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7/24/16

US Foreign Policy: ISIS and European Refugees Crises A Direct Result of Iraqi War

Blair and Bush launch Iraq war based on false information:
Why are Governments keeping silent about the undeniable fact that the terrorism and security crises Europe is facing comes as a direct result of the Iraqi war.

Also,  as more and more innocent victims die as a result of terrorism in Europe and around the world, Governments need to recognize the facts and identify the culprits who provided false information to the so-called "coalition of the willing" which resulted in  more than a million civilian and military deaths.

During the years following the aftermath of the Iraqi war it should be crystal clear to our political leaders that military actions are not the answer to solving any political crises  So far this strategy has only increased the security problems around the worls and resulted in a very unstable political and social environment..

Across Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey people have crossed borders and traveled many kilometres within their own country to find respite from war.

Millions have crossed continents and have ended up in Europe seeking that same respite. By and large it's taken Europe by surprise. Opinions vary on how to deal with the crisis. Some say Europe and the US should step up. Others say the rich Gulf states should use their enormous wealth to help.

The fact remains: why is no Government leader in the US or Europe backing the obvious that a strategic mistake was made by the invasion and occupation of Iraq?  Can our Governments still be trusted ?

March 2003 was the pivotal point. Based on controversial evidence that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD), the war drums beat loudly.

The WMD claim was eventually publicly discredited by the CIA's own Iraq survey group report . That report proved whispers and intelligence community doubts from the time that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

But it wasn't just those who questioned the evidence. Mass opposition from the British and American public concluded in marches in various Western capitals opposing the war.

Those voices went ignored and in March 2003, the then US president George Bush Bush  and the British prime minister Tony Blait  met in the Azores, Portugal, with the Spanish prime minister, and set into motion events that now include the dead body of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi that washed up on a Turkish beach.

The Arab Spring was officially launched when Mohamed Morsi, who became Egypt's first democratically elected president, was toppled by the military in 2013. Initially it was not religious or even violent in nature.

It was popular anger at dictators propped up by the West coupled with frustration at the lack of economic development.

Down the dictators fell, and with them, decades of religious suppression. That religious fervour found expression in anger at the US' role in Iraq.

Suddenly religious groups were able to speak freely, and freely they did, mainly about the US and its role in the region.

Then when the protests reached Syria, President Bashar al-Assad knew he didn't want to suffer the same fate as his Arab counterparts.

The West quickly abandoned him and said no negotiations while he was in power. Left with little choice he moved on those that opposed him in a violent and bloody manner.

The Iraq war was the war too far - the one that has changed the Middle East.

It was the war that solidified and unified disparate young men from different countries into following the path of violent jihad.

Had the Iraq war not happened, then Saddam Hussein would have been contained as he was.
This dictator was a threat to freedom and to his own people, but was no longer a threat to his neighbours.

The leaders of ISIL and other radical groups would have found death in Afghanistan or prison elsewhere. However, hindsight and "what if" are the words of those that have the luxury of not living in a tent.

The Iraq war did happen.

The refugee crisis is happening.

Now the only questions the world perhaps should be asking is how we can bring about a political solution to the war in Syria and how we bring all sides to the table.

What the refugee crisis has done is force the Western European public to think. Whether they can force their governments to act and bring about a solution is another question.

The architects of the Iraq war still say their actions had nothing to do with the current crisis.

It is high time that the US, EU members states and other Nations, including China and Russia step up to the plate and let international justice take its course by prosecuting those who lied about the weapons of mass destruction, for war crimes. 

In the same breath, these nations under auspices of the United Nations should also declare the Middle East a nuclear and military free zone and weapon sales to this area should be prohibited.

The NATO, which has outlived its cold war purpose should be disbanded,  and replaced by a Multi-National Development Network to initially benefit the populations of Middle Eastern and North African Nations, and eventually also other nations ravaged by famine, war or tribal conflicts.

All this might sound like a utopian fantasy or unattainable dream, but it is certainly worth the effort and a far more productive proposition than enriching the weapons industry which is killing millions of innocent civilians around the world today.

EU-Digest

7/23/16

USA: Republican Convention: Thiel: Fake Culture Wars Only Distract Us From Our Economic Decline - by Tim Hains

Paypal founder and Silicon Valley entrepreneur Peter Thiel spoke on the fourth night of the 2016 Republican National Convention.

"I am proud to be gay. I am proud to be a Republican. But most of all I am proud to be an American," he said. 

“I don’t pretend to agree with every plank in our party’s platform. But fake culture wars only distract us from our economic decline," he said. "When I was a kid, the great debate was about how to defeat the Soviet Union. And we won. Now we are told that the great debate is about who gets to use which bathroom. This is a distraction from our real problems. Who cares?"

"Instead of going to Mars, we invaded the Middle East," he said. "Donald Trump is right. It's time to end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country."

Our economy is broken. If you're watching me right now, you understand this better than any politician in Washington. And you know this isn't the dream we looked forward to. Back when my parents came to America looking for that dream, they found it—right here in Cleveland.

They brought me here as a one-year-old, and this is where I became an American.

Opportunity was everywhere.

My Dad studied engineering at Case Western Reserve University, just down the road from where we are now. Because in 1968, the world's high tech capital wasn't just one city: all of America was high tech.

It's hard to remember this, but our government was once high tech, too. When I moved to Cleveland, defense research was laying the foundations for the Internet. The Apollo program was just about to put a man on the moon—and it was Neil Armstrong, from right here in Ohio.

The future felt limitless.

But today our government is broken. Our nuclear bases still use floppy disks. Our newest fighter jets can't even fly in the rain. And it would be kind to say the government's software works poorly, because much of the time it doesn't even work at all.

That is a staggering decline for the country that completed the Manhattan Project. We don't accept such incompetence in Silicon Valley, and we must not accept it from our government.

We don't need to see Hillary Clinton's deleted emails: her incompetence is in plain sight.

She pushed for a war in Libya, and today it's a training ground for ISIS. On this most important issue, Donald Trump is right. It's time to end the era of stupid wars and rebuild our country.

Read more: Thiel: Fake Culture Wars Only Distract Us From Our Economic Decline | Video | RealClearPolitics

Netherlands Regularly Reviews Security Measures Amid Fears of New Attacks

Dutch Security Tightened - code Yellow
The Netherlands is constantly reviewing its security measures to determine whether further reinforcement is needed in addition to the safeguards put in place recently, a spokeswoman for the Dutch Ministry of Justice and Security told Sputnik on Friday.

The statement came amid warning issued earlier on Friday by the German Federal Criminal Police Office of a threat of new attacks on railway passengers following the Monday attack in southern Germany by an Afghan refugee, who was later shot dead by the police.

"Measures related to security screening have indeed been strengthened in the Netherlands and are under constant review to determine whether further reinforcement is needed," the spokeswoman said.

She stressed that the principle of checking whether a refugee poses a threat to national security and public order is equally applied to all migrants, irrespective of their religion and country of origin.

"None [of the measures] are designed for or applied specifically to persons from Muslim countries or of Muslim origin," she said, referring to the fact that most recent attacks — like the one in Germany and Nice — were perpetrated by Muslims claiming ties with the Islamic State terrorist group (outlawed in Russia).

In her words, before starting the asylum procedure, every applicant entering the country is identified, registered and screened by relevant experts of the police or border guards. Applicant's passports are checked for authenticity, names are run through databases and travel routes and motives for coming to the country are analyzed, in addition to language analysis.

"Also mobile phones may be screened as well as activity on the Internet and social media of the person in question," the spokeswoman added.

In mid-July, the National Coordinator for Terrorism and Security Dick Schoof said that the threat level for the Netherlands was still on "substantial" level 4 (out of total 5 levels), with a "real" possibility of a terrorist attack in the country, though with no concrete evidence that an attack was being planned.

Following numerous deadly attacks in Europe many experts on terrorism suggested that new attacks could be avoided if social accounts of migrants and radicalized citizens were better scrutinized.

On Wednesday, the Bavarian local parliament called on the government to provide police with more powers to follow Facebook, Twitter accounts and mobile phones of the asylum seekers. Currently, the German police are not authorized to do that.

Read more: Netherlands Regularly Reviews Security Measures Amid Fears of New Attacks

7/22/16

Pollution: Driving Europe’s transition to a low-carbon economy - European Commission

The Commission recently presented a package of measures to accelerate the shift to low-carbon emissions in all sectors of the economy in Europe. The global low-carbon transition is already underway and gaining momentum, following the adoption of the first universal climate change agreement last December. The  proposal will help Member States prepare for the future and keep Europe competitive. It is part of the EU's strategy for a resilient Energy Union with a forward looking climate policy.

In 2014, EU leaders agreed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels across all sectors of the economy. Today's proposals present binding greenhouse gas emission targets for Member States from 2021-2030 for the transport, buildings, agriculture, waste and land use and forestry sectors. These national targets contribute to the overall EU target.

The new framework is based on the principles of fairness, solidarity, cost-effectiveness and environmental integrity. Member States will be at the forefront of deciding how to implement the measures to meet the agreed 2030 target.

The Commission also presented a strategy on low-emission mobility setting the course for the development of EU-wide measures on low and zero-emission vehicles and alternative low-emissions fuels.

EU Vice-President in charge of the Energy Union Maroš Šefčovič said: "The Energy Union is delivering. With the proposed reform of the Emissions Trading System last year and today's proposal on greenhouse gas emissions targets for Member States, we anchor the 2030 Energy and Climate framework in legislation. We are also setting our transport system firmly on the path towards zero-emissions. Today's package shows that we are mobilising all our policies towards the competitive, circular and low-carbon economy that we promised in the Energy Union Strategy".

Read more: Driving Europe’s transition to a low-carbon economy - European Commission

Germany: Deranged Killer At It Again: Munich shooting: Police say nine dead as manhunt continues

German police are engaged in a huge anti-terror manhunt in the city of Munich after nine people died in a shopping mall shooting.

Police are investigating whether one of the bodies is that of a perpetrator.
Three attackers carrying guns were earlier reported to be on the run. Police urged people to avoid public places.

The attack was at the Olympia mall in the north-western Moosach district. Public transport is suspended.

Police, who describe it as "an acute terror situation", say the first reports of a shooting in Hanauer Street came in just before 18:00 (16:00 GMT).

Chancellor Angela Merkel's chief of staff, Peter Altmaier, told national TV the motive for the attack was still unclear.

"We cannot rule out that it is linked to terrorism but we can't confirm it either, but we are also investigating in this direction," he said.

A meeting of the government's security cabinet will be held on Saturday.

The Bavarian capital's central railway station has been evacuated.

People stranded by the emergency and unable to get home are being offered shelter by locals. The initiative was launched with the Twitter hashtag #Offenetür (open door).
 
Read more: Munich shooting: Police say nine dead as manhunt continues - BBC News