Archive for the ‘Geopolitics’ Tag

Sexual Assaults by Asylum Seekers in Europe may be Normal Behaviour   1 comment


This is not intended to be a piece on Islamophobia.  However, misogyny in Islamic cultures is a proven and profound phenomena that is real.  It has ancient traditions that linger on into contemporary times. This is an objective report on what may have been behind the assaults in Europe.

BBC

A German town has banned male asylum seekers from a public swimming pool after women complained of harassment.  A government official in Bornheim said men from a nearby asylum shelter would be barred until they “got the message” that such behaviour was not acceptable.

It follows outrage over hundreds of sexual assaults in nearby Cologne and other German cities on New Year’s Eve. Those attacks, by men of mainly Arab and North African origin, raised tensions over the influx of migrants.

More than 1.1 million people claimed asylum in Germany in 2015.

The head of the social affairs department in Bornheim – about 20km (12 miles) south of Cologne – said the move to ban migrant men followed increasing number of reports of inappropriate behaviour from female swimmers and staff members.

“There have been complaints of sexual harassment and chatting-up going on in this swimming pool… by groups of young men, and this has prompted some women to leave,” Markus Schnapka told Reuters.

He said none of the complaints involved a crime being committed, but that social workers in the town would help to ensure the asylum seekers changed their behaviour.

It is unclear how this rule will be enforced, although Germany is set to introduce new ID cards for migrants in February.

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Correspondents say the pool ban is the latest sign of increased tensions following the Cologne attacks.

On Thursday, the authorities in another town in west Germany, Rheinberg, cancelled a carnival parade planned for February over security concerns.

Rheinberg’s public security chief, Jonny Strey, told German media that events in Cologne had influenced the decision and that officials were worried about from men from migrant backgrounds misbehaving.

Rheinberg Mayor Frank Tatzel later denied this, according to Reuters.

Cologne authorities expressed concern about the city’s own carnival in February following the NYE attacks, promising to step up security and public awareness.

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Taharrush jamaʿi (Arabic: تحرش جماعي taḥarrush jamāʿī, Egyptian pronunciation taḥarrush game’a, lit. “collective harassment”) is a type of sexual harassment and sexual assault of women by groups of men on the street that may involve rape, beating and name-calling, groping, sexual invitations and robbery. The assault usually happens under the protective cover provided by large gatherings or crowds, typically mass events, including protests, rallies, concerts, and public festivals.

The general term taharrusch and further combinations like Taḥarrush el-ginsy (Arabic: تحرش جنسي sexual harassment) have played a controversial role in Egypt since the political turmoils in the 2000s. In the beginning, Egyptian security forces have been blamed to use sexual harassment on female activists and participants of public demonstrations and rallies. The behavior has however spread and is being used by crowds of young men to harass female persons in the public space. Taharrush is a symptom of misogynous ideology according to Farhana Mayer, senior researcher at the Quilliam Foundation, theology department. Women are punished for being in public.

Before 2006 the term El taḥarrush mainly referred to the molestation of minors and young people. Already during the Egyptian constitutional referendum, 2005 female activists reported cases of being harrassed by police personnel and hired agents provocateurs during demonstrations and rallies. Taharrush then started to be used as a political means. On the Eid al-Fitr holiday in 2006, a crowd of young men harassing women and girls in the inner city after they had been denied access to a local cinema gained notoriety in Egyptian social media. A study provided by an Egyptian NGO (and partially funded by the EU) described various forms of taharrush and introduced the term Taḥarrush el-ginsy, sexual harassment including group-related incidents.

In 2008 a local movie maker, Noha Rushdie, was the first woman to win a court case against a molester. Movies have some importance as a medium, as they allow depiction of current events and topics as well for an illiterate audience in Egypt.  Ihkî yâ Shahrâzâd (Les Filles du Caire, from Yusrî Nasr Allâh, in 2009) and 678 (Arabic: فيلم ٦٧٨ – feelm sitta seba’ thamaniyya) in 2010 were among the first to show various forms of tarrush in Egypt in cinema. 678 (the number of a bus line) caused some controversies in Egypt but got an award at the 2010 Dubai International Film Festival and has been published in various countries (e.g. 2012 as Kairo 678 in Germany). It depicts three women of various backgrounds: the first uses a knife to defend herself against attacks, the second is being harassed in a group in the presence of her husband, who is not able to help her. Her marriage fails afterwards. The third one activates a group of people to help her against a single molester. While her filing of a report to the police is being blocked by officers, she is invited to appear on a TV show, as she was the first Egyptian woman to file a report for harassment.

The Egyptian Revolution of 2011 saw an enforcement of the use of sexual harassment as a means of denying women and female activists access to public spaces and rallies and as a well a larger counter-movement by NGOs and women’s organizations. The counter strategies involved have been discussed in research papers. Some taharrush-related incidents made national news in Egypt and gained notoriety on social networks. After 9 March 2011, a day after International Women’s Day, some feminist activists arrested during a rally on Tahrir Square were forced to have their virginity inspected. Mobile phone videos like the Blue Bra or Tahrir Girl, (Sit al Banat in Arab), an unknown person covered in an abaya and undressed in Cairo went viral. The phenomenon first came to the attention of Western media after an instance of an Egyptian taharrush jama’i attack hit headlines when a prominent female foreigner, CBS reporter Lara Logan, was assaulted by hundreds of men in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during her reporting of theEgyptian Revolution of 2011.

During the period of the Mohammed Mursi government, the incidents became even more violent. A gathering of women survivors of such treatment on the eve of the second anniversary of the Egyptian revolution (on 25 January 2013) met at Cafe Riche (Talaat Harb close to Tahrir square) concluded to start a larger political initiative. They gained support from a variety of NGOs and political parties against the use of sexual harassment by the police forces. Lamis El Hadidy, a TV anchorwoman and political analyst, used the topic in a TV transmission in February 2013.  A first attempt to change the penal law, supported e.g. by Amr Hamzawy failed. The ruling party made women participating in public rallies personally responsible for such incidents. In March 2013, the Muslim Brotherhood provided a strongly worded statement against the UN Declaration on the Elimination of Violence Against Women as a danger for Egyptian cultural norms and society. The massive participation of women in the public rallies was one of the reasons for the controversies.

A working paper of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS, a research charity affiliated to the University of Sussex) describes the phenomenon, the legal situation and the answers in civil society.  After a further incident in 2014 made news, when at the Cairo University College of Law a woman had been harassed by a large group of men and had to be escorted to safety by the police, the Egyptian penal law has been partially adjusted.

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According the newspaper Die Welt, the Bundeskriminalamt, the German Federal Crime office mentioned Taharrush gamea in an internal paper laid out after an conference with executives from the various Länder police forces. The newspaper article on 10th of January made international news. Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung Beirut correspondent Stephan Erhardt reported about the weird career of the term Taharrush gamea: E.g. the German Wikipedia article started based on that announcement and used the slightly wrong (in German, Taharrusch dschame’a would be appropriate) transcription of the BKA.

A North Rhine-Westphalia Ministry of Justice report to the parliamentary comittee of the Interior described “taharrush gamea” as the Arabic term for a modus operandi that it described as a form of group sexual harassment that takes place in crowds. It compared as well the 2015 New Year’s Eve Cologne incident to incidents that took place in Cairo’s Tahrir Square during the Egyptian Revolution of 2011. Reports by the North Rhine-Westphalia interior ministry and the German Federal Criminal Police Office attributed the New Year’s Eve sexual assaults in Germany to the practice. The perpetrators were said to have been “almost exclusively” of “North African and Arab” recently arrived migrant background. However there are some important differences – the main driver behind the (group related) phenomen in Egypt have been political interests and even governments themselves, which was not the case in Cologne.

Finnish migration authorities informed Helsinki police and made them aware of planned Taharrush attempts before New years eve 2015. Similar to Cologne, a large crowd of (about 20.000) people, including about 1.000 refugees gathered around the Helsinki Central station and the Senate square in Helsinki. The police was present with a massive force and arranged for a dozen of preliminary arrests in refugee’s asylums. Compared to Cologne, the whole event went quite peaceful and without larger incidents, a further dozen of men has been arrested during the night but were set free the day after.

According to Russian author and pundit Yulia Latynina, “Taharrush is a new social phenomenon when visitors of Europe commit violence against European women in crowded places”.

Charlie Hebdo pulled no punches:

A cartoon in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has caused online shock by suggesting drowned toddler Alan Kurdi would have grown up to be a sexual abuser like those immigrants allegedly involved in the assaults in Cologne.

Under the headline “Migrants”, the drawing shows two lascivious pig-like men with their tongues hanging out chasing two terrified, screaming women who are running away.

An insert at the top the cartoon contains the famous image of three year old Syrian boy laying face down dead in the sand. The question at the top of the drawing “What would little Aylan have grown up to be?” is answered at the bottom by “Ass groper in Germany”.

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I guess Charlie may have an axe to grind. As Muslim terrorists butchers killed many of their staff.

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Posted January 16, 2016 by markosun in Uncategorized

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2016 Predictions: Worst Case Scenarios   Leave a comment


Bloomberg

A Pessimist’s Guide to the World in 2016

Oil prices soar after Islamic State destroys facilities across the Middle East. Angela Merkel is forced to resign, throwing the European Union into disarray. The dollar slumps as Russian and Iranian hackers team up to launch cyber-attacks on U.S banks. Bloomberg News asked dozens of former and current diplomats, geopolitical strategists, security consultants, and economists to identify the possible worst-case scenarios, based on current global conflicts, that concern them most heading into 2016.

U.S. Banks Collapse

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South America Erupts

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China’s Economy Nosedives

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Planet Heats Up

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Great Britain Leaves The EU

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More EU Trouble

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Israel Attacks Iranian Nuclear Facilities

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Oil Prices Rocket to a Hundred Dollars a Barrel

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Donald Trump Wins Presidential Election

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Posted December 16, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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NATO Maps   Leave a comment


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Makes it a little easier to understand Russian paranoia.

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Posted December 11, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Russian Subs and Spy Ships Sneaking Around Underwater Fiber Optic Cable Zones   Leave a comment


NY Times

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Russian Akula Class nuclear attack submarine.

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Worldwide underwater fiber optic cable systems.

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Cable laying ship

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Giant cable spool on a laying ship

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Posted October 26, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Putin’s actions in Syria   Leave a comment


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Posted October 10, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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Bashar Hafez al-Assad’s Devastating Barrel Bomb Terror Weapons   Leave a comment


Cheap, easy to use and devastating. The Barrel Bomb is being used by Syrian forces without restraint.

A barrel bomb is an improvised unguided bomb, sometimes described as a flying IED (improvised explosive device). They are typically made from a large barrel-shaped metal container that has been filled with high explosives, with possibly shrapnel, oil or chemicals, and then dropped from a helicopter or airplane. Due to the large amount of explosives (up to thousands of pounds), their poor accuracy and indiscriminate use in populated civilian areas (including refugee camps), the resulting detonations have been devastating. Critics have characterized them as weapons of terror and illegal under international conventions.

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Before the Civil War, the Syrian arsenal was built to counter an Israeli attack and thus did not have much in the way of close air support (e.g., air to ground bombs and missiles), but instead predominantly had ground-to-air and air-to-air missiles to harass and delay the Israeli air force. The Syrian military thus soon ran out of precision weapons, had trouble obtaining more and needed a cheap and readily available supply of air to ground weapons. The use of barrel bombs in the Syrian Civil War was first identified in August 2012, in particular through the video forensic work of Eliot Higgins (Brown Moses) and Richard Lloyd. Their existence was initially denied by a Russian military expert until a video surfaced in October 2012 from inside a moving helicopter showing a barrel bomb being lit and dropped onto a target by Syrian Air Force personnel. The person who allegedly came up with the scheme to load barrels with explosives, nails, and metal fragments is Suheil Al Hassan, or “The Tiger,” an Allawite warlord.

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The deliberate use of indiscriminate weapons makes President Assad potentially liable for war crimes. As such, Assad has denied the use of these weapons, saying “We have bombs, missiles and bullets. There [are] no barrel bombs, we don’t have barrels.” Nevertheless, there is considerable video, pictorial, and after the fact proof of the use of such weapons in Syria. Video evidence of a barrel bomb being used was recovered from a mobile phone found in the wreckage of a crashed government forces helicopter in May 2015. British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said, “This video footage exposes Assad’s lies on barrel bombs,” and “We will bring those involved in these criminal acts to justice”.

Barrel bomb attacks throughout Syria have killed more than 20,000 people since the conflict began in March 2011, according to a December 2013 statement by the opposition Syrian National Council (SNC). It is estimated that, as of mid-March 2014, between 5,000 to 6,000 barrel bombs have been dropped during the war and their use has escalated. Aleppo has been the focal point of the Syrian government’s use of barrel bombs. Over time, government forces have refined their use of the barrel bomb to cause maximum damage – dropping one device and then waiting 10 to 30 minutes to drop another bomb on the same location. According to opposition activists, the aim is to ensure that those who flood the scene to rescue the victims are then themselves killed.

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Putin’s Russia has recently stepped up its military aid for the Assad regime.  Russian advisors have been pouring into the Syrian port of Latakia. Work has also been underway on an airbase near the city. Russian aircraft have been landing at the base in steady streams over the last 10 days.

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Syria, Russia, Assad, Putin, barrel bombs, Allepo, political cartoon

 

Posted September 16, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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North Korea vice-premier Choe Yong-gon long gone!   2 comments


Asia Watch

 

North Korea vice-premier Choe Yong-gon ‘executed’

South Korea’s government says it is monitoring reports that North Korea’s vice-premier Choe Yong-gon was killed in May on the orders of Kim Jong-un.

Mr Choe was executed after he “expressed discomfort against the young leader’s forestation policy”, South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reports.  Close to 70 officials have been killed under Kim Jong-un’s rule, Yonhap says.

The BBC has not been able to verify the claims. North Korea rarely confirms the South’s reports of executions.

Mr Choe was last seen publicly in December, South Korea’s unification ministry said. The ministry said it was “closely monitoring the possibility of any changes in Choe’s circumstances”.

Few details about the execution were given by Yonhap, which is often first to report news from North Korea.

Choe Yong-gon was deputy minister of construction and building material industries, and had represented North Korea in trade talks in Seoul in the mid-2000s.

You must not disagree with this little bowl of jelly thug!

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He was appointed as one of seven vice-premiers in June last year, and his promotion was seen by one analyst as a sign Pyongyang was keen to maintain close ties with the South.

‘Spate of killings’

In April, South Korea’s intelligence agency said Kim Jong-un had ordered the execution of 15 officials in the first four months of the year.

Among them was a forestry official who complained about the leader’s forestation plan, the agency said at the time, but it is not clear if this man was Choe Yong-gon.

In May, the agency said North Korean Defence Minister Hyon Yong-chol was reportedly executed by anti-aircraft fire for apparently showing disloyalty to the leader.

Kim Jong-un and the forests

The reports of the killing of Choe Yong-gon for disagreeing with Kim Jong-un’s forestry policy bring into focus a programme that is closely followed by the leader.

The country says it is suffering its worst drought in a century, and that close to a third of rice paddies have dried up.

Radio Free Asia says the country launched an intensive “greenification” programme last year, with more power granted to every province’s forestry department.

And in a speech in February, Kim Jong-un delivered a speech in which he said: “At present, the forests of the country can be said to have reached a crossroads – whether to perish for ever or to be restored.”

He also criticised officials for seeking to respond to problems caused by flooding, rather than prevent flooding in the first place by planting more trees.

Has the world ever experienced such a dysfunctional regime?

 

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Posted August 12, 2015 by markosun in Uncategorized

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