January 17, 2019

SAUDI ARABIA: Rahaf Who Ran Away To Another Country Because Her Family Wanted To Kill Her For Leaving Islam, Pledges To Use Her Freedom To Campaign For Others After Being Granted Asylum In Canada.

written by Sophie McNeill
Tuesday January 15, 2019

In a week, Rahaf al Qunun has gone from being barricaded inside a Bangkok airport hotel room to being the most recognised refugee on the planet.

After landing in Toronto on Saturday, she has spent the last 48 hours trying to come to terms with the incredible events of the past week.

The 18-year-old fled her Saudi family while visiting Kuwait, before flying to Bangkok on January 5.

She had a valid visa to Australia, but was detained by Thai immigration authorities as soon as she disembarked from her Kuwait Airlines flight.

After being told she was going to be forced to return to Saudi Arabia, the teenager barricaded herself in an airport hotel to avoid deportation and tweeted about her situation.

"I was expecting them to enter the room and kidnap me," she told the ABC.

"That's why I wrote a goodbye letter. I decided that I would end my life, before I was forced back to Saudi Arabia."

In her first interview since leaving Bangkok, Ms al Qunun has spoken about why she fled Saudi Arabia — risking all to start a new life abroad.

"I wanted to be free from oppression and depression. I wanted to be independent," she said.

"I wouldn't have been able to marry the person I wanted. I couldn't get a job without permission.

"Women can't even travel on their own."

Under Saudi Arabia's male guardianship system, Ms al Qunun had no legal right to make basic decisions, like obtaining a passport or travelling abroad, without the agreement of her male guardian.

According to Human Rights Watch, in many areas the Saudi state still considers women to be children in legal terms, regardless of age, which is contrary to international law.

'This might be the agent for change'

Saudi Arabia began an unprecedented crackdown on women's rights activists in May 2018, arresting dozens of prominent feminists who have campaigned to end male guardianship in the country.

Rights groups accused the Saudi regime of torturing, sexually harassing and assaulting the detained women.

Ms al Qunun said she wants to use her newfound freedom to campaign for women's rights in Saudi Arabia, and to call for an end to the male guardianship system enforced by the Saudi regime.

"I think that the number of women fleeing from the Saudi administration and abuse will increase, especially since there is no system to stop them," she said.

"I'm sure that there will be a lot more women running away. I hope my story encourages other women to be brave and free.

"I hope my story prompts a change to the laws, especially as it's been exposed to the world.

"This might be the agent for change."

Teenager disowned by family after fleeing Saudi Arabia

Ms al Qunun's father holds a powerful position as a governor in Saudi Arabia and yesterday her family released a public statement labelling the teenager "mentally unstable", saying they had disowned her.

"We are the family of Mohammed El Qanun in Saudi Arabia," the statement reads.

The family expressed their support behind the "the wise leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Sulaiman Bin Abdul Aziz and his Crown Prince, Prince Mohammed Bin Salman".

"How could my family disown me simply because I wanted to be independent and escape their abuse?" Ms al Qunun said.

"It really upset me."

Ms al Qunun acknowledged that not all asylum seekers were processed as quickly as she was, saying she felt sympathy for the millions of refugees around the Middle East.

The teenager was overjoyed last week when Australia said it would process her asylum claim.

She went to the Australian embassy in Bangkok on Wednesday, but by Friday her case was still being processed.

With growing concerns over her security and no clear timeline over how long Australia would take, the UNHCR then referred her case to Canada and her visa was processed within several hours.

Ms al Qunun disputed claims by Thai authorities that she had "chosen" Canada over Australia.

"This wasn't my choice, it was the UN's," she said.

"All I wanted was for a country to protect me. So, my choice was just for any country to protect me."

Yeah. Okay. Keep telling yourselves that. When a female Muslim decides NOT to wear the hijab they get killed by family members for dishonoring the family and Islam. (emphasis mine)

SUDAN: Thousands Of Protesters Took Over The Streets Demanding Islamist President al-Bashir Step Down AFTER 30 Year Rule When He Overthrew The Government And IMPOSED Sharia Law. Wanted For Genocide Of Sudanese Christians.

The Guardian, UK
written by Reuters staff in Khartoum
Thursday January 17, 2019

Thousands of people have taken to the streets in cities across Sudan, including the capital, where activists said a child and a doctor were killed in clashes between police and protesters calling for the end of Omar al-Bashir’s 30-year-old rule.

Thursday’s protests marked some of the most widespread disturbances since unrest began on 19 December.

The protests were triggered by price rises and cash shortages, but have quickly developed into demonstrations against Bashir.

In the day’s most violent clashes police in Khartoum’s Burri neighbourhood fired rubber bullets and teargas, and chased demonstrators with batons, witnesses said. Several people were overcome with teargas, while some were bruised by rubber bullets and others beaten.

Hundreds of young men and women blocked streets and alleyways with burning tyres, and some hurled stones at security forces, witnesses said. Many chanted “down, that’s it” to send the message that their only demand is Bashir’s fall.

Demonstrators also taunted security forces by ululating each time a stone-throwing demonstrator hit police, witnesses said.

A live video posted on social media and verified by Reuters showed security forces pointing guns at protesters in Burri. The sound of gunfire could be heard.

In the video, a demonstrator yelled “why are you shooting?” as protesters, some wearing masks as protection from teargas, ducked to avoid the firing. It was not clear if rubber or live bullets were used. One man who appeared to be injured and had spots of blood on his shirt was carried away.

“There were people shooting at us,” one protester told Reuters. “They fired rubber bullets.”

He said he saw five people fall to the ground, adding he was not sure if they were hit by rubber or live bullets. He said he saw a few other injured people being carried away, but security forces blocked the area and the wounded were unable to reach a hospital.

Instead they were being treated in a makeshift emergency room inside a home. At some point, security forces approached the makeshift clinic and fired teargas into it as the wounded were being treated, three witnesses said.

A police spokesman could not immediately be reached for comment.

Hundreds also protested in al-Qadarif, Atbara, Port Sudan, al-Dueim and al-Ubayyid, drawing teargas volleys from police, witnesses said.

Security forces have at times used live ammunition to disperse demonstrations. The official death toll stands at 24, including two security forces personnel. Amnesty International has said that more than 40 people have been killed.

“We will continue to protest until the government falls because we want to provide a better life for our children,” said a 47-year-old teacher who demonstrated in downtown Khartoum.

Bashir has blamed the protests on foreign “agents” and said the unrest will not lead to a change in government, challenging his opponents to seek power through the ballot box.

The UN high commissioner for human rights, Michelle Bachelet, said that she was deeply worried about reports of excessive use of force by Sudanese security forces.


Sudan has struggled economically since losing three quarters of its oil output – its main source of foreign currency – when South Sudan seceded in 2011, keeping most of the oilfields.

The US lifted 20-year-old trade sanctions on Sudan in 2017. But many investors continue to shun a country still listed by Washington as a state sponsor of terrorism.

al-Bashir is wanted by the international criminal court over charges, which he denies, of masterminding genocide in the Darfur region.

This is the entire documentary. Watch it before it disappears.

Miss Westley published on Nov 19, 2017: The Devil came on horseback A documentary about the jaweed, a Sudanese government backed militia, who have stolen, raped and murdered Sudanese .

While serving with the African Union, former ine Capt. Brian Steidle documents the brutal ethnic cleansing occuring in Darfur. Determined that the Western .

The Devil Came On Horseback (2007) exposes the violence and tragedy of the genocide in Darfur as seen through the eyes of a lone American witness.

Sudanese Islamic Jihad

1980’s Arab Supremacists Slave Traders

Nomidic Arab tribes called the Janjaweed (in Sudanese province of Darfur since 12th century from Arabian Peninsula) form an alliance with a group of powerful Arab North Sudanese merchants called the Jellaba. The Jellaba runs an extensive slavery ring of non-Arab Africans and exploits the Sudanese soil for its raw materials.

The Arab Janjaweed and Jellaba consider themselves racially and ethnically superior to the Africans of Sudan, justifying their involvement in the slave-trade of black Africans.

Sudan Famine 1985-2003

Terrible drought hits Sudan resulting in severe famine. Janjaweed Arab militias (15% of Darfur population) relentlessly attack farms and villages of Sudanese Africans, depriving them of water and provisions. Pillaging, raping and killing are common. Africans are treated as second-class citizens.

Sudan 1989-2003: Muslim Brotherhood In Power

Muslim Brotherhood led by Al Bashir take over government by force. He works closely with Osama Bin Laden. Persecution of non-Arab Sudanese by Janjaweed militia worsens under Al Bashir, and increasingly takes on the tone of racially motivated ethnic cleansing.

1989 Osama in Sudan

Osama Bin Laden, founder of Al Qaeda, leaves Afghanistan for Saudi Arabia. Then continues on to Khartoum, Sudan. He works with Al Zahawiri and Al-Bashir of Muslim Brotherhood.

1989 Two Million Christians murdered (Muslim Brotherhood) Millions More Are Starved by Jihad Forces

Muslim Brotherhood stages pro-Islamic coup in Sudan under ideological leadership of Hassan al-Turabi. Democracy ended. Thirteen devastating years of famine and civil war follow. Sudanese Jihad militia (the Janjaweed) prevents abundant food supplies from reaching starving Sudanese population. Millions of Sudanese die from disease and malnutrition.

Hassan al-Bashir of Muslim Brotherhood leads the devastation.

Two million (2,000,000) Christian Sudanese murdered by Hassan al-Bashir’s Wahhabi Jihad (Holy War) since 1989.

Jihad is heavily sponsored by Saudi Oil.

1996 Al Qaeda From Sudan to Afghanistan to the World

Bin Laden leaves Sudan under US pressure on Sudanese government. He returns to Pakistan and is transferred back to Afghanistan under the direct supervision of General Pervez Musharraf, then high ranking military figure. Osama Bin Laden gathers all the remaining Mujahedeen (‘Holy Islamic Warriors’) from the Afghan War. He finds refuge with the oppressive Taliban regime and rekindles connections with jihad mercenaries from Chechnya, Dagestan, Xinjiang of China, the Southern Philipines, North Africa and the Middle East. International Jihad takes shape.

KENYA: Islamist Militant Group al-Shabaab From Somalia Attacked A High-End Hotel, Held Hostages Overnight, 21 Murdered. The Muslim World Financially Supports Islamist Militants.

The Wall Street Journal (WSJ)
written by Matina Stevis-Gridneff and Gabriele Steinhauser
Wednesday January 16, 2019

NAIROBI, Kenya—Islamist militants’ deadly 18-hour siege of an upscale complex here jolts a key U.S. ally in the war on terrorism and raises questions over how the Somalia-based insurgents have survived more than a decade of international military campaigns.

On Tuesday afternoon, unmasked attackers carrying AK-47s and explosives shot their way into the 14 Riverside hotel and office complex in the capital—a favorite hangout for foreigners and upper-class Kenyans—detonated at least one suicide bomb and barricaded themselves in with hundreds of hostages overnight. It took until late Wednesday morning for Kenyan special forces to kill five gunmen and free the remaining captives.

By then, at least 20 people, among them a Kenyan accountant for Colgate-Palmolive Co. and an American who specialized in development finance, were dead. A police officer later succumbed to his injuries in hospital.

The foyer of the DusitD2 hotel, an emblem of Nairobi’s emergence as East Africa’s business hub, was covered in blood and debris; parked outside were the skeletons of several incinerated cars.

Al-Shabaab, a Somali extremist group affiliated with al Qaeda, claimed responsibility for the assault. Kenyan police said it had arrested two people it believes helped facilitate the attack.

The group said the attack stemmed from an al-Qaeda directive to hit Western and Zionist targets in retaliation for President Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Israeli capital and move the U.S. Embassy there, in a statement on the website of SITE Intelligence Group, which tracks jihadist groups.

The statement said the complex was selected because it hosts Western companies and expats dine at its restaurant.

One of Africa’s longest-living Islamist movements, al-Shabaab regularly carries out deadly attacks, mostly inside Somalia. In its bloodiest attack to date it killed more than 500 Somalis in the capital, Mogadishu, in 2017. Its insurgent-style assaults, often paired with explosives, have proven to be difficult to contain through conventional military tactics.

For many Kenyans, the siege brought back painful memories of al-Shabaab’s 2013 attack on Nairobi’s Westgate shopping mall, which left 67 people dead and dragged on for four days. Two years later, al-Shabaab militants rampaged through Kenya’s Garissa University, killing 147 people.

“We can never take anything for granted,” Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta said in a televised press conference, pledging to pursue “every person involved in planning, funding and executing this heinous act.”

At Nairobi’s Chiromo mortuary, dozens of friends and relatives of victims—some wailing, others collapsing in grief—gathered to identify and claim the bodies of loved ones.

Among them were representatives of the family of Jason Spindler, the Texan co-founder and chief executive of I-Dev International, a company focused on financial innovations to reduce poverty. “The world has lost a kind soul and a great man in a senseless act,” one friend posted on Mr. Spindler’s Facebook wall.

A senior executive from LG Electronics Inc., which has offices in the 14 Riverside complex, said he was there to identify the body of a Kenyan employee. Nearby, the widow of a Colgate accountant wept.

Inside the morgue lay the body of Luke Potter, the British-South African director of the U.K.-based Gatsby Charitable Foundation’s Africa program. Tuesday had been his first day at the Riverside office after permanently relocating to Nairobi, a friend and co-workers said.

The attack struck at the heart of a country whose tourism sector, known for breathtaking safaris and white sandy beaches stretching for miles, had finally recovered from the Westgate attack. Kenya also hosts the regional base of multinationals such as Coca-Cola and Microsoft.

The 14 Riverside houses banks, travel agencies and stores, in addition to the hotel and offices. French drinks maker Pernod Ricard SA and Adam Smith International, a prominent think tank, have offices in the complex.

Many public buildings in Nairobi, including the Riverside complex, have metal detectors and security guards sweeping cars for weapons and explosives. The attackers were able to break past two boomgates by firing AK-47s and throwing hand grenades into parked vehicles, causing multiple explosions.

Kenyan officials said security forces held off on confronting the gunmen while office workers were still holed up inside the complex, to avoid striking them in the crossfire. Two Western diplomats said they were overall pleased with the Kenyan forces’ response.

Still, the fact that al-Shabaab was able to launch such a sophisticated attack—which required careful coordination and large amounts of ammunition—shocked many Kenyans and international observers. Under Mr. Trump, the U.S. has ramped up drone strikes against the militants in Somalia. Washington also supports a 22,000-strong regional military force fighting the insurgency, and maintains some 500 troops in Somalia training Somali elite forces.

“It highlights why U.S. investments were made in Kenya and Somalia—even if they haven’t been fully successful, there is no hope the threat of al-Shabaab will go away if the U.S. stops fighting it,” said Katherine Zimmerman, a research fellow at the conservative Washington-based American Enterprise Institute.

Kenya, is a major contributor to AMISOM, a Somalia-stationed military force that includes troops from Ethiopia, Uganda, Djibouti and Burundi. The Riverside 14 attack revives a debate in Kenya about whether the country should keep troops in Somalia at all, given the violent retaliation.

“No one wants to see their troops in other countries’ problems, but you have this al Qaeda affiliate in Somalia creating havoc in Kenya,” said Abdirashid Hashi, director of Mogadishu-based think tank Heritage Institute. “Somalis alone cannot handle it.”
As if the Islamist militants really needed a reason to attack. They do this all the time, killing innocent people and destroying property. And for what? To scare away Westerners, Christians, and Jews. This is how Islam takes over nations struggling economically. In the West, Islam uses the court system to change our laws to favor Islam and puts Islamist in office to change laws to favor Islam. ALL Islamist militant groups worldwide have a shared vision of a Global Islamic Caliphate (kingdom) ruled by sharia law. Meaning they want ALL of humanity worldwide to submit to Islam and ALL of humanity worldwide to be ruled by Islamic sharia law. This is why I call them Necromongers. (emphasis mine)
The Guardian, UK
Wednesday January 16, 2019

Intelligence services in Kenya were warned that al-Shabaab was planning terrorist attacks on high-profile targets in the east African country around Christmas and the new year, western and regional security officials have said.

Officials and other sources told the Guardian the warnings had been passed on several times in recent months, adding that they had been frustrated not to see a greater response from Kenyan authorities.

Security forces cleared the hotel, restaurant and office complex in Nairobi on Wednesday morning after it was attacked the previous day by four gunmen from al-Shabaab, an Islamic extremist organisation based in neighbouring Somalia. The Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta, said 14 civilians were confirmed dead.

Al-Shabaab, which has said its mujahideen were responsible for the assault, has launched a series of terrorist operations in Kenya in recent years. In 2013, the al-Qaida affiliate took over a luxury mall in Nairobi, killing 67 people.

The news of the warnings will embarrass authorities in Kenya, which is seen as a key local counter-terrorist player by the US, UK and other western powers.

One Kenyan intelligence official said information passed on by security partners about planned attacks lacked detail but that the country had been on high alert since November.

I SHARED THE FOLLOWING WITH YOU LAST YEAR. I'm reposting the information below with this Kenya attack news  from this week because I read the entire article by the Guardian News, UK I shared a snippet with you above that make it sound like al-Shabaab had no money and was barely surviving to stay alive. That is a bunch of crock. (emphasis mine)

Radio Free Europe
written by RFE Staff, AFP, and Reuters
Saturday October 13, 2018

An Al-Qaeda-linked militant group is using Iran as its main transit point for illegal charcoal exports from Somalia, enabling the group to earn millions of dollars in profits, a report to the UN Security Council seen by media says.

According to a report cited by AFP and Reuters on October 12, since March, the main destination for the illegal shipments has been ports in Iran, where the charcoal is packaged into white bags labelled "Product of Iran."

The United Nations has banned Somali charcoal imports since 2012 to cut sources of revenue for Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda affiliate that generates revenues for its Islamist insurgency by levying taxes on charcoal production in the regions it controls.

The UN estimates that, despite UN sanctions banning such exports, Somalia produced some 3.6 million bags of charcoal in 2017 for export, generating some $7.5 million in revenue for Al-Shabaab.

The report called Iran a "weak link" in implementing the UN's charcoal ban, and also cast blame on countries such as Ghana and the Ivory Coast for allowing charcoal traffickers to "exploit weaknesses" in their certification processes.

The illegal shipments that arrive in Iran usually carry certificates that falsely state that the Somali charcoal originated in Comoros, Cote d'Ivoire, or Ghana, the unpublished UN report says.

The document identifies Iranian ports in the Kish and Qeshm free zones as the main destinations of the Somali charcoal shipments since March 2018.

From there, the charcoal is sent on "Iran-flagged dhows" to ports in the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Dubai, and elsewhere, where it is mainly used for cooking and smoking shisha water pipes, the report says.

The Iranian mission to the UN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The report says Iran became a transit point for the illegal Somali shipments after Oman tightened its customs procedures.

The report provided to the UN council was drafted by a UN group of experts tasked with monitoring sanctions on the Somali militants.

Al-Shabaab militants have vowed to overthrow the Somali government (AGAIN), which is backed by the UN and a 20,000-strong force from the African Union stationed in the country.

While Al-Shabaab was pushed out of Mogadishu in 2011 and lost many of other bastions, they still control vast rural areas in the country.

In addition to earnings millions from charcoal sales, Al-Shabaab is making millions annually by imposing tolls on vehicles in areas where they have checkpoints and through taxes on businesses, agriculture, and livestock, the report says.

All this "generates more than enough revenue to sustain its insurgency," it says.

NTV News Kenya published on Oct 13, 2018: Mandera County has been hit hard by terror attacks in the past 7 years with Lafey sub county bearing the most brunt . The insecurity has affected the once busy and preferred Mandera - Lafey highway, a 115 Km stretch connecting the two towns, and that has now been rendered impassable as Al shabaab militants carry out attacks at will along this road. NTV’s Ahmed Maulid tells us more about terror's highway, and how it has affected businesses and daily life in Mandera.

NTV News Kenya published on Nov 15, 2017: Trevor Ombija speaks to George Musamali, Byron Adera, Mustafa Ali and Sammy Mwithi on the fresh report by the United Nations that implicates the Kenya Defence Forces (KDF) in failing to enforce an export ban on charcoal exports by Al-Shabaab.

written by Joshua Meservey
April 3, 2018

The Kenyan Defense Forces have been deployed in Somalia conducting counterterror operations since 2011.

Yet a recent United Nations (U.N.) report accuses the Kenyans of continuing its years-long practice of enabling the trade of charcoal in Somalia—a trade banned by the U.N. in 2012 because it profits al-Shabaab, the Islamist terror group with which Kenya is ironically locked in a bitter struggle.

Since its rise to prominence in 2006, al-Shabaab (an al-Qaeda affiliate) has launched hundreds of attacks inside Somalia, earning the State Department’s designation as a terror organization in 2008. In October 2017, it launched one of the deadliest terror attacks in history when two of its truck bombs killed more than 500 people in Somalia’s capital city, Mogadishu.

The group also frequently attacks nearby Kenya, perpetrating some of the worst massacres the country has ever suffered. Its seizure of the upscale Westgate Mall in Nairobi in September 2013 led to nearly 70 deaths and almost totally destroyed the mall.

In 2015, the group killed 147 people—mostly students—at Garissa University in eastern Kenya. The group has also kidnapped Kenyans and foreign citizens alike from Kenya and attacked humanitarian aid workers around the Dadaab refugee camp.

In response to al-Shabaab’s growing power, the African Union in 2007 established a multinational peacekeeping force in Somalia, known as AMISOM, to try to roll back al-Shabaab’s territorial control and stabilize the region. After invading Somalia in October 2011 in its own campaign against al-Shabaab, Kenya merged its forces in Somalia with AMISOM the following year.

AMISOM succeeded in expelling al-Shabaab from all its major strongholds, though the group still controls significant territory in southern Somalia. Kenyan forces also liberated the port of Kismayo, one of Somalia’s largest ports for exporting charcoal. Some believed the city’s capture would be a lethal blow to al-Shabaab given its financial reliance on the port.

That was not the case, however.

Instead of enforcing the U.N. ban on the charcoal trade, Kenyan forces allegedly allow it to continue in exchange for its own slice of the action. The Kenyans charge about $2 a bag, and may make as much as $12 million a year from the arrangement.

The Kenyan forces’ cupidity allows al-Shabaab to rake in charcoal profits. The U.N. conservatively estimates that the terror group makes approximately $10 million dollars a year from the 4.5 million to 6 million bags of charcoal exported annually. Al-Shabaab benefits primarily by taxing vehicles ferrying charcoal to port cities such as Kismayo for export.

The fight against al-Shabaab is already difficult enough given the Somali government’s corruption and dysfunction, and its lack of progress in creating an effective Somali national army. Kenyan forces’ refusal to enforce the charcoal ban only makes the fight harder, and the money they reap comes at the cost of both Kenyan and Somali lives.

January 14, 2019

WORLD: Two Big “Star Wars” TV Shows Will Premiere This Year. “The Mandalorian” And The Animated Series “The Clone Wars”. Both Will Be Released On Disney’s New Streaming Service. 😊👍

International Business Times
written by Sachin Trivedi
Thursday January 10, 2019

Two big “Star Wars” TV shows will premiere this year. Although the exact release dates haven’t been announced, the live action TV series “The Mandalorian” and the animation series “The Clone Wars” will reportedly air sometime this year.

According to Entertainment Weekly, among the “Star Wars” projects to be released this year is the first live action TV series titled “The Mandalorian.” Jon Favreau is at the helm of the show, and he has been sharing updates about the progress of the filming with the fans from time to time.

A more recent post by Favreau on Instagram teased the return of the assassin droid IG-88 from “The Empire Strikes Back.” More characters and locations from the original trilogy and other “Star Wars” movies are expected to be featured on the show for nostalgia.

From the pictures and the official synopsis of “The Mandalorian” that have been released so far, it is clear that the story takes place on a desert planet. The protagonist, played by Pedro Pascal, is a lone gunfighter who operates far from the reaches of the New Republic. The plot is set just after the fall of the Empire and before the rise of the First order.

According to Konbini, the main focus of “The Mandalorian” will be on the civil war that has shaken Mandalore. The story is expected to mostly take place in the Outer Rim. Popular planets like Tatooine may be back on the show.

The release date of “The Mandalorian” is set for the latter half of 2019. Fans can expect to see it towards the end of the year. An exact release date should be announced in the coming months.

The other big news has to do with the continuation of “The Clone Wars” series. The highly popular animation series began in 2008, and it ended with Season 6 in 2014. The upcoming Season 7 is expected to pick up from where it left off and continue the story.

Disney has ordered a total of 12 episodes for “The Clone Wars” Season 7, and it will premiere sometime in 2019. The future season of the show may depend on how the audience reacts to the stories in the upcoming episodes.

Familiar characters like Anakin Skywalker and his master, Obi-Wan Kenobi, will be back, along with the fan-favourite Ahsoka Tano. The brief teaser of Season 7 that has been released so far showed the former Jedi-in-training to be involved with the Mandalorians.

Both “The Mandalorian” and “The Clone Wars” Season 7 will be released on Disney’s new streaming service.

IRELAND: A Suspected Islamic State Fighter Who Was Captured By Kurdish Forces Is A Citizen Of The Republic of Ireland Who Was Known To Irish Police. The ISIS That Islamist And Marxist Tell Us Is A Lie.

Breitbart News
written by Victoria Friedman
Monday January 7, 2019

A suspected Islamic State fighter who was captured by Kurdish forces is a citizen of the Republic of Ireland who was known to Irish police.

According to reports, the 45-year-old male is originally from Belarus but gained Irish citizenship after having lived and worked in Dublin for a number of years.

Named by the Irish Independent as Alexandr Ruzmatovich Bekmirzaev, it is believed that he left for the Middle East in 2013.

Irish taoiseach (prime minister) Leo Varadkar told media on Monday, “I’ve only heard about that in the last short while.

“The information we have is that an Irish citizen has been taken into custody in Syria.

“We don’t know the details of that so I can’t comment on it in any detail, but what I can say is that any Irish citizen around the world is entitled to consular assistance and will get that.”

Broadcaster RTÉ reported Sunday night that Garda sources said that the suspected captured militant was known to the Irish police, the Gardaí, in the context of monitoring individuals suspected of being sympathetic to radical causes.

The Independent reports he had been providing logistical support to radicals connected to Islamic State and was described by one Gardaí officer as “a lot more than a sympathiser.”

Security and anti-terrorism specialist Declan Power said it was concerning that a man apparently known to Garda Siochana’s crime and security branches had obtained Irish citizenship, which would also grant him the right to move freely through the rest of the European Union.

“We can’t be complacent about the reach of extremism into this State from other locations. It’s a wake-up call for us not to be complacent,” Mr Power said.

Bekmirzaev and four others, two Americans and two Pakistanis, were captured December 30th by the Syrian Democratic Forces, pictured above fighting Islamic State in the battle to retake Raqa in 2017, with details only being released on Sunday.

The SDF said in a statement that during operation Jazeera Storm, which aims to liberate the last regions under Islamic State occupation, they had detected “a group of terrorists who had been preparing to attack the civilians who were trying to get out of the war zone in masses.”

“Following long-term technical and physical ­follow-up, an operation against the cell was carried out by our forces,” they added.

“As a result of the operation, five terrorists originally from the United States, Ireland, and Pakistan were captured.”

JAPAN: Head of Japan's Olympic Committee Has Been Indicted In France Over Corruption Allegations Related To Japan’s Successful Bid For The 2020 Olympic Games.

Reuters News
written by Emmanuel Jarry
Friday January 11, 2019

PARIS - The president of Japan’s Olympic Committee, Tsunekazu Takeda, is under formal investigation in France for suspected corruption related to Japan’s successful bid for the 2020 Olympic Games, a French judicial source said on Friday.

French financial prosecutors investigating a multi-million dollar payment made by Japan’s bidding committee to a Singaporean consultancy questioned Takeda in Paris and he was placed under formal investigation on Dec. 10, the source told Reuters.

In Tokyo, Takeda said no improper actions such as bribery had taken place in connection with Tokyo’s bid, and that he had not been charged by French authorities.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) said its ethics committee has opened a file on the case and would meet on Friday, adding that Takeda “continues to enjoy the full presumption of innocence.”

Under French law, a formal investigation means there is “serious or consistent evidence” implicating a suspect in a crime. It is one step closer to a trial, but such investigations can be dropped without going to court.

French investigators have led a years-long probe into corruption in athletics and in early 2016 extended their inquiry into the bidding and voting processes for the hosting of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Prosecuting judge Renaud Van Ruymbeke now suspects Takeda - a former Olympic showjumper, longstanding Olympics official and second cousin of Emperor Akihito - of paying bribes to secure his nation’s winning bid, the judicial source said.

Takeda, who also heads the IOC’s marketing commission, apologized for “the huge worries that have been brought to the people of Japan, who have given so much support to the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics...”

“In order to put every doubt to rest I intend to continue cooperating with investigations,” he said.


The move against Takeda is linked to an investigation French prosecutors launched in 2016 into more than $2 million of payments by the Japanese bidding committee to consultancy firm Black Tidings, which was terminated in 2014.

In 2017, Takeda and several others were voluntarily questioned by Japanese prosecutors at the request of French authorities in relation to the payments, Kyodo News agency reported at the time. Takeda and the others had denied any wrongdoing, Kyodo said.

Japanese officials said at the time the two payments were legitimate consultancy fees. The first was made before Tokyo’s win and the other after, as has been common practice.

A panel commissioned by the Japanese Olympic Committee said in September 2016 that it had found the payments to be legitimate.

Tokyo governor Yuriko Koike said she was “very surprised” by the news of the investigation.

Takeda was placed under formal investigation on the same day Japanese authorities arrested now-ousted Renault-Nissan alliance chairman, Carlos Ghosn, on suspicion he under-reported his income at Nissan. Ghosn’s detention shocked France, strained the car alliance and complicated bilateral relations.

Asked about the timing, a source close to the French investigation into Takeda said there “was no link between the two affairs”.

Takeda, 71, a great-grandchild of Emperor Meiji who competed in the 1972 and 1976 Olympics, has been a member of the Japanese Olympic Committee since 1987 and its president since 2001.

He has helped coordinate preparations for several Winter Olympics as a senior member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Takeda attended a ceremony in Tokyo on Friday along with former prime minister Yoshiro Mori, the president of Tokyo 2020, according to Mori’s office.

ITALY: Former Communist Militant Cesare Battisti Tracked Down In Bolivia, Was Handed Over To Italian Authorities On Sunday. He's Serving Life In Prison For Four Murders In The 1970s.

Yahoo News
written by Jorge Svatzman with Catherine Marciano in Rome
Sunday January 13, 2019

Brasília - Cesare Battisti, an Italian sought by Rome for four murders attributed to a far-left group in the 1970s, was arrested in Bolivia and will be extradited to Brazil and then likely to Italy, a senior aide to Brazil's new president said Sunday.

Italy has repeatedly sought the extradition of Battisti, who has lived in Brazil for years under the protection of former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (2003-2010), now in prison for corruption.

"Italian terrorist Cesare Battisti was detained in Bolivia (Saturday night) and will be soon brought to Brazil, from where he will probably be sent to Italy to serve a life sentence," tweeted Filipe G. Martins, a senior aide on international affairs to Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.

During Brazil's recent presidential campaign the far-right Bolsonaro -- who took office on January 1 -- vowed that if elected he would "immediately" extradite Battisti to Italy.

In mid-December Brazil's outgoing president, Michel Temer, signed an extradition order for Battisti after a judge ordered his arrest. By then the Italian ex-militant was nowhere to be found.

Battisti, 64, was arrested late Saturday in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Brazilian Federal Police sources told Brazilian media. Bolivian officials have not confirmed the reports.

Italy's envoy to Brazil fired off a triumphant tweet upon hearing the news. "Battisti has been arrested! Democracy is stronger than terrorism!" ambassador Antonio Bernardini wrote.

- Prison fugitive, author -

Battisti escaped from an Italian prison after being convicted in 1979 of belonging to an outlawed leftist group, the Armed Proletarians for Communism.

He was subsequently convicted in absentia of having killed two Italian policemen, taking part in the murder of a butcher, and helping plan the slaying of a jeweler who died in a shootout which left his 14-year-old son in a wheelchair.

Battisti admitted to being part of the group but denied responsibility for any deaths.

He reinvented himself as an author and in 2004 skipped bail in France, where he had taken refuge. He went to live clandestinely in Brazil until he was arrested in 2007 in Rio de Janeiro.

After years in custody, then-president Lula issued a decree -- later upheld by Brazil's Supreme Court -- in 2010 refusing Battisti's extradition to Italy, and he was freed, angering Italy.

Battisti, who has a five-year-old Brazilian son, last year told AFP he faced "torture" and death if he were ever to be sent back to Italy.
Yahoo News
written by Charles Onians, AFP
Monday January 14, 2019

Rome - Former communist militant Cesare Battisti, wanted in Italy for four murders in the 1970s, began serving a life sentence in a Sardinian prison on Monday after an international police squad tracked him down and arrested him in Bolivia.

Jailed in 1979 for belonging to an armed revolutionary group outlawed in Italy, Battisti escaped from prison two years later, and had spent nearly four decades on the run.

An Italian-flagged Falcon 900 plane carrying Battisti landed at Rome's Ciampino airport on Monday morning.

Battisti, who was not wearing handcuffs, smiled grimly as he was escorted off the plane by a dozen policemen.

"I know that I'm going to prison," an apparently resigned Battisti said, according to police.

The 64-year-old was later transferred to a prison on the island of Sardinia "for security reasons", according to Justice Minister Alfonso Bonafede, where he begins his life sentence with six months in solitary confinement.

Oristano prison is home to more than 250 convicts, many of them living under the tough "41-bis" prison regime usually applied to Mafia members.

"This is not the finish line but the starting point," Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini told journalists at Ciampino, citing the presence of "dozens" of other former militants still on the run in countries from Latin America to France.

Italy had repeatedly sought the extradition of Battisti, who lived in Brazil for years under the protection of former leftist president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, himself now in prison for corruption.

Battisti was seized without a struggle late Saturday in the Bolivian city of Santa Cruz de la Sierra in an operation carried out by a joint team of Italian and Bolivian officers.

- 'It's over' -

Battisti was sentenced to life imprisonment for having killed two Italian policemen, taking part in the murder of a butcher and helping plan the slaying of a jeweller who died in a shootout that left his teenage son in a wheelchair.

"It's over, now the victims can rest in peace," said Alberto Torregiani, the son of the slain jeweller.

Battisti has admitted to being part of the Armed Proletarians for Communism, a radical group that staged a string of robberies and attacks, but he has always denied responsibility for any deaths, painting himself as a political refugee.

Rome is determined to punish one of the key figures from Italy's so-called Years of Lead, a decade of violent turmoil which began in the late 1960s and saw dozens of deadly attacks by hardline leftwing and rightwing groups.

During his election campaign, Brazil's far-right President Jair Bolsonaro -- who took office on January 1 -- vowed that if elected he would "immediately" send Battisti back to Italy.

Battisti had filed for asylum without receiving any response from authorities, Bolivia's ombudsman said in an article published in the local El Deber de Santa Cruz newspaper.

The ex-communist militant had been hoping to find favour with Bolivia's left-wing President Evo Morales after saying in his asylum request he had been forced to quit Brazil due to "the ominous coincidence" that Italy and Brazil were both now run by "far-right" governments.

Salvini and Bolsanaro have been basking in the success of Battisti's capture on social media.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani, a member of Italy's right-wing Forza Italia, criticised the presence of "a cohort of political admirers" for Battisti's arrival.

Others noted that while Salvini and Bonafede were present at Ciampino, only non-partisan President Sergio Mattarella had received the body of journalist Antonio Megalizzi, 29, who was murdered in an Islamist attack in Strasbourg in December.

- Italian anger -

Since his jailbreak Battisti had reinvented himself as an author, writing a string of noir novels. In 2004, he skipped bail in France, where he had taken refuge. He then went to live clandestinely in Brazil until he was arrested in 2007 in Rio de Janeiro.

After years in custody, then-president Lula issued a decree -- later upheld by Brazil's Supreme Court -- in 2010 refusing Battisti's extradition to Italy, and he was freed, angering Rome.

Battisti, who has a five-year-old Brazilian son, in 2017 told AFP he would face "torture" and death if he were ever to be sent back to Italy.

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