“People think the world is in chaos. People think that the world is on fire right now for all the wrong reasons,” says author and Cato Institute senior fellow Johan Norberg. “There is a segment of politicians who try to scare us to death, because then we clamber for safety we need the strong man in a way.”
But despite the political situation in Europe and America, Norberg remains optimistic. His new book, Progress: Ten Reasons to Look Forward to the Future, shows what humans are capable of when given freedom and the ability to exchange new ideas. “In the 25 years that have been considered neo-liberalism and capitalism run amok what has happened? Well, we’ve reduced chronic undernourishment around the world by 40 percent, child mortality and illiteracy by half, and extreme poverty from 37 to 10 percent,” explains Norberg. Read the rest of this entry »
Pegida spokesperson says mass sexual assaults at Cologne train station vindicates her group’s call for a freeze on immigrants entering Germany.
The German anti-Muslim group Pegida will hold a rally outside the Cologne train station where dozens of women were sexually assaulted by a group of men on New Year’s Eve.
“Cologne police chief Wolfgang Albers said speculation that the attackers were refugees was ‘absolutely inadmissible’”.
Witnesses and police said that the men involved were of Arab or North African appearance. Pegida are looking to capitalize on anti-immigrant fears in the wake of the attacks, and announced on its Facebook page that it will hold a rally on Saturday outside the train station.
“We don’t currently have any suspects, so we don’t know who the perpetrators were,” he said. “All we know is that the police at the scene perceived that it was mostly young men aged 18 to 35 from the Arab or North African region.”
— Cologne police chief Wolfgang Albers
Pegida spokesperson Tatjana Festerling said that the attacks vindicated her group’s call for a freeze on immigrants entering Germany.
“They are exactly what we have been warning for over a year,” she told Russia Today.
Pegida supporters rally outside Cologne cathedral in January 2015
“In Germany, this so-called ‘welcome culture’ is like a religion, and everybody who criticizes uncontrolled flooding with mostly Muslim young men is called a Nazi and has to shut up.”
— Pegida spokesperson Tatjana Festerlin
She claimed that the assaults would rightfully boost anti-immigrant sentiment in the country, as “one cannot blame people that they have become more radical facing this attack on our liberal order”, she said.
“In Germany, this so-called ‘welcome culture’ is like a religion, and everybody who criticizes uncontrolled flooding with mostly Muslim young men is called a Nazi and has to shut up,” she said.
On 31 December, a crowd of around 1,000 men, many of whom were drunk and aggressive, had gathered in the square outside the station and started letting off fireworks. Police eventually evacuated the area because of the risk of injury from the fireworks.
However, gangs of young men soon returned and carried out dozens of attacks and robberies over a number of hours, with little apparent response from the local authorities until well after midnight.
German chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed outrage over the “disgusting attacks” and interior minister Thomas de Maiziere has criticized the police for their handling of the attack.
On 5 January, over 300 people took part in a demonstration against sexual violence outside Cologne station.
“Mrs Merkel, where are you? What do you say? This is scary,” read a sign held by one demonstrator.
Cologne authorities have warned that it is too early to blame immigrants for the attacks, with nobody having yet been arrested or charged in connection with the incident. Read the rest of this entry »
“Refugees should stay where the hell they are. Hey, no one has worked harder for the human condition than I have, but they’re not part of the human condition. If 11 guys in the group of 10,000 are ISIS—how can I take that chance?”
Lewis then said that President Obama was “never prepared” for ISIS and suggested that he was not a real leader…
…The clip concludes with Lewis praising Trump for his “showmanship.”
“I think he’s great,” said Lewis of Trump. “He’s a showman and we’ve never had a showman in the president’s chair.”
“You can’t make do a comparison on Ronald Reagan because I can do three hours on him with just praise, he was so good.”
“Well, we had Ronald Reagan,” Arroyo interjected….(read more)
Perhaps they should put their faces on milk cartons.
Rick Moran writes: German authorities are searching for 12 refugees from Syria who entered the country using fake passports from the same source used by the Paris attackers. The passports were reportedly stolen from a passport office in Raqqa, the unofficial capital of Islamic State, in 2013 following the city’s capture.
The news comes a week after two men were arrested at a refugee center on suspicion of having links to the Paris attacks. The men entered the country at the same time as the Paris attackers and were also using false Syrian passports.
But Germany’s problems go far beyond a few potential terrorists with false passports. The German newspaper Bild is reporting that more than 250,000 of the refugees who have entered the country this year cannot be located because the system of registering refugees was so bad.
Asylum-seekers are expected to register after their arrival in the country, but overburdened refugee offices mean many are left waiting for weeks or have to be taken hundreds of miles by bus to be registered in different cities.Thousands are disappearing after entering the country and never registering. Border officials do not even take fingerprints of arriving asylum-seekers, it has emerged.
Those who do not register have no entitlement to benefits, but there are concerns they may be disappearing into the black economy or other criminal activities…(read more)
That’s a lot of people to be “lost” in Europe. I suppose it doesn’t do any good to state the obvious; you have to wonder how many of those “refugees” have been infiltrated by any number of terror groups…(read more)
Monday CNS News reported that the vast majority of Syrian refugees that have been resettled in the U.S. are Sunni Muslim and very few are Christians or other religious minorities.
Caroline May reports: Since the start of the Syria’s civil war in the spring of 2011, the U.S. has admitted 2,311 Syrian refugees and resettled them in 36 different states.
According to data from the State Department’s Refugee Processing Center the top three destinations for Syrian refugees since the beginning of the conflict are California, Texas, and Michigan.
From March 15, 2011 through December 1, 2015, California received the most (261) Syrian refugees, Texas received the second most with 242, and Michigan has received the third most with 217.
Other states that have received Syrian refugees since March 2011 include: Arizona (182), Illinois (170), Pennsylvania (161), Florida (142), Kentucky (101), New Jersey (99), Ohio (89), Massachusetts (72), Georgia (69), North Carolina (56), New York (55), Connecticut (51), Maryland (43), Tennessee (42), Indiana (39), Washington (38), Idaho (37), Missouri (29), Virginia (26), Colorado (18), Louisiana (14), Utah (12), Kansas (8), Nevada (8), Minnesota (7), New Mexico (6), Oregon (6),New Hampshire (3), Oklahoma (3), Wisconsin (2), Arkansas (1), Maine (1), and West Virginia (1). Read the rest of this entry »
Jack Martinez reports: “National security and public safety are not simply factors to be considered,” in policy decisions said Trey Gowdy, the South Carolina representative who heads the House Special Committee on Benghazi, during debate over a refugee bill in the House of Representatives. Instead, he argued, they are the main issues, the most important issues that should be considered in making every decision.
That appears to the be the rationale behind HR 4038, a bill authored by Republican Michael McCaul of Texas and backed by Paul Ryan, the new Speaker of the House. Debate raged on for hours over the bill, which ultimately passed with votes from all but three Republican representatives, and 48 Democrats.
The bill, if signed into law, would introduce new checks on refugee admission into the United States. Under current policy, defined mostly by the Refugee Act of 1980,the State Department has broad discretion to determine refugee admission and resettlement, in consultation with the FBI. Congressional Republicans want the FBI, the Director of National Intelligence and the Department of Homeland Security to play a greater role; the law would require all three entities to approve each individual refugee admitted to the United States after conducting background checks.
The bill does not contain any specific provisions for what the new vetting would look like, nor how it would differ from current vetting, but it does emphasize that the new measures would apply to refugees from Syria and Iraq. One house Democrat characterized the vote as purely symbolic, a way of “patting ourselves on the back” without making any policy changes to ensure the safety of the American public. Others expressed concern about a growing anti-refugee sentiment on Capitol Hill, and the likelihood that the bill would effectively pause resettlement efforts, or otherwise severely hamper them. Read the rest of this entry »
Greece’s migration minister, Yiannis Mouzalas, during a news conference in Athens on Sunday. Greek authorities say the man posing as Ahmad AlMohammad took a ferry to the port of Piraeus, arriving on Oct. 8, before traveling north through the Balkans. Photo: angelos tzortzinis/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
ATHENS — Marcus Walker and Noemie Bisserbe report: Mystery deepened over a Paris attacker who traveled to Europe via Greece and the Balkans, after French officials said Monday that the Syrian passport he had used was indeed a fake.
“Greek authorities on islands such as Leros, Lesbos and Chios have confronted thousands of arrivals every day in recent months as refugees and other migrants make the short sea crossing from Turkey in inflatable boats.”
Authorities in France and Greece have said that fingerprints taken from the remains of a suicide bomber outside France’s national sports stadium, the Stade de France, match the prints of a man who entered Europe via the Aegean island of Leros on Oct. 3.
“Short of staff and equipment, Greek police carry out only a simple procedure that involves taking people’s data and fingerprints, and sometimes asking them a few questions, before giving them permission to travel onward, deeper into Europe.”
Police on Leros registered the man under the identity in the passport he showed them: Ahmad AlMohammad, 25, from Syria. The same passport was found near the man’s body outside the stadium on Friday night.
Whoever the man was, he posed as one of the many refugees fleeing Syria’s war—including the violence of Islamic State—to enter Europe through its lightly controlled frontier in the Aegean Sea. Read the rest of this entry »
Screening outposts to be set up in Iraq, Lebanon as U.S. urges Arab nations to do more.
The Obama administration is moving to increase and accelerate the number of Syrian refugees who might be admitted into the United States by opening new screening outposts in Iraq and Lebanon, administration officials told Reuters on Friday.
The move comes after President Barack Obama pledged in September to admit an additional 10,000 Syrian refugees in 2016, torn by four years of civil war and disorder.
The U.S. State Department confirmed the plans to open a refugee settlement processing centre in Erbil, Iraq, before the end of 2015, and to resume refugee processing in Lebanon in early 2016, said spokeswoman Danna Van Brandt.
The White House would not say how many additional refugees it may take in beyond the 10,000, but two senior administration officials said they are seeking ways to increase the number.
Refugees and migrants arrive from the island of Lesbos to the port of Piraeus on Friday. About 25,000 refugees and other migrants are heading to the Greek mainland from the eastern Aegean islands after the country’s seamen’s union called off ferry strikes. (Thanassis Stavrakis/Associated Press)
“We want to be in a place where we can push out really ambitious goals,” said one of the officials, who spoke to Reuters on the condition of anonymity.
The State Department runs nine screening centres worldwide that serve as meeting points for refugees and U.S. Department of Homeland Security employees who have to decide who is suitable for resettlement in the United States.
Margot Wallstrom has said that Sweden cannot cope with taking in refugees at its current level, without it affecting services.
She says that Stockholm will now have to pressure the European Union in a bid to force other member states to share the burden of those coming from the Middle East, mainly Syria.
Margot Wallstrom, pictured, has said that Sweden cannot cope with taking in refugees at its current level, without it affecting services
It is expected that Sweden will take in around 190,000 migrants by the end of 2015. In the first nine months of the year, more than 73,000 people applied for asylum in Sweden. Read the rest of this entry »
Chuck Ross reports: Hillary Clinton sent an email to her daughter, Chelsea, on Sept. 11, 2012 in which she asserted that an al-Qaida-like group was responsible for the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, it was revealed on Thursday during the former secretary of state’s testimony to the House Select Committee on Benghazi.
The email, which was revealed by Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan , indicates that Clinton knew early on that the attacks which left four Americans dead was carried out by terrorists. But as Jordan pointed out, Clinton and others in the Obama administration had already begun crafting the narrative that the attack was spontaneous and that the attackers were motivated by a YouTube video many Muslims found offensive.
“Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al Queda-like [sic] group,” Clinton wrote.
But shortly before the email, after it was revealed that Ambassador Chris Stevens had been murdered in the onslaught, Clinton implied that the YouTube video had served as a motive.
“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted to the Internet,” Clinton said in a statement shortly after Stevens’ death.
The Obama administration continued for days after the attack to claim that the YouTube video — entitled “Innocence of Muslims” — had sparked protests which turned violent. Critics of the administration’s handling of the response to the attack assert that the YouTube video was used as political cover to protect Obama ahead of his re-election bid. Obama had been on the campaign trail insisting that he had destroyed al-Qaida.
…Trudeau’s campaign channeled rhetoric reminiscent of President Obama’s presidential reelection campaign in 2012, as well as that of his 2008 campaign while still a senator. His campaign promised “real change,” spoke regularly about the nebulous “middle class,” and framed the consensus of the United Nations as representative of Canada’s international reputation. His campaign also focused on reaching out to young voters. Perhaps most importantly, Trudeau’s campaign has incorporated sophisticated technology for hi-tech GOTV efforts used and proven successful by the Obama campaigns.
“Canada’s state-broadcaster – the CBC – is likely glad to have been promised even greater funding above and beyond the over $1 billion currently flowing into its coffers annually.”
Lee Smith writes: The United States, President Obama said at the U.N. General Assembly last week, “worked with many nations in this assembly to prevent a third world war—by forging alliances with old adversaries.” Presumably, the president was not referring to his deeply flawed Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the recent agreement that the White House has marketed as the only alternative to war with a soon-to-be-nuclear Iran.
“Once you seize a position by force, as the Russians have. you are in the diplomatic driver’s seat. Putin is schooling the U.S. foreign policy establishment in foreign affairs. He has put his armed forces not at the service of Bashar al-Assad, but at the service of Russian interests.”
— Angelo Codevilla, professor emeritus of international relations at Boston University
Rather, it seems he was referring to the post-World War II period, when the United States created and presided over an international order that prevented an even larger, potentially nuclear, conflict with the Soviet Union. Now, that Pax Americana may be ending.
Not with a bang, but with Obama
Indeed, Russia’s airstrikes against CIA-vetted Syrian rebels last week looked like a punctuation mark. When the secretary of state holds a joint press conference with Moscow’s foreign minister after Russia has decimated American proxies bearing American arms, we are not witnessing anything like a return to the Cold War. Rather, we’re witnessing a new order being born. It is an order that is being designed by others, without any concern for American interests.
Syrian refugees wait to cross into Turkey at the border on Monday near the town of Suruc, Turkey, which has been overwhelmed as thousands flee to escape a militant advance.G Getty Images
“At what point does the Syrian conflict create political instability in places like Saudi Arabia and other oil-producing states in the Persian Gulf? As long as nothing is happening to block the oil flow, it’s the refugee flow that makes Syria an international issue.”
— Walter Russell Mead, professor of foreign policy and humanities at Bard College
Its cradle is not the conference rooms of the U.N., but the killing fields of Syria. After four and a half years, the Syrian civil war and the refugee crisis it has spawned threaten to disrupt two zones of American vital interest, the Persian Gulf and Europe.
America’s Cold War prosperity depended on our ability to trade with the rest of the world across both oceans. The United States built a powerful blue-water navy and far-flung bases as tokens of our willingness to protect our allies and stand up to their, and our, adversaries. What facilitates both trade and the movement of a military as large as America’s is access to affordable sources of energy, which is why the security of the Persian Gulf has been a vital American interest for 70 years.
“There already is a third world war underway. It’s the war between Sunnis and Shiites. It’s a world war because it engages people all around the world who happen to be Muslims.”
— Angelo Codevilla
The nuclear agreement with Iran signals that Obama doesn’t see things this way. From his perspective, no core American interest would be threatened by either the domination of the Gulf by revolutionary Iran or the likelihood that other regional powers will go nuclear. The JCPOA told American partners in the Middle East that the old alliance system was finished. Israel and Saudi Arabia would get stiff-armed, and Iran would get to call plays in the huddle. What Obama sought, as he said in a New Yorker interview, was a “new geopolitical equilibrium.” Read the rest of this entry »
Russia launched its first airstrikes in Syria on Wednesday. They were almost all in western Syria. They did not fall on the Islamic State or the other terrorist groups raping and pillaging the Syrian countryside, creating the largest international refugee crisis in decades.
Rather, the Russian airstrikes fell on the moderate rebel groups that the U.S. has been notionally supporting against the country’s tyrant Bashar al-Assad.
President Obama seems surprised by this, but his surprise is inexcusably disingenuous or obtuse.
McCain: Putin’s Ambitions ‘Blindingly Obvious’
Assad is and has long been an ally of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin. Russia entered the Syrian civil war as any rational person would have expected, on the side of his ally and of the Iranian paramilitaries that support him.
Does anyone in the administration dare to say they were shocked — shocked — that Putin is indifferent to both the horror and the strategic threat posed by the Islamic State. Why, yes the Obama administration does dare to claim surprise. When Russian bombs began to fall on their predictable targets, American officials reacted by claiming they were “taken aback,” as if they were genuinely wounded and upset.
On Monday, Obama had addressed the United Nations with the ridiculous idea that Washington and Moscow might would work together in Syria. “The United States is prepared to work with any nation, including Russia and Iran, to resolve the conflict,” Obama said. Read the rest of this entry »
…Now “Siri” is getting in the act as she was heard in the midst of the press conference saying “Sorry, I’m not sure what you want me to change.” It seemed for a moment like Earnest had developed a second persona…
Any way you look at it, the post-World War II era has never seen a refugee crisis on the scale of 2014
According to the U.N. Refugee Agency’s annual report, last year saw the total number of forcibly displaced persons rise to 59.5 million, an all-time high. That figure includes 38.2 million were displaced internally due to conflict, general violence, and human rights violations — also a record figure since such data began to be recorded in 1989. In 2014 alone, 13.9 million people were displaced due to conflict or persecution alone. More than half of refugees worldwide are children.
The primary driver of this nearly unprecedented level of human suffering was the civil war in Syria, now in its fifth year. For more than 30 years, Afghanistan had been the world’s largest source of refugees, but in 2014 Syria overtook it to claim the top spot. By year’s end, 7.6 million Syrians had been displaced within the country’s borders. In 2014 alone, 1.55 million Syrians fled the country, bringing the total number of Syrian refugees to 3.9 million. Today, one out of every four refugees is Syrian.
In this Jan. 31, 2014, file photo released by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), residents of the besieged Yarmouk refugee camp near Damascus, Syria, queue to receive food supplies. Conditions in the camp have deteriorated since Islamic State militants muscled their way into it in early April 2015. The militants are trying to consolidate their hold on the camp. (AP Photo/UNRWA, File)
The Syrian crisis contributed to another milestone: Turkey is now home to the world’s single largest refugee population of 1.59 million. Pakistan had previously held that distinction but slipped to second place in 2014, with 1.51 refugees. The Syrian civil war has placed an enormous strain on surrounding countries, which have absorbed 95 percent of those who have fled. The war has also contributed to Europe’s foremost refugee crisis: Of the 219,000 who attempted to cross the Mediterranean, nearly half were Syrians.
Moreover, as fighting in Syria has continued and the Islamic State militant group has established a foothold there and expanded east, Iraq has seen its own refugee numbers worsen. In 2014, another 2.6 million Iraqis were displaced, bringing the total to 3.6 million.
Elsewhere in the world, the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine between Russian-backed separatists and government forces saw just short of 230,000 Ukrainians take refuge in Russia. Renewed fighting in South Sudan displaced 1.5 million within that country. Half a million South Sudanese fled the country in 2014. Fighting in Congo displaced another million people there. With the government of Pakistan carrying out an offensive in the tribal areas against Islamist militants, some 283,500 people fled into Afghanistan.
And even as the government in Colombia carried out peace talks with the FARC rebel group to end a half-century civil war, another 137,000 Colombians were displaced, bringing the country’s total of internally displaced persons to 6 million. Read the rest of this entry »
BEIRUT (AP) — An Islamic State group video released Sunday purports to show extremists beheading a dozen Syrian soldiers and ends with a militant claiming to have killed U.S. aid worker Peter Kassig, the latest slaughter proudly broadcast by the group on the Internet.
“The Islamic State group has beheaded and shot dead hundreds of captives — mainly Syrian and Iraqi soldiers — during its sweep across the two countries, and has celebrated its mass killings in extremely graphic videos.”
The video ends with the militant standing over a severed head he says belongs to Kassig. U.S. officials said they were working to determine the video’s authenticity. Kassig’s family said it was awaiting the outcome of the investigation.
“The group has declared a self-styled Islamic caliphate in the areas under its control, which it governs according to its violent interpretation of Shariah law.”
“We prefer our son is written about and remembered for his important work and the love he shared with friends and family, not in the manner the hostage takers would use to manipulate Americans and further their cause,” the family said in a statement.
The Associated Press could not independently verify the footage, though it appeared on websites used in the past by the Islamic State group, which now controls a third of Syria and Iraq.
The video identifies the militants’ location as Dabiq, a town in northern Syria that the militant group uses as the title of its English-language propaganda magazine and where they believe an apocalyptic battle between Muslims and their enemies will occur. Read the rest of this entry »