Reader’s Links for February 8, 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

121 Replies to “Reader’s Links for February 8, 2021”

  1. From the Epoch Times

    The Story of a Vietnam War Veteran: The Stockdale Paradox
    Alternate text

    September 9, 1965, was a life-changing day for James Stockdale. It was the day that his Douglas A-4 Skyhawk was shot out of the sky, forcing him to eject to save his own life.

    The North Vietnamese captured the American admiral that day. But little did they know then that they would take in a very, very troublesome prisoner.

    They detained Stockdale at the H?a Lò Prison, the infamous “Hanoi Hilton.” He soon established communications among the American prisoners of war, and a code of rules to organize the prisoners and boost their morale.

    When the abuse of American POWs reached a climax in 1969, Stockdale was selected by his captors as a trophy for their propaganda. Knowing that he wouldn’t be paraded if he was disfigured, he cut his own scalp with a razor and then beat his own face with a wooden stool, foiling his captors’ plans.

    After Stockdale found out that several POWs had been tortured to death, he slit his own wrists to show that he would rather die than capitulate to his captors. From that night on, the practice of torturing American POWs stopped in the facility.

    Stockdale finally returned home to the United States in 1973 after seven-and-a-half years in prison. In 1976, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroism.

    Once, Stockdale had invited Jim Collins, a management scholar, out to lunch. Collins asked Stockdale about how he persevered while in Vietnam.

    “I never lost faith in the end of the story,” replied Stockdale. “I never doubted not only that I would get out, but also that I would prevail in the end and turn the experience into the defining event of my life, which, in retrospect, I would not trade.”

    Collins then asked about the kinds of people who didn’t make it out of the Hanoi Hilton.

    “The optimists,” came the response. And then Stockdale explained.

    “Oh, they were the ones who said, ‘We’re going to be out by Christmas.’ And Christmas would come, and Christmas would go. Then they’d say, ‘We’re going to be out by Easter.’ And Easter would come, and Easter would go. And then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again. And they died of a broken heart.”

    After a moment of silence, Stockdale finished his thought.

    “This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end—which you can never afford to lose—with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.”

    Collins would later codify this into his coaching regime as the “Stockdale paradox” to help business leaders who were facing challenges—which is sound reasoning. After all, if this thinking can help a soldier survive POW camp, there are very few things it can’t help with.

    History is full of adversity. But given human nature, it’s also full of people who have overcome adversity, each in their own way.

    Their stories inspire us at The Epoch Times to stay our course through challenges of our own, and we hope they can do the same for you.

    Because one day, future generations might look to us for inspiration—like how we look to Admiral Stockdale today. By then, we hope that we’ll have some wonderful stories to tell them as well.

  2. If You Thought the 2020 Elections Were Chaotic, Just Wait
    J. Christian Adams
    9-11 minutes

    (Image source: iStock)

    H.R.1 packs into one 791-page bill every bad idea about how to run elections and mandates that the states must adopt — the very things that made the election of 2020 such a mess. It includes all of the greatest hits of 2020: Mandatory mail ballots, ballots without postmarks, late ballots and voting in precincts where you don’t live. It includes so many bad ideas that no publication has satisfactory space to cover all of them. The Senate companion bill, S.1, might be even worse.

    These bills rearrange the relationship between the states and the federal government. The Constitution presumes that states regulate their own elections, but the Constitution has a big “but” in what is called the Elections Clause. The Constitution says, “but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations.” For over 200 years, Congress rarely used this power. After all, the power was put in the Constitution only to prevent the states from suffocating the federal government out of existence by never holding federal elections.

    https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/17031/hr1-chaotic-elections

  3. Biden cancels Elon Musk’s adventures in space
    Brandon J. Weichert
    9-11 minutes

    ANALYSIS/OPINION:

    The United States is in a titanic struggle with the People’s Republic of China for the dominance of space.

    Although the Americans have been to the moon and sent multiple, advanced probes to the surface of Mars, since the end of the Cold War, U.S. space policy has languished in neutral. Due to this, new competitors, namely China, have arisen to challenge the dominance of the Americans in the ultimate strategic high ground of space.

    China has grand ambitions for space. Not only does China plan on beating the Americans to the Martian surface by the end of the decade, but Beijing wants control of the vital orbits around the Earth. By controlling these orbits, China’s military would enjoy significant advantages over the American military. Beyond that, China plans on strip-mining the moon for valuable resources.

    https://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2021/feb/3/biden-cancels-elon-musks-adventures-in-space/

  4. Evidence Mounts that Capitol Breach Was Pre-Planned, Eroding Incitement Allegation in Trump Impeachment Trial
    By Tom Ozimek
    February 8, 2021 Updated: February 8, 2021
    biggersmaller Print

    As former President Donald Trump’s Tuesday impeachment trial approaches, there is a growing body of evidence in criminal complaints and affidavits that the Jan. 6 Capitol breach had been pre-planned, undercutting the allegation leveled against Trump that he is guilty of “incitement to insurrection.”

    A number of FBI affidavits filed in support of various charges—including conspiracy—against accused participants in the Capitol breach show evidence of pre-planning, reinforcing one of the arguments made by critics of the impeachment trial against Trump, namely that participants couldn’t have been incited by the president to break into the building if they had earlier planned to do so.

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said recently that parts of the Capitol incident had been pre-planned and coordinated well before Trump’s Jan. 6 speech, which Trump’s accusers have held up as a call to storm the building. While Trump said in his speech that “we fight like hell and if you don’t fight like hell, you’re not going to have a country anymore,” the former president appeared to be making a general reference to political activism, as he called on supporters to “peacefully and patriotically” make their voices heard during the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress.

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/evidence-mounts-that-capitol-breach-was-pre-planned-eroding-incitement-allegation-in-trump-impeachment-trial_3689106.html?utm_source=newsnoe&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2021-02-08-2

  5. ‘Blexit’ Founder Candace Owens Says She May Run for President
    By Zachary Stieber
    February 8, 2021 Updated: February 8, 2021
    biggersmaller Print

    Conservative writer and commentator Candace Owens, who started the “Blexit” movement to encourage black Americans to leave the Democratic Party, is considering a run for president in 2024.

    “I love America,” she said over the weekend on social media. “Thinking about running for president.”

    Owens, 31, who is a supporter of former President Donald Trump, would likely run as a Republican. The GOP has a slew of potential 2024 candidates, including Trump, several of the former president’s children, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

    Owens, who didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment, has spoken about what she would do if elected president. At one point, she tweeted that she would make the punishment for burning a U.S. flag the renunciation of citizenship.

    “No jail time, no fine—simply one year to liquidate your assets and get … out of our country. In exchange, we’d extend citizenship to a hardworking LEGAL immigrant,” she wrote.

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/candace-owens-mulling-2024-presidential-bid_3689103.html?utm_source=newsnoe&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2021-02-08-2

  6. ‘They Want to Destroy the United States,’ Andy Ngo Elaborates on Antifa
    By Samuel Allegri
    February 7, 2021 Updated: February 7, 2021
    biggersmaller Print

    Andy Ngo, journalist and author of the recent release “Unmasked: Inside Antifa’s Radical Plan to Destroy Democracy,” told NTD that Antifa isn’t about to just fade away because former President Donald Trump has left office.

    Talking about his research on the inner mechanics and goals of Antifa, Ngo said that Antifa capitalized on claims in 2016 that Trump’s term was a fascist regime to assert that their group was all about opposing American fascism.

    But according to Ngo, “That was always just a pretext for them to cause misery and carry out homicides and attacks,” Ngo said. “Now, they say that they’re just opposing America itself, because America uphold systems of fascism that is interlinked with white supremacy and racism.”

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/they-want-to-destroy-the-united-states-andy-ngo-elaborates-on-antifa_3688431.html?utm_source=newsnoe&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2021-02-08-1

    • Thanks, Sassy. By mounting a defense, he falls into their trap. I expect him to be convicted, but hope I am wrong. The public radio station news announcer keeps reporting that it is “a rare event” for someone to be impeached twice. This sounds like there is a plan to repeat this in the future, so that it will actually become “a rare event” instead of an action outside the confine of law.

  7. IS Ambush Kills 26 Pro-Regime Fighters in Syria: Monitor
    https://www.thedefensepost.com/2021/02/08/is-kills-26-pro-regime-fighters-syria/

    “The Islamic State group Monday ambushed a regime convoy in eastern Syria, killing at least 26 fighters, including seven Syrian troops, a war monitor said.

    The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the early morning ambush in the province of Deir Ezzor came as the convoy combed the area for jihadists, after a string of recent attacks.

    “Violent clashes between the two sides led to large human losses,” it said, calling the toll from fighting the “largest since the start of the year.”

    Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said at least seven of the 26 killed were Syrian troops, while the remaining casualties were mostly Syrian militia fighters. At least 11 IS jihadists were also killed, the Observatory added.

    The jihadist group overran large parts of Syria and Iraq and proclaimed a cross-border “caliphate” in 2014, before multiple offensives in the two countries led to its territorial defeat.

    The group lost its last scrap of territory in Syria in March 2019, but in recent months it has ramped up attacks against regime forces, especially in the east of the country bordering Iraq.

    Last week, IS jihadists killed 19 Syrian regime fighters and allied militia forces in central Syria.

    And in December, nearly 40 Syrian troops were killed when IS ambushed a bus carrying soldiers travelling home for the holidays.

    The desert area in Deir Ezzor province provides a “safe haven” for jihadists planning attacks on regime forces and other rivals, the United Nations said in a report published this month.

    IS retains some 10,000 active fighters in Iraq and Syria, although the majority are reported to be in Iraq, the UN has said.

    The war in Syria has killed more than 387,000 people since it started in 2011, the Observatory says.”

  8. Gunmen Kill 19 in Village Raids in Northwest Nigeria
    https://www.thedefensepost.com/2021/02/08/gunmen-kill-19-northwest-nigeria/

    “Nineteen people were killed at the weekend when armed men raided two villages in northwest Nigeria’s Kaduna state, the government said, in the latest violence to hit the region.

    Gunmen from kidnapping and cattle rustling gangs — called bandits by locals — often raid villages in northwest Nigeria, stealing cattle, kidnapping for ransom, and burning homes after looting supplies.

    “Kaduna State Government has received reports from security agencies of the killing of 19 citizens in Birnin Gwari and Kajuru local government areas,” Samuel Aruwan, internal affairs commissioner said in a statement.

    “The citizens were killed by armed bandits at Kutemeshi village in Birnin Gwari and Kujeni village in Kajuru, where several others were left with bullet wounds,” Aruwan said.

    Late on Saturday, bandits riding on motorcycles killed 14 people and injured others when they invaded Kutemeshi where they looted shops, the official said.

    On the same day, motorbike-riding gunmen also stormed Kujeni where they killed five people and burnt “several” houses, warehouses, and a church, said Aruwan in the statement.

    But residents said 19 people were killed just in the raid in Kutemeshi.

    “We lost 19 people in the attack. We buried them yesterday (Sunday),” said Kutemeshi resident Ayuba Abdullahi.

    Last month bandits killed 12 people and kidnapped 30 others in attacks on three villages in Birnin Gwari district and neighboring Katsina state.

    Kidnapping and cattle rustling gangs maintain camps in the Rugu forest straddling Kaduna, Katsina, Zamfara, and Niger states.

    The gangs have no ideological leanings but there are concerns that the gangs may be gradually infiltrated by jihadists from the northeast.

    Violence across the northwest has killed 8,000 people since 2011 and displaced more than 200,000, some into neighboring Niger, according to a report last year by the International Crisis Group.”

  9. IRGC Chief Urges US Not to Repeat Failed Policies
    https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2021/02/08/2449333/irgc-chief-urges-us-not-to-repeat-failed-policies

    “Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Major General Hossein Salami reminded the US that its strategies on Iran have ended in failure, calling on Washington not to repeat the same mistakes.

    “You have failed in (exerting pressure) on the Iranian nation,” the top commander said Monday, addressing a ceremony in Bandar Abbas in which the IRGC Navy took delivery of 340 combat speedboats for operations in Iran’s southern waters.

    “Don’t repeat your failed policies and throw away the lens through which you have looked at the Iranian nation,” he said.

    He added that Iran has successfully withstood the sanctions and their outcomes and defeated their architects, referring to the advances in the country’s defense industry, including the speedboats delivered today, as one of the achievements made under the sanctions.

    The speedboats, co-produced by the IRGC Navy and the Defense Ministry, are capable of carrying various types of rockets to attack enemy targets.

    They will be used in missions in the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, as well as in the Caspian Sea.

    Under his signature “maximum pressure” policy against Iran, former US president Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the JCPOA and restored the economic sanctions that the deal had removed.

    The US also began threatening third countries with “secondary sanctions” if they violated the American bans.

    Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has signaled a willingness to rejoin the JCPOA, which was inked when he was vice president. However, his foreign policy team has said Iran should take the first step by coming back into “full compliance” with the deal, a condition Tehran says is unacceptable.

    Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei said on Sunday Iran will retrace its nuclear countermeasures once the United States lifts its sanctions in a manner that could be verifiable by Tehran.

    “Iran will return to its JCOPA obligations once the US fully lifts its sanctions in action and not in words or on paper, and once the sanction relief is verified by Iran,” Ayatollah Khamenei said.

    “The Americans and the Europeans have no right to set any conditions (of their own) as they violated their JCPOA commitments,” the Leader said, adding that Iran would pay no heed to the “idle talk” of some “undeserving” American and European officials in this regard.

    “They initially put some of the sanctions in abeyance for a brief period, but then reimposed and even intensified them,” Ayatollah Khamenei said in reference to Washington and its allies’ initial limited compliance with the JCPOA. Therefore, they have no right to come up with any conditions, the Leader reiterated.

    Ayatollah Khamenei pointed to Washington’s past failures to hurt Iran’s Islamic establishment as one of its numerous miscalculations concerning the country.

    The Leader particularly recalled Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton’s failed prediction that Washington would successfully enable a “regime change” in Iran by early 2019.

    “One of those very first-class idiots had said two years ago that they would be celebrating the New Year in Tehran in January 2019,” Ayatollah Khamenei noted.

    “Now, that person has entered the dustbin of history and his boss (Trump) has been kicked out of the White House in a humiliating manner. By God’s grace, though, the Islamic Republic still stands tall,” the Leader noted.

    Ayatollah Khamenei named the US support for the riots that broke out in Iran in 2009 as another instance of Washington’s miscalculations in its efforts to bring about the collapse of the Islamic Republic.”

  10. UN Urges 57 Countries to Reclaim Women, Children from Syrian Camps
    https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2792886/un-urges-57-countries-reclaim-women-children-syrian-camps

    “UN rights experts urged 57 states on Monday to repatriate nearly 10,000 of their citizens – women and children associated with ISIS fighters – held in camps in northeast Syria in “sub-human” conditions without legal process.

    Under international law, these states have a duty to repatriate their citizens and, if there is evidence, to prosecute adults for war crimes or other offences at fair trials in their domestic courts, the experts said.

    Some 9,462 foreign women and children are among more than 64,600 people detained at al-Hol and Roj camps, run by Syrian Kurdish authorities, where the majority of residents are Iraqi and Syrian nationals.

    “The matter is one of extreme urgency,” Fionnuala Ní Aoláin, UN special rapporteur on protecting human rights while countering terrorism, told a news briefing after the independent experts issued a joint statement.

    She called the list of 57 countries – which include Britain, China, France, the Russian Federation and the United States – a “list of shame”. She also decried “an uptick in nationality stripping”, noting it was unlawful to leave someone stateless.

    “These women and children are living in what can only be described as horrific and sub-human conditions… The conditions in these camps may reach the threshold of torture, inhuman and degrading treatment under international law,” Ní Aoláin said.

    Some women had been “groomed online” as brides of ISIS fighters, while children “had no say in what brought them there”, she said.

    The United Nations said last month it had received reports of 12 Syrian and Iraqi nationals being murdered in the first half of January at al-Hol camp, which holds internal refugees and families of ISIS fighters.

    Canada, Finland and Kazakhstan have repatriated some nationals, Ní Aoláin said, welcoming “the trickle of returns”.

    She compared the “illegal detention” to that of security suspects held at the US detention facility in Guantanamo Bay for years without charge.

    “These women and children are a convenient battering ram on all the fears of state and the public. They are made objects of hate, ridicule and shame,” she said.”

  11. thepatriotjournal.com
    North And South Dakota Gang Up On Biden – New Laws Could Allow States To “Nullify” Joe’s Executive Orders
    Ben Dutka
    4-5 minutes

    North And South Dakota Gang Up On Biden – New Laws Could Allow States To “Nullify” Joe’s Executive Orders

    President Joe Biden sent out a flurry of executive orders and mandates during his first few weeks in office. He ended up signing a grand total of 40, more than any other President during that time.

    However, several of his orders haven’t gone over well, especially with Republicans and GOP-dominated states. They believe it’s possible that Biden has overstepped his authority.

    That’s why two northern states are taking action.

    In South Dakota, new legislation was introduced into the state House of Representatives: it’s bill HB 1194, and it’s specifically designed to push back against certain executive edicts.

    If it passes, it could definitely throw a wrench into Biden’s executive order machine.

    Via The Daily Wire:

    Legislation introduced in the South Dakota House of Representatives seeks to give the state’s attorney general the authority to review executive orders from President Joe Biden and potentially nullify any order deemed unconstitutional.

    This is a bold move, but one many Conservatives will likely support.

    The bill says SD Attorney General Jason Ravnsborg could exempt the state from any law or order “that restricts a person’s rights or that is determined … to be unconstitutional.”

    This legislation covers any executive order related to the following:

    A pandemic or other public health emergency
    The regulation of natural resources
    The regulation of the agricultural industry
    The regulation of land use
    The regulation of the financial sector through the imposition of environmental, social, or governance standards, or
    The regulation of the constitutional right to keep and bear arms

    The state made it clear that this legislation isn’t just about Biden, though.

    Instead, this is about addressing “executive overreach” that appears to be intensifying during the early days of this administration. And South Dakota’s neighbor is on board, too.

    In North Dakota, the state is considering Bill 1282, which is very similar.

    If it goes through, this would create a “committee on nullification.” Here’s part of the bill:

    Upon receipt of federal legislation, regulation, or an executive order, for consideration and process, the committee shall recommend whether to nullify in its entirety a specific federal law, regulation, or executive order.

    In making its recommendation, the committee shall consider whether the legislation, regulation, or executive order is outside the scope of the powers delegated to the federal government in the Constitution of the United States.

    This means that if the bill passes, the State Legislature could say “no” to any Biden order.

    They would decide if the order becomes a law in the state or not — thereby countermanding the executive action. In fact, a companion law (Bill 1164) specifically targets presidential orders.

    Republicans have been firing back against Biden’s “authoritarianism” from the start.

    And this is a direct result of that retaliation. In the end, it wouldn’t be surprising to see other states attempt to introduce similar laws in the near future.
    Key Takeaways:

    South Dakota and North Dakota have introduced bills to combat “executive overreach.”
    If they pass, it would mean some of President Joe Biden’s executive orders might be nullified. The State would decide if the order should be a law.
    This is a result of Biden’s executive order blitz, and it’s likely other states may attempt to pass similar legislation.

    Sources: The Daily Wire, Western Journal

    mm
    https://thepatriotjournal.com/dakotas-biden-law-states-orders/?utm_medium=email&utm_source=pjnewsletter

  12. Houthis Scale up Assaults despite Washington’s Decision to Revoke Their Terrorist Designation
    https://english.aawsat.com/home/article/2791901/houthis-scale-assaults-despite-washington%E2%80%99s-decision-revoke-their-terrorist

    “The Biden administration’s decision to revoke the terrorist designation of Iran-backed Houthi militias was met by the latter stepping up assaults against Yemen’s Marib, al-Jawf and Taiz governorates.

    The criticism leveled by the internationally recognized Yemeni government against Washington’s decision included warnings of the move emboldening Houthis and consequentially harming peace efforts.

    At least three people were killed on Sunday when a ballistic missile launched by Houthi militias struck a family house on the western outskirts of Marib city, medics and residents said.

    Three others were wounded in the attack which destroyed the house and damaged several neighboring homes, they added.

    The missile attack came simultaneously with the other attack of a Houthi drone that the government forces intercepted in the sky of Marib, confirmed official sources, adding that those injured in the attack were transported to the closest area hospital for treatment.

    The assaults came two days after the administration of US President Joe Biden said it would revoke the terrorist designation of Houthis by the previous administration.

    More so, Houthi militias have increased their deployment to Marib’s west and southern fronts over the last two days, field sources told Asharq Al-Awsat.

    Houthis did not only attack in Marib, they also staged hits in neighboring al-Jawf governorate.

    Yemeni Minister of Information Muammar al-Eryani, for his part, warned that Washington’s decision to revoke the Houthi terrorist designation will strengthen Iran’s subversive policies in the region and threaten international interests…”

  13. White House Ban on New Oil and Gas Leases a ‘Direct Attack’ on Wyoming, Says Governor
    By Jack Phillips
    February 8, 2021 Updated: February 8, 2021
    biggersmaller Print

    Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said the executive order that pauses new federal leases on oil and gas drilling is a “direct attack” on his state.

    “Losing that revenue is devastating to our schools, devastating to our communities, devastating to those small businesses that really depend on the energy sector,” the Republican governor told Fox News on Monday.

    Last month, President Joe Biden signed an order asking the Department of the Interior to place a “pause” on new oil and gas leasing and offshore waters. The administration will also review existing leasing and permitting practices “related to fossil fuel development.”

    “This Biden ban really has a devastating effect, not just for Wyoming,” Gordon told Fox News on Monday. “It’s bipartisan in its devastation.”

    Gordon issued his own executive order days later saying that Biden’s action “will cause immediate and considerable harm to the state of Wyoming, including to the critical services upon which Wyoming residents depend.”

    https://www.theepochtimes.com/white-house-ban-on-new-oil-and-gas-leases-a-direct-attack-on-wyoming-says-governor_3689849.html?utm_source=newsnoe&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=breaking-2021-02-08-3

  14. Algeria seeks French admission of colonial crimes
    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210208-algeria-seeks-french-admission-of-colonial-crimes/

    “France’s escape from acknowledging its colonial crimes will not last long, the Algerian government said Monday, Anadolu Agency reports.

    “France’s escape from recognising its colonial crimes in Algeria cannot last long. A criminal usually does everything possible to avoid admitting his crimes,” Information Minister Ammar Belhimer said in a statement released by state-run daily El-Massa.

    The minister also stressed that work and communication between Algeria and France will continue for more achievements, the most important of which is the moral achievement, which is the recognition of France’s colonial crimes.

    Belhimer’s remarks were the first official reaction two weeks after France issued a report on colonisation of Algeria from 1830 to 1962, which sparked widespread criticism in Algeria for ignoring “colonial crimes”….”

    Algeria to collect 1 million signatures for bill criminalising French colonialism
    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210208-algeria-to-collect-1-million-signatures-for-bill-criminalising-french-colonialism/

    “Algerian MPs have launched a campaign to collect one million signatures to put pressure on the government to enact a law to criminalise the French colonial occupation of the country, which ended in 1962.

    The move follows the release of a French report on 20 January last year on the colonisation of Algeria. There has been widespread criticism by Algerians that the academic study fails to highlight France’s “colonial crimes”. The report was prepared by French historian Benjamin Stora, who delivered it to President Emmanuel Macron. The Élysée Palace is quoted as saying that this does not mean that France is going to issue a formal apology to Algeria.

    Belarbi Kamal is one of the MPs who have taken this initiative. He pointed out that he and the other MPs presented their bill to the People’s National Assembly on 28 January last year. “The project has been frozen for a whole year, and it was not considered for unknown reasons. The initiative to collect signatures is a reaction to the stalling of the bill, which affects the rights of the martyrs and the veterans of the war of independence.”

    He pointed out that the invitation to sign the petition also came after comments by presidential advisor Abdel Majid Sheikhi, who is in charge of the national memory file. “The Algerians have already criminalised colonialism decades ago in their hearts without the need for a legal text,” said Sheikhi weeks ago.

    Kamal insisted that France’s recognition of its colonial crimes is its own affair. “What concerns us is restoring the rights of Algerians that were lost, such as the national archives and financial compensation. One million signatures will convey the people’s message to the government and the legislative authority.”

    Algeria made no official comment on the French report. The matter was limited to media reports and comments made by various personalities unconnected to the government.

    The French colonisation of Algeria lasted between 1830 and 1962. The Algerian authorities and historians say that nearly five million people were murdered during the occupation, with wealth, historic documents and artefacts plundered and taken to France. Some of the items date back to the Ottoman rule of Algeria from 1515 to 1830.

    French officials have reiterated on several occasions the need to turn the page on its colonial past in Algeria, but the North African state has demanded from France official recognition of its colonial crimes.”

  15. ‘Second Beirut bomb’ removed from port by German firm
    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210208-second-beirut-bomb-removed-from-port-by-german-firm/

    “A German firm has removed numerous containers holding hazardous chemicals from the port of Lebanon’s capital Beirut, which are set to be shipped out of the country half a year after the catastrophic blast that destroyed the city.

    Germany’s Ambassador to Lebanon Andreas Kindl announced the move taken by the company Combi Lift yesterday, writing on Twitter that it “treated 52 containers of hazardous and dangerous chemical material that had been accumulated over decades and were a threat to the people in Beirut.”

    According to the British news agency Reuters, the hazardous material found at the port months ago amounts to almost 4,000 tonnes, which is far more than the 2,750 tonnes of ammonium nitrate stored at the port that caused the Beirut explosion on 4 August last year.

    The chemicals found by Combi Lift were reportedly corrosive acids and not ammonium nitrate, but they allegedly still have the capability to cause another explosion, with the director of the firm saying that “what we found here was a second Beirut bomb.”

    The containers holding the chemicals are set to be shipped to Germany…”

  16. Anti-Daesh coalition provides $1m in military aid to Iraq
    https://www.middleeastmonitor.com/20210208-anti-daesh-coalition-provides-1m-in-military-aid-to-iraq/

    “The international coalition fighting Daesh yesterday announced the provision of $1 million in military aid to enhance the Iraqi forces’ capabilities in the war against the terror group, Anadolu reported.

    The coalition said in a statement that the military aid was delivered to the Iraqi forces on Saturday at the Ain Al-Asad military base in Anbar Province, to the west of the country.

    According to the statement, the assistance includes 15 Land Cruisers, weapons as well as basic transport and security equipment which would assist the Iraqi army in carrying out its daily operations against Daesh.

    The military aid is part of the training and equipping fund programme at Ain Al-Asad Air Base, it added.

    The coalition, which includes about 60 countries led by the United States, has supported the Iraqi forces in their war against Daesh since 2014.

    Though the Iraqi government in Baghdad declared victory over Daesh in December 2017, sleeper cells continue to operate across the country. The attacks have raised fears that the group could regroup and recover posing a severe threat to the country once again.”

  17. Rights group calls for urgent intervention over Malta’s ‘gravely inhumane treatment’ of refugees
    https://english.alaraby.co.uk/english/news/2021/2/8/calls-for-intervention-over-maltas-brutal-treatment-of-refugees

    “Migrants and asylum seekers in Malta have fallen victim of “gravely inhumane treatment”, the Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor organisation has said in a statement on Sunday, calling for an “immediate intervention” from the EU Commission.

    “There’s mounting evidence that large numbers of asylum seekers and migrants continue to be detained in abusive and unlawful conditions, while the Maltese government keeps denying such deplorable situation”, the statement said.

    It described the situation as: “Migrants stuck in a limbo in Malta are languishing in unsustainable and inhumane conditions at detention centres, where overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, abuse and brutal treatment have pushed some to the edge of despair. Some have attempted suicide as a result.”

    Euro-Med Human Rights Monitor is an independent, non-profit organisation that advocates for the human rights of people across Europe and the MENA region, especially those who live under occupation, in a war, political unrest or displacement situation.

    Malta is a small and densely populated archipelago situated in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea between Sicily, Libya and Tunisia, and therefore situated on the path of many migrants leaving North Africa for Europe.

    Taking into account its small size and population, Malta proportionally speaking receives the greatest number of migrants of the EU Member States.

    At arrival, all migrants, whether asylum seekers or not, are detained behind bars until the authorities decide on further measures or organise repatriation.

    Euro-Med reported that several migrants detained in Malta said they have been “beaten, having their teeth damaged by beatings to their face and being taken to a room to be beaten up and left alone for several hours”.

    A 27-year-old migrant from Morocco, detained in Safi barracks, where some migrants have already reported preferring to go home than remain there, said: “We are in a miserable condition and lack the most basic rights to live. [Some people] suffer from serious physical and psychological diseases to the extent that [they] tried to commit suicide several times. We have abstained from eating for several days”.

    According to the UN agency for refugees (UNHCR), the numbers of arrivals to the EU continue to decrease each year.

    The numbers of those arriving by sea and land in 2020 (95,000) decreased by 23% when compared with 2019 (123,700 individuals) and by 33% when compared with 2018 (141,500).

    Following the 1951 Refugee Convention, the European Convention on Human Rights and EU law, Malta is required, as every other member state, to protect the right of people to seek asylum and protection from refoulement, even if they enter irregularly.

    Despite this drop in numbers and the laws, Euro-Med stated that: “Malta has employed several illegal tactics to thwart sea migrants, including hiring private ships to push them to Libya, refusing the disembarkation of rescued migrants, closing its ports to humanitarian boats, and exploiting Covid-19 as a pretext for such violations”.”

  18. DAILY MAIL – Almost 200 academics from more than a dozen British universities could face jail amid probe over fears they inadvertently helped China develop weapons of mass destruction

    Academics, from 20 universities, suspected of breaching Export Control Order
    Law is designed to prevent sensitive intellectual property going to hostile states
    The law carries a maximum 10 year prison sentence for those who breach it

    A group of almost 200 British academics from more than a dozen UK universities could face jail, as officials probe whether they may have unwittingly helped the Chinese government build weapons of mass destruction.

    Officials are investigating the academics amid suspicion they may have breached laws designed to protect national security and human rights.

    The academics, who are from 20 UK universities, including some of the most prestigious in the country, are suspected of breaching the Export Control Order 2008.

    The law carries a maximum 10 year prison sentence for those who breach it.

    It is intended to prevent intellectual property in highly sensitive fields – including military and security – from being sent to hostile states.

    Pioneering technology on aircraft, missile design and cyberweapons may have been sent to China, according to the Times.

    Officials are preparing to send around 200 enforcement notices to those suspected of breaching the rules, the reports add, though this has since been denied by a Government source.

    Meanwhile, a source told the Times: ‘We could be seeing dozens of academics in courts before long.

    ‘If even 10 per cent lead to successful prosecutions, we’d be looking at around 20 academics going to jail for helping the Chinese build super-weapons.’

    A Government spokesperson today told MailOnline: ‘Exporters of military goods and those engaged in the transfer of military technology specified in the Export Control Order 2008 – including universities and academics – require a licence to export or transfer from the UK.

    ‘It is their responsibility to comply with the regulations.’

    It comes as the Mail on Sunday revealed how the academics could be hit by ‘enforcement notices’ – imposed by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs – over alleged breaches of export controls in their dealings with Beijing.

    It is understood the security services fear some academics have been sharing pioneering British technology could be facilitating the dictatorial Communist government’s repression of minorities and dissidents.

    The MoS has agreed not to identify the universities at the centre of the inquiry on the grounds of national security.

    The security service investigation, led by HMRC, was launched amid growing concern in Downing Street that academics were engaged in a ‘new gold rush’ to strike deals with the Chinese over cutting-edge scientific breakthroughs.

    ‘Exporters of military goods and those engaged in transfer of military technology specified in the Export Control Order 2008 – including universities and academics – require a licence to export or transfer from the UK,’ said a Government spokesman.

    ‘It is their responsibility to comply with the regulations.’

    Last week, Manchester University cancelled an agreement with a Chinese military technology company after being warned that it supplied technology platforms and apps used by Beijing’s security forces in mass surveillance of Uighur Muslims.

    The university said it was unaware of China Electronics Technology Corporation’s alleged role in the persecution of Uighurs until receiving a letter pointing out the links from the Commons foreign affairs select committee.

    Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the committee, writes in today’s MoS that ‘some in Britain’s universities have lost their moral bearings and are not promoting academic freedom, but undermining our strategic interests.’

    The Tory MP argues that Britain is making a mistake to open up universities too much. ‘We are handing over the secrets that will help an often-hostile country become the greatest military power of the 21st Century.’

    The Government investigation came after a report by the Henry Jackson Society last October criticised the Government for failing to prosecute any academics for export control violations.

    ndependently, a report released tomorrow will expose the astonishing extent of collaboration taking place between British universities and Chinese academic centres, many with deep research links to the People’s Liberation Army.

    The study by think tank Civitas accuses 14 of the 24 top universities in the UK of having ties with Chinese weapons conglomerates and military-linked research centres involved in nuclear weapons schemes and developing futuristic technology.

    It suggests scientific discoveries by our universities risk boosting China’s drive for military supremacy by assisting its development of hypersonic missiles, radar jamming systems, robotics, spacecraft and stealth vehicles.

    British taxpayers are paying for research that might unintentionally help China’s military soon attain a potentially dominant position,’ said Radomir Tylecote, the study’s lead author and a former Treasury official. ‘This is strategically incoherent – especially when UK spending on research for its own military needs is so anaemic.’

    Civitas reveals the China Electronics Technology Corporation – which has admitted its purpose is to ‘leverage’ civilian electronic systems for the benefit of China’s armed forces – backs work at four military-linked universities in the People’s Republic with ties to seven British universities.

    The giant firm is seen as one of the main architects of Beijing’s sinister surveillance state.

    The think tank report – entitled ‘Arming China? The Chinese military complex and its potential exploitation of scientific research at UK universities’ – examines the relationships that 20 UK universities have with 29 military-linked universities and nine military-tied firms, which include some of the country’s biggest arms suppliers.

    A dozen of the Chinese universities have been deemed ‘very high risk’ by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, while another ten are termed ‘high risk’.

    Civitas, which stresses that all the British universities have benevolent intentions, turns the spotlight on some of the country’s most famous academic institutions as concerns grow over China’s increasing belligerence.

    The universities all insist their work is for wider benefit to society, that many research results are openly published in scientific literature and that they make strenuous efforts to comply with all rules designed to protect security and intellectual property.

    Cambridge University, the Civitas report says, has co-operated with the National University of Defense Technology, a military-run research institution that has been sanctioned by the US.

    Beijing has boasted this collaboration will ‘greatly raise the nation’s power in the fields of national defence, communications and… high precision navigation’.

    A Cambridge spokesman told the MoS: ‘All of the university’s research is subject to ethics governance and export control regulations.’ Imperial College, another world-leading British scientific centre, has three research units sponsored by major Chinese weapons manufacturers. ‘Science is a global endeavour, and we are proud to work with our peers in academia and industry all over the world,’ said a spokesman.

    Civitas accuses Manchester University of having provided ‘China’s main nuclear missile conglomerate with a UK taxpayer-funded research centre’. A subsidiary of this firm – under US sanctions – also funds a unit at Strathclyde University, which plays a leading role in British space research.

    Manchester also co-operates with Chinese funders to exploit graphene, the revolutionary new material that won two of its researchers the Nobel Prize and is seen as having huge military potential given its immense strength and flexibility. Both Manchester and Strathclyde insist they work closely with relevant authorities to ensure they are fully compliant with all policies and export protocols.

    Queen Mary University of London has established a ‘collaborative partnership’ with China’s Northwestern Polytechnical University (NPU), praising the ‘particular strengths in aerospace and marine engineering’ of a university that describes itself as ‘devoted to improving and serving the national defence science and technology industry’.

    NPU has at least 13 defence laboratories into areas such as jet propulsion, space technology and torpedo guidance. ‘We are proud of our transnational educational and research partnership with NPU,’ said a Queen Mary spokesman, adding it followed ‘rigorous procedures’ regarding security and ethics.

    Southampton, according to the Civitas report, has links with Harbin Engineering University that were praised for helping the Chinese institution build a ‘world class’ position in naval architecture. It plays a key role in China’s ambitions to build the world’s biggest and best-equipped navy.

    A Southampton spokesman said their collaborations had ‘potential to create wide-ranging societal benefits’, adding that they followed Government advice and the Harbin partnership simply replicated their undergraduate studies. Harbin is also one of 15 Chinese civilian universities that have been implicated in cyber-attacks, illegal exports or espionage operations. China has a long history of weapons sales to some of the world’s most repressive regimes such as Iran, Myanmar and North Korea.

    Lianchao Han, a former Chinese government official and now leading pro-democracy activist, said Beijing had long seen academic exchange programmes as a way to modernise its military through exploitation of open Western research institutions. ‘China has invented all kinds of programs from inviting Western professors to lecture in the country through to hiring them for consulting work and funding joint research projects between universities. These schemes enable it to acquire dual-use technologies for both civilian and military gain and build a formidable army. Sadly, most Western universities and research institutions are shortsighted and still fail to see China’s strategic intent.’

    British universities have looked increasingly to China as a source of income, having more Chinese students than any other country, paying £1.7 billion a year in tuition fees, and for research funding as they developed a network of academic links in both nations.

    Yet concerns have grown over such ties since hardline President Xi Jinping took power in 2013. He has ramped up nationalist rhetoric, spent massively on armed forces, silenced dissidents, unleashed genocide in Xinjiang and showed far more foreign policy aggression – as seen with China’s brutal crackdown in Hong Kong.

    Many leading Chinese universities have long been linked to the military, whether through their own research labs or via funding from conglomerates – often state-owned – that dominate the country’s weapons industry.

    These ties have been strengthened under Xi through a policy called ‘military-civil fusion’ designed to maximise military power. This includes a constitutional obligation for all new technologies to be shared with the 2,250,000-strong People’s Liberation Army.

    China’s Communist leadership is intent on matching US military might within six years – and then use advanced technology to win the battle for global supremacy by 2049, centenary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.

    The Civitas report calls for a register of Chinese firms and institutions with military ties that should be barred from supporting research in Britain, an audit of university sponsorship policies and a new agency to monitor academic relationships.

    One British defence contractor, who has removed all Chinese-made parts from his firm’s products as a precaution in case of conflict, said he thought some universities might be missing the key point of rules designed to stop misuse of technology.

    ‘People fall into the trap of arguing that they only designed the product for civilian use, neglecting the fact that the regulations say ‘can be’ used for military purposes.’

    https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9236123/Almost-200-academics-British-universities-face-jail-sending-information-China.html

  19. U.S. may weigh baby steps to revive Iran nuclear deal
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-iran-nuclear/u-s-may-weigh-baby-steps-to-revive-iran-nuclear-deal-idUSKBN2A82AO

    “The United States is weighing a wide array of ideas on how to revive the Iranian nuclear deal, including an option where both sides would take small steps short of full compliance to buy time, said three sources familiar with the matter.

    Such a modest approach could slow the deterioration in relations since former U.S. President Donald Trump abandoned the deal in 2018 and freeze Iran’s subsequent violations, which have brought it closer to enriching weapons-grade uranium.

    This option could entail Washington allowing Tehran to get economic benefits less valuable than the sanctions relief it received under the 2015 deal in return for Iran stopping, or perhaps reversing, its own breaches of the agreement.

    The sources stressed U.S. President Joe Biden has yet to decide his policy. His stated position remains that Iran resume full compliance with the pact before the United States will.

    “(They) are having a real think,” said one source familiar with the U.S. review, saying ideas under consideration include a straight return to the 2015 nuclear deal and what he called “less for less” as an interim step.

    Another source said if the Biden administration concluded it would take too long to negotiate a full return to the deal, it could adopt a more modest approach.

    “Should (they) at least try to give Iran some sanctions relief and get Iran to agree to pause and maybe roll back some of its nuclear (steps)?” said this source.

    The deal between Iran and six major powers limited Iran’s uranium enrichment activity to make it harder for Tehran to develop nuclear arms – an ambition Iran has long denied having – in return for the easing of U.S. and other sanctions.

    When Trump left the deal in 2018, faulting it for failing to curb Tehran’s ballistic missile program and backing for regional proxies, he reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran’s economy.

    In response, Tehran has breached the deal’s key limits, enriching uranium to 20% – above a 3.67% cap but below the 90% needed for weapons – expanding its stockpile of low-enriched uranium, and using advanced centrifuges for enrichment.

    WHO MAKES FIRST MOVE?
    A central problem in reviving the deal is who goes first. Iran has insisted the United States ease sanctions before it resumes compliance; Washington wants the reverse.

    In what may be posturing by both sides, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Sunday said Tehran’s “final and irreversible” decision was to return to compliance only if Washington lifts sanctions, while Biden said he would not lift sanctions just to get Iran back to the table.

    Republicans are likely to criticize the Democrat Biden if he offers Iran any sanctions relief without their full return to the agreement, arguing this would squander leverage that Trump built up with the scores of sanctions imposed since 2018.

    “The Biden admin has to recognize the realities of 2021, not 2015. That means no upfront sanctions relief for a regime that’s only expanded its dangerous behavior,” Trump’s former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

    Washington could find other ways to ease Iran’s economic pain, smoothing the way for the International Monetary Fund to lend to Tehran, making it easier for humanitarian goods to get through, or embracing a European idea for a credit facility.

    A Western diplomat said an IMF loan “definitely could be in play” and described the possibility of a European credit facility for Iran, which would require the tacit acceptance of the United States, as “sensible and feasible.”

    The White House declined comment beyond spokeswoman Jen Psaki’s statement that if Tehran resumed compliance, Washington would do so and that “the ball’s in Iran’s court.”

    A State Department spokeswoman, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Biden administration was still consulting Congress as well as allies and partners.

    “We are exploring a range of ideas consistent with our stated policy of being willing to return into compliance with the deal if Iran is,” she said, without elaborating.

    It was unclear how soon the Biden administration may settle on its approach.

    One deadline is Feb. 21, when an Iranian law obliges Tehran to end the sweeping inspection powers given to the U.N. nuclear watchdog by the 2015 deal and limiting inspections to declared nuclear sites only.

    Three European diplomats said even the window for an interim solution could close rapidly before Iran’s June presidential election, which anti-U.S. security hawks are expected to win.

    “It’s an urgent situation. If we can’t take advantage of the window now, it’s very hard to think that we will be able to engage in substantial negotiations before the autumn,” said one. “The current (nuclear) trajectory could close a lot of doors.””

  20. Saudi money laundering gang jailed for 60 years
    https://gulfnews.com/world/gulf/saudi-money-laundering-gang-jailed-for-60-years-1.77053399

    “A Saudi money laundering gang was jailed for more than 60 years and fined SR8 million for illegally transferring SR593 million, a Saudi court has ruled.

    The court also ordered confiscation of the convicts’ funds in local banks and their money kept in their homes, as well as mobile phones, laptops, personal computers used in the crime, and a firearm found in the house of one of the convict, according to the court records.

    “The gang, composed of a female citizen, her brother, two other citizens and eight expatriates, shared roles between them, as citizens created commercial records for commercial entities that did not exist on the ground, and then opened bank accounts, and handed them over to expatriates, who collected money illegally and deposited them in these accounts, and transferred more than 593 million riyals abroad, which constitutes a full-fledged money laundering crime,” a source at the Public Prosecution said.”

  21. Foreign elements patronising terrorism in Pakistan using Afghan land: FM
    https://tribune.com.pk/story/2283143/foreign-elements-patronising-terrorism-in-pakistan-using-afghan-land-fm

    “A day after the United Nations said that Afghanistan continues to serve as a sanctuary for terror groups including the Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that certain foreign elements are patronising terrorism in Pakistan by using the Afghan land…”

  22. Germany sees rise in Islamophobic crimes
    https://www.aa.com.tr/en/europe/germany-sees-rise-in-islamophobic-crimes/2138073

    “Germany recorded more than 900 Islamophobic hate crimes in 2020, according to official figures announced Monday.

    Nearly 80 mosques were attacked between January and December last year, and at least 48 people suffered injuries due to Islamophobic violence.

    The Interior Ministry released the figures in response to a parliamentary question by the opposition Left Party.

    The German police recorded 901 anti-Muslim hate crimes and attacks last year, up from 884 a year earlier, according to the latest figures. These included insults on social media, threatening letters, disruption of religious practice, physical assaults, and damage to property.

    The number of people injured in Islamophobic violence rose from 34 in 2019 to 48 in 2020, according to the official figures. These attacks were mostly carried out by the neo-Nazis and right-wing extremists, according to the police.

    Left Party lawmaker Ulla Jelpke told Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung daily that the numbers reported by the police were “only the tip of the iceberg.” She said the real figures were likely to be higher, as many victims do not file criminal complaints with the police.

    A country of over 80 million people, Germany has the second-largest Muslim population in Western Europe after France. Among the country’s nearly 4.7 million Muslims, 3 million are of Turkish origin.

    The country has witnessed growing racism and Islamophobia in recent years, fueled by the propaganda of far-right groups and parties, which have attempted to stoke fear of Muslims and immigrants to win more votes.”

  23. Man arrested for stabbing partner to death in street
    https://www.ansa.it/english/news/2021/02/08/man-arrested-for-stabbing-partner-to-death-in-street_0b4309d6-4a10-4eac-a865-adead49c089b.html

    “A 43-year-old Albanian man was arrested Monday on suspicion of stabbing his 47-year-old Albanian partner to death in the street near Lodi south of Milan on Sunday.

    The woman, Luljeta Heshta, was murdered in the street at Pedriano di San Giuliano Milanese.

    The man was said to have been living with her…”

  24. How Hungary is violating EU law on refugees (Author Keno Verseck, DW, Feb 8, 2021)
    https://www.dw.com/en/how-hungary-is-violating-eu-law-on-refugees/a-56503564

    “The European Court of Justice ruled that Hungary’s deportation of refugees to Serbia was unlawful. But Viktor Orban’s national-conservative government is ignoring the judgement — and continuing to deport refugees.

    The Hungarian government is making no attempt to conceal its violation of the law. You can read all about it on an official website, which meticulously records the statistics for every single week of the year, by category, with precise case figures.

    These concern the deportation of refugees by Hungarian border guards from Hungary to Serbia. According to the official statistics, which can be found on the website of the Hungarian police, 2,824 refugees were apprehended near the border fence and forced to return to Serbia in January this year alone. Added to this, another 184 refugees were apprehended who must first stand trial in Hungary. They, too, will usually be deported back to Serbia.

    These “pushbacks” not only contravene international treaties to which Hungary is a signatory, such as the Geneva Convention. Since December of last year, they also violate a legally binding ruling by the highest court of the European Union, the European Court of Justice (ECJ). Its ruling declared the pushbacks unlawful — but the Hungarian government is ignoring the judges’ verdict. So far, Hungarian border guards have sent around 5,000 refugees back to Serbia since December 17, 2020, the day the verdict was announced. Hungary’s leader, Viktor Orban, and several members of his government have repeatedly confirmed that they intend to continue the practice.

    ‘Escort to a gate opening’
    Andras Lederer, the migration policy expert of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, one of the country’s most important non-governmental organizations, says this is “open and very serious defiance” of ECJ rulings, and thus of EU law, which is binding on Hungary. “It’s not very often in the legal field that things are crystal clear,” Lederer told DW. “But that is the case with ECJ rulings. They are binding, and Hungary must obey and implement them. But the Hungarian government is not doing it.”

    In Hungarian officialese, the pushbacks are called “escort of apprehended illegal migrants to a gate opening of the Provisional Border Security Barrier (IBH).” This refers to the fence along the Serbian border, which since 2015 has been upgraded to a high-security installation. Gates have also been set into it at regular intervals. Refugees are sent back through these, usually immediately after they are picked up.

    Violation of EU directives
    Until recently, at least according to the Hungarian government’s interpretation, there was a trick that covered this practice. The fence along the border with Serbia is situated on Hungarian territory, a few meters back from the actual border. So Hungary could argue that “escorting” refugees through a gate in the border fence was not deportation — because on the other side of the fence they were still, de facto, on Hungarian territory. This, at any rate, was the argument repeatedly put forward by Hungarian government representatives, as for example with regard to the question of whether the pushbacks constituted a violation of the Geneva Convention on Refugees.

    However, in its December verdict, the ECJ explicitly ruled that taking refugees to the other side of the border fence was illegal, even though this was still Hungarian territory. As the persons concerned then had no option but to leave Hungarian territory, it said, this was equivalent to deportation. And sending them back without specific guarantees, such as individual assessment of their case, was a violation of EU directives.

    Wear them down, starve them out
    This is not the first time the ECJ has condemned the Hungarian government for its refugee policy. In May last year, the court in Strasbourg declared that the conditions of Hungary’s accommodation of refugees in so-called transit zones was unlawful.

    At the end of 2015, Hungary established two transit zones near the fence along the Serbian border. Here, refugees were able to apply for asylum. However, in recent years, the conditions for staying there had become more and more restrictive. Couples and families were separated; only babies were allowed to stay with their mothers. The accommodation was extremely cramped, and resembled the high-security wing of a prison. Finally, refugees were also hardly being given any food.

    Hungarian civil rights campaigners criticized these practices, which they described as “wearing them down and starving them out”. The Hungarian government argued that the refugees had not been imprisoned and could leave the transit zone at any time in order to get provisions. However, according to Hungarian asylum law, leaving the transit zone automatically resulted in the termination of the asylum process, with the refugee banned from reapplying.

    The ECJ ruled that conditions in the transit zones constituted unlawful imprisonment. Hungary closed the transit zones as a result. Ever since, refugees have been able to apply for asylum only at the Hungarian embassies of non-EU member countries, primarily Serbia and Ukraine. Last autumn, the European Commission responded to this regulation by initiating further proceedings against Hungary, and these are still ongoing.

    European Commission irresolute
    Responding to an inquiry from DW, the Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs did not explain on what basis the Hungarian government was refusing to implement the ECJ’s December ruling.

    A written statement from his communications department, which repeats almost word-for-word a Facebook post by the Hungarian justice minister, Judit Varga, from December last year, says: “The government continues to protect Hungary’s and Europe’s borders and will do everything to prevent the formation of international migrant corridors.” It goes on to say that the conditions that were the subject of the verdict no longer pertain and that the ruling is therefore invalid. Kovacs does not explain what exactly is meant by this.

    Given the Hungarian government’s refusal to implement the ECJ’s December 2020 ruling, Andras Lederer from the Helsinki Committee is calling on the European Commission to take action. “It would be possible to impose financial sanctions on Hungary, in the form of significant daily fines, for the non-execution of ECJ rulings,” Lederer says.

    However, the civil rights campaigner is not optimistic that this will happen: “Unfortunately, it looks as if the European Commission is not as resolute as it needs to be when a member state violates existing laws.””

  25. Sweden: Romanian beggar prosecuted for attacking 83-year-old woman at ATM
    https://rmx.news/article/article/sweden-romanian-beggar-prosecuted-for-attacking-83-year-old-woman-at-atm

    “After an 83-year-old woman with a walker withdrew money from an ATM at Olof Palme’s place in Malmö three days before Christmas Eve, she was pushed to the ground and robbed. A 45-year-old Romanian beggar is now prosecuted for aggravated theft and assault at Malmö District Court. The attacker confessed to the crime during police interrogation, Nyheter Idag reported.

    A surveillance camera at the ATM captured the man in a group with other men becoming interested in the actions of a woman who withdrew 500 Swedish Krona (€49.48) banknotes and put them in her pocket. The woman then withdrew 100 Swedish Krona (€9.89) banknote, which the robber managed to get after pushing the resisting woman.

    However, the 83-year-old woman paid a much higher price as she received a wound in the head and suffered heavy bleeding. When she was admitted to the hospital, complications arose, and she had to stay for at least four weeks. Through her legal representative, she stated that she wants to participate in the trial’s main hearing.

    During police interrogation, the Romanian man said that he earns his living by begging or working part-time jobs. He admitted to the robbery when he saw the surveillance camera images.

    He has previously been convicted of two counts of burglary and two counts of theft. In 2015, he was sentenced to deportation for five years after being convicted of theft.

    A witness described to the police what happened when he confronted the Romanian and his friends.

    “When I stepped out (of a car), the men were standing right in front of me, and I told them, “look what you did to her”. Then they turned to her and back to me and made a sign with their hand as if they did not care. Then the men started to leave,” the witness said.

    “One went to the right and the other straight ahead. I followed the one that went to the right around the house. When I followed him, I noticed that he had increased his speed. I thought I would not catch up, but I followed anyway and shouted “see what you have done”. But he just kept walking away from me. After a while, he turned around and then started walking with me back. When we got to the lady, we saw a lot of blood on the ground. It was startling how much blood there was,” the witness added.

    Prosecutor Sofie Alkeberg now demands the Romanian man to be deported.”

  26. Migrants again occupy Catholic church in Brussels
    https://rmx.news/article/article/migrants-again-occupy-catholic-church-in-brussels

    “Migrant squatters have once occupied the St. John the Baptist Church in downtown Brussels as they have many times in the past, demanding direct negotiations with the Belgian federal government, Hungarian newspaper Magyar Nemzet correspondent Tamara Judi reports.

    The church, just meters from Sainte-Catherine Square in Brussels, has been the location of amazing scenes for days. The Catholic church, erected in the 17th century, was occupied by nearly 150 immigrants staying in Belgium illegally who wanted to negotiate directly with the federal Belgian government in order to stay in Europe.

    While visiting the site, Magyar Nemzet spoke to one of the security guards currently guarding the church, who said that the migrants had no intention to leave, and as they were in “God’s house”, they occupied the church in the belief that they were untouchable by the police.

    “The pope is constantly mentioned,” the guard told Magyar Nemzet. This guard was posted there because he speaks excellent Arabic and English in addition to French. He also recounted that in recent days, the space in front of the place of prayer has become the scene of physical clashes. From time to time, other migrant groups appear, which also claim a place in the already full “protected” place of worship, which can lead to conflict between the different migrant groups competing for limited space.

    As he puts it, security t the site is also aware that another attack was likely to be expected on Friday night, which meant they increased guards at the holy place.

    The correspondent from Magyar Nemzet also wrote that police cars kept circling around the area as well.

    Getting to the church is not an easy task either, as journalists have been warned that the occupiers of the building do not like to be photographed by members of the press. There are sleeping bags and mattresses on the floor, making it nearly impossible not to step on someone else’s bed.

    Others set up tents in the church and spend their time chatting with their neighbors or lying on mattresses while they stay glued to their smartphones. The church is such a symbolic and significant place in the Belgian immigrant community that it has been occupied several times in recent decades, not least because the parish priest regularly supports them.

    The most famous case occurred in 1998 after the death of a Nigerian immigrant, Semira Adamu, in police custody, prompting a group of migrants to protest. This group occupied the church and lived there for nearly four months. Following her death, the then Belgian Federal Minister of the Interior was forced to resign.”

  27. “Video: Viral Hydroxychloroquine Doctor Demands Joe Biden Apologize After Media Finally Acknowledges HCQ Works”
    by Tom Pappert – February 8, 2021
    https://nationalfile.com/video-viral-hydroxychloroquine-doctor-demands-joe-biden-apologize-after-media-finally-acknowledges-hcq-works/

    “I demand an apology. When we said Hydroxychloroquine works we were ridiculed. Now studies are coming out saying it works. What about hundreds of thousands that have died and are still dying. Take care of your family. Visit http://frontlinemds.com for prevention and treatment.”
    Stella Immanuel MD – February 8, 2021 – Twitter
    https://twitter.com/stella_immanuel/status/1358842889929977860

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