We begin with the sadly expected, via the Guardian
One dead and three injured in Copenhagen ‘terrorist attack’
Swedish artist Lars Vilks, who has faced death threats for caricaturing prophet Muhammad, was at blasphemy debate in cafe hit by estimated 200 shots
One civilian has been killed and three police officers injured after armed men opened fire on a cafe in Copenhagen where a debate on Islam and free speech was being held.
The meeting was attended by Lars Vilks, the controversial Swedish artist who has faced death threats for caricaturing the prophet Muhammad. Also in attendance was François Zimeray, the French ambassador to Denmark.
“They fired on us from the outside. It was the same intention as [the 7 January attack on] Charlie Hebdo except they didn’t manage to get in,” Zimeray told AFP.
“Intuitively I would say there were at least 50 gunshots, and the police here are saying 200. Bullets went through the doors and everyone threw themselves to the floor,” the ambassador added.
And an update from BBC News:
Injuries in second Copenhagen shooting
Several people have been injured after shots were fired near a synagogue in Copenhagen, Danish police say.
One person was reportedly hit in the head, and two police officers suffered arm and leg injuries. The attacker is believed to have fled.
It is not clear whether the shooting is connected to an earlier attack on a cafe in the city.
CBC News covers semantic antics in high profile Nova Scotia arrests:
Randall Steven Shepherd, Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath charged in Halifax shooting plot
Peter MacKay calls suspects ‘murderous misfits’
Police have charged two people with conspiracy to commit murder in the case of a foiled plot to kill a large number of people at the Halifax Shopping Centre in the city’s west end.
American Lindsay Kantha Souvannarath from Geneva, Illinois, 23, and Randall Steven Shepherd from Halifax, 20, have been charged.
A third person, a 17-year-old male from Cole Harbour, has been released without charges. At this time, police say there is no evidence to link him to the charges before the courts, but the investigation is ongoing.
Police tracked down a fourth suspect, a 19-year-old, to a home on Friday on Tiger Maple Drive in Timberlea, N.S., about 20 minutes outside of Halifax. Police entered the house and found the suspect dead early Friday. His death is under investigation by Nova Scotia’s Serious Incident Response Team.
From Deutsche Welle, more semantic antics:
Thwarted Canada mass shooting ‘not linked to terrorism’
Police in Canada have dismissed the possibility that a plan to commit a mass shooting in Nova Scotia on Valentine’s Day was linked to terrorism. Residents have been urged to stay vigilant.
And something else Canada shares with the U.S., via CBC News:
Freddie James’s racial profiling complaint is part of larger issue inside Montreal police force
Montreal’s police chief Marc Parent admits racial profiling is a problem in Montreal
The Montreal police force does have a problem with racial profiling, admits Chief Marc Parent. However, he says, the department is working continuously to improve relationships with the city’s cultural communities.
“We do have a racial profiling problem… It’s not the majority, but we have to work on that every day,” Parent said on Daybreak Friday morning.
His comments capped off a week in which Montreal singer Freddie James went public with his own racial profiling complaint.
The Christian Science Monitor raises a question:
Muslim world asks: Were Chapel Hill shootings an act of terrorism?
As US authorities investigate the cause of the murder of three young Muslims in North Carolina this week, Muslims around the world push for the tragedy to be treated as a hate crime – perhaps even an act of terrorism.
US officials say the motivation for the shootings Tuesday of three young Muslim-Americans by a self-avowed atheist in North Carolina remains unclear. But growing numbers of Muslims around the world are weighing in with suspicions that the murders were an American hate crime and, perhaps, as the Palestinian foreign ministry suggested on Saturday, even an act of terrorism.
The killings of Deah Shaddy Barakat, 23, his wife Yusor Mohammad, 21, and her 19-year-old sister Razan Abu-Salha shook the greater Raleigh metro area, a former Southern backwater turned international destination for students and high-tech workers.
More deeply, the shootings came amid a backdrop of political tension in the US, highlighted last month at Duke University in Durham, N.C., just a few miles from where the shootings took place, when university officials, amid complaints and threats, cancelled a plan to amplify the Friday Islamic call to prayer through the university’s iconic clock tower.
An ancillary concern from USA Today:
North Carolina murders revive Islamophobia concerns
Less than 24 hours after the murders of three young Muslim students Tuesday afternoon in North Carolina, Aymen Abdel Halim had counted a dozen postings on social media praising the execution-style killings.
Abdel Halim, who works with the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago, said he forwarded some of the more menacing messages to law enforcement and found himself seething over the dark perception that many Americans have about his religion.
“There were Facebook pages saying (the killer) is a hero, kill all Muslims and that we’re going to continue his work,” Abdel Halim said. “There’s a culture of violence toward Muslims that is not brewing, but that is already here.”
From Reuters, a case of domestic terrorism?:
FBI monitoring investigation of fire at Houston Islamic center
The FBI is monitoring an investigation into a fire that destroyed a building at an Islamic institute in Houston and could take a more active role, a bureau spokeswoman said on Saturday.
The blaze early on Friday at the Quba Islamic Institute destroyed one of three buildings there, but no one was injured, fire officials have said. The institute has continued operating since the blaze.
Houston Fire Department arson investigators were working to pinpoint the cause of the fire, but no official determination has been made, officials said.
SecurityWeek covers a notable statement of the increasingly obvious:
Snowden Filmmaker Says US Surveillance ‘Out of Control’
For most Oscar nominees, the weeks before the February 22 ceremony are a whirlpool of stress.
But Laura Poitras, up for best documentary for “Citizenfour,” insists it is like going for a healthy walk — compared to what she went through to get here.
When former National Security Agency (NSA) consultant Edward Snowden, who revealed the massive scope of US intelligence surveillance, contacted the filmmaker, she found her life turned into a spy novel.
And by way of more proof, this from the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s DeepLinks:
Go to Prison for File Sharing? That’s What Hollywood Wants in the Secret TPP Deal
The Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement (TPP) poses massive threats to users in a dizzying number of ways. It will force other TPP signatories to accept the United States’ excessive copyright terms of a minimum of life of the author plus 70 years, while locking the US to the same lengths so it will be harder to shorten them in the future. It contains DRM anti-circumvention provisions that will make it a crime to tinker with, hack, re-sell, preserve, and otherwise control any number of digital files and devices that you own. The TPP will encourage ISPs to monitor and police their users, likely leading to more censorship measures such as the blockage and filtering of content online in the name of copyright enforcement. And in the most recent leak of the TPP’s Intellectual Property chapter, we found an even more alarming provision on trade secrets that could be used to crackdown on journalists and whistleblowers who report on corporate wrongdoing.
Here, we’d like to explore yet another set of rules in TPP that will chill users’ rights. Those are the criminal enforcement provisions, which based upon the latest leak from May 2014 is still a contested and unresolved issue. It’s about whether users could be jailed or hit with debilitating fines over allegations of copyright infringement.
The US is pushing for a broad definition of a criminal violation of copyright, where even noncommercial activities could get people convicted of a crime. The leak also shows that Canada has opposed this definition. Canada supports language in which criminal remedies would only apply to cases where someone infringed explicitly for commercial purposes.
From Threatpost, vulnerability in esnl’s own blogging platform:
Lack of CSPRNG Threatens WordPress Sites
WordPress has become a huge target for attackers and vulnerability researchers, and with good reason. The software runs a large fraction of the sites on the Internet and serious vulnerabilities in the platform have not been hard to come by lately. But there’s now a new bug that’s been disclosed in all versions of WordPress that may allow an attacker to take over vulnerable sites.
The issue lies in the fact that WordPress doesn’t contain a cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator. A researcher named Scott Arciszewski made the WordPress maintainers aware of the problem nearly eight months ago and said that he has had very little response.
“On June 25, 2014 I opened a ticked on WordPress’s issue tracker to expose a cryptographically secure pseudorandom number generator, since none was present,” he said in an advisory on Full Disclosure.
From the New York Times, barons of the bank hack:
Bank Hackers Steal Millions via Malware
In late 2013, an A.T.M. in Kiev started dispensing cash at seemingly random times of day. No one had put in a card or touched a button. Cameras showed that the piles of money had been swept up by customers who appeared lucky to be there at the right moment.
But when a Russian cybersecurity firm, Kaspersky Lab, was called to Ukraine to investigate, it discovered that the errant machine was the least of the bank’s problems.
The bank’s internal computers, used by employees who process daily transfers and conduct bookkeeping, had been penetrated by malware that allowed cybercriminals to record their every move. The malicious software lurked for months, sending back video feeds and images that told a criminal group — including Russians, Chinese and Europeans — how the bank conducted its daily routines, according to the investigators.
Then the group impersonated bank officers, not only turning on various cash machines, but also transferring millions of dollars from banks in Russia, Japan, Switzerland, the United States and the Netherlands into dummy accounts set up in other countries.
After the jump, the acronyms of Obama’s cybersecurity agenda, Pakistan takes down an FBI “most wanted” cybercrook, an Oregon plea to a Pakistani suicide bombing, a hot run-up to a Ukrainian ceasefire, Washington accuses Moscow of Ukrainian dirty pool, Iraqi troops on the brink of losing Anbar, ISIS runs a bloody purge of “sexual deviants,” fears that ISIS is doing the Bitcoin, and Western fears of ISIS metastasis, Boko Haram provokes a Nigerian presidential plea to Washington, Nigerian troops repel Boko Haram attack on Gombe, an account of Boko Haram abductees, on to Yemen and more violence, Argentinian presidential woes continue, a schoolbook purge in Pakistan, could Aussie uranium shipments feed Indian nuclear arms?, China deploys electromagnetic pulse weapons, on to Tokyo and signs of dissent on remilitarization in Shinzo Abe’s coalition, Japanese textbooks hew to the government line, tensions rise between Tokyo and Okinawa over an American military base move — as opponents lose a U.S. court challenge, and Philippine survivors of Japanese World War II atrocities seek an apology from Tokyo, then on to threats to the Fourth Estate, first in Sweden, then in Spain, plus oglers infest Norwegian tanning salons with a plague of concealed cameras. . .
From Nextgov, playing the spooky alphabet:
The Two Acronyms That are Key to Obama’s New Plan to Fight Hackers
The field of cybersecurity is already rife with acronyms. But listen for a couple of key new terms at today’s White House summit on cybersecurity that are essential for explaining how the government will expand information sharing with the private sector.
The event, hosted at Stanford University, is meant to physically convene company executives, private citizens and government authorities to talk about cyberspace, where spying and data breaches have been divisive issues.
The two words are STIX and TAXII, a programming language and data delivery method that are meant to bring these parties together in the virtual word.
They offer a potential two-way street to the information sharing and collaboration that government officials, retailers and Wall Street want more of to fight cybercrimes.
From the Express Tribune, Pakistan takes down an FBI “most wanted” cybercrook:
FIA claims to have arrested FBI’s most-wanted cyber criminal in Karachi
Officials of the Cyber Crime Circle of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) claimed on Saturday to have apprehended a most wanted suspect, Noor Aziz Uddin.
The accused was arrested during a pre-dawn raid conducted by FIA officials at his residence located at Federal B Area, Karachi.
Aziz Uddin’s two sons, Osama Noor and Omair Noor, his relative Faisal Aziz and his companion Arshad Farhan were also reportedly detained during the raid led by Cybercrime Circle deputy director Mir Mazhar Jabbar.
The suspects were later shifted to undisclosed locations for further investigation.
More from SecurityWeek:
Pakistan Arrests Cyber Criminals Wanted by FBI, Interpol
The FBI on its website said that Arshad and Uddin were wanted for their alleged involvement in an international communication scheme and hacking venture that defrauded individuals, telecom companies and government entities in the United States and elsewhere in the world.
They cost their targets more than 50 million dollars.
Arshad and Uddin gained access to business telephones systems and used the systems to place long distance telephone calls to premium rate numbers as part of a scheme known as international revenue share fraud, according to the US agency.
“Arshad and Uddin are part of an international criminal ring that the FBI believes extends into Pakistan, Philippines, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Spain, Singapore, Italy, Malaysia and other locations,” the FBI said in late 2013.
From CNN, an Oregon plea to a Pakistani suicide bombing:
Oregon man pleads guilty to role in 2009 suicide bombing
An Oregon man has pleaded guilty to terrorism charges for his role in supporting a 2009 suicide attack carried out in Lahore, Pakistan, at the headquarters of the country’s intelligence agency.
Reaz Qadir Khan, 50, who is a naturalized citizen of the U.S. admitted to “providing advice and financial assistance” to individuals who carried out the attack that killed approximately 30 and injured 300 more, according to court filings.
Khan was accused of helping Ali Jaleel, a citizen of the Maldives Islands, and two others believed to have carried out the attack by using a large, bomb-laden truck to penetrate the perimeter of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency on May 27, 2009.
Next up, a hot run-up to a Ukrainian ceasefire, via the Observer:
Fears for Ukraine’s ceasefire as clashes with Russia-backed rebels intensify
Neither side seems to expect an end to the conflict, and both were trying to shore up their positions before the deadline
Fighting between Ukrainian forces and Russia-backed rebel militias in the east of the country intensified on Saturday as fears grew for the durability of a ceasefire agreement that was due to take effect at midnight on Saturday.
The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine had backed the truce as part of a peace plan agreed in Minsk on Thursday, but fighting escalated in the hours before it came into effect. According to Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko, Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, and Russia-backed rebels had bargained for a “preparatory delay” rather than an immediate ceasefire.
The opposing sides were apparently spending the extra time solidifying positions on two main fronts, along the Azov Sea coast near Mariupol, and around the city of Debaltseve to the north, which fighters have compared with the second world war battle of Stalingrad. Both cities are under Ukrainian control, but hold strategic value for the Donetsk and Luhansk breakaway republics.
And Washington accuses Moscow of Ukrainian dirty pool, via the Washington Post:
U.S. alleges Russian fighting in Ukraine hours ahead of cease-fire
The Obama administration on Saturday released satellite images that it said showed that the Russian army had joined rebels to mount a full-scale assault on surrounded government troops in eastern Ukraine, hours before a cease-fire set to take effect at midnight.
A cease-fire deal reached Thursday gave a two-and-a-half day window before the shooting was actually supposed to stop, sparking fears of an uptick in fighting as both sides tried to capture ground. What has actually happened, according to Ukrainian troops, leaders and the United States, is a major offensive on the Ukrainian-held railway hub of Debaltseve. Thousands of Ukrainian soldiers are said to be bunkered there on a spit of land deep in rebel-held territory.
Russia has denied that it is a party to the conflict, and it was impossible to verify the three grainy black-and-white images posted on Twitter by U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt. According to the United States, the images, commissioned from the private Digital Globe satellite company, showed artillery systems and multiple-rocket launchers on Thursday in the area near Debaltseve.
On to another battlefront with CNN:
Tribal leader: Iraqi troops in Anbar could ‘collapse within hours’
An Iraqi tribal leader said Saturday that ISIS militants are gaining ground in Anbar province, predicting a “collapse within hours” of Iraqi army forces there if tribal forces withdraw.
Sheikh Naim al-Gaoud, a Sunni Muslim leader of the Albu Nimr tribe, called for more U.S. intervention — including ground troops, arming tribes directly or at least pressuring the Iraqi government to give the tribes more firepower.
While U.S. officials have said that ISIS, which calls itself the Islamic State, is on the defensive in Iraq and Syria, al-Gaoud says that’s definitely not the case where he is.
“In Anbar, we are losing ground, not gaining,” he said.
From BuzzFeed News, ISIS runs a bloody purge of “sexual deviants”:
ISIS Mounts New Propaganda Campaign Against “Sexual Deviancy”
In the past month, the release of propaganda photos and articles in ISIS’s official magazine indicate the group is stepping up its campaign against men accused of homosexuality and other so-called “sexual deviants.”
Since December, an increasing number of graphic images of ISIS militants executing men and women charged with “sexual crimes” have appeared on ISIS-affiliated social media accounts and in “official press releases” from the so-called Islamic State.
According to the latest issue of the ISIS propaganda magazine Dabiq, released Thursday, this social media strategy may be part of what the publication refers to as the militant group’s recent crackdown against sexual crimes against Sharia law.
In an article entitled “Clamping Down on Sexual Deviance,” the magazine refers to what it describes as an ongoing campaign by the Western world to make “sexual perversion” universally acceptable and thereby eradicate the morals of the faithful.
“In the midst of this widespread affront to the [natural human disposition],” the magazine stated, “The Islamic State continues its efforts against these deeds of misguidance — which Western ‘Civilization’ regards as part of their ‘values’ — by implementing the rulings of Allah on those who practice any form of sexual deviancy or transgression.”
Fears that ISIS is doing the Bitcoin, via Defense One:
Terrorism Finance Trackers Worry ISIS Already Using Bitcoin
The ability to move cash around national borders could help ISIS fund attacks in the West, just as an Al Qaeda group apparently funded the attacks in France.
Bitcoin fans may not enjoy the government’s attention, but they should be flattered: It means the technology they are developing is powerful stuff.
At a recent forum that brought together government officials and bitcoin entrepreneurs to discuss the future of the cryptocurrency, paeans to the protocol’s efficiency mingled with law enforcement’s concerns about it. Jennifer Shasky Calvery, head of the US Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), which is charged with fighting money laundering and terrorist finance, fretted that powerful payment technologies could facilitate bad actors.
“What keeps me up at night when I am thinking about digital currency…the real threats out there, these days we’re thinking a lot about ISIL,” Calvery said. “How they’re moving their money, and how potential US-based individuals are becoming foreign fighters: Are they moving their money, can we identify them from the movement of their money? What does it mean if they start moving their money through bitcoin? We’ve started to see some public articles suggesting that has occurred.”
Indeed, last summer Sky News reported that one pro-ISIL blog discussed using bitcoin to fund the militia’s attempts to impose its extreme view of Islamic law on Syria and Iraq.
And Western fears of ISIS metastasis, via the New York Times:
Islamic State Sprouting Limbs Beyond Mideast
The Islamic State is expanding beyond its base in Syria and Iraq to establish militant affiliates in Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt and Libya, American intelligence officials assert, raising the prospect of a new global war on terror.
Intelligence officials estimate that the group’s fighters number 20,000 to 31,500 in Syria and Iraq. There are less formal pledges of support from “probably at least a couple hundred extremists” in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia and Yemen, according to an American counterterrorism official who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss confidential information about the group.
Lt. Gen. Vincent R. Stewart, the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said in an assessment this month that the Islamic State, also known as ISIS or ISIL, was “beginning to assemble a growing international footprint.” Nicholas Rasmussen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, echoed General Stewart’s analysis in testimony before Congress last week.
Next up, Boko Haram provokes a Nigerian presidential plea to Washington, via Channel NewsAsia Singapore:
Nigerian president calls for US help as Boko Haram invade city
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan appealed for more US help in fighting Boko Haram, as the extremists struck again on Saturday (Feb 14) and called for a boycott of upcoming general elections.
The head of state for the first time claimed direct links between the Sunni radicals who have been waging a six-year insurgency in Nigeria and the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria and Iraq.
He told the Wall Street Journal in an interview: “Are they (the United States) not fighting ISIS? Why can’t they come to Nigeria? They are our friends. If Nigeria has a problem, then I expect the US to come and assist us.”
Jonathan’s comments were published as hundreds of extremist fighters invaded the northeastern city of Gombe, firing heavy guns and throwing leaflets calling for locals to shun the elections.
An update from BBC News:
Nigeria troops repel Boko Haram attack on city of Gombe
Nigerian troops have repelled a Boko Haram attack on the north-east city of Gombe, officials say.
Soldiers and a fighter jet were used in a counter-attack after Islamist fighters overran a checkpoint on the edge of the city. The insurgents were retreating towards their stronghold in the neighbouring state of Borno, witnesses said.
Nigeria postponed elections due to be held on Saturday due to the insurgency in the north-east.
An account of Boko Haram abductees from Britain’s Channel 4 News:
Boko Haram survivor: ‘I met 24 of the Chibok schoolgirls’
A young Nigerian woman who escaped from a Boko Haram camp says she was held with some of the missing schoolgirls from Chibok as recently as three months ago.
On to Yemen and more violence, via Reuters:
Clashes between Shi’ite Houthis and Sunnis in Yemen leave 26 dead
Tens of thousands of Yemenis demonstrated in several cities on Saturday against the rule of the Shi’ite Muslim Houthi movement as clashes between Houthis and Sunnis in a southern mountainous region left 26 dead.
It was the second day of nationwide demonstrations against the Iranian-backed Houthis in less than a week after their dissolution of parliament this month unravelled security and sent Western and Arab embassies packing.
Houthi gunmen fired on protesters in the central town of Ibb and wounded four, medics said.
Activists said they were enraged by the death on Saturday of Saleh al-Bashiri, who they say was detained by gunmen as they broke up an anti-Houthi protest in Sanaa two weeks ago and was released to a hospital with signs of torture on his body on Thursday. There was no immediate comment from the Houthis.
From CCTV America, Argentinian presidential woes continue:
Case against Argentine president moves forward
For 21 years, Argentina has demanded justice and truth for the attack on the Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires, the AMIA.
A schoolbook purge in Pakistan, via the Washington Post:
In Pakistan’s war over books, even Helen Keller is not safe
A decade ago, former Pakistani military ruler Pervez Musharraf called for a new era of “enlightened moderation” in the country’s public schools.
But just two years after more secular textbooks arrived here in northwestern Pakistan, politicians and religious scholars are rolling back some reforms by limiting students’ exposure to Western theories, academics, scientists and authors — including Helen Keller.
The effort is being led by the conservative Jamaat-e-Islami party, which recently gained more power in a region on the front lines of Pakistan’s effort to curb Islamist extremism and terrorism. Now a party that wants Sharia law in Pakistan again has considerable influence over what 4 million students learn in 28,000 public schools in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.
An Indian nuclear arms concern, via the Guardian:
Australian uranium ‘could end up in India’s nuclear weapons program’
Former IAEA chairman says deal to sell uranium to India ‘drastically changes’ safeguards policy and risks playing ‘fast and loose’ with nuclear weapons
Australian uranium could end up in India’s nuclear weapons program thanks to concessions the Abbott government made in the deal between the two countries, two nuclear experts have warned.
A former Australian diplomat and chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ronald Walker, said the agreement to sell uranium to India “drastically changes longstanding policy” on safeguards and risked playing “fast and loose” with nuclear weapons.
It differed substantially from Australia’s 23 other uranium export deals and “would do damage to the non-proliferation regime”, Walker told a hearing of the parliamentary joint standing committee on treaties this week.
From Want China Times, and straight out of a 1996 Kurt Russell film:
New Chinese electromagnetic weapon may paralyze US air defense: expert
The development of an X-ray pulse generator by the Xi’an Institute of Optics and Precision Mechanics under the Chinese Academy of Sciences has attracted the attention of Vassily Kashin, a expert at Russia’s Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies, according to Moscow-based Sputinks News.
Kashin believes that China’s electromagnetic weapon system based on the X-ray pulse generator has the potential to create a huge challenge to the United States in the Asia-Pacific region. It could be used to paralyze the air defense and anti-ballistic missile systems of the United States and its security partners including Japan, Taiwan and South Korea in the region. After that, the People’s Liberation Army could easily wreak havoc on the opposing force’s military facilities and hardwares with its own aircraft and ballistic missiles.
With the electromagnetic weapon system, the US can no longer rely on smaller quick reaction forces to confront Chinese expansion, according to Kashin. He said that Washington must deploy more troops and invest more money to strengthen the defense capability of American military bases in the Western Pacific.
On to Tokyo and signs of dissent on remilitarization in Shinzo Abe’s coaltion, via the Mainichi:
Komeito wary of LDP taking control of security talks, seeks ‘comprehensive agreement’
Komeito, the junior coalition partner of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), has expressed wariness over moves by the LDP to extend Japan’s collective self-defense beyond the scope of a Cabinet decision made last year.
In a Feb. 13 meeting between the two parties to discuss legal reforms on collective self-defense, the LDP argued that in a situation of international tension, such defense should extend to military forces besides those of the United States. Komeito, however, is wary of expanding the scope beyond the vision of the Cabinet decision.
The discussions centered on so-called “gray zone” situations where actual attacks from a hostile force have not occurred but the situation is beyond the means of the Japan Coast Guard and police to handle. In July last year, the Cabinet passed a decision that only went as far as recognizing that Japan’s Self-Defense Forces (SDF) should be able to defend U.S. vessels in such situations. Komeito is wary of allowing decisions to go beyond that point because of the effects it could have on other policies, such as other types of U.S. military support.
And the textbooks fall into line, via the Asahi Shimbun:
Textbook publishers toe official line on defense issue, but offer no background
Textbook publishers made cosmetic changes to junior and senior high school textbooks to note a landmark shift in Japan’s defense policy without mentioning why it occurred or the uproar that surrounded it.
Revisions to textbooks approved by the education ministry for use in the school year starting in April state that the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe formally reinterpreted the pacifist Constitution in July 2014 to allow Japan to exercise the right to collective self-defense, which had long been taboo.
The huge controversy that erupted, coupled with intense criticism raised by constitutional law scholars about the manner in which the policy change was made, were largely ignored in the revisions. Textbook publishers generally stuck to accounts that focused on the Cabinet decision.
Tensions rise between Tokyo and Okinawa over an American military base move, via the Japan Times:
Futenma base move pits Tokyo vs. Okinawa
The planned relocation of U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma has pitted the Abe administration against the Okinawa Prefectural Government, leaving the two increasingly at odds and adding to the complexities of the move.
On Friday, Okinawa Gov. Takeshi Onaga said he is considering using his powers to order a suspension of the Defense Ministry’s preparations for construction of a new base in the Henoko coastal district of Nago, northern Okinawa Island.
“I will use every means to fulfill my campaign pledge,” Onaga told a news conference, referring to his commitment during the gubernatorial election to block the U.S. base’s construction.
And a trans-Pacific legal challenge fails, via JapanToday:
U.S. judge dismisses lawsuit over U.S. base in Okinawa
A federal judge on Friday dismissed a lawsuit that sought to stop construction of a U.S. military base in Japan that it said would harm the Okinawa dugong, an endangered marine mammal related to the manatee.
U.S. District Court Judge Edward Chen said he didn’t have the authority to stop construction of the base off Okinawa.
“Put simply, this court lacks the power or necessary competence to enjoin or otherwise interfere with the construction of a U.S. military facility overseas that is being built consistent with American treaty obligations and in cooperation with the Japanese government,” he said in his decision.
And Philippine survivors of Japanese World War II atrocities seek an apology from Tokyo, via the Mainichi:
Survivors of WWII Manila battle seek apology from Japan
Survivors and descendants of the victims of a major battle in Manila during World War II pressed Japan on Saturday to apologize for atrocities committed by Japanese forces that left tens of thousands dead.
Juan Jose Rocha, head of Memorare Manila 1945 Foundation, a group of Battle of Manila survivors and descendants of noncombatant victims, said during a memorial ceremony that an apology by Japan “is long overdue.”
“The purpose of our group is not to recriminate, nor to seek compensation, but just to commemorate and request Japan to recognize what they did here,” Rocha said at the ceremony held in front of a monument erected by his group 20 years ago in memory of the 100,000 civilians who died during the battle in Manila that lasted from Feb. 3 to March 3, 1945.
On to to the Fourth Estate, first with threats in Sweden via TheLocal.se:
Neo-Nazis held for newspaper ‘threats’
Three people with reported connections to a neo-Nazi organisation have been detained by police after being found lurking outside the Stockholm editorial offices of a national newspaper.
“They have been arrested on suspicion of conspiracy to commit aggravated assault and unlawful threats,” said Lars Byström at Stockholm police.
The three were taken into questioning on Friday and were formally arrested later in the evening.
Then with a leak win in Spain, via TheLocal.es:
Spain SwissLeaks site beats press crisis
With plunging sales and advertising, Spain’s press is in crisis, but one outlet is thriving: news website El Confidencial, which joined in this week’s SwissLeaks tax fraud revelations.
Following a trend of influential alternative online news media around the world, it has been compared to US political site Politico and French investigative site Mediapart.
Specializing in frontline political coverage, El Confidencial was also credited as the first media outlet to break the news of King Juan Carlos’s abdication.
And to conclude, this from TheLocal.no:
Peeping Toms strike at Norway tanning salons
As Norway mulls a ban on cancer-causing tanning salons, a new peril has emerged, with a spate of peeping toms filming customers as they soak in the artificial rays.
This week alone, a hidden camera was discovered disguised as a clothes peg in the dressing room of a salon in Norway’s Lofoton archipelago, while in Stavanger on Friday, two women at different salons were surreptitiously filmed as they basked.
“This is a known problem all over the country,” warned Henning Andersen from the local police in Stavanger. “It happens from time to time because there are some people who have such inclinations.”