It’s been a week dominated with headlines from WikiLeaks¹ and the ever present disapproval of the EU over Brexit¹. And in the background, the attempt at stealing white-owned lands in South Africa is becoming a frighteningly more real possibility¹.
- Confidence has been shaken in U.S. allies over CIA spying and hacking¹ as WikiLeaks released “less than 1%¹” of its ‘vault 7’ documents in what looks likely to be a very interesting series of future events. An American consulate¹ in Frankfurt am Main, Germany was also apparently used as a staging ground for this project to initiate attacks¹ all over Europe. German prosecutors are currently looking into the situation which provided not only a base for, but also techniques for hacking and surveillance¹. Despite the revelations, some German officials are bizarrely concerned that Russia may be the source¹ of these leaks (though it is believed to be the work of U.S. contractors), a concern that should be at least secondary to the situation itself.
This is certainly not the first time U.S. intelligence has been caught spying¹ on allies, as previously the NSA had been found to be spying on multiple EU states¹ as well as domestically in the U.S. through information provided by Edward Snowden. Facebook has also been accused of spying through illegal tracking¹ and handing over data to U.S. intelligence¹ and the British government¹, tracking the actions of EU citizens online without consent is in violation of European law. Depending on the extent of the spying and hacking, it may be another potential violation of the Vienna Conventions¹, articles 22, 24 and 27.
- In the U.S. itself, claims have been levied that the Obama administration¹ funneled millions of dollars through the Department of Justice to left-wing¹ activist groups, meaning in part, that the government may have helped fund anti-Trump¹ protests. The money for these ‘slush funds’ come from settled court cases in which banks, when sued by the government, can opt to pay a third of such settlements to “non victim entities¹“. With over $3 billion USD paid into these funds and no oversight to where these funds go or how they are used, it would be more than concerning to see where this investigation leads and if indeed, the funds are used to profit one political party and influence an election as the claims appear to be¹.
- The EU’s Council of Europe, a human rights watchdog, has recently stepped into the Turkish referendum situation to finally raise the alarm that the Turkish government is “drifting towards authoritarianism¹“. The situation is one we have been following here for a number of weeks as journalists and opposition parties and individuals have been arrested in the wake of the ‘coup’ where over 120,000 have been arrested or suspended¹*. The response comes as Turkey recently stated that Germany’s cancelation of a Turkish political rally was “no different to Nazis of the past¹“, claiming that the cancelation of the Turkish rallies (at least four¹ at the moment) was political rather than a concern for space and public safety. There had been at least one reported bomb threat due to the cancelation of one such rally¹. It appears Germany has allowed Turkey to be in the position where it can, for all intents and purposes, blackmail or extort the German state¹ (and the EU) under threat of flooding Europe with refugees¹.
In Austria there have been calls for an EU-wide ban on Turkish campaigning to ‘avoid pressure on individual countries¹‘. In the Netherlands, a planned rally in Rotterdam has potentially been canceled¹ after being previously told it was undesirable¹ to host another country’s politics (especially during the Netherlands’ own election season). The Turkish foreign minister has stated that he will appear ‘whatever happens¹‘. In the Netherlands, this also leads to fears of poor integration of Turkish nationals, and Germany’s intelligence chief has also raised concerns that Turkish nationals increase espionage activity and pose a security risk¹.
- Once again, women’s day has occurred, a day that is apparently for women and not for men to take part in¹. During the day there were “a day without women¹” marches which took place around the US and some western countries for equality.. And of course against¹ Trump¹. Previously on the women’s march in January, one of the organizers was found to have been convicted of terrorism¹, having set off bombs targeting Israeli civilians¹ in 1969 and was convicted of immigration fraud in 2014 for failing to disclose her conviction. Another organizer is a supporter of Sharia law¹ which is a far cry from what feminists apparently want when looking for equality¹. The “day without women” marches have also been seen as elitist¹ by those who need to work day to day for a living. One of the organizers had also hit out at Sharia law critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s criticism over the promotion of Sharia law¹ in a free western country.
Linda Sarsour has also been called a “fake feminist¹” by Hirsi Ali for promoting Sharia and ignoring or misrepresenting the treatment of women who live under the Islamic legal and political system.** Ayaan Hirsi Ali is an outspoken critic of Islam¹ and its treatment of women who has lived under threat of death for speaking out against Islam¹ and her work on a project with Dutch director Theo van Gogh¹ who was murdered by a muslim for the project about Islam he did with Hirsi Ali.
This has been week 10.
*Alternate language source.