Tuesday, May 22, 2018

China Won’t Publicly Congratulate Maduro on Venezuelan Election Fraud

The communist government of China, which has poured billions into the country, did not congratulate Venezuelan dictator Nicolás Maduro on the completion of a presidential election widely considered fraudulent in the free world, instead referring to the election as a domestic matter on Monday.

The South China Morning Post, which caught Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang’s tepid reaction to the Venezuela situation, notes that China has been a reliable ally of the socialist chavista regime for years, but has slowly begun distancing itself from Maduro as he has failed to control the calamitous state of the Venezuelan economy. Under Maduro, Venezuela has taken out billions in Chinese loans but failed to begin paying them back, prompting at least one lawsuit so far by a Chinese company demanding payment from Petróleos de Venezuela (PDVSA), the state oil company.
Maduro banned opposition candidates from running against him in the May 20 election, and “won” re-election against a handful of leftist candidates with what even official estimates show to be the lowest turnout in modern Venezuelan election history.
“Regarding the election in Venezuela, China has followed the principle of non-interference in others’ internal affairs as always, and we believe the Venezuelan government and people are capable of handling their domestic affairs,” spokesman Lu said on Monday.
Asked if China would congratulate Maduro specifically, Lu said, “China will handle that in accordance with its diplomatic practice,” without elaborating.
On Tuesday, Lu refused to issue a statement on the legitimacy of the Venezuelan election yet again, this time asked about a new round of sanctions the United States placed on the Maduro regime in response to the event. “The latest general election is Venezuela’s internal affairs. A fundamental principle of China’s foreign policy is non-interference in others’ domestic affairs,” he reiterated. He refused to answer whether he believes the United States will pressure China on its loans with Venezuela, instead stating, “I don’t think others should interfere in China’s normal relations with countries around the globe, including in normal cooperation.”
Xinhua, one of China’s many state news agencies, published a story with a slightly more open endorsement of the fradulent vote, citing a Bolivarian socialist “expert” who claimed “The election will strengthen democracy and people’s confidence in Venezuelan state institutions.”
“When Maduro was first elected president in April 2013, Beijing sent its congratulations within hours of his victory, while President Xi Jinping later sent a personal note expressing his best wishes,” the Morning Post reports, noting the difference in tenor between the two responses. The newspaper notes that, despite any freeze that may be developing in the relationship, China has poured over $50 billion into Venezuela since the era of late socialist dictator Hugo Chávez, who chose Maduro as his hand-picked successor despite his lack of popularity with Venezuelan people.
Chinese officials have for years touted Latin America as a lucrative venue for Chinese investment. Latin America is a key part of the plan known as “One Belt, One Road,” which Xi Jinping hopes to implement to place Chinese workers around the world to build infrastructure – ports, harbors, and roads – that China can later use to control the region, either by controlling the infrastructure or forcing the nations purchasing it into such deep debt that China essentially owns them.
With Venezuela, that debt may have gotten too big.
“For a long time, Venezuela has been a hot investment destination in South America for Chinese firms. The country’s economy and social unrest exposes China’s commercial interests to huge risks,” China’s state-run Global Times warned in August 2017. “If a civil war really breaks out in Venezuela, then those Chinese business interests will be gone.” Continued investment in Venezuela “may impact China severely,” the outlet warned.
By then, however, investment had waned. The Chinese government’s latest massive loan to Venezuela came in 2015, when Maduro personally visited Beijing asking for money. China has since refused to help Venezuela ease its debt burden, instead stating in November, “we believe that Venezuela’s government and people have the ability to properly handle their debt issue.”

A month later, the Chinese company Sinotec sued PDVSA for $23.7 million plus interest and damages after failing to receive loan repayments.

European official admonishes: 'Trump won't stay forever'

As US President Donald Trump's administration becomes increasingly close to Israel, Israeli newspapers fear the gap in Israel's relations with leading European countries is widening. Mako News reports England, France, Germany, and of course the European Union bombarding Israel with condemnations and demands for investigation. Jerusalem, on the other hand, refuses to be moved. There are those who say the Europeans are releasing their frustration at Trump upon us, but a European official who recently visited Israel and tried to penetrate the wall of Israeli indifference to European demands said the following: "Trump won't be President forever. Just as no-one imagined the Obama legacy would be erased so quickly, it can happen to the other side as well."The official added "You shouldn't underestimate Europe - look at the numbers: We're still your big trading partners. You don't understand that we're under great pressure from public opinion against Israel." An example of this pressure was in Britain, which called on Israel to conduct an independent investigation following the events in Gaza last week. Israel may have been taken aback, but from the British government's perspective it was the lesser evil against demands in the political system and public opinion that expected much more severe steps. Meanwhile, the Israeli choice is very clear - we're with Trump, against all the rest. As the Iranian Foreign Minister is being embraced in Europe, it can be assumed this won't change soon.

Violent incidents at schools in Austria’s capital increase by 1200%

Research shows that the number of violent incidents increased from 24 cases in 2014 to 312 cases in 2017, an increase of 1200%, newspaper Krone reports.
The ÖVP party’s security spokesman Karl Mahrer, urgently calls for comprehensive preventive measures in view of this development.
“Violence in schools must not be tolerated. We need obligatory anti-violence training by the police, in the same way as traffic education,” says Mahrer
312 times Viennese students needed medical treatments after fist or knife fights. In nine cases it was even serious bodily injury.
Currently, 14 different youth violence prevention programs are being implemented in Austria, but in 2017, only 131,855 were reached – from around 455,000 15-19 year-olds in Austria.
Vienna’s director of education, Heinrich Himmer, says:
“In order to be able to set pinpoint measures, as much information as possible is needed. As agreed at the round table meeting against violence with representatives of all parties and religious communities, as well as the school partners, there is an absolute zero-tolerance policy in Vienna towards any form of violence.”
Research shows that 33 per cent of Vienna’s inhabitants have a migrant background, a number that will increase to more than 40 per cent within 20 years.
A week ago we’ve reported on how the growing influence of Islam is leading to an increasing number of problems at Vienna’s schools.

German Antifa Far-Left Extremists Release ‘Riot Tourist’ Instructional Terror Handbook


German alt-left Antifa extremists have released a new instructional booklet ahead of the populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) conference in Augsburg which teaches and encourages “riot tourists” to burn cars, attack war memorials, and target political party offices.

The 44-page booklet was posted to the notorious Indymedia web platform that previously hosted the now-banned Linksunten website, which also posted tutorials on sabotage and other acts of terror and violence following last year’s riots at the G2o meeting in Hamburg.
Within the booklet, titled “Augsburg for Riot Tourists”, and on an external blog site mirroring the guide that features the Antifa logo, the far-left extremist group states: “We are calling for a revolt against the German collective on the occasion of the AfD party conference in Augsburg.”
“Not only do we want to fight the AfD, we also want to direct our riot against every war memorial, against every repressive authority of the state, against every party bureau of a racist party, against any collaborator of a resurgent fascism,” with the group claiming that the Bavarian Christian Social Union are no different than the populist AfD.
The addresses of party offices of the AfD are published along with information on how activists can get to Augsburg for the conference which is scheduled to take place between June 30th and July 1st.
In a section of the blog site labelled “instructions” the extremist group show activists how to make paint bombs with traditional Christmas baubles and glass bottles, create traps for cars by laying down planks of wood with nails sticking out of them, and how to set cars on fire. “We wish you a lot of fun trying them out,” they write.
A screenshot of the Antifa blog calling for violence at the AfD conference with the Antifa logo visible in the bottom left. (Source: Screenshot)
Other targets listed include “collaborators” such as police stations, army barracks, and even a city library, all with helpful symbols identifying whether the locations have compresenive security coverage, or have CCTV cameras watching them.
The group also warns fellow extremists to wear gloves, even when picking up rocks to throw at buildings or people noting that it is possible their fingerprints could be lifted from the stones.
The instructions for violence are credited to “Prisma”, a notorious far-left terror manualthat calls on extremists to commit violence and shows detailed diagrammes on building firebombs, sabotaging infrastructure, and avoiding police. The blog site also provides direct links to the Prisma terror document.
Far-left extremists have caused violence at previous AfD conferences including last year in which police in Hannover deployed water cannons against them.
In recent months, Antifa has claimed responsibility for the firebombing of a Turkish mosque, and a French branch of the group fighting with Kurdish forces in Northern Syria has promised to fight the French state with sabotage and to target police and intelligence officials.
The French Antifa, which was also present at the violence in Paris on May 1st, posted the video statement from their “comrades” in northern Syria in response to a series of evictions from squats and occupied university buildings.

In the UK, Antifa recently attacked a conference of the Generation Identity activist movement following the publication of the location of the private event by far-left organisation HOPE not Hate. One far-left extremist was arrested following the violence.

Government Sends Every Swedish Household Booklet Preparing Citizens for War

Every household in Sweden will soon receive a booklet from the government with information preparing the population for war, terror attacks, and ‘hostile propaganda’.

During ‘emergency preparedness week’ from May 28 to June 3, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) will send out 4.8 million copies of the booklet, which is entitled “If Crisis or War Comes”.
Illustrated with scenes of armed conflict, the 20-page resource contains information that the government says is necessary to ensure the population is “better prepared for dealing with serious events both in peacetime and — in the worst case scenario — war”.
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The government of has sent booklets to every household detailing what to do if there’s a war or crisis. The section on resistance is particularly striking. Here’s the English language version of Om Krisen Eller Kriget Kommerhttps://www.dinsakerhet.se/siteassets/dinsakerhet.se/broschyren-om-krisen-eller-kriget-kommer/om-krisen-eller-kriget-kommer---engelska.pdf 

“Many non-profit organisations and faith communities make important contributions to our collective security and preparedness,” claims the booklet, in a section which calls on Swedes to “get involved” with helping defend the nation in some way.“Everyone is obliged to contribute and everyone is needed” in the event of armed conflict sparking up in Sweden, it says, stating that “everyone who lives here and is between the ages of 16 and 70 can be called up to assist in various ways in the event of the threat”.
On a page illustrated with a picture of tanks, helicopters, and soldiers carrying guns, the government says: “We must be able to resist various types of attacks directed against our country.”
“Even today, attacks are taking place against our IT systems and attempts are being made to influence us using false information,” it claims, above a list of “potential attacks” including airstrikes, sabotage of infrastructure, terror attacks and “attempts to influence Sweden’s decision makers or inhabitants”.
Warning that “states and organisations are already using misleading information in order to try and influence our values”, the pamphlet tells Swedes to be alert for “false information and hostile propaganda” aimed at lowering the nation’s “resilience and willingness to defend [itself]”.
Earlier this year, when the plan to produce the booklets was first announced, Swedish security service (Säpo) chief Anders Thornberg said Islamic extremism continues to pose the major threat to the public, warning that the risk of terrorism taking place in Sweden has not decreased since the deadly attack in Stockholm last year carried out by failed asylum seeker Rakhmat Akilov.
While Swedish authorities last year reported that the number of violent Islamists in the country has risen tenfold in a decade to more than 2,000, the pamphlet is non-specific about potential terror threats to the country, warning simply that “attacks may be targeted against individual people or groups, against the general public or against vital societal functions such as the electricity supply or the transport system”.
“Society is vulnerable, so we must prepare ourselves as individuals,” said MSB chief Dan Eliasson, announcing that a hotline has been opened for Swedes to ask questions or relay any concerns relating to the project.

Germany will now train asylum seekers to become truck drivers

Due to an acute shortage of professional truck drivers the German trucking association has launched a new project to train asylum seekers for the job, Austria’s tabloid Wochenblick reports.
The project, which is named “The drive into your new future” intends to make it easier for asylum seekers to become truck drivers.
In this way, the German Red Cross (DRK) and the Logistics Organization (UVL) want to alleviate the shortage of truck drivers. The concept was developed together with the SVG Driving School North, reports newspaper DVZ.
During the training the candidates have to pass through two exams. In addition to its general suitability, the DRK also wants to check the language skills and the status of residence. In addition, a separate “refugee representative” should look after the participants during the three-year training.
The initiative is extremely popular: “Within a few days, 90 interested parties from all over Schleswig-Holstein and even from Hamburg have reported that 50 more refugees have been placed on a waiting list,” says Ilka Hübner, the head of the Red Cross in Kiel.
But not everyone is happy. “We clearly say no,” says the president of the Federal Association of professional motor vehicle associations, Wolfgang Westermann. “You can not put everyone on a forty-ton and let them go with it,” he says.
It’s unclear how the German public thinks about the initiative. On 19 December 2016 asylum seeker Anis Amri drove a truck deliberately into a Christmas market in Berlin leaving 12 people dead and 56 injured.

Germany: Asylum for Cash Scandal

by Soeren Kern
  • Germany's Federal Office for Refugees and Migration (BAMF) will review more than 25,000 asylum decisions after allegations of corruption at its regional office in the northern city of Bremen.
  • Some of those granted asylum were considered by German authorities to be potential security risks, according to the news magazine Der Spiegel. They include Syrian intelligence operatives, human smugglers and other hard-core criminals — as well as potential Islamic State jihadists.
  • BAMF currently rejects almost all asylum requests from converts from Islam to Christianity, according to Thomas Schirrmacher, president of the International Society for Human Rights. He said that when undergoing "belief tests," BAMF often relies on Muslim translators who deliberately mistranslate at the expense of Christians or converts.
Germany's Federal Office for Refugees and Migration (Bundesamt für Migration und Flüchtlinge, BAMF) will review more than 25,000 asylum decisions after allegations of corruption at its regional office in the northern city of Bremen.
Interior Minister Horst Seehofer announced the audit after it emerged that a former official at BAMF's Bremen branch allegedly accepted cash bribes in exchange for granting asylum to at least 1,200 refugees who did not meet the necessary criteria. Five others, including three lawyers, an interpreter and an intermediary, are also being investigated.
Pictured: City Hall in the Old Town of Bremen, Germany. (Image source: Jürgen Howaldt/Wikimedia Commons)
The three lawyers allegedly received cash payments from "refugees" across Germany and submitted their asylum applications to the Bremen office. The interpreter then "interpreted" asylum interviews in such a way that the answers supposedly given by refugees matched the requirements for successful asylum applications. He reportedly received €500 ($680) per asylum seeker.
In one instance, BAMF's Bremen office approved the asylum application of Mohamad A., who, through a corrupt interpreter, claimed to be a Syrian refugee and whose sister was shot dead by forces loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Two years later it emerged that Mohamad A. lied: His name is actually Milad H. — and he comes from Romania.
Some of those granted asylum were considered by German authorities to be potential security risks, according to the news magazine Der Spiegel. They include Syrian intelligence operatives, human smugglers and other hard-core criminals — as well as potential Islamic State jihadists.
BAMF Director Jutta Cordt said that a team of 70 in-house auditors will reevaluate 18,000 asylum decisions issued since 2000 by its Bremen branch. In addition, BAMF will reexamine another 8,500 decisions made in 2017 by ten other regional offices, according to Die Welt. The branches are under scrutiny because of noticeable differences in the number of asylum applications approved or denied, compared to other offices.
Internal BAMF emails leaked to Süddeutsche Zeitung showed that Cordt and other senior BAMF officials had received information about "suspicious cases" at the Bremen office as early as February 2017, but that the information was kept under wraps until after the German elections in September 2017. It was not until October 26, 2017 — one month after the federal elections — that BAMF quietly launched an internal audit. Immigration policy was a key issue in the election, in which the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) became the third-largest party in the Bundestag, the German federal parliament.
The scandal did not became public knowledge until April 20, 2018, when Bremen's prosecution service announced that a former official at BAMF's Bremen branch was under investigation, along with several others, and that police had raided the homes and offices of the suspects.
Also in April, BAMF fired more than 2,000 freelance interpreters because they "did not appear to be neutral or were untrustworthy." In some instances, interpreters who were suspected of being spies for the Turkish government were terminated for "violating their duty of neutrality."
At present, some 5,800 freelance interpreters — many of whom are migrants themselves and are not proficient in German — are working for BAMF in 472 languages, according to Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung. Most were hired, without being vetted, during the height of the migration crisis in 2015, when Chancellor Angela Merkel allowed into the country more than a million migrants from Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Only 620 of the 5,800 interpreters are certified, according to Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.
The asylum scandal has significantly damaged public confidence in BAMF. A Civey survey published by Die Welt on May 21 found that 79.7% of Germans stated that they had "fairly little" or "very little" confidence in BAMF's asylum decisions. Only 8.9% said that their level of confidence in BAMF was "very large" or "rather large."
The lack of trust in BAMF was shared by voters from all political parties: 97.9% of those who support the anti-immigration party Alternative for Germany (AfD) said they mistrust BAMF, followed by the Free Democrats (87.1%), Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative CDU/CSU bloc (80.8%); the Left (66.5%), the SPD (64.5%) and the Greens (62.4%).
Meanwhile, nine out of ten rejected asylum applications end up in court, accordingto Süddeutsche Zeitung. In more than 40% of the cases, judges have ruled in favor of the migrants and overturned BAMF's negative asylum decisions. Judges have sided with migrants from Syria in 99.9% of the cases, Afghans in 47% and Turks in 34% of the cases. Migrants filed 328,000 lawsuits in 2017 — twice as many as in 2016 — to overturn BAMF's negative asylum decisions. At the end of 2017, there were 372,000 pending cases in German courts.
BAMF currently rejects almost all asylum requests from converts from Islam to Christianity, according to Thomas Schirrmacher, president of the International Society for Human Rights. He said that when undergoing "belief tests," BAMF often relies on Muslim translators who deliberately mistranslate at the expense of Christians or converts. He cited an example of a convert who, when talking about Martin Luther and the Gospel of Matthew, the Muslim interpreter referred to Lothar Matthäus, a well-known German footballer.
"It is a scandal that almost all converts from Islam to Christianity are being denied asylum," Schirrmacher said. "How do BAMF decision makers hope to answer the highly complicated and sensitive question of whether conversion to Christianity is fabricated or not by using bad and partisan translators?"