In Digest

New Cold War.org Information Bulletin, Vol 2 #34, Feb 23, 2017

Ukraine-Russia-Europe:  (* denotes also published in full on New Cold War.org)

USS Hue City (Shannon Stapleton, Reuters)

U.S. guided missile cruiser visits Estonian port, RT.com, Feb 23, 2017  (with video)

Earlier in February, U.S. military hardware – including M1A2 Abrams battle tanks and Bradley infantry fighting vehicles – arrived in the northern Estonian town of Tapa as part of continued US efforts to counter an alleged Russian threat. The deployment marks a new phase of the Operation Atlantic Resolve, which started in April 2014…

* The increasingly unhinged Russia rhetoric comes from a long-standing U.S. playbook, by Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept, Feb 23, 2017

Brit arrested for cyberattack on Germany that was blamed on Moscow, RT.com, Feb 23, 2017

A UK national has been detained in London on suspicion of carrying out a cyber-attack last year that left one million Deutsche Telekom customers without service. At the time, German Chancellor Angela Merkel hinted that Russia might be behind the attack…

Turkey-Syria-Middle East and Caucasus:
New round of Syria talks kicks off in Geneva on back of Astana progress
, RT.com, Feb 23, 2017

Turkish-Iranian rivalry hits peak as Syria talks kick off in Geneva, by Semih Idiz, Al-Monitor, Feb 23, 2017

It is hardly a secret that Turkey and Iran are regional rivals along the Sunni-Shiite divide in the Middle East, which only deepened with the failed Arab Spring. Yet rarely has the animosity spilled over into open and bitter verbal sparring. Both countries accuse each other of destabilizing the region and undermining security in Iraq and Syria.

Turkish news report: ISIS surrenders Al-Bab to Turkish-led forces, Al-Masdar News, Feb 23, 2017

If confirmed, this agreement by Turkey-ISIS will repeat the turnnover to Turkey by ISIS of Jarablus last August.

* Turkish journalist Asli Ceren Aslan arrested on terror charges, Turkish Minute, Thursday, Feb 23, 2017

‘Humanitarian situation in Mosul is incredibly desperate’ – UNHCR, RT.com, Feb 23, 2017

United States:
* Reuters exclusive: Trump wants to expand U.S. nuclear arsenal, make it ‘top of the pack’, by Steve Holland, Reuters, Feb 23, 2017

Donald Trump plans to bypass the courts to deport as many people as possible, by Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept, Feb 23, 2017

… “I see now what the plan is,” Greg Siskind, a Tennessee-based immigration attorney and member of the American Immigration Lawyers Association board of governors, told The Intercept. “Their plan is basically to have everybody thrown out of the country without ever going to court.”

Additional immigration attorneys and legal experts who spoke to The Intercept shared Siskind’s concerns, describing various elements of the DHS directives and the executive orders they reflect as “horrifying,” “stunning,” and “inhumane”…

Trump’s new immigration crackdown has private prison investors salivating, by Lee Fang, The Intercept, Feb 22, 2017

Geo Group, one of the largest private prison corporations in the world, hailed President Donald Trump’s newly-announced immigration plans on a call with investors Wednesday and said that even more business could be on the way if a Republican congressional proposal to expand the incarceration of certain immigrants make it into law…

World:
Voting in two of the most important by-elections in recent UK history has closed
, by Lianna Brinded and Adam Bienkov, Business Insider UK, Thursday, Feb 23, 2017

  • The Stoke-on-Trent Central and Copeland by-elections are two of the most important by-elections in recent political history.
  • Polling stations closed at 10 p.m. GMT. Final results are expected to arrive around 3 a.m. GMT Friday morning.
  • Storm Doris continues to cross central and northern parts of England as strong wind and rain hit both constituencies.

Election in Britain’s ‘Brexit Capital’ Poses Test for Labour Party, by Stephen Castle, New York Times, Feb 22, 2017

… On Thursday, such feelings of alienation will be tested in elections for two parliamentary seats in struggling areas of middle and north England, Stoke-on-Trent and Copeland. Labour has held the seats there for decades.

Trump’s clarifying moment for Israel and Palestinians, by Jonathan Cook, Feb 21, 2017

Refugees coming into Canada from U.S. — The view from the British Columbia-Washington state border, by Bethany Lindsay, Vancouver Sun, Feb 23, 2017
http://vancouversun.com/news/local-news/focus-on-b-c-borders-as-donald-trump-ramps-up-immigration-crackdown

The surge of asylum seekers walking across the Canadian border to escape Donald Trump’s tough talk on refugees and illegal immigrants is a phenomenon that hasn’t been seen in three decades, according to an American immigration lawyer.

Mexicans fear new U.S. immigration rules will see refugee camps arise along U.S.-Mexico border, by Mark Stevenson, Associated Press, Feb 23, 2017

Under previous policies, only Mexican citizens were deported to Mexico — but with Trump’s new enforcement rules, deportees who entered the U.S. through Mexico will be deported via the same route, regardless of citizenship.

Trudeau fears Trump’s ire if he were to label U.S. unsafe for refugees, by Karl Nerenburg, Rabble.ca, Feb 23, 2017

… Canada’s view, and that of the Geneva Convention on Refugees which we signed decades ago, is that once potential refugees are on Canadian soil — however they got here — they are entitled to Canada’s full protection. The problem for refugees who try to enter at official border crossings is that until they are allowed into this country they are still, officially, on American soil. Thus, the safe third country agreement deems they must be turned away.

If Canada were to revoke safe third country status for the U.S., frightened and desperate asylum seekers would be able to come here without potentially endangering their lives and well-being. But the Trudeau government is not interested in provoking the Donald…

Trudeau defends bill giving more powers to U.S. border agents on Canadian soil, by Tonda MacCharles, Toronto Star, Feb 22, 2017

Leila de Lima, critic of Duterte, is ordered held by Philippine court, by Felipe Villamor, New York Times, Feb 23, 2017

A Philippine court on Thursday ordered the arrest of a senator who had been the leading domestic critic of President Rodrigo Duterte and his bloody antidrug campaign, on charges that she took bribes from imprisoned drug traffickers.

The senator, Leila de Lima, has denied the charges, saying they amount to political persecution. After spending several hours at her Senate office, where she has immunity from arrest, Ms. de Lima said Thursday night that she would go home to say goodbye to her family. “I have no intention to flee or hide,” she said, her voice catching. “I will face these charges”…

Far-right leader Geert Wilders suspends Dutch election campaign appearances amid safety fears over security leak, by Lizzie Dearden, The Independent, Feb 23, 2017

Former IMF leader sentenced for embezzlement, by Raphael Minder, New York Times, Feb 23, 2017

Rodrigo Rato, a former managing director of the International Monetary Fund, was convicted on Thursday on charges of misusing the funds of a Spanish bank that he led to near-collapse. He was sentenced to four and a half years in jail.

Global warming and climate change:
By-election in Britain: Green party’s Jack Lenox is the only candidate to oppose new nuclear power station
, by Jack Lenox, The Ecologist, Feb 17, 2017

All but one of the candidates in next week’s Copeland by-election [northern England] are backing a massive new nuclear power station in the constituency that would cost us tens of billions of pounds. Only the Green Party’s Jack Lenox is resisting the spin, hypocrisy and outright lies that his rivals have swallowed whole. Here he explains why this risky, unaffordable white elephant must be scrapped.

A jobless recovery in Canada’s oil industry, by Geoffrey Morgan, National Post, Thursday, Feb 23, 2017

… The survey showed that 80 per cent of Canadian oil and gas companies had reduced their headcount over the last two years – and nine per cent of the respondent companies, particularly in oilfield services and upstream exploration, cut more than 50 per cent of their staff. The result was 30,000 direct job losses in Alberta alone, according to Canadian government data.


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