World watch – Wednesday

Tuesday GMT

WorldWatch

Post, news or views on anything happening of interest around the world.

50 Comments

  1. Gezza

     /  June 7, 2017

    Aljazeera tv: Breaking News:

    A man has been shot by Police in Paris after attacking a policeman with a hammer and / or knife near Notre Dame Cathedral. Reports are that he appears to be an Algerian student and that he shouted “This is for Syria”.

    Further details when more is known….
    5.07 am (I might be not that far short of being an insomniac)

    • Gezza

       /  June 7, 2017

      Aljaz tv:
      The battle for Raqqa has begun. The Syrian Democratic Forces, made up of the Kurdish YPG and Arab fighters after several weeks have finally fought their way to the outskirts of the city, and are commencing a co-ordinated attack from 3 sides – the North, East & West.

      There are an estimated 200, 000 people in the City &, as with Mosul, the battle is expected to be long, hard, & bloody – against a vicious, suicidal enemy with no regard for the lives of the civilians they control.

  2. Gezza

     /  June 7, 2017

    AlJazeera Tv Update: The terrorist who attacked the policeman in Paris was shot & wounded by Police & has been taken into custody.
    5.25 am

    • Gezza

       /  June 7, 2017

      What does the US expect? Both the Russians and the Chinese have the capacity & intent to challenge the current global superpower which threatens their security & regional interests.

      How would the United States react & scream about Russian & Chinese military forces provoking & spying on them in their patch?

  3. Missy

     /  June 7, 2017

    Just over a day now until the polls open in the General Election. Today’s media coverage has been dominated by Diane Abbott after her car crash of an interview last night.

    Diane Abbott was supposed to go on the Woman’s Hour radio show this morning to debate with Amber Rudd (Home Secretary), Jo Swinson (Lib Dems), Kirsty Black (SNP), and Margot Parker (UKIP), however, less than half an hour before the show was due to start it was announced she would be replaced by Emily Thornberry (Shadow Foreign Secretary) due to illness. This had everyone suspicious as she allegedly feigned illness to get out of turning up to the second reading of the Brexit Bill earlier this year. About an hour later a photo emerged on twitter allegedly of Diane Abbott on the phone at Oxford Circus Tube Station (around the corner from the radio studio) twenty minutes before the show was due start. The speculation is that she was pulled because of the interview last night.

    The accusations have been made that the criticism of Diane Abbott are racist and sexist, some on the left just don’t understand it is her incompetence that people are criticising. The thing is most would let her lack of knowledge pass if she admitted that she didn’t know, or said she would have to look it up, instead she tries to pretend she knows the stuff asked and fudges it.

  4. Gezza

     /  June 7, 2017

    You’re not necessarily always a *neutral* commentator I think Missy, but I love your well-written Foreign Correspondent despatches & look forward to them. 🙂

    • Missy

       /  June 7, 2017

      I will concede I am not always neutral, I try. I am most likely influenced more by what media sources I read / listen to…

      However, PG seems to be a regular Guardian reader, so he can counter. 🙂

      More to come tonight, just getting dinner.

      • Missy

         /  June 7, 2017

        I will add to that G that it is hard to be neutral when confronted by such incompetence as Diane Abbott, she is the gift that keeps giving.

        Trying to gag her hasn’t worked for Labour, they must be pulling their hair out by now.

        • Gezza

           /  June 7, 2017

          Luv ya like a sista. Enjoy dinner.

    • Gezza

       /  June 7, 2017

      As if the market isn’t already crowded enough 😕

      • David

         /  June 7, 2017

        At least we know this one wont be partisan.

  5. Missy

     /  June 7, 2017

    The third London Bridge terrorist has been named as Moroccan-Italian Youssef Zaghba. He was initially named in Italian media. His mother is Italian, but he was reportedly born in Morocco.

    It has emerged he was arrested last year in Bologna trying to go to Syria, yet he still managed to get into Britain. Italian authorities claim they warned the UK about him.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/06/06/london-bridge-attack-latest-police-make-fresh-raid-ilford-identity/

    • It’s a disgrace that the elephant in the room is ignored.The west have been resisting Islam for 1400 years and now liberals have collaborated to ignite this terrorism storm

    • Gezza

       /  June 7, 2017

      Police & security resourcing & shortcomings have become a major issue Missy?

      • Missy

         /  June 7, 2017

        yep, just about to write about that.

  6. Missy

     /  June 7, 2017

    As we head into the last day of official campaigning tomorrow and Labour desperately try to keep Diane Abbott out of the media the Conservatives have let Boris loose.

    BJ (as I like to call him) has done a series of interviews today. Part of this is seen as trying to counter May’s image of being cold and robotic.

    By all accounts his interviews went pretty well (I didn’t see any, and have only heard third hand). He did have a tetchy exchange on BBC Radio 4, but still came out of it better than could be expected.

    In an interview with the Telegraph BJ described Jeremy Corbyn as: “A Chavez-admiring curiously-vested leader of a sleeper cell of crypto-communists who piratically captured the Labour Party.”

    He certainly hasn’t lost any of his charm.

    • Gezza

       /  June 7, 2017

      Boris seems like a whole new concept of Foreign Minister. I find it hard not to like the chap.

      • Pickled Possum

         /  June 7, 2017

        Also Geeza Boris rode his bike to work most days when he was Mayor of London town. Most prob with security following him. He is a likeable scruffy roguey kind of endaring type of fella. Bombastic sometimes. 😉
        But as foreign minister he is banned from cycling. To many terrorist may get him. Aww poor Boris.

  7. This may be only half joking.

    • High Flying Duck

       /  June 7, 2017

      That’s big of you PG – conceding the half.

      • Gezza

         /  June 7, 2017

        One thing I note though is that the blogmeiser’s hypercritical flavour when it comes to polemics on Trumpy guarantees good debate & I get to consider Trump through other sets of eyes than my own, HFD. Always a good thing, for me anyway.

        • High Flying Duck

           /  June 7, 2017

          Oh, I meant it in good spirits. And you’re right. You get a pretty good range of opinion around here on most topics.
          I even (almost) miss the full length novels authored by Parti…

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  June 7, 2017

      Half jokes are usually the best jokes.

  8. Missy

     /  June 7, 2017

    This week May has been under a lot of pressure over police cuts during her time as Home Secretary.

    Theresa May has tried to defend her record, quoting statistics on the crime levels, which in general have decreased over the last 5-6 years, however, this isn’t washing with the public in general.

    Over the last few days more information has come out over the police cuts, including to armed officers. Figures released by Yvette Cooper – former Shadow Home Secretary – which shows that general police have reduced 13.4% since March 2009, and armed police by 18%.

    Despite the police cuts over the last 5 years or so the budget for the Security Services has increased. It seems that the Conservatives started moving their eggs into the basket of intelligence which has been to the detriment of the police it would seem.

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/06/yvette-cooper-personal-attack-theresa-may-armed-police-cuts

    Former police officers have been very critical of Theresa May, many saying that she was warned 6 years ago that the police cuts would compromise security.

    I am torn by this, I don’t agree with police cuts, and I absolutely believe that there needs to be more armed police as well, and I see the need for resources need to go into the intelligence services. Good, robust intelligence collection and analysis is vital – and I am not just talking MI-5, but Police and specialist Counter Terrorism Intelligence as well, but with limited resources something has to give. In saying that, I think there needs to be rethinking about the resourcing of the police and security services.

    On all that, this is a tricky area, and more police on the streets, and more police available outside of London, would not (in my opinion) stop an attack, especially one like the London Bridge attack. Low tech attacks are hard to learn about and disrupt – especially in terms of finding exact dates and times, though that is a general comment, and not specific to Saturday’s attack.

    On Saturday’s attack (with respect to the policing issues), I think the only way that it may have come to a conclusion sooner, and had some more lives saved is if all the police were armed. The first officers on the scene were unarmed, but having lived where officers are routinely armed, and having grown up in NZ, I am not in favour of routinely arming officers, I would rather have more specialist officers with arms available, and maybe have some (not all) around that carry sidearms only. I also do not believe more officers would have changed anything at all on Saturday.

    The above comments lead to the issue of the intelligence and assessment. MI-5, rightly, are going to conduct a review into what went wrong, because it is obvious that something is wrong with the way information received is assessed, categorised, and processed. Whether that is solely MI-5 or not I don’t know. The anti-terrorism line is Police, and I do not know how the information they receive is dealt with, whether they pass all tips on to MI-5 to assess, or whether the police ‘triage’ the information and only pass on potentially credible information. Either way any review on how this information is assessed and dealt with needs to widen from MI-5 to include police intelligence.

    There are some failures if someone can be on a tv programme as a self-confessed jihadi and not be considered someone of interest. If he was they may or may not have been able to stop him, but they would have had a better chance, especially as it has come out that the terrorists did a ‘dry run’ across the bridge about 7-10 minutes prior to launching their attack.

  9. It’s a sad day for the UK to realise this, but under the circumstances it would seem inevitable that all police need to carry arms.

    • Blazer

       /  June 7, 2017

      Only on days when the ‘threatometer”is on red alert. ..perhaps.

      • Missy

         /  June 8, 2017

        And what day would that be Blazer? A Wednesday afternoon when everyone is going about their normal business? A Monday night when children are out enjoying themselves? A Saturday night after a football match? Tell me oh wise one, what days is the “thermometer” on red alert?

        What a stupid comment.

    • Missy

       /  June 8, 2017

      Indeed Trav it is.

      After Manchester and London Bridge there are calls for the Police to be armed. Though it has to be noted not all of the Police are in favour of routine arming.

      In the case of Manchester no extra police – armed or unarmed – would have made a difference, there is an argument that in the London Bridge attack that if the first officers to the scene had been armed then they may have stopped the terrorists sooner, however, what they miss is that there is also the chance that they could have shot a member of public in the confusion. A difficult decision, and one I hope is not left up to Diane Abbott!

  10. Exclusive (apparently)

    Comey will stop short of saying Trump obstructed justice in Flynn probe, source says:

    There will be much in former FBI Director James Comey’s upcoming congressional testimony that will make the White House uncomfortable, but he will stop short of saying the president interfered with the agency’s probe into former national security adviser Michael Flynn, a source familiar with Comey’s thinking told ABC News.

    Although Comey has told associates he will not accuse the President of obstructing justice, he will dispute the president’s contention that Comey told him three times he is not under investigation.

    The president allegedly said he hoped Comey would drop the Flynn investigation, a request that concerned Comey enough that he documented the conversation in a memo shortly after speaking with the president. In the memo, according to sources close to Comey who reviewed it, Trump said: “I hope you can see your way clear to letting this go, to letting Flynn go,” during a February meeting.

    The request made Comey uncomfortable, but the source tells ABC News that Comey has told associates he will not accuse the President of obstructing justice.

    “He is not going to Congress to make accusations about the President’s intent, instead he’s there to share his concerns,” the source said, and tell the committee “what made him uneasy” and why he felt a need to write the memo documenting the conversation.

    Some legal experts told ABC News that Trump’s requests as detailed in the memo, which ABC News has not seen, could meet the legal definition of obstruction.

    Comey told associates he plans to testify that despite the unusual request from the president he believed strongly that if he did his job properly he could conduct the investigation in an honest way.

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/exclusive-comey-stop-short-trump-obstructed-justice-flynn/story?id=47865739

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  June 7, 2017

      Comey felt even more uneasy about being grilled by the Senate Judiciary Committee and refused to appear.

  11. Special Branch monitored Jeremy Corbyn for 20 years amid fears he was ‘undermining democracy’

    “Jeremy Corbyn was monitored by undercover officers for two decades amid fears that he was attempting to undermine democracy, the Telegraph can disclose.

    A former special branch officer, who does not wish to be named, said that the Labour leader was monitored because he was “deemed to be a subversive”.

    The Special Branch definition someone who is subversive “consists of activities intended to undermine or overthrown Parliamentary democracy by political, industrial or violent means.”

    “It is unclear exactly what actions or associations were seemed “subversive”, but the source said that it was not because of his alleged sympathies with Irish Republicans.

    It is possible that officers may have been investigating Mr Corbyn’s links to extremist groups.

    It emerged today that Corbyn gave a speech at a rally attended by around 300 members of the proscribed extremist group Al-Muhajiroun, some of whom were dressed as suicide bombers.

    A detailed account in a left-wing newspaper, Weekly Worker, described how the group made excessive noise and was disruptive and “hurled abuse” at anti-Israeli speakers on the platform during the event in 2002

    The Labour leader was investigated over fears that he could have been a threat to national security at a time when he was supporting convicted terrorists and campaigning for a unified Ireland.

    During his time as a back bench MP, Mr Corbyn has been criticised for links to some groups and controversial remarks he has made, including describing Hamas and Hezbollah as “friends”.

    It’s hilarious as he doesn’t call Israel his friends

  12. In the UK the Conservatives have gone down a bit, Labour have gone up a lot.

    • Missy

       /  June 8, 2017

      The polls are all over the place at the moment, hard to pick what will happen. Most are still picking a substantial majority, though not the 100+ some thought 6 weeks ago. The general pick is between 40-60 seat majority, so still an increased majority.

  13. This is interesting – ISIS claim responsibility for an attack on the Iranian parliament!!

    Its getting real between Saudi and Iran….. step back everyone it good get very bloody…

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jun/07/shootings-iranian-parliament-khomeini-shrine

    • MaureenW

       /  June 7, 2017

      Yes, well they just got sold some weapons – should come in handy.
      Iran is on “the list” – I guess someone’s gotta do it

      • Gezza

         /  June 7, 2017

        It’ll be a little while yet before the Saudis can start directly controlling things & doing decapitations in all the other Sunni Muslim states. But they’ve been waiting patiently long enough already, they can wait a little longer. Then there are all the other Muslim states to convert & control properly . They are, after all, THE source of the true Islam. Then there is Africa, Europe. Eurasia. Asia. Europe. Israel …