured comments will make us all go poof, and that bad guys win again.

    • I agree that we must protect VT as a first requisite but really your comment merely reinforces what I guess that we all knew: free speech is totally dead and only comments worded as politically correct woke material are acceptable so as not to put VT at risk nor hurt the feelings of the hypersensitive. You have to marvel at the efficiency of our being painted into mute corner. When Speakers’ Corner itself (not literally but metaphorically) went under I wondered just how it would be before the enforced silence became world wide, I just never thought that it would be so quick or so efficient.

      • ” I guess that we all knew: free speech is totally dead and only comments worded as politically correct woke material are acceptable so as not to put VT at risk nor hurt the feelings of the hypersensitive.”

        No one accused them of hate speech when fantasising about wanting to.shoot Nancy! They were only accused of trolling. Two totally different things.

        I laid out my case for what sloppy writing does in the public square that can be used against us. I looked forward to their reply. For trolls don’t apologise or explain themselves. They threateningly. But don’t mean. @in clear wording. Phishing for unguarded moments for emotional upset on websites.

        Just be aware, like for all emails.

        Trials by Mainstream Media are magnified: Spitting at someone in the moment sends out a good message that the other party are rude to be videoing them without their consent. I would not go as far as punching them in the face or shooting them. But this feeling, of someone spying on you, I can empathise with, and I will let this heat of the moment slide and not suspend their employment, and focus more on the perpetrator. It was a good lesson for the 14 year old to see some people will fight back, and a bad lesson from her father to put it online to enforce this Submission of the Cuck.

        Your arguments, Michelle, are most valued and agreed with. Free speech was never the issue.

  3. The Great Unraveling
    The old order is dead. What comes next?

    Bari Weiss
    16 hr ago

    Thought comes before action. Words come before deeds. Media that profits from polarization will stoke it. Lies — maybe harmless for the moment, maybe even noble — create a lying world.

    I’ve known this for a while. It’s why I left The New York Times. And it is why, as much as I miss doing journalism, I’ve been cautious at every next step.

    Hate sells, as the journalist Matt Taibbi has convincingly argued, and as anyone looking at Twitter trending topics over the past few years can see. If Americans are buying rage, is there a real market for something that resists it?

    Hate sells and hate also connects. Communities can grow quite strong around hatred of difference, and that’s exactly what’s happened to the American left and the right. It is painful to resist joining a mob when that mob includes most of your friends. It feels good, at least in the short term, to give in.

    So part of my hesitation about what comes next is that I have been unsure about who will have the strength to stand apart from the various tribes that can give their members such pleasure of belonging. It is hard to know how to build things that are immune to these dangerous forces when the number of the people who are — or appear to me — immune to it is so very small.

    Perhaps a psychologist can explain what makes these people resistant. Is it personality type? Is it principle? Is it rootedness in a real community with real people who you love and who love you and who you trust when they call you out on your bullshit?

    I don’t know the answer. But I know that you have to be sort of strange to stand apart and refuse to join Team Red or Team Blue. These strange ones are the ones who think that political violence is wrong, that mob justice is never just and the presumption of innocence is always right. These are the ones who are skeptical of state and corporate power, even when it is clamping down on people they despise. The ones who still hold fast to the old ideas enshrined in our constitution.

    I am lucky to know more than most. A good number of them are people who I once regarded as my ideological enemies. Or rather: they are people who I still regard as my opponents on any number of issues that are extremely important to me, but who see clearly that the fight of the moment, the fight that allows for us to have those disagreements in the first place, is the fight for liberalism.

    One of those people is Robby George.

    Robby is among the most important Catholic intellectuals of our era. He is a Princeton professor, a lover of great wine, a wonderful writer, a total gentleman, and one of the most articulate opponents of gay marriage in the country.

    Now is a good time to say that as soon as the pandemic ends I plan to invite all of my friends to an inappropriately large wedding where I will stand under a chuppah and marry a woman (Nellie Bowles, the love of my life). I am profoundly grateful that we have that right. And I’m grateful for all of those, including my friend Andrew Sullivan, who waged the battle to win it.

    Robby might not want to go to a gay wedding. But I love that at least for now I still live in an America where he and I can sit together, over good food on a dark night in the middle of a pandemic and talk about what is broken and how we might join together to fix it. That act is the whole point of the American experiment.

    Share Common Sense with Bari Weiss

    So that’s how I found myself at dinner in New Jersey a few weeks ago with Robby and Sergiu Klainerman and Joshua Katz — all professors who stand against the censors. We were talking about what this moment was asking of us and what could be around the bend, what was coming and how to prepare.

    Robby pulled out his phone, then, and asked what I knew about Heinrich Heine. I knew the Nazis had burned his books, that he was a Jew who had converted to Christianity. That was about it.

    In 1834, Robby told me, Heine wrote a prose poem that prophesied the evil that would swallow Europe a century later. He read it to the table:

    “Christianity — and that is its greatest merit — has somewhat mitigated that brutal Germanic love of war, but it could not destroy it. Should that subduing talisman, the cross, be shattered, the frenzied madness of the ancient warriors, that insane Berserk rage of which Nordic bards have spoken and sung so often, will once more burst into flame. This talisman is fragile, and the day will come when it will collapse miserably. Then the ancient stony gods will rise from the forgotten debris and rub the dust of a thousand years from their eyes, and finally Thor with his giant hammer will jump up and smash the Gothic cathedrals.”

    Tears rolled down my face as he spoke these lines, as they do now as I re-read them:

    “Do not smile at the visionary who anticipates the same revolution in the realm of the visible as has taken place in the spiritual. Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder. German thunder is of true Germanic character; it is not very nimble, but rumbles along ponderously. Yet, it will come and when you hear a crashing such as never before has been heard in the world’s history, then you know that the German thunderbolt has fallen at last. At that uproar the eagles of the air will drop dead, and lions in the remotest deserts of Africa will hide in their royal dens. A play will be performed in Germany which will make the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll.”

    How did Heine see it? How, a hundred years before Hitler, did he possess the terrible vision that “a play would be performed in Germany which will make the French Revolution look like an innocent idyll”?

    He understood, first, that the “talisman” was fragile, that the veneer of civilization was so much thinner than most people understood. And he understood that if it was torn “the ancient stony gods,” who never really died, could be awakened from their sleep once again.

    Second, Heine saw with total clarity that revolutions in the street begin as revolutions in sense-making. “Do not laugh at one who foresees in the region of the visible the revolution that has already occurred in the invisible domain of the spirit. Thought precedes action as lightning precedes thunder.”

    The invisible revolutions of the 21st century — revolutions that began with word games and lies — are increasingly apparent in the “region of the visible.”

    Did we hear, in the shattering glass and gunshots at the Capitol on Wednesday, our own version of Heine’s prophetic crashing? I’m not sure if that horrific date will be the our grandchildren will remember or if it will be another. What I am sure of now is that there will be more thunder.

    For a while now I have thought of this period as a great unraveling — the unraveling of the old truths, the old political consensus, the old order, the old conventions, the old guardrails, the old principles, the old shared stories, the old common identity.

    The metaphor of the unraveling is true enough, but it fails to capture the takeover and the unimaginable strength of the new powers that have superseded the old ones. My friend David Samuels has dubbed it the age of the machines and I think that gets it right.

    “The machines ate us,” he wrote in Tablet last month. “We are all sick with the same disease, which is being pumped through our veins by the agents of a monopolistic oligarchy — whether they present themselves as the owners of large technology companies, or as the professional classes that are dependent on those companies for their declining wealth and status, or as identity politics campaigners, or security bureaucrats. The places where these vectors converge make up the new ideology, which is regulated by machines; the places outside this discourse are figured as threats, and made to disappear from screens and search results, using the same technologies that they use in China.”

    The machines ate Ashli Babbitt, the 35-year-old Air Force veteran and Obama voter who slid into the gutter corners of the MAGA web and followed the siren song of Q to the capitol before bleeding out for the president in the people’s house.

    The machines ate the former Jeopardy! champion and left-wing Twitter pundit Arthur Chu, who wrote that Babbit was “a pile of meat that moved and spoke and acted like a person was made to stop moving, and thus could no longer fool people into thinking it was one of them.” He said of her death: “You should feel less bad than you do about putting down a rabid animal.”

    When a person with a blue check mark openly calls another human being, a fellow citizen, a “pile of meat” you should be very worried about what comes next.

    You can log off. You can get into psychedelics or reading the stars or overpaying for bath oils. And maybe those are the wise things to do. But all the #selfcare in the world won’t save you from living in the time you and I were born into.

    I think David’s advice is wise: “The good news is that the most important events of my life, and your life, will always take place more or less within a 25-foot radius of wherever we are standing. Like the Beatles said, all you need is love. So, try to be kind, and avoid making sweeping statements about large classes of people. Give food to the hungry. Tell your children that you love them. And please, whatever you do, don’t embrace anyone’s sweeping program for remedying historical injustice, because history’s victims are already dead—and soon, there will be plenty more of them. I can hear the sound of the engines revving up, even from here.”

    I heard them loudly this weekend.

    Now those machines, operated by people none of us elected, have begun an open war against us.

    It’s not that Trump was permanently banned from Twitter. I’d be happy to never hear that voice or see those CAPS again. It’s that Twitter can ban whoever it wants whenever it wants for whatever reason. It’s that all the real town squares have been shuttered and that the only one left is pixelated and controlled by a few oligarchs in Silicon Valley.

    We were promised the Internet would be better than democracy. But then it got privatized. Corporations own it. There is no online bill of rights. There is only the frenzy of the mob and fickle choices of a few billionaires.

    Please spare me the impoverished argument about the free market and private companies not being bound by the constitution. Barring businesses from using online payment systems; removing companies from the App Store; banning people from social media — these are the equivalent of telling people they can’t open a bank account or start a business or drive down a street. (To my mind, David Sacks, who has spent his career building and funding tech companies, has been articulating this more powerfully than anyone out there. Follow him here.)

    That almost every credentialed journalist and liberal public intellectual appears to be cheering on this development because it’s happening to the Bad People is grotesque. They will look like fools much faster than they realize.

    On Saturday night, I asked a bigwig in Silicon Valley how we could build new things that aren’t vulnerable to being purged or compromised or otherwise demolished by the forces of Facebook and Twitter and Apple and Google and Amazon.

    “Used mimeograph machines,” he replied.

    Before I buy this one on e-bay for $489, I figured it was better to start here.

    I have some ideas for what the future holds for me. A few of those projects will be launching in the coming weeks. Others are longer-term.

    To announce my columns, events and book in the past, I’ve used Twitter. But as these platforms crack down, there’s obviously a chance that won’t be possible in the future. I’ll continue to tweet out my work, but I’ll also be sharing it here.

    On Thursday (10 a.m. EST) I’ll be doing an event with Jonathan Haidt, Katie Herzog and Suzanne Moore on the state of the press. Sign up here.

    This weekend I wrote a column for the German newspaper Die Welt about the vile events of January 6, 2021, and what they portend. You can read it here in English.

    I don’t speak German, but was really excited to see it on page two:

    If you’ve made it all the way here (hi, dad!), thanks for reading.

    • “Robby might not want to go to a gay wedding”

      Correct. Because the institution of Marriage, is about survival between the generations. It is not about narcissism. When you change its meaning, Marriage means nothing and anything.

      Bringing children fatherless and motherless, under a dhimmi, or a single parent, into the world; is not what Robby, the venerator of the Most Holy Mother, is about.

      These homes of domesticated humanity – those who have lost their instincts via the doggy-bowls of freestuff – are where the seeds of violence into tiny heads, are sown.

      • Also marriage is not about hedonism. In fact marriage is the opposite of hedonism. its about corralling your desires in a wrapper of commitment for the reality of what life with another person is actually like.

        I suspect that gay marriage is more hedonistic in nature often.

        But your central thesis is the important one. Few would have objected to creating a civil union to give homosexual partners the legal protections they claim to have wanted. But opening up and changing the definition of marriage was not about equal rights at all.

        It was about destroying by negation the nature of marriage as an institution altogether.

  4. Sure we know it. But it’s going too far to say only politically-correct woke material is acceptable. I’m neither woke nor politically correct and never will be. We just have to use our heads a little under the circumstances. Be creative. These are the similar circumstances under which Eastern European absurdist literature, and others, was born. It takes brains, energy and imagination, is all. I’ll find a way to say whatever the fuck I want.

    • No we don’t have to put nothing but politically correct thoughts up here, we do have to be careful to avoid anything that could be considered incitement to violence. I know that I use a lot of historical examples from WWII and the Nam Era but that is because they are the eras when what happened has been studied so much.

      The closest I can come to what is happening is that this is 1933 and the Reichstag Fire has happened. The Brown and Black Shirts are marching and all politicians who are opposing the left have big targets on their backs. We aren’t having many major battles between the Conservatives and the Libs but that is coming. I say the Brown and Black Shirts are marching because of what happened in New York City yesterday,I think it was yesterday, that was when I discovered the article and posted it and the videos of Antifa in full black block uniform and tactical gear marching in New York. They were doing a decent job of holding position while marching, this is a very bad sign but not one that says the things are going to go down the tubes right now.

      It is not yet 1938 and Krystal Nacht yet but that is coming.

  5. You MUST see the photo! Click on over. This is how insane we as a society have become.

    January 12, 2021
    It’s a Madhouse! It’s a Madhouse!
    We should trust our ruling class. They are competent, professional, and mentally healthy individuals deserving our continued deference and respect.

    Meet the new Teletubbies! Council recruits men with TVs strapped above their heads to walk the streets and warn public not to break Covid lockdown rules
    Bizarre move saw volunteers pound streets of Bradford, Yorkshire, with screens

    Bradford Council announced the ‘iWalkers’ scheme this week but deleted post

    The TVs weigh 18lbs and have a 19inch screen which are hoisted above shoulders


    PUBLISHED: 08:20 EST, 8 January 2021

    A council have recruited men with TVs strapped above their heads to walk the streets to police lockdown.

    The bizarre move saw staff and volunteers pound the streets of Bradford, Yorkshire, with TVs, which weigh 18lbs and have a 19inch screen, hoisted on their shoulders.

    Bradford Council announced the ‘iWalkers’ scheme this week but due to public backlash it has been forced to delete a Facebook post detailing its plans.

    The scheme, which saw the TVs showing coronavirus rules, was announced via Facebook on Tuesday, but officials deleted the post just two days later.

    The council claimed comments ‘crossed the line into abuse of people who are working hard to help residents and workers in Bradford District stay safe and stop the spread of the virus’.

    The authority has defended the move claiming the scheme has been ‘well received generally by members of the public’.

    posted by Ace at 12:08 PM

    • As they are public servants(sic!)I can imagine the future compensation claims for neck and upper back problems already. I suppose that it beats fire hoses, dogs and flame throwers.
      BUT!! Just how many were seen in the muslim ghetto area there? 0 I will bet

  6. Va. gov flouts law, leaves GOP Senate seat vacant to ensure unchecked progressive dominance – Liberty Unyielding
    Hans Bader
    5-7 minutes

    Va. gov flouts law, leaves GOP Senate seat vacant to ensure unchecked progressive dominance

    Ralph S. Northam (Image: Richmond Times-Dispatch)

    Virginia’s state senate had a narrow Democratic majority, with 21 Democrats and 19 Republicans. Then, on Jan. 1, Republican State Senator Ben Chafin died. Virginia’s Democratic governor deliberately delayed filling the seat, so that progressive bills will be able to pass the state legislature more easily, and without being moderated by the amendment process.

    Keeping the seat vacant will make it easier to pass progressive bills even when not all Democrats vote for them — such as when a relatively moderate Democratic senator votes against a bill to release criminals earlier. That occasionally happened in 2020, such as when a Democratic senator voted against lowering the age of geriatric release for some criminals to age 50.

    Keeping the seat vacant ignores the governor’s duty to call special elections to fill vacancies that result from a legislator dying. Virginia Code Section § 24.2-216 provides: “The Governor shall issue a writ of election to fill the [House or Senate] vacancy. If the vacancy occurs during the session of the General Assembly, the Speaker of the House of Delegates or the President pro tempore of the Senate, as the case may be, shall issue the writ unless the respective house by rule or resolution shall provide otherwise.”

  7. Reports: ‘March for Reparations’ in D.C. on Jan. 20; authorities eye ‘armed protests’ as well – Liberty Unyielding
    Daily Caller News Foundation
    3-4 minutes

    Reports: ‘March for Reparations’ in D.C. on Jan. 20; authorities eye ‘armed protests’ as well

    By Kaylee Greenlee

    A demonstration to call attention to reparations and possible “armed protests” are expected to occur in Washington, D.C. on Jan. 20, the day of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, according to reports.

    A reparations movement march organized by a coalition of groups including Black PACT and Black Lives Matter Minnesota is awaiting a decision on their permit application from the National Parks Service, the DCist reported Tuesday. “Armed protests” are reportedly being planned from Jan. 17 through Jan. 20 at the U.S. Capitol, according to an FBI bulletin obtained by ABC News.

    “We stand by our first amendment right of free speech and our rights as citizens to petition our federal government, and we will not allow white supremacy thugs to intimidate us out of exercising those rights,” reparations march organizer Tara Perry said, the DCist reported.

    Trending: Va. gov flouts law, leaves GOP Senate seat vacant to ensure unchecked progressive dominance

    She declined to say whether the group would still demonstrate if they were not issued a permit, according to the DCist. (RELATED: DC Mayor Muriel Bowser Asks Trump And Several Federal Agencies To Help Prepare For Biden Inauguration)

  8. Civil rights activist who was among Capitol rioters was far-left agitator – Liberty Unyielding
    Howard Portnoy
    4-5 minutes

    Civil rights activist who was among Capitol rioters was far-left agitator

    John Earle Sullivan (Image: Utah County Jail)

    To listen to John Earle Sullivan tell it, he was a passive observer when a mob stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6. Sullivan, who was arrested last July and faces criminal charges in connection with a protest he organized in Utah, claims he was at the U.S. Capitol insurgence last week purely for the purposes of chronicling the insurrection.

    “I was there to record. I was there to let people see that situation in the best possible way,” he said in a video posted to Periscope last Friday. But the footage that he uploaded belies his claim he was merely a spectator. DeseretNews reports:

  9. Pakistani Migrant Arrested After Attempted Rape of Five-Year-Old (breitbart, Jan 13, 2021)

    “Greek police arrested a 20-year-old Pakistani male after he attempted to rape a five-year-old girl after luring the child away from her mother.

    The incident took place in the greater Koropi region near Athens last weekend and allegedly saw the 20-year-old man lure the five-year-old and, unsuccessfully, attempt to drag her away.

    The child escaped the Pakistani migrant, who works at a local equestrian club, and described what had happened to her mother who promptly called the police, newspaper Proto Thema reports.

    Police later arrested the migrant and investigators say they are looking into whether or not the migrant may have attempted similar attacks in the past.

    The case comes just weeks after a suspected rape of a three-year-old child at the Kara Tepe migrant camp on the island of Lesbos. The young Afghan child was found unconscious and bleeding and was later taken to a hospital in Mytilene.

    Just days before the incident in Kara Tepe, another Pakistani migrant was accused of raping an eight-year-old boy on the island of Kos after dragging the child into a field near a migrant reception facility.

    According to reports, the 20-year-old Pakistani had threatened to kill the child before raping him.

    In Athens, another Pakistani, a local drug dealer, was arrested after allegedly drugging, threatening, sexually assaulting, and raping underage girls in his apartment.

    The two girls, aged 16 and 17, eventually escaped and found police as the migrant chased them down the road. Officers then arrested the half-naked Pakistani. During a search of the apartment, investigators found large amounts of drugs, including the date rape drug Rohypnol.”

  10. Intense Israeli strikes in east Syria; region on high alert (abcnews, Jan 13, 2021)

    “Israeli warplanes carried out intense airstrikes in eastern Syria early Wednesday, apparently targeting positions and arms depots of Iran-backed forces as the region is on high alert. At least 57 fighters were killed and dozens were wounded, according to a Syrian opposition war monitoring group.

    A senior U.S. intelligence official with knowledge of the attack told The Associated Press that the airstrikes were carried out with intelligence provided by the United States — a rare incidence of publicized cooperation between the two countries over choosing targets in Syria. The official said the strikes targeted a series of warehouses in Syria that were being used in a pipeline to store and stage Iranian weapons.

    The U.S. official, who requested anonymity to speak about the matter, said U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo discussed Tuesday’s airstrike with Yossi Cohen, chief of Israel’s spy agency Mossad, at a public meeting in the popular Washington restaurant Café Milano on Monday.

    The warehouses also served as a pipeline for components that support Iran’s nuclear program, the official said. There was no immediate comment from Iran.

    Syria’s state news agency SANA said the strikes hit areas in and near the towns of Deir el-Zour, Mayadeen and Boukamal along the border with Iraq. An unnamed military official was quoted as saying Syrian air defenses responded to the incoming missiles. It gave no further details.

    A Syrian opposition war monitoring group reported at least 18 strikes in Deir el-Zour and along the border with Iraq, saying several arms depots were hit. The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 57 people were killed, including 14 Syrian troops, and the rest were Iran-backed fighters including 16 Iraqis and 11 Afghans. Dozens were wounded.

    The death toll could not be independently verified. If confirmed, it would make it one of the deadliest Israeli strikes in Syria over the past 10 years.

    “They burned Iranian positions in Deir el-Zour,” said Omar Abu Laila, a Europe-based activist from Syria’s eastern Deir el-Zour province who runs an activist collective that reports on news in the border area. He recorded at least 16 targeted buildings, warehouses or bases for Iranian, Lebanese and Iraqi militias in the towns of Boukamal, Mayadeen and Deir el-Zour.

    Israel has launched hundreds of strikes against Iran-linked military targets in Syria over the years but rarely acknowledges or discusses such operations.

    The Observatory said it recorded 39 Israeli strikes inside Syria in 2020 that hit 135 targets, including military posts, warehouses or vehicles. In those attacks, at least 217 people were killed, mostly Iranian-allied militiamen, according to the Observatory.

    The strikes come at a time of heightened tension in the region in the final days of President Donald Trump’s administration.

    The Israeli military has been on a high level of defensive alert, and according to Amos Harel, a prominent Israeli military affairs correspondent, an aerial defense battery of Patriot missiles was deployed in Israel’s southern seaport of Eilat. Writing in the newspaper Haaretz, he said an exceptionally large presence of fighter planes has been in the skies over the country for a considerable portion of the day.

    Meanwhile, Israeli jets have been violating Lebanese airspace and crisscrossing skies over Beirut in daily, low-altitude flights that have added to jitters in the Lebanese capital.

    Many fear retaliation for the U.S. killing of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Soleimani last year in Baghdad may come before Trump leaves office, or that conflict could erupt to scuttle efforts by Joe Biden’s incoming administration to negotiate with Iran.

    Israel views Iranian entrenchment on its northern frontier as a red line, and has repeatedly struck Iran-linked facilities and weapons convoys destined for Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group.

    The strikes also come amid intensifying low-altitude Israeli warplane missions in Lebanese skies that have caused jitters among residents and prompted Lebanon to file an urgent complaint to the U.N. about the violations of its airspace. Israeli officials have said the overflights are necessary because Hezbollah is violating the 2006 U.N. resolution that bars it from building up its military capabilities and operating near the Israeli border.”

  11. US sanctions controversial deputy of Iraqi paramilitaries (abcnews, Jan 13, 2021)

    “The United States on Wednesday imposed sanctions on an influential Iraqi militia leader and deputy of a powerful Iran-backed umbrella of mostly Shiite paramilitary groups, designating him a global terrorist figure.

    The move by the U.S. Treasury against Abdulaziz al-Mohammadawi, known as Abu Fadak, was expected by many Iraqi officials. It was also the second time in a week that a senior Iraqi militia official has been sanctioned.

    The chairman of the paramilitary umbrella, the Popular Mobilization Forces, Falih al-Fayyadh was sanctioned last Friday under the Magnitsky Act and accused of rights abuses against antigovernment protesters. The law allows the U.S. to target any foreigner accused of human rights violations and corruption.

    Abu Fadak, a senior figure of the Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah militia, is also acting deputy chairman of the Popular Mobilization Forces, a role he took on after a U.S. airstrike last January in Baghdad killed the militia’s deputy head Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a powerful founding member of Kataib Hezbollah and the lead architect of the umbrella group of paramilitaries.

    Top Iranian Revolutionary Guard commander, Gen. Qassim Soleimani, was also killed in that airstrike.

    Apart from being a member Kataib Hezbollah, which the U.S. has described as an “Iran-backed terrorist organization,” the U.S. claims Abu Fadak is working with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s expeditionary Quds Force to “reshape official Iraqi state security institutions … to instead support Iran’s malign activities,” according to the U.S. State Department.

    The statement said Iran-backed elements, including Kataib Hezbollah, are involved in sectarian violence and are responsible for attacks against Iraqi government facilities and diplomatic missions.

    The PMF was formed in 2014 to counter the Islamic State group, following a fatwa from Iraq’s top Shiite cleric Ali al-Sistani, and was later brought under the government’s fold. Its growing influence in Iraqi affairs has alarmed the U.S. officials who accuse it of orchestrating attacks on the American Embassy in Baghdad.

    Abu Fadak was a largely unknown figure until he replaced al-Muhandis even though some militia groups opposed his selection.

    In contrast to Abu Fadak’s designation, Iraq’s Foreign Ministry promptly denounced last week’s measures against al-Fayyadh, who is a more established political figure and a former Iraqi national security advisor. The ministry said it would follow up with the incoming Biden administration in Washington on the matter.”

  12. From facebook, a gym owner in the east end of ottawa. He has on video bylaw and police at his gym because he refuses to close. I don’t have facebook, maybe someone can use this link and post the videos from it. My friend showed me the video.
    I believe it was taped yesterday.

    “Zachary Boissinot is at A Foot Above Fitness.
    Bylaws showed up again. Why?
    Because I AM OPEN!
    I am standing as a free man in the name of fitness and mental health.
    I make people healthy. I have for many years now. I fight comorbidities. I have had ZERO cases in my gym but have dozens of people who say their mental health is better because I’m open.
    These measures are unlawful and disproportionate. We all know it now. Back in May and June most weren’t sure. But now with curfews in Quebec and lord knows what’s coming for Ontario next, this has gone too far.
    So here are my videos. I knew it was coming today and caught EVERYTHING. Let me make two things clear.
    1. In the video with a client walking back to her car. Realize how quickly the Bylaws backed right off as soon as she said she had an exemption. That’s where their power ends on an individual.
    2. Don’t miss in the long video, especially at 6:20 and the juicy bit is 6:28, where the bylaw states clear as day “It has nothing to do with the Charter of Rights.” Let that sink in for a second. These bylaws think they’re above The Canadian Charter of Rights. Please if you’re reading this understand the gravity of what that means.
    2 b). I also just want to say kudos to the police who did everything they were there to do, by the books.
    I already have a lawyer. I am ready for my court date. I have believed in fitness for almost 15 years. It changed my life, to the point I have now changed many more lives.
    This, I believe in. This, I will stand for.
    We are open. We are all essential.
    (Any other businesses looking to stay open please go check and…”

  13. Indian Security Forces Find New Tunnel at Pakistani Border (sputniknews, Jan 13, 2021)

    “The Indian Border Security Force (BSF) found a new tunnel along the India-Pakistan border in the Jammu and Kashmir union territory, Indian media reported on Wednesday.

    “A terror tunnel has been detected by the BSF in Bobbyian village of Hiranagar this morning,” a senior police officer said, as quoted by the Hindustan Times newspaper.

    According to the police, the tunnel could be used by terrorists to infiltrate the Indian territory.

    A similar trans-border tunnel, through which four terrorists entered India, was detected on November 22, 2020, according to the Indian authorities.

    India and Pakistan have long dueled over and fought three wars regarding Kashmir. Occasional clashes on the contact line have been a regular occurrence, but tensions escalated in August 2019, when the Indian government annulled the special autonomous status of its Jammu and Kashmir state and divided the region into two union territories under the government’s direct control. India controls only the southern part of the Kashmir region, while Pakistan and China occupy the northwestern and northeastern parts, respectively.”

  14. Video: Massive Unrest Rocks Brussels Amid Death of Black Man in Police Custody (sputniknews, Jan 13, 2021)

    “According to reports by local media, the Belgian capital city saw protests after the death of a young man said to be named Ibrahima who was in police custody. The man reportedly tried to escape from officers when they asked for his documents.

    Brussels saw massive civil unrest on Wednesday evening, with protests evolving from peaceful demonstrations near the police station in the Brabantstraat area to rioters setting the station on fire.

    Local media reported that a peaceful demonstration ended around 4 p.m., local time, and then protesters started to throw projectiles at police officers and set fireworks, with police using water cannons to disperse them.?

    The Belgian police, according to AFP, conducted several arrests after the protests came to an end.

    “Calm has returned,” said Audrey Dereymaeker, the spokesperson for the Brussels-North police, cited by AFP. He also mentioned “incidents”, such as “degradation of street furniture and vehicles”, as well as “jets of projectiles “against the police.

    Several videos emerged on social media, revealing the police station on fire, protesters launching fireworks and a car alleged to be owned by the Belgium king stuck in the riot.

    The unrest began after a young man said to be named Ibrahima died in police custody following a reported attempt to escape from officers during the check. According to reports, police intended to check a social gathering that was potentially breaching coronavirus-related restrictions.

    The circumstances of his death remain unclear, and an investigation has been launched, according to AFP citing the Brussels public prosecutor’s office.”

  15. RIOTS in Brussels. Hundreds of “youth” protest the death of 23yo Ibrahima Barrie in police custody. Apparently the man fell unconscious and was rushed to hospital, but was pronounced dead on the scene.
    Riots started at North Station, stones thrown at riot police, water cannon deployed.

    Police station set on fire, molotov cocktails and fireworks thrown at police vans, general vandalism:

    Compilation of mostly these videos, but at 0m04 somebody seems to shoot at a riot cop with an automatic airsoft rifle. Very reckless!

    Belgium King Philippe’s convoy attacked by protesters in Brussels #Ibrahima

  16. Three U.N. peacekeepers killed, six wounded in Mali attack

    “Three United Nations peacekeepers were killed and six wounded in central Mali on Wednesday after a convoy struck an explosive device and came under fire, the U.N. said in a statement.

    It was not clear who carried out the attack about 20 kilometres (12 miles) north of the town of Bambara-Maoudé in the Timbuktu region.

    Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State operate in the region and have made much of the West African country ungovernable.

    The dead peacekeepers were from Ivory Coast, the country’s defence ministry said in a statement…”

  17. U.S. imposes new sanctions on Iranian foundations in last days of Trump term

    “The United States on Wednesday blacklisted two Iranian foundations controlled by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and their subsidies, saying the institutions enabled Iran’s elite to sustain a “corrupt” system of ownership over large parts of the economy.

    The designations announced by the U.S. Treasury Department target Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order (EIKO) and Astan Quds Razavi (AQR), their leaders and subsidies. They are the latest action to reinforce the “maximum pressure” campaign on Iran pursued by President Donald Trump’s administration.

    “These institutions enable Iran’s corrupt leaders to exploit a system of ownership over a wide range of sectors of Iran’s economy,” U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.

    U.S.-Iranian tensions have risen since Trump two years ago abandoned the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and restored harsh economic sanctions designed to force Tehran into a wider negotiation on curbing its nuclear program, development of ballistic missiles and support for regional proxy forces.

    The Trump administration has piled a barrage of sanctions on Iranian officials, politicians and companies but has so far failed to lure the Iranian government back to the negotiating table.

    U.S. officials have said there will be no slow down in the pressure campaign on Iran in the final days of the Trump administration.

    On Tuesday, Pompeo said without providing hard evidence that al Qaeda had established a new home base in Iran and that it was time “for America and all free nations to crush the Iran-al-Qaeda axis.”

    Republican Trump is due to hand over power on Jan. 20 to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden who has said the United States will rejoin the nuclear deal “if Iran resumes strict compliance.”

    Advisers to Biden believe the Trump administration is trying to make it harder for him to re-engage with Iran.

    With stakes in nearly every sector of Iran’s economy, EIKO built its empire on the systematic seizure of thousands of properties belonging to religious minorities, business people, and Iranians living abroad, according to a 2013 Reuters investigation, which estimated the network’s holdings at about $95 billion.

    Astan Qods Razavi (AQR) is a multi-billion dollar religious conglomerate that owns mines, textile factories, a pharmaceutical plant and even major oil and gas firms. The heads of both AQR and EIKO are appointed by Khamenei.

    “EIKO has systematically violated the rights of dissidents by confiscating land and property from opponents of the regime, including political opponents, religious minorities, and exiled Iranians,” the Treasury said in a statement.

    The sanctions freeze any U.S. assets of those targeted and generally bar Americans from doing business with them. Anyone who engages in certain transactions with these individuals and entities runs the risk of being hit with U.S. sanctions.”

  18. Iran Works on Uranium Metal for Reactor Fuel in New Breach of Nuclear Deal

    “Iran has started work on uranium metal-based fuel for a research reactor, the UN nuclear watchdog and Tehran said on Wednesday, in the latest breach of its nuclear deal with six major powers as the country presses for a lifting of US sanctions.

    Iran has been accelerating its breaches of the deal in the past two months. Some of those steps were required by a law passed in response to the killing of its top nuclear scientist in November, which Tehran has blamed on its arch-foe Israel.

    They are also, however, part of a process started by Tehran in 2019 of committing breaches in response to US President Donald Trump’s 2018 withdrawal from the deal and his reimposition of US sanctions that the deal lifted in exchange for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear activities.

    The moves raise pressure on US President-elect Joe Biden, who takes office next week and has pledged to return the United States to the deal if Iran first resumes full compliance. Iran wants Washington to lift sanctions first.

    “(International Atomic Energy Agency) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi today informed IAEA Member States about recent developments regarding Iran’s plans to conduct R&D activities on uranium metal production as part of its declared aim to design an improved type of fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor,” the IAEA said in a statement.

    The agency issues ad hoc reports to member states when Iran commits a new breach of the deal, though it declines to call them breaches, leaving that call to parties to the 2015 accord.

    The deal specifically imposes a 15-year ban on Iran producing or acquiring uranium metal, a sensitive material that can be used in the core of a nuclear bomb.

    The IAEA’s confidential report to member states, obtained by Reuters, said Iran had indicated it plans to produce uranium metal from natural uranium and then produce uranium metal enriched up to 20% for fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor.

    The deal also says that can only happen in small batches and in consultation with parties to the deal after 10 years.

    Separately Iran also plans to enrich uranium to 20%, a level it last reached before the 2015 deal, at its Fordow site buried in a mountain, and it started that process last week. It had so far only gone as far as 4.5%, above the 3.67% limit imposed by the deal but still far short of the 90% that is weapons grade.

    US intelligence agencies and the IAEA believe Iran had a secret, coordinated nuclear weapons program that it halted in 2003. Iran denies ever seeking nuclear weapons and says its aims with nuclear energy are entirely peaceful.

    Iran told the agency on Wednesday, however, that “there is no limitation on (its) R&D activities” and “modification and installation of the relevant equipment for the mentioned R&D activities have been already started” at its Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant in Isfahan, the IAEA report said.”

  19. France Repatriates 7 Militants’ Children from Syria

    “France said on Wednesday it had brought home seven children of French extremists from northeast Syria.

    The children, aged between two and 11 and “particularly vulnerable”, were handed over to judicial authorities and taken into care by social services, the foreign ministry said.

    They had been living in the Kurdish-run Roj and al-Hol camps, where thousands of relatives of ISIS militants and sympathizers have been held since the 2019 defeat of ISIS in Syria, a Kurdish source in the region told AFP.

    France has so far repatriated 35 children, many of them orphans.

    Rights groups have been pressuring European governments to allow children to return from the crowded camps to live with relatives.

    Kurdish officials have also been pressuring countries to take back their citizens, warning that they do not have the resources to guard prisoners indefinitely.

    France has insisted it will only take back children, with mothers to remain behind to face local justice, along with their husbands.

    But many of the women have refused to be separated from their children.”

  20. Democrats, 10 Republicans Vote for 2nd Impeachment of Trump
    By Ivan Pentchoukov
    January 13, 2021 Updated: January 13, 2021
    biggersmaller Print

    Democrats in the House of Representatives, joined by 10 Republicans, voted to impeach President Donald Trump for a second time, in a 232–197 vote on Jan. 13. The single article of impeachment alleges that the president incited an insurrection that resulted in the breach of the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

    The impeachment, accomplished in a single seven-hour session, was the fastest in U.S. history. It is also the first time in the nation’s history that a president has been impeached twice.

    Republicans criticized the rush, arguing that it offered no due process to the president and no confidence in the proceedings to the American people. Democrats justified the truncated process by alleging that Trump poses a danger to the nation every day he is in office.

    “We know that the president of the United States incited this insurrection, this armed rebellion, against our common country,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) alleged. “He must go. He is a clear and present danger to the nation that we all love.”

  21. Rights group calls on US Muslims to be ‘extra vigilant’ in wake of Capitol riot

    “A leading Muslim-American civil rights and advocacy group urged Muslims to remain “extra vigilant” until the end of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration amid a threat of white supremacist violence.

    The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said on Wednesday that the threat posed by violence and armed protests in all 50 state capitals leading up to inauguration day is high, and pressed for security to be enhanced at houses of worship.

    “Due to credible threats of violence in the coming week, we urge all members of the Muslim community to stay extra vigilant and avoid their state capitol buildings and surrounding areas until after the inauguration of President Biden,” Huzaifa Shahbaz, CAIR’s research and advocacy coordinator, said in a statement.

    “We also encourage faith leaders to review and enhance the security of houses of worship, particularly those located in state capitals.”

    Shahbaz urged mosques and other Islamic institutions to take measures outlined in CAIR’s “Best Practices for Mosque and Community Safety” booklet.

    According to a report by Yahoo News, the FBI is anticipating possible violence from supporters of US President Donald Trump and have put in place contingency plans in the event of major disturbances.

    The report also cited evidence of credible threats related to 17 January at state buildings in Michigan and Minnesota.

    Members of the far-right Boogaloo movement say there will be a nationwide “armed march” on Capitol Hill in Washington DC and all 50 state capitals on 17 January.

    Last week, angry Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol Building, marching through legislative chambers while shouting and waving Trump and American flags, as well as banners associated with far-right groups.

    The riot forced a halt to congressional deliberations over challenges to Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.

    Demonstrators fought with Capitol Police and then forced their way into the building, not long after a huge rally near the White House, in which Trump has been accused of egging on the crowds to march on Capitol Hill.

    Security officials have also briefed lawmakers on additional threats ahead of Biden’s inauguration on 20 January.”

  22. McConnell Says He Hasn’t Decided on Whether to Convict Trump
    By Zachary Stieber
    January 13, 2021 Updated: January 13, 2021
    biggersmaller Print

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) informed Republican senators on Wednesday that he hasn’t decided whether to acquit or convict President Donald Trump on an article of impeachment expected to pass the House.

    “While the press has been full of speculation, I have not made a final decision on how I will vote and I intend to listen to the legal arguments when they are presented to the Senate,” McConnell wrote in a letter to colleagues, part of which was made public by the senator’s office.

    The release marks the first time McConnell’s stance on the impeachment was made known. Reports had suggested that McConnell was open to convicting Trump.

    McConnell broke from Trump over two major issues late last year, leading an override of Trump’s national defense bill veto and refusing to allow a vote on a narrow bill that would have upped stimulus checks to $2,000.

    The House on Monday introduced an article of impeachment that accused Trump of “incitement of insurrection.” Democrats argue Trump’s Jan. 6 speech in Washington incited supporters to storm the U.S. Capitol a short time later.

  23. Egypt courts Senegal to counter Turkey influence in West Africa

    “Egypt is seeking closer ties with Senegal in an attempt to counter Turkey’s expansion in West Africa, reports Al-Monitor.

    Egypt is organising a visit to Senegal to discuss deepening agriculture and infrastructure projects in the context of “historical and fraternal ties between the African brothers,” according to a member of Egypt’s African Affairs Committee.

    Last year, Egypt was pushing for joint cooperation between the two countries in water and sanitation projects.

    The two countries have also discussed the trade of textiles, construction equipment, carpets and furniture and boosting Egyptian investment in tourism and solar energy.

    According to Al-Monitor, this strengthening relationship comes after Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu visited Dakar ahead of a new Turkish embassy set to be built in the Senegalese capital.

    Turkish trade exchange with Senegal is set to be raised to $400 million, from $250 million in 2019, as Turkey moves to cement ties with West Africa through humanitarian aid, politics and economics.

    Senegalese President Macky Sall has said that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a friend, and that Turkey has played a vital role in building infrastructure in his country.

    Turkey has distributed medical aid, masks and sterilisers to help Senegal stem the spread of coronavirus.

    Egypt is a key member of the US-backed, Saudi-UAE camp which opposes Qatar and Turkey partly because they look favourably on the Muslim Brotherhood.

    Egypt and Turkey have also locked horns over Libya and natural gas in the Eastern Mediterranean.

    Egypt has attempted to counter Turkey’s influence across the wider region, including in Lebanon where the government sent several plane loads of medical aid following the Beirut port explosion last summer.”

  24. Eugene Robinson to Nikole Hannah-Jones: How do we ‘deprogram’ Trump supporters? – Liberty Unyielding
    Ben Bowles Ben Bowles is a freelance writer and regular contributor to “Liberty Unyielding.”
    4-5 minutes

    Eugene Robinson to Nikole Hannah-Jones: How do we ‘deprogram’ Trump supporters?

    Nikole Hannah-Jones, 1619 author. (Image: Wikipedia)

    Today’s program is brought to you by the letter “C,” as in cult.

    On Tuesday, Project Veritas released an undercover video of a former staff attorney for PBS who has modestly proposed wresting the children of Trump supporters from the clutches of their brainwashed evil parents and placing them in “re-education camps.” Presumably, the camps would look something like this:

    The theme of “deprogramming Trumpists” was also a theme on yesterday’s episode of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” Guests included the Washington Post’s Eugene Robinson and special guest star Nikole Hannah-Jones, author of the New York Times’s “1619 Project.”

  25. Interpol issues red notice for arrest of Beirut blast ship captain, owner

    “Interpol issued three international arrest notices yesterday for the captain and owner of the ship that caused the Beirut blast on 4 August, Associated Press (AP) reported.

    The MH Rhosus carried 2,750 tonnes of highly explosive ammonium nitrate into Beirut in 2013, nearly seven years before the substance exploded in August 2020.

    The massive blast left more than 200 dead, thousands more injured, and 300,000 homeless.

    The Interpol red notices are for two Russians, the captain of the ship and the businessman residing in Cyprus who purchased the vessel in 2012, Lebanon’s National News Agency (NNA) reported.

    The third arrest warrant was issued for a Portuguese nitrate trader who visited the warehouse where the substance was unsafely stored in 2014.

    The names of the three suspects were not published by Interpol.

    However, local media identified the trio as Boris Prokoshev, the ship’s former captain, Igor Grechushkin, the vessel’s owner, and Jorge Manuel Mirra Neto Moreira, the Portuguese nitrate trader.

    Grechuskin was questioned in Cyprus by a team of Lebanese investigators in September, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).

    Ghassan Khoury, Lebanon’s state prosecutor, requested Interpol arrest warrants for the owner and captain of the ship in October.

    A red notice is a request for law enforcement worldwide to locate and provisionally arrest the named person in preparation for extradition or legal action.

    Though it is commonly seen as the closest thing to an international arrest warrant, an Interpol arrest warrant does not require authorities to arrest the subject.

    Nearly 30 officials, most of them Lebanese port and customs authorities, have been arrested in a domestic probe since the blast five months ago.

    The probe was paused last month after two former ministers charged with criminal negligence filed a motion challenging investigating judge Fadi Sawwan’s decision to summon them for questioning.

    Lebanon’s Court of Cassation on Monday ruled Sawwan can question officials and civil servants over their involvement in the blast, allowing the probe to resume.

    Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab was charged with criminal negligence leading to the deaths of hundreds of people in the probe.

    Members of the public hope the investigation, which politicians promised in August would take only five days, will provide accountability for the explosion.”

  26. Asylum seekers protest conditions at UK military camp, while refugee complains of living in ‘hell’

    “Hundreds of migrants held at a temporary camp in Kent, UK have gone on a hunger strike to protest the worsening conditions at the overcrowded site and the threat of Covid-19.

    Some 400 men are currently being held at the camp, which was set up at the former Napier military barracks in Folkstone last September.

    It faces allegations of overcrowding – compounded by the coronavirus pandemic – as well as an alleged cover-up by the Home Office.

    Refugees have also complained about limited access to healthcare and legal advise.

    Volunteers had reportedly been asked to sign confidentiality agreements before entering the site, where there has been two alleged suicide attempts and ongoing protests in recent weeks.

    Earlier this week, some 350 men went on hunger strike to protest overcrowding, which they say increases their chances of contracting Covid-19, as well as poor hygiene.

    According to videos smuggled out of the camp, broken down toilets and out-of-order sinks can be seen in some of the bathrooms, The Guardian revealed.

    Some men are sleeping outside in freezing conditions due to the dangers of contracting Covid-19 inside the former barracks.

    Clare Moseley, founder of Care4Calais, said: “We’re extremely worried about the asylum seekers held in Napier barracks. The conditions they are being kept in are cramped, stressful and dangerous. Asylum seekers have fled terrifying dangers, wars and persecution. They need support and protection – instead our government is treating them with cruelty.

    “The Home Office can quickly solve this crisis by processing asylum seekers’ claims. They want to work, settle in this country and contribute to society. Processing their claims would give them the opportunity to rebuild their lives instead of keeping them in this cruel limbo, and remove the need for unsafe short-term asylum housing.”

    Kent residents, who in October stood outside the site holding “welcome” banners, have returned to the former army base this time brandishing placards reading “freedom”.

    They have joined the migrants’ protest over poor living conditions.

    Volunteers have been refused access to the site due to a high number of coronavirus cases, but one volunteer described conditions there as “prison-like”.

    Napier is one of a number of camps where refugees are subject to “inhumane conditions”, according to human rights organisations.

    At a former military base in Wales, migrants protested over conditions there, calling it “Save Us from Covid 19”.

    Demonstrators held up placards, including one that read “We escaped from war to prison”, after being kept at a site in Penally, Pembrokeshire.

    Another placard read: “Where are the human rights?” and “We want justice”.

    Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford previously called for the immigrants to be removed from Penally due to issues over “living conditions”.

    “It is unacceptable that the Home Office has repeatedly failed to address serious issues regarding living conditions at Penally military camp,” Drakeford said.

    “The Welsh Government and local service providers have continually informed the Home Office of grave deficiencies in the standard of accommodation for asylum seekers.”

    Drakeford said that the Home Office had failed to act in any meaningful way.

    “The welfare and safety of asylum seekers on site must not be compromised, and the wellbeing of the local community must be treated as priority by the Home Office,” he said.

    A Home Office spokesperson previously said the government is using “contingency accommodation” and works closely with organisations to ensure asylum seekers have “suitable accommodation”.

    In a different part of England, Iraqi refugee Intesar Hassan, who was sent to East Yorkshire with her children eight years ago said life in Hull is “hell”.

    “When I think about Iraq and Hull, they are the same to me,” Hassan, who is in a wheelchair, told the Mail Online.

    The family had been placed in a private-rented house in west Hull, which, Hassan says has no heating and damp.

    “When I came here my health conditioned worsened and are getting worse day by day in this house.

    “I cannot walk, talk or eat due to the conditions I am living in. All night long I worry about the house.”

    “I open the windows at night because I can’t breathe from the damp inside the house. I told the Refugee Council that the house is freezing but they didn’t do anything. We have no heating and no maintenance work has been done on the house in the past eight years.””

  27. Mohammed Bin Salman to Davos: $6tr Saudi investment over next 10 years

    “Saudi Crown Prince, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence Prince Mohammed bin Salman participated on Wednesday in a virtual strategic dialogue session of the World Economic Forum, in the presence of more than 160 influential international business leaders and entrepreneurs, representing 28 sectors and 36 countries.

    During the dialogue session, the Crown Prince discussed major investment opportunities in the Kingdom, which amount to $6 trillion over the next 10 years, including $3 trillion in new projects, as part of Vision 2030 to unleash the Kingdom’s untapped capabilities and establish new and promising growth sectors.

    Bin Salman stated that 85 per cent of this huge economic programme will be funded by the Public Investment Fund and the Saudi private sector, while the remaining portion will be through stimulating foreign capital from the Gulf and rest of the world, to enter into investments in promising sectors and traditional sectors with efficiency.

    Bin Salman said the scheme was in light of the Kingdom’s plans to rise to the leadership position in renewable energy, the fourth industrial revolution, tourism, transportation, entertainment and sports, based on the assets and the gains it possesses, appreciating the role of serious and active partners, who provide added value in transferring and localising knowledge and technology and enhancing talent within the Kingdom…”

  28. Saudi Arabia bans job discrimination based on gender, race

    “The Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development has banned employers from discriminating against employees on the basis of race, colour, sex, age, disability, marital status, or any other form of discrimination, according to new reforms to human resources laws.

    Under the reforms, employers must provide suitable housing for workers, an appropriate means of transportation from their place of residence to the workplace, and may replace that with an appropriate cash allowance.

    The employers must refrain from forcing workers into labor, and not withhold without a judicial authority the workers’ wage or part of it, treat workers with respect, and refrain from any statement or action that affects their dignity and religion, the reforms state.

    In addition, workers should be given the necessary time to exercise their rights stipulated in the law without deduction from wages in exchange for this time, and the employer may regulate the exercise of this right in a manner that does not prejudice the progress of work.

    On November 4, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development launched a reform to replace the sponsorship system (kafala in Arabic), which governs foreign worker mobility in Saudi Arabia.

    Prior to the reforms, foreign workers sponsored by employers in Saudi Arabia required the permission of their employer to change jobs, open a bank account, travel out of the country and do other administrative tasks.

    These reforms are meant to advance the country’s objective of diversifying its oil-dependent economy by increasing transparency in the employment process and streamlining immigration rules.”

  29. Corruption in Algeria: Ahmed Ouyahia Admits Selling Gold in Black Market

    “Under trial for corruption, former Algerian Prime Minister Ahmed Ouyahia has admitted receiving gold bars from “Gulf leaders” and selling them in the black market.

    Arrested in June 2019, Ouyahia is under an anti-corruption investigation for the illegal financing of the 2019 election campaign of former Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, among other cases.

    The Court of Algiers has already sentenced Ouyahia to 15 years in prison. However, investigations are still ongoing as the former PM was involved in many separate cases of corruption…”

  30. Violent nationalist outfits must be outlawed just as terrorist groups, Pakistan tells UNSC

    “Highlighting its leading role in the global campaign against terrorism, Pakistan has proposed an action plan in the UN Security Council (UNSC) to deal with the recent growth of violent nationalist ideologies, including Hindutva, which constitute new threats to global peace.

    “These violent extremist supremacist groups pose a clear and present danger to regional and international peace and security,” Ambassador Munir Akram told the 15-member Council, that met on Tuesday to review global cooperation in combatting terrorism in the 20 years since it adopted a resolution following the September 11 attacks against the United States.

    “They (the extremist outfits) must be outlawed by the Security Council like other terrorist groups,” the Pakistani envoy stressed in his statement submitted to the Council.

    “Such violent racist and extremist terrorism will inevitably breed counter-violence and validate the dystopian narrative of terrorist organizations such as ISIS/Daesh and Al-Qaeda,” the ambassador argued.

    Pointing out that such neo-fascist groups now rule India, Ambassador Akram said the violent extremist ideology of “Hindutva”, practiced by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its militant parent, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), posed an existential threat to the 180 million Muslims of India, with Delhi’s pogrom of April 2020 a manifestation of that ideology.

    “International observers have warned against potential genocide in occupied Jammu and Kashmir and against India’s Muslims,” he said.

    The Pakistani envoy called for immediate steps to arrest the rise of the violent nationalism, proposing that the Council, in this regard, take measures that should include calling on states to designate acts of such violent nationalists’ groups, including white supremacists and other racially and ethnically motivated groups, including Hindutva militants, as terrorism, just as we have done in case of Al-Qaeda/ISIS and their affiliated groups.

    He further urged to initiate immediate domestic actions to prevent the propagation of their violent ideologies, recruitment to and financing of these groups; request the secretary-general to present a plan of action to confront and defeat these violent extremists and their terrorist ideologies; and expand the mandate of the 1267 Sanctions Committee to include such violent nationalist terrorist groups, like the RSS.

    While having been at the forefront of the global campaign against terrorism, ambassador Akram also said that Pakistan was a victim of externally sponsored terrorism aided, financed and perpetrated by India through its mercenary terrorist groups.

    The Pakistani envoy said that terrorism will not be defeated without eliminating its root causes, foreign occupation and intervention, political and economic injustice and inequality.

    “It is also essential to address certain neglected manifestations of terrorism one of these phenomenon of ‘State terrorism’,” Ambassador Akram said, citing the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu & Kashmir (IIOJK) – “where the occupation forces are perpetrating war crimes, crimes against humanity, and against the occupied peoples in order to terrorise them into submission”.

    He added that, “Yet, as history attests, the colonial and foreign occupying powers justifying state terrorism portray the freedom struggle of the oppressed and occupied peoples as terrorism.”

    State terrorism, he added, must be addressed urgently and effectively.

    Amidst a new era of threats posed by emerging forms and manifestations of terrorism, the Pakistan envoy said the scope of the international community’s counter-terrorism strategy must be expanded and adjusted to cooperate and defeat terrorism in all forms and manifestations.”

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