New Cold War.org Information Bulletin, Vol 2 #49, March 20, 2017
Ukraine-Russia-Europe: (* denotes also published in full on New Cold War.org)
* U.S. component of NATO’s ‘Russia deterence’ force in eastern Europe will land in Poland in April, Reuters, March 20, 2017
* Donald Trump says Germany owes ‘vast sums of money’ to NATO, U.S. for defence, by Reuters and Associated Press, March 18, 2017 (with extensive related reading)
France’s divided left looks set for defeat in first-round elections, by Kim Willsher, The Guardian, March 19, 2017
Socialist Party defections have effectively divided the party in two – threatening its future, whatever the outcome of the election – and split the French left into three distinct camps represented by Hamon, Mélenchon and Macron.
Conservative Party leader makes absurd claim that Canada is not taking hard enough line against Russia, op-ed commentary by Rona Ambrose, in Winnipeg Sun tabloid, March 19, 2017
On March 29, Britain will trigger two-year, ‘Article 50’ withdrawal process from the European Union, Deutsche Welle, March 20, 2017
UK and Germany to sign new defence pact after Article 50 is triggered, The Independent, March 20, 2017
The far right can stop celebrating, but the European court’s headscarf ban is ‘nothing of the sort’, by Sophia Akram, The Canary, March 18, 2017
Turkey-Syria-Middle East and Caucasus:
* Evacuation agreement sees Syrian gov’t assume control of city of Homs, by Reuters, March 18, 2017
The liberation of Homs is another major step in ending the war in Syria
U.S. likely to deploy ‘up to 1,000 more ground troops’ to Syria to defeat Isis in Raqqa, by Bethan McKernan, in Beirut, The Independent, March 16, 2017
Potential move would involve lifting cap on ground numbers imposed by former President Barack Obama for fear of drawing the U.S. deeper into Syria’s complex civil war
Head of U.S. House Intelligence Committee says there is no evidence linking Fethullah Gulen to July 2016 coup attempt in Turkey, Turkish Minute, March 20, 2017
Indictment reveals Turkey coup timeline, but mysteries remain, by Metin Gurcan, Al-Monitor, March 20, 2017
A mountainous indictment in Turkey’s coup attempt case leaves a lot to the imagination despite its heft.
966 detained in Turkey during the past week in ‘anti-Gülen’ operations, Turkish Minute, March 20, 2017
[The widespread political repression in Turkey which is much broader than the government’s violent civil war against Kurdish people is being conducted in the name of an unproven accusation that the social/political movement led by exiled cleric Fethullah Gulen was behind the July 15, 2016 military coup attempt.]
The crackdown, and the loyalist, by Patrick Kingsley, New York Times, March 20, 2017
In one section of Istanbul, an imprisoned journalist’s family tries to cope after Turkey’s crackdown. In another, a neighborhood leader is proud to have taken a bullet for his government during the coup attempt. This is the second part in the State of Emergency series, in which our correspondent takes us behind the scenes of today’s Turkey, a nation in crisis.
Europeans ‘would revive gas chambers if they weren’t ashamed’, Erdogan tells Turkish audience, RT.com, March 20, 2017
A life upended: Turkish novelist Asli Erdogan is released from six months in prison and awaits trial on ‘terrorism’ charges, byTim Arango, New York Times, March 18, 2017
Saudi helicopter attack on refugee boat March 17 kills over 44 off Yemen coast, Press TV, March 17, 2017
Three U.S. soldiers wounded in Afghanistan ‘insider attack’, Press TV, March 19, 2017
… The assault, which highlights long-simmering tensions between Afghan and foreign forces, is the first “insider attack” on U.S.-led forces this year.
* Meeting with Angela Merkel in Washington, Trump ‘reiterates’ his support for NATO, by Reuters and Associated Press, March 18, 2017 (with extensive related reading)
… “I reiterated to Chancellor Merkel my strong support for NATO as well as the need for our NATO allies to pay their fair share for the cost of defence,” Mr Trump said.
Trump continues U.S. use of special forces, keeping wars at arm’s length, by Eric Schmitt, New York Times, March 19, 2017
MARA, Chad — From Yemen to Syria to here in Central Africa, the Trump administration is relying on Special Operations forces to intensify its promised fight against the Islamic State and other terrorist groups as senior officials embrace an Obama-era strategy to minimize the American military’s footprint overseas.
In Africa, President Trump is expected to soon approve a Pentagon proposal to remove constraints on Special Operations airstrikes and raids in parts of Somalia to target suspected militants with the Shabab, an extremist group linked to Al Qaeda. Critics say that the change — in one of the few rejections of President Barack Obama’s guidelines for the elite forces — would bypass rules that seek to prevent civilian deaths from drone attacks and commando operations.
But in their two months in office, Trump officials have shown few other signs that they want to back away from Mr. Obama’s strategy to train, equip and otherwise support indigenous armies and security forces to fight their own wars instead of having to deploy large American forces to far-flung hot spots…
Administration pressures UN to oust official who was critical of Israel, by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, March 18, 2017
On March 15, a UN agency published a report noting that “Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.” Yesterday, the author of that report, who has served as executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UNESCWA) since 2010, Rima Khalef, resigned after the Trump administration, working in conjunction with Israel, pressured the U.N. secretary-general to demand that she withdraw the report…
The report, which was co-authored by Richard Falk, the Jewish American Princeton professor, former UN official and longtime critic of Israeli occupation, has now been removed from the UNESCWA website.
California waiter fired for asking customers to prove residency, by news agencies, March 19, 2017
* On Asia tour, U.S. Secretary of State Tillerson says ‘circumstances could evolve’ for a Japanese nuclear arsenal, by Jesse Johnson, Japan Times, March 19, 2017
Canadian border officials can search your cellphone, confiscate your device, by Tania Kohut, Global TV News, Feb 27, 2017
… Quebec resident Alain Philippon did say no to CBSA officers in March 2015 as he arrived back in Canada from a trip abroad. He refused to unlock his phone. At first, Philippon vowed to fight the charge of obstruction against him, but later agreed to plead guilty and paid a $500 fine.
Legal experts say the case could have been a game changer. “I’m looking forward to the next time a case like this goes forward and the person actually challenges it,” said Fraser. “I’m not sure [the CBSA is] super keen to get a case like this into court because I think there’s a strong likelihood that they would be pushed back in a significant sort of way”…
Anti-Russia columnist in Canada says country needs to buy Lockheed Martin’s ‘invisible’ F35 fighter aircraft or U.S. will take over Arctic, column by Matthew Fisher, in National Post, March 14, 2017
[In his ongoing agitation urging Canada to purchase Lockheed Martin’s troubled F35 fighter aircraft, Postmedia‘s Matthew Fisher repeats his argument that the “invisible” aircraft is needed by Canada to avoid the U.S. taking over Canada’s Arctic territory in the name of continental defense. Vaunting the aircraft, he writes, “U.S. war planes such as the F-35 and F-22 would defend the bulk of Canada’s vast northern air space because they would be invisible to Russian radars…”
[The same argument was penned by Fisher in an earlier column, on October 10, 2016 (cited here). He wrote, “The dreamers now ruling Canada believe a gentler stance can lead to a more trusting relationship with Putin on northern issues.”]
Caged by Canada, by Brendan Kennedy, Toronto Star, March 18, 2017
In the fiscal year 2015/16, Canada detained 6,596 migrants. Some detainees have been in jail for years having committed no crime. Ebrahim Toure is from West Africa and is Canada’s longest-held detainee, at four years. “I thought you had to do something to be in a prison in Canada. I have no charge, no nothing. This shouldn’t happen.”
Responding to widespread criticism from humanitarian organizations, including the United Nations’ Human Rights Committee in 2015, the Liberal government announced last summer its intention to create a “better” and “fairer” immigration detention system. But while Justin Trudeau’s government has detained fewer people than the Conservatives did under Stephen Harper, there has been no meaningful change in policy that would end a system criticized as inhumane, arbitrary and a violation of international law.
- Part 1: Four years lost Canada is known as a haven for refugees, but hundreds of unwanted immigrants are jailed here.
- Part 2: Canada’s longest case Kashif Ali has been detained in a maximum-security jail for seven years waiting to be deported.
- Part 3: The damning data Detention reviews in the province of Ontario end in release less than half as often compared with rest of Canada.
Global warming and climate change:
Europe faces annual extreme coastal floods in future, by Andrea Thompson, published in Climate Central, March 15, 2017
… The analysis, detailed in the journal Earth’s Future, is the first to take into account not only sea level rise due to warming temperatures, but also the impacts of climate change on storm surge and wave activity when estimating future flood risk. Those two factors have played a key role in the worst flooding disasters, and so are important to consider because “it’s always the extreme events that are important in terms of impacts, since they are explosive and unpredictable,” Vousdoukas said.
WASHINGTON, DC — Massive coastal flooding in northern Europe that now occurs once every century could happen every year if greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise, according to a new study…
“Unless we take different protection measures, 5 million people will be exposed to coastal flooding on an annual basis,” said Michalis Vousdoukas, a coastal oceanographer at the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission and the lead author of the new study published in Earth’s Future, a journal of the American Geophysical Union.
Airpocalypse’ smog events in China linked to melting ice cap, research reveals, by Damian Carrington, The Guardian, March 15, 2017
Canada-sourced water to ease U.S. drought? The ‘Site C’ dam in British Columbia and the North American Water and Power Alliance, by Joyce Nelson, published in Watershed Sentinel, March 14, 2017
New Cold War.org Information Bulletin is posted daily (or every several days) to the New Cold War.org website as a complement to the feature articles published or re-produced in full. It is included in the daily newsletter emailed to website subscribers. As of Nov 22, 2016, the ‘search’ function on the website will be needed by readers to find many of the items by published title or author. Articles that are published exclusively on New Cold War.org will continue to be published in their entirety and tagged in the relevant subject category. Comments in square brackets [ ] are those of New Cold War.org editors. Comments and suggestions welcome; find email address under ‘Contact’ on main website page.