U.S. Officials Warn of Uncontrollable Escalation With Iran in Iraq

US military officials have escalated their warnings to Iran that a military conflict could be looming between the countries in Iraq due to incessant attacks on US-linked targets blamed on Tehran-backed militias. . .

Washington has expressed mounting concern about the flurry of attacks on US bases and diplomatic missions, several of which it has blamed on Shiite militia groups trained by its foe and rival for influence Tehran.

Tensions between Iran and the US have soared since Washington pulled out of a landmark nuclear agreement with Tehran last year and reimposed crippling sanctions.

Baghdad — which is close to both countries and whose many security forces have been trained by either the US or Iran — is worried about being caught in the middle. . .

A senior official was quoted Wednesday by the Reuters news agency as warning the escalation could become uncontrollable and that “no one will like the outcome.” (Read more from “U.S. Officials Warn of Uncontrollable Escalation With Iran in Iraq” HERE)

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The Architect of Mexico’s War on Cartels Was Just Arrested Accused of Drug Trafficking

A former high-ranking Mexican security official who led the country’s crackdown on organized crime in the mid-2000s was arrested in the US on Monday and been charged with conspiracy to import and distribute drugs and making false statements.

Genaro Garcia Luna, 51, was arrested in Dallas by US federal agents, according to the US district attorney for the Eastern District of New York, which said it plans to seek his removal to face charges in New York.

“Garcia Luna stands accused of taking millions of dollars in bribes from ‘El Chapo’ Guzman’s Sinaloa Cartel while he controlled Mexico’s Federal Police Force and was responsible for ensuring public safety in Mexico,” US Attorney Richard P. Donoghue said in the release.

Garcia Luna faces three counts of conspiracy to import and distribute cocaine and a fourth count of making false statements with regard to an immigration naturalization application.

Garcia Luna began his career with Mexico’s Center for National Security and Investigation in the late 1980s before moving to the federal police in the late 1990s. He was then head of Mexico’s federal investigation agency, AFI, between 2001 and 2005 and secretary of public security, then a cabinet-level position in control of the federal police, between 2006 and 2012. (Read more from “The Architect of Mexico’s War on Cartels Was Just Arrested Accused of Drug Trafficking” HERE)

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Former Chinese Labor Camp Prisoner Tells His Heartrending Story

While the world has slowly turned its attention to the communist Chinese government’s human rights abuses over the last few months, Tahir Hamut has been painfully aware of them for many years.

Hamut — a Uighur filmmaker and poet — was born in China’s Uighur Autonomous Region in 1969 and worked as a teacher before his life was changed forever in 1996.

“I was detained on my way to study in Turkey and accused of attempting to escape from China with sensitive state materials,” Hamut explained via an interpreter. After that, he said, he was in a Chinese prison for 18 months and was sentenced to three years in a labor camp. That sentence was handed down in 1997.

He said that, at the time of his incarceration, “nearly 350” prisoners were in the same labor camp, 230 of which were political prisoners.

Hamut made the remarks to lead off a Tuesday panel discussion on Capitol Hill about the Chinese government’s human rights abuses against the country’s Uighur Muslim minority — e.g., the mass internment of Uighurs in concentration camps and subsequent forced labor.

“In the beginning, along with other labor camp prisoners, I dug gravel in an uninhabitable place which was not far from the labor camp,” Hamut recalled. “Every day, excluding Sundays, each person must complete a task of digging 2 cubic meters of gravel; everyone worked very hard to make this requirement, otherwise they would get punished by torture.”

Hamut said that prisoners would often have serious health problems as a result of the “excessive hard labor” but often went without proper medical treatment in the camps, leaving them to suffer for the rest of their lives, while others died as a result.

“I was in the labor camp for more than a year, around 18 months, and my weight dropped to 45 kilograms” or just under 100 lbs., Hamut recalled.

“I thought I would die there, but I managed to survive with the help of other prisoners.”

Later, Hamut said, he was transferred from the gravel work to a brick factory, where his job was to bake bricks. In addition to those duties, he noted that he and others had to plant crops, pick cotton, and even do domestic work for policemen. He also says that the labor camp used prisoner labor to make money.

Hamut was eventually released and, years later, would escape to the United States in August 2017. But getting out of China didn’t mean he was free of the effects of Chinese repression. He said that multiple members of his family, including two of his wife’s brothers and his own brother, have been detained by Chinese authorities and placed in the concentration camps that made international headlines earlier this year.

“For the past two years we have been thinking of them and are concerned for their safety,” Hamut said. “I hope they are safe.”

He added that he learned that earlier this year, two members of his wife’s family were released from the concentration camps, but they are only allowed to go home two days per week and are forced to work at a factory during the other five.

“My wife’s brothers and other family members have no idea how long this forced labor will last, and we also don’t know what kind of factories they are,” Hamut concluded. “We still hope that they will be safe.” (For more from the author of “Former Chinese Labor Camp Prisoner Tells His Heartrending Story” please click HERE)

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Trump Must Add Saudi Arabia and Other Middle Eastern Countries to ‘Travel Ban’ List

How many more lives need to be lost to Islamic terror before it becomes fashionable to shut off mass migration and visas from the Middle East?

A parallel question is often asked by the Left about gun control after a mass shooting incident, but there is one important distinction: American citizens’ self-defense is an inalienable right; all immigration, including mass migration, student visas, and foreign military training visas, is not.

On Friday, just hours before the commemoration of the 78th anniversary of the Pearl Harbor attack, a naval base in Pensacola was attacked by a Saudi Arabian national. At least 10 other Saudis are also training there. Unlike at Pearl Harbor, however, this attack was committed by an enemy within that we electively brought into the country, and then onto our military bases. Why?

Imagine if the American people were given a voice as to whether we will electively bring in an estimated 850 Saudi pilots to train on our military bases. What if we had been given a choice after 9/11 of whether to double our intake of immigration from the Middle East? What if we had been told that after 15 Saudi nationals flew planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon, we’d bring roughly 40,000 students from Saudi Arabia into our universities every year? Would the public have supported such a suicidal plan? Fat chance.

What happened to severe vetting?

Ironically, in a statement that will live on in infamy, President Trump said the following about immigration from the Middle East on December 7, 2015, on the 74th anniversary of Pearl Harbor:

Without looking at the various polling data, it is obvious to anybody the hatred is beyond comprehension. Where this hatred comes from and why we will have to determine. Until we are able to determine and understand this problem and the dangerous threat it poses, our country cannot be the victims of horrendous attacks by people that believe only in Jihad, and have no sense of reason or respect for human life.

This appears to have been the case with Saudi Royal Air Force pilot Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani. Even though he was supposed to be among the most vetted of our visa recipients – foreign military trainees – a Twitter account believed to be Alshamrani’s had a short manifesto posted before the attack spewing hatred against America and Israel. This from a man who has been given every opportunity to succeed – by America.

Trump was right in discerning that there is no way to vet such dogma in mass numbers when it is rooted in jihad. No amount of TSA “security” for passengers can stop the suicide of a nation bringing in Sharia-adherent Islamists in large numbers on visas to this country without any way to vet them or deal with the Muslim Brotherhood subversion in their communities on our soil.

Yet here we are, three years into the administration, and it has only suspended visas from five Middle Eastern countries, conspicuously leaving Saudi Arabia off the list. Moreover, the responses both from the president and his defense secretary have been quite tepid so far in pointing the finger at immigration jihad.

Take a look at the following chart of the number of green cards given out to nationals of predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and North Africa since 9/11. There are over 2.3 million. And that doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands of foreign students or, of course, the thousands of military exchange students like Mohammed Saeed Alshamrani. The numbers have not dropped dramatically under Trump. Alshamrani came here under the Trump administration in August 2017.

Perhaps these ominous statistics are reflected most dramatically in the recent news that the name Muhammad has just made it into the list of top 10 boy names … in the United States.

If we can’t even vet the most closely scrutinized military trainees coming onto our secured naval bases, do you really have confidence that there aren’t thousands of other green card recipients and general foreign students from these countries who harbor the same views Alshamrani allegedly expressed on social media?

Is it even possible to vet effectively, and why should we be on the hook for this anyway?

According to the AP, Alshamrani held a dinner party with several other Saudi military students several days before the attack. “One of the three students who attended the dinner party hosted by the attacker recorded video outside the classroom building while the shooting was taking place. Two other Saudi students watched from a car, the official said.”

Again, if that many of the most scrutinized military exchange students on naval bases are now under suspicion, what about all those who come in as run-of-the-mill chain migrants as relatives of existing immigrants or as students in civilian universities?

Just in October, a spouse of a Saudi student was sentenced to 12 years in prison after documents uncovered by our forces in Afghanistan showed that he had trained the notorious al Farooq al Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. Yet a decade after 9/11, he was let into the country on an F-2 student spousal visa and applied for flight lessons in Oklahoma based on the issuance of that visa. Yes, we evidently have still not even prevented Saudis from coming here for flight school! And it was only a fluke operation that wound up catching him.

Over the summer, Abdul-Majeed Marouf Ahmed Alani, an Iraqi immigrant who was a mechanic for American Airlines, was arrested for putting foam glue inside part of a commercial plane’s navigation system. The FBI found violent jihadist videos on his phone. This is a man who held a high-paying job and enjoyed a good life in America for many years. But when jihad comes calling …

This lack of vetting of those coming from volatile Islamic countries has been a systemic problem with A-2 foreign military training visas. Earlier this year, the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) found that 40 percent of Afghanis who were brought to Fort Worth to train in flying light combat aircraft went AWOL, so the program had to be discontinued. Yet even after most of the 228 Afghanis were located, scores of them were able to apply for status to remain in the country.

This terrorist attack is a terrible reminder of the perverse national security and homeland security priorities of our government. So much is our desire to referee Islamic civil wars halfway around the world that we will bring scores of individuals from all sides of those conflicts to our own shores – both civilian and military – under the guise of bettering our foreign policy and training foreign militaries in proxy wars. But we forget that foreign policy is ultimately about homeland policy, which is most directly threatened by bad immigration policies. There is no overseas agenda that could possibly be worth endangering our own homeland through counterintuitive immigration and visa policies.

At a bare minimum, the president should call on Congress to suspend the A-2 military training visa program until an audit is conducted. There is a budget deadline next week, and now is the best time to have a budget fight over substance. Democrats like to accuse Trump of being weak on Saudi affairs, so now is his time to not only prove them wrong but call their bluff on immigration. (For more from the author of “Trump Must Add Saudi Arabia and Other Middle Eastern Countries to ‘Travel Ban’ List” please click HERE)

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Pope Francis Compares Trump to Herod, Who Tried to Kill Jesus

Pope Francis has compared U.S. President Donald Trump to the murderous King Herod who massacred innocent children in ancient Palestine while trying to kill the baby Jesus, a Jesuit journal revealed Thursday.

Speaking with his brother Jesuits during his recent visit to Thailand, the Argentinian pope minced no words in his thinly veiled condemnation of the U.S. president and his administration, suggesting that like a modern-day Herod, Mr. Trump separates families at the border while allowing drugs to freely flow into the country.

“In other parts there are walls that even separate children from parents. Herod comes to mind,” Francis said. “Yet for drugs, there’s no wall to keep them out.”

“The phenomenon of migration is compounded by war, hunger and a ‘defensive mindset,’ which makes us in a state of fear believe that you can defend yourself only by strengthening borders. At the same time, there is exploitation.”

In this Q&A session, the pontiff also proposed that the rise of populism is at the root of migrants’ problems in Europe. (Read more from “Pope Francis Compares Trump to Herod, Who Tried to Kill Jesus” HERE)

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Reports: Iran Is Secretly Transporting Missiles Into Iraq That May Have Nuclear Capability

Iran has been taking advantage of recent political unrest in Iraq by secretly stockpiling short-range missiles inside the country, the New York Times reported Wednesday.

The buildup is a part of Iran’s widening effort to assert dominance in the Middle East and could pose a threat to American troops and American allies in the region such as Israel and Saudi Arabia, U.S. sources told the Times.

Both Iraq and Iran have been gripped by deadly protests in recent months, with more than 1,000 people reported dead as a result of protests in Iran. But public unrest has not seemed to slow Iranian leadership down from engaging in what the Times calls a “shadow war.”

Iran has been attacking countries in the Middle East of late but disguising the origin to diminish the chances of counterattacks. Iran’s stockpiling of missiles in Iraq also serves as a strategic deterrent. If Iran were to face an attack, it could potentially strike back with the missiles stored outside its borders.

The short-range missiles have an estimated range of 600 miles and thus are capable of reaching Jerusalem from outside Baghdad.

The same day that the news broke, a letter was released from the French, German, and British ambassadors to the United Nations alleging that Iran now has nuclear-capable missiles.

According to CNN, in the letter, “the ambassadors listed four examples of activity indicating nuclear-capable missiles, adding that ‘Iran’s developments of nuclear-capable ballistic missiles and related technologies is inconsistent’ with a UN resolution restraining the country from doing so.”

The U.N. resolution the letter cites endorsed the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which President Trump pulled the U.S. out of in 2018 but which is still supported by the U.K., France, Germany, China, and Russia.

The letter cited footage of a flight test for a new Shahab-3 ballistic missile — which has a range of about 600 miles as mentioned above — equipped with a maneuverable re-entry vehicle that makes it “technically capable” of delivering a nuclear weapon.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has denied the allegation on social media.

These moves come amid a growing presence of U.S. military in the Middle East. Approximately 14,000 troops have been sent to the region since May, and reports Wednesday said that the Trump administration is considering sending 14,000 more, though the Pentagon has denied the claim. (For more from the author of “Reports: Iran Is Secretly Transporting Missiles Into Iraq That May Have Nuclear Capability” please click HERE)

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WWII Bomb Forces 10,000 to Evacuate City

More than 10,000 people were forced to evacuate the northwestern Italian city of Turin on Sunday as bomb experts worked to defuse a 70-year-old World War II bomb.

Residents in the central part of the Italian city were told to evacuate a “red zone” in the city’s historic district, while another 50,000 in an outer perimeter were advised to leave their homes in advance or remain inside during the operation.

The 500-pound bomb, which contained 140 pounds of dynamite, was dropped by British forces on the city 70 years ago, authorities said, according to The Local. . .

She added that a detonator at the tail end of the device required deactivating and was the reason for the operation, according to the BBC.

On Sunday afternoon, local media reported the operation to decommission the bomb was completed faster than expected and residents within the two impacted zones were allowed to go back home. (Read more from “WWII Bomb Forces 10,000 to Evacuate City” HERE)

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Investigators: China Still Harvesting Human Organs on Huge Scale

By VOA News. China continues to harvest organs from prisoners on a massive scale, according to a new report that finds prisoners of conscience, including Falun Gong practitioners, remain the primary target.

In 2006, Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas and former Canadian Asia-Pacific Secretary of State David Kilgour began an investigation into accusations of the Chinese government’s role in harvesting the organs of Falun Gong practitioners.

Their published findings, “Bloody Harvest: Revised Report into Allegations of Organ Harvesting of Falun Gong Practitioners in China,” attracted international attention.

On Wednesday, they published an even more comprehensive report that finds the scale of organ harvesting has significantly increased. According to these latest findings, the number of China’s annual organ transplant surgeries far surpasses Beijing’s official estimate of 10,000.

“We look at individual hospitals that do transplants through their websites, their publications, their newsletters, their back calendars and patient volume and so on, and at a variety of indicators going hospital by hospital,” Matas told VOA. “There are around 900 hospitals that do transplants. We don’t give a specific figure but we can say it is much larger than the 10,000 a year — at minimum 60,000 a year and probably more than that.” (Read more from “Investigators: China Still Harvesting Human Organs on Huge Scale” HERE)

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Chinese Officials Tear down Virgin Mary Painting, Replace It with President Xi

By American Military News. Authorities in the eastern province of Jiangxi have forced a Catholic church to replace a painting of the Virgin Mary with her child with one of President Xi Jinping, as well as hang up the Chinese flag and nationalist slogans in support of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.

The True Origin Catholic Church in Jiangxi’s Ji’an city built the church after raising more than a million yuan in donations from believers, according to the overseas-based news website Bitter Winter.

But in September, officials from the local government’s religious affairs bureau ordered the church to remove the church name from public display, and replace it with a banner proclaiming “Follow the party, thank the party, obey the party.”

Officials also took down an image of the Madonna and hung President Xi’s portrait in its place. Shortly afterwards, officials confiscated the keys to the building and its members were unable to use it for worship, the report said.

(Read more from “Chinese Officials Tear down Virgin Mary Painting, Replace It with President Xi” HERE)

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REPORT: Chinese Big Tech Is Using Zimbabwe Citizens as Guineas Pigs to Identify and Track Black People

Chinese big tech companies are using Zimbabwe as a large research laboratory to develop facial recognition that will help them identify and track black people, The Financial Times reported Monday.

ZTE and other Chinese tech behemoths are shaping the United Nations’s architectural standards for facial recognition technology, according to leaked documents FT obtained. The standard will reportedly help China’s tech industry open up new markets in the Middle East and Africa.

China’s tech titans are proposing new standards inside the United Nations’s International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for facial recognition, video monitoring, and vehicle surveillance, among other cutting edge tech developments. . .

“African states tend to go along with what is being put forward by China and the ITU as they don’t have the resources to develop standards themselves,” Richard Wingfield, head of legal at Global Partners Digital, told reporters. . .

The new ITU proposal stipulates a requirement that companies must store detected facial features in a database, which will include identifying information, such as race, skin color, facial curvature, among other demographic features. (Read more from “REPORT: Chinese Big Tech Is Using Zimbabwe Citizens as Guineas Pigs to Identify and Track Black People” HERE)

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UK Requires Hero Who Was Stabbed on London Bridge to Undergo ‘Deradicalization’ to Avoid Islamophobia

English authorities placed the man who fended off terrorists during the 2017 attack on London Bridge on an anti-extremist watchlist out of concern over Islamophobia.

Roy Larner, 49, was deemed a hero after he ran out of a pub to stop three Islamic terrorists after they rammed a van through a crowd of people on London Bridge in 2017, killing seven. Larner was stabbed several times while fighting the men off.

Larner, who was dubbed the Lion of London Bridge for his actions, recalled the attack at the time saying, “They had these long knives and started shouting about Allah. Then it was, ‘Islam, Islam, Islam,’” Larner said. “Like an idiot I shouted back at them … I took a few steps towards them and said, ‘F— you, I’m Millwall.’” . . .

Larner has since been added to the United Kingdom’s “Prevent” program, a watchlist for those deemed to have anti-Islamic tendencies. Authorities claimed that they feared Larner was at risk for extremist behaviors because he had been contacted by individuals with ties to anti-Islamic groups.

Larner has been monitored by authorities and forced to take deradicalization courses. (Read more from “UK Requires Hero Who Was Stabbed on London Bridge to Undergo ‘Deradicalization’ to Avoid Islamophobia” HERE)

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