This is a blog dedicated to a personal interpretation of political news of the day. I attempt to be as knowledgeable as possible before commenting and committing my thoughts to a day's communication.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Dust-Up at the United Nations

"It [the current mullah-led administration of the Islamic Republic of Iran] has turned a wealthy country with a rich history and culture into an economically depleted rogue state whose chief exports are violence, bloodshed and chaos."
"We cannot let a murderous regime continue these destabilizing activities while building dangerous missiles."
"And we cannot abide by an agreement if it provides cover for the eventual construction of a nuclear program."
"I have decided...."
U.S. President Donald Trump

"[Iran] continues to flout the spirit of the Iran deal, destabilizing the region and brazenly threatening the security of sovereign nations."
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence

"[Iran will not violate the nuclear agreement first], but it will respond decisively to its violation by any party. It will be a great pity of this agreement were to be destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics."
"By violating its international commitments, the new U.S. administration only destroys its own credibility and undermines international confidence in negotiating with it or accepting its word or promise."
"The ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric filled with ridiculously baseless allegations that was uttered before this august body yesterday was not only unfit to be heard at the United Nations, which was established to promote peace and respect."
"This is a building the frame of which, if you take out a single brick, the entire building will collapse. This issue must be understood by the American officials. Either the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] will remain as it is in its entirety or it will cease to exist." 
"If anyone exits the agreement and breaks their commitment, it means our hand is completely open to take any action that we see as beneficial to our country."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Rouhani said Trump’s speech was beneath the dignity of the UN.
Hassan Rouhani said Donald Trump’s speech was beneath the dignity of the UN. Photograph: Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

While the first two statements above are on the record of evidence eminently credible and a fitting response to the arrogance of a regime that continues to develop its long-range ballistic missile technology with the significant assistance of another 'rogue' regime on the world stage with whom the international community barely knows how to proceed, the spiked rejoinder by Iran's 'moderate' president is rife with non-sequitors. Iran complacently violates the peace and respect which the UN is meant to promote by openly stating its intention to destroy a member-state.

For ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric few rate as highly and expertly in that realm of spreading venom as the Islamic Republic. For deft deceit, circumlocution and sly smiles of accommodation while plotting to undermine the peace and security in the broader Middle East, no other country is as complicit as Iran, in its creation of a proxy militia dedicated to destroying Israel, as the avenging "Party of God" whose sacred word has been blasphemed by Israel's rebirth in a geography sanctified by the presence of Islam.

The previous American administration led by President Barack Obama, sensitive to Iranian values, failed to write into the agreement that ongoing development of ICBMs, and continuing plots to undermine stability in the Middle East be linked to the Republic's agreement to set aside for the length of the agreement, its search for the formulae in nuclear research enabling it to develop nuclear warheads to fit on those long-range ballistic missiles. Iran simply assented to wait a little longer for nuclear advancement, while focusing its attention on ICBMs.

And while Iran consistently denied accusations that it had dedicated itself under the controlling aegis of its elite Republican Guard Corps to the goal of accomplishing its search to a conclusion, to enable it to build an arsenal of nuclear weapons as its co-conspirator and great helper North Korea has done, it now threatens, should the United States find Iran to have been remiss in observing all aspects of the agreement, to return to its nuclear program; unambiguously verifying its end-purpose in one fell swoop of a rejoinder.

Iranian compliance with the agreement is certainly questionable given its focus on funding Hezbollah and Hamas for the end purpose of destroying Israel. In its unalloyed support for the slaughter carried out on the Sunni Syrian population of Syria's Alawite-Shia President Bashar al-Assad. In its providing weapons and support to the Shiite Houthis in Yemen in a civil conflict that is beggaring an already-poverty-stricken country. In its ongoing collaboration with the North Korean regime of Kim Jong-un's nuclear and ICBM programs.

The dramas that take place in the United Nations with the confrontations through speeches from various national leaders holding others to account, for their violations of human rights and impacts on the sovereignty rights of leaders who are guilty of persecuting their own populations do little to shame the transgressors for the fact that cliques like the non-aligned nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation remain bastions of human rights violators.

The sinister, creepy boldness with which Rouhani responded to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's address stating that despite Iranian threats against the existence of the State of Israel in its determination to destroy the Jewish state, Israel will continue to exist irrespective of the plots Iran and its hegemonic terrorist groups plan for, brought yet another mind-boggling response from this master of intrigue:
"It is reprehensible that the rogue Zionist regime that threatens regional and global security with its nuclear arsenal and is not committed to any international instrument or safeguard has the audacity to preach [to] peaceful nations."
This, of a nation embattled and threatened since its re-establishment in 1948. A nation indeed in possession of a small nuclear arsenal and which has never threatened any other nation with its destructive force, unlike the clear intentions of the Islamic Republic of Iran. Applying the word 'reprehensible' to a nation that has absorbed as citizens with equal rights, Arab Muslims, Druze, Kurds, Christians all hoping to live in peace and security, speaks volumes of a country like Iran whose agenda is regional conquest and Shiite command.

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Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Unappealing Refugee Claimant Prospects 

"To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength. #WelcomeToCanada."
"Regardless of who you are or where you come from, there's always a place for you in Canada."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Ottawa, Canada

Canada offers refugee protection to some people in Canada who fear persecution or who would be in danger if they had to leave. Some dangers they may face include:
  • torture
  • a risk to their life, or
  • a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment.
If you feel you could face one of these risks if you go back to your home country or the country where you normally live, you may be able to seek protection in Canada as a refugee.
Government of Canada

An asylum seeker claiming to be from Eritrea is confronted by an RCMP officer as he crosses the border into Canada last month in Champlain, N.Y. An asylum seeker claiming to be from Eritrea is confronted by an RCMP officer as he crosses the border into Canada last month from Champlain, N.Y. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

It was historically the United States of America that was known as the land of the brave and the free, eager to welcome the oppressed of the world to join it in building into one of the greatest modern nations on Earth, a land of opportunity and equality, where one's heritage, culture, ethnic group or religion made no difference; a great melting pot of humanity welcoming all and sundry. Until it no longer would, because everything must be accomplished in an orderly manner and no nation on this globe willingly accepts the presence of those whose culture and religion is averse to democracy and whose presence potentially represents a burden on the one hand and a potential threat on the other.

In present-day America the issue of undocumented or illegal migrants living in their millions in the country, often in a generational time-span with no official status, has caused a reaction, actually a polarized reaction for it seems that half the population (including industry) would like the presence of the undocumented 'illegals' to be 'normalized' through extending citizenship to them as long as they have no criminal record, and the other half of the population would prefer to see them deported and returned to their countries from which they fled purposing to arrive at the land of freedom and opportunity....

Canada's current government leader is a man of unreconstructed liberalism, enchanted by the kind of socialism he and his father before him felt was represented by Cuba. Typically it is wealthy families who often admire an ideology that would, if fully implemented, deprive them of their wealth for the greater good of dispersing wealth equally among all. Justin Trudeau, as first premier of the nation, like his father before him, aspires to hold onto his personal wealth and grow it, while lecturing others of his class of their obligation to surrender more of their wealth to the public weal.

And in reaction to the administration of a new American presidency which has closed ranks around those preferring to invite illegals to leave the country which has become near, dear and familiar to them, opened his heart and his country and in the process has presented himself on the world stage as the saviour of the huddled masses desperate to escape poverty, persecution and conflict, by stating his version of the U.S.'s generous offer to the oppressed: "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free". Deliberately portraying himself in such a mode as to draw to himself plaudits of admiration from the international community and the liberal-left.

The international community of potential have-seekers and economic migrants no doubt picked up their opportunity-antennae and now Canada is struggling to deal with an unprecedented strain on its immigration and refugee-accepting situation. Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada recently released statistics to show that in the first six months of this year, 27,440 claims for asylum were filed, almost a peak record high. And the expectation that a veritable flood will continue upward from those numbers is high.

Canada's Immigration Minister under Mr. Trudeau's government is himself a former refugee from Somalia, a failed African country rife with terrorism and ongoing violent upheaval. Minister Ahmed Hussen, at a meeting with immigration organizations taking place in New York City, stated that based on current trends, Canada could realize 40,000 refugee claims by year's end. That number on top of the approximately quarter-million immigrants that make application to emigrate to Canada annually from their home countries.

The official opposition in Canada is not entirely thrilled with the situation, though they too when in government approved the quarter- to third-million immigration figures annually. "Given the global forced displacement and forced migration, this is now a public policy concern. Nobody is saying that this is going to stop", said the Conservative immigration and refugee critic at that same N.Y.C. meeting. Federal and provincial governments are strained with the cost of at least $353.9 million upwards to $548.8 million it takes to process claims and provide vital services -- cost per claim ranging from $12,900 to $20,000.

Aside from those administrative costs there is the cost of deporting claimants whose applications fail; which is to say, if they can be located, to be deported. Additional costs are those related to aid given to refugee claimants; housing, food, medical attention, straining already strained social services. In August alone the RCMP intercepted 5,530 people crossing illegally from New York State into Quebec, double the number who made that trip in July. British Columbia registered a spike in refugee claimants. Most of those entering Manitoba were Somalian in origin.

As for British Columbia, settlement organizations register refugee seekers from Afghanistan, Iraq, Colombia, Mexico and Turkey, among others; dozens of countries in all. The Immigration and Refugee board warns it is ill-equipped to manage the rise in claims, since it already suffers a backlog it is struggling to deal with. Without system improvements and/or additional resources those rising claims could result in wait times up to 11 years by 2021. Which translates to extended stays in the country by claimants awaiting the disposition of their claims.

Some of those claimants simply melt into the population living underground, and others, if their claims are rejected will appeal, appeal and appeal.
asylum seekers quebec numbers chart

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Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Getting Away ... With Murder

"This question is really the only question in this case."
"Did Mohamed Sail cause Jeremy Cook's death? There sits within this question the identity of Jeremy Cook's killer."
Justice Peter Hockin

"Mohamed Sail -- in finding Jeremy Cook's cellphone, decided to shoot him dead instead of simply giving it back."
"It [the first shot] didn't kill him. It was the shot to the chest that killed him."
"[The autopsy revealed that the second bullet that hit Cook destroyed the blood vessels to the heart].
Jeremy wouldn't be able to cry out after second shot."
"[Half a kilometre away, Jeremy's sister Kayla was frantic. She dialed 911 as she chased after Jeremy and the car. When police found her, the app was still tracking her brother's phone, showing its exact location...]"
"Police recovered it [the iphone] between two houses near a downspout."
Middlesex County Deputy Crown attorney Fraser Ball
Jeremy Cook was shot and killed after using an app to track down his lost smartphone in London, Ont.
Jeremy Cook was shot and killed after using an app to track down his lost smartphone in London, Ont. (London Police Service)
Imagine you're 18, and you've left your cellphone inadvertently on the backseat of a taxi. It was never returned. Someone obviously picked it up. So Jeremy Cook of Brampton, Ontario decided to see if he could discover who had his cellphone. He enlisted the help of his older sister Kayla after the phone had been tracked. Kayla drove her brother to a McDonald's restaurant where a car at the pick-up window had been identified by an online tracking app as the current venue of the cellphone.

The siblings, brother and sister, approached the car. They were certain that once confronted, whoever had the phone would simply hand it over. Kayla entered her brother's phone's security code when Mohamed Sail 26, refused to surrender the phone. As soon as she did that, Sail's companion who was driving the Mazda, Muhab Sultan, 23, stepped on the gas. While Kayla fell backward her brother, hanging on to the car was carried along as it sped off, his feet skidding the pavement.

Arriving at another nearby parking lot, Jeremy Cook's arms still around the car's central pillar, Sultan stopped, shut the engine and seconds later two gunshots rang out and someone was heard to shout, "drive, drive". Muhab Sultan, as it happened was known to police, with a long criminal record. And one of the men in that Mazda had a .40-calibre, semi-automatic handgun, prohibited in Canada. Jeremy Cook bled to death where he fell.
Mohamed Sail
Mohamed Sail, 23, leaves the London, Ont., courthouse following Monday's not-guilty verdict. When asked for his response to the verdict he said: 'I would like to thank God.' (Colin Butler/CBC)
Two weeks later, police were still searching for the men. The Mazda had crashed soon after the shooting. And Sultan went into hiding in Ottawa. Two weeks following the killing of Jeremy Cook, Muhab Sultan was pursued by police as he drove toward the Rideau River. He left the car he was driving and dove into the river, and there he drowned. Leaving Mohamed Sail as the remaining suspect.

Mohamed Sail walked from where the crashed Mazda was left right after Jeremy Cook had been shot to death, and he was seen by witnesses. He turned himself in to police after a warrant for his arrest was issued in London, Ontario. And for the past two years he has been in custody. In a London courthouse his 11-day trial on a charge of second-degree murder of Jeremy Cook took place. His defence lawyer argued that Muhab Sultan was the shooter.

Yet Mohamed Sail was heard in a police phone intercept a few months earlier while living in Calgary with his mother, attempting to buy a "Glock 40" -- a .40-caibre handgun. And Crown attorney Ball argued at trial that the physical evidence painted with certainty a scenario where Sail held the gun and killed Jeremy Cook. The bullets originated from the passenger side of the car.

The casings, he explained would have expended to the right, while a man that witnesses said resembled Sultan was outside the car and was seen to have no gun in his possession. Sail was not heard from at his trial, his defence team relying on portraying Sultan as the shooter, not their client. "He was the shooter and he was running for his life", attempting to avoid police in the car chase that ended when he leaped into the river and drowned.

The jury at Mohamed Sail's trial deliberated for two hours. In the final analysis the jury comprised of six men and six women felt that there was insufficient evidence to incriminate Sail, and found him not guilty, to the incredulity of Jeremy Cook's family. As Mohamed Sail walked out of the courtroom, found innocent of the charge of murder and free to go in the company of his mother, she proclaimed "Justice has been made", while her son was preoccupied, speaking on his cellphone.

Supporters of Jeremy Cook's family gather on the steps of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Monday where the second-degree murder trial of Mohamed Sail is taking place.
Supporters of Jeremy Cook's family gather on the steps of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice Monday where the second-degree murder trial of Mohamed Sail is taking place. (Colin Butler/CBC News)

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Monday, September 18, 2017

Long Live Kurdistan

"How much progress have we really made if Iraq is so riven by internal divisions that new civil wars erupt -- between Sunni and Shia, between the Kurds and the central government, with ISIL, or its successors taking advantage of the various schisms and weakness of Baghdad at every turn?"
Peggy Mason, former disarmament ambassador, Canada; president, Rideau Institute, Ottawa

"I don't think they're [government of Iraq] going to say, 'Sure, take the oilfields and Kirkuk and go your way."
"It's not going to go peacefully."
General Raymond Thomas, head, US. Special Forces Command 
Marches in support of the vote took place in Irbil, 13 September 2017
Marches in support of the vote took place in Irbil last week   EPA

Kurdistan, the semi-autonomous and historical region where Kurds in their tens of millions have always lived had been bypassed by colonialist powers in apportioning territorial limits and borders to satisfy the demands of Arab Muslims, the majority population in the Middle East. The result has been that in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey, the Kurds have been denied statehood, denied recognition of their heritage indigenous status, denied equality and been subject to gross instances of human rights infringements by the majority ethnic groups among whom they live.

In the modern era where Arab states with their defined borders erratically declared official by foreign interlopers whose 19th Century imperialist arrogance saw fit to install, prejudice and discrimination against minorities of ethnic, tribal, and religious groupings have run rife. Kurds, on the other hand, appeared to have few problems accepting others as equals deserving of equal treatment and security. More latterly they have proven themselves on the battlefield when their militias were the only groups capable of confronting the atrocity-laden excesses of Muslim Arab jihadists.

In the regional and international interests of combating the most recent of Islamofascist ideological campaigns for conquest and the installation of a caliphate, the Arab militaries of Iraq and Syria have failed spectacularly to defend their own territories, allowing them to fall to the Islamic State predators. Without the intervention of the West and later Russia, despite support from a hegemony-consolidation-seeking Iran and its proxy militia Hezbollah, it has only been the Kurdish peshmerga that could be relied upon to beat back the incursion of the Islamic State.

NATO-member countries have dispatched their military trainers to give support and training to Iraqi and Kurdish militias. Canada has spent its years of training with the Kurdish fighters. The Kurds have fought courageously for their homeland, their territory, the geographic area that they claim as their own and for which their aspirations to achieve statehood have been focused on. A referendum is on the near horizon where Kurds will vote formally in a democratic initiative for a declaration of independence.

This initiative has alarmed NATO-member Turkey which has fought an 'insurgency' launched by Kurds living in Turkey in their ancestral lands which Turkey continues to claim as its own. Neither Syria, nor Iraq is complacent about the potential for signing over part of their territory to its rightful owners, much less Iran. When Iraq had fallen apart after the removal of Saddam Hussein and the U.S.-led coalition was attempting to guide the country into an equal coalition of Sunni, Shia and Kurd in governing the country, it too failed.

The Kurdish region was the only part of Iraq that was capable of functioning with any degree of progress and normalcy, offering security to its people, and giving shelter to minority groups at deadly risk during the conflicts that erupted between Islamist terrorists, Shiite militias and Sunni minorities, and the threats to Christians and Yazidis and other minority groups were answered by Kurdish shelter, the assurances that living among the Kurds they would be safe.

In the years of turmoil brought on by the rise of ISIL, the Kurds managed to claim areas of Iraq that have been historically theirs through thousands of years of habitation before national borders were drawn. They have also claimed 40 percent of the geography's oil resources, along with Kirkuk; they are, after all, the majority population in those areas. Canada has been providing military training and equipment to Kurdish troops in northern Iraq for the past three years pursuing the common goal of ousting ISIL.

Now Canada sees itself in a quandary; not a new one, since the prospect of an independent Kurdistan was always recognized as a future problem. But the Canadian commandos who proudly wore Kurdish flags on their uniforms have been instructed to remove them, after the U.S. issued its decree to its troops that American special forces remove their Kurdish insignia from U.S. military uniforms, bowing to Turkey's complaints of the closeness to Kurds whom Recep Tayyip Erdogan considers "terrorists".

Middle East map showing Kurdish areas

What the U.S. and Canadian governments see in the near future is a crisis unfolding, with Kurdish patience at an end and their determination to finally rule their own roost paramount for their future, resulting in the potential for civil war after the September 25 referendum results. The U.S. has denied support to the Kurds at this critical time in the evolution of their declaration of independent sovereignty, and Canada appears on the cusp of responding in the very same way; separating themselves from the very group they have most relied on to complete their mission of destroying the power of Islamic State.

Insisting at this point, when Islamic State has been virtually vanquished as far as its territorial ambition is concerned, that unity is required to ensure that the fight succeeds, no longer seems quite valid. Kurdish independence is answering the question that Kurds are asking themselves: "If not now, when?", for 'when' is always far off on the horizon, and Kurds have finally decided to draw it in.

Ironically, it is Israel and Israel alone, at this juncture that is finally giving moral support and recognition of timeliness to Kurdish independence. One semi-outcast struggling for survival supporting another. The enemies of Israel -- Iran, Syria and Turkey -- are all now left with the concern that their turn too will soon arrive when they will be forced to surrender Kurdish ancestral land to the people who claim it as their own.

Their denials reflect the very same rejection that Israel has always faced; a people returning to its roots.

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Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Kim Playbill

"From previous launches and the altitude and ranges of those missiles, it has been assumed that Guam is within range of the North's missiles, but this latest test is proof."
Garren Mulloy, defence expert, associate professor international relations, Daito Bunka University, Japan

"[Of a certainty all 15 United Nations Security Council members] will be condemning this outrageous act."
"It is, of course, a grave threat to our own security but ... it is a real threat to the peace and security of the world as a whole."
UN Ambassador Koro Bessho, Japan
"[The ] combat efficiency and reliability [of the Friday missile launch, demonstrated amply that the tests prove North Korea is increasing its military strength]."
"Our final goal is to establish the equilibrium of real force with the U.S. and make the U.S. rulers dare not talk about military option for the DPRK [Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea]."
North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un 
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un watches a Hwasong 12 missile being fired in Pyongyang in this photograph released September 16 by North Korea's KCNA news agency. KCNA
Kim Jong Un appears to be having one whale of a time. Defying the bombast emanating from U.S. President Donald Trump in reaction to the North Korean leader's own belligerent bombast; two leaders of two nations, one with a large and advanced nuclear arsenal, the other a come-lately barging into the Nuclear Club, making incredible headway leaving political critics, western nuclear scientists and intelligence agencies agape at the swift progress and success realized by the North Korean push toward nuclear ascendancy; anything good enough for the U.S. is fine for North Korea.

The latest launch of an intermediate-range weapon that saw an early Friday launch from Sunan hard by Pyongyang's international airport sped its way over Japan to finally land in the northern Pacific Ocean. As a conveyor of audacious hostility to the condemnation raining on Kim's parade and the biting economic and political sanctions meant to convince Kim to pull back, past history with this regime amply presages that there is no threat dark enough, no bribe useful enough and no concerns of peace and security capable of prompting a turn-about for North Korea.

This was the furthest yet that Pyongyang has been able to propel one of its projectiles. Should Kim decide to proceed with his threat to the United States that Guam may be next on its agenda, what then? There is little doubt that this question is uppermost on the minds of those living on Guam, just as it must consume the frenetic attention of Japanese on Hokkaido. Japan's northernmost island has now been the recipient of its second overflight.

The "fire and fury" threatened by President Rump last month should the North dare to continue its blatant provocations to prod the powerful United States military into a response that could unleash not only a disaster for South Korea in the North's immediate response, but threaten a far larger conflagration that could consume the region entirely and thus set off sparks for a Third World War even while China and Russia are cautioning for cooler heads to prevail certainly focuses the mind.
Image result for photos, kim friday launch
Kim Jong Un oversaw launch of Hwasong-12 on Friday: KCNA

That was some impressive flight; 3,700 kilometres in distance and as it happens somewhat greater than the distance it would take from Pyongyang to the American territory of oh-so-vulnerable Guam. This test of an ICBM understudy, aligned with the powerful utility of a nuclear device similar to the sixth one that shocked the world a few weeks back provides more than ample warning of the tentative nature of security in east Asia.

The sanctions banning well over 90 percent of the North's exports are, it would seem, mere yet distracting irritants to Kim, failing to deter him from his self-aggrandizing mission of terrorizing the international community into placating his ambitions and accepting the presence of a nuclear-armed and 'respected' North Korea forever verging on the edge of jittery psychological insecurity, requiring constant assurances that it has indeed become a world power.

"[All countries and in particular China must] demonstrate that they are doing everything in their power to implement the sanctions of the Security Council and to encourage the North Korean regime to change course", fulminated Britain's UN Ambassador Matthew Rycroft. As though 'all countries' doing just that is all that it will take to persuade this juvenile paranoid megalomaniac to feel chastened and apologize for his rash and unacceptable behaviour, eager to take his place in the church choir.
The long-range strategic ballistic rocket Hwasong-12 (Mars-12) is launched during a test in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on May 15, 2017. KCNA via REUTERS

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Saturday, September 16, 2017

Small Mercies 

 PHOTO: Forensic officers work at the Parsons Green Underground Station after an explosion in London Sept. 15, 2017.

Forensic officers work at the Parsons Green Underground Station after an explosion in London Sept. 15, 2017. AP

"In terms of scale this is bigger than the devices used in 7/7, so had it gone off successfully, it would have caused huge loss of life."
"Whoever built this [improvised explosive device] was not an amateur -- it has many of the hallmarks of devices used by terror groups, but the use of the timer to set off the initial part of the device is something we have not seen before in the U.K."
David Videcette, former police counter-terrorism officer

"I ended up squashed on the staircase. People were falling over, people fainting, crying."
"There were little kids clinging onto the back of me."
Ryan Barnett, London commuter

"I heard a large bang from the doors on the other side of the Tube train and this fireball came towards my head and singed off all my hair."
"It was a really hot, intense fireball above my head. I've just got red marks and burns to the top of my head. There were a lot of people a lot worse than me."
Peter Crowley, London commuter

"It was hot and just came towards you, this flaming orange coming towards you. It smelt like burning."
"We ran and hid behind cement boxes on the tracks and were the last people to get off the platform."
"My first thought was: 'This is a terrorist attack, I'm going to die'."
Lauren Hubbard, London commuter

The white bucket that is said to have blown up on the Parsons Green carriage

The improvised explosive device in a white bucket blew up on the final carriage of the Parsons Green train Credit: Pricey1983aa/Twitter
It was a terrorist attack, and she didn't die. Nor did any of the 20-some-odd people who sustained injuries as a result of the premature explosion that failed to go off as intended. It was obviously intended to cause greater carnage than the July 2005 attacks killing 56 people and injuring close to 800 others in the London transit system, both on the trains and on buses. The IED, however, appeared to the experts who examined it, to resemble the devices that were used back then.

The device was photographed by passengers who made their photos available to the news media. A string of LED lights used for Christmas decoration ironically enough was used by the designer of the IED; and just such a set of lights was also found in the bomb-making possession of a young Montreal couple now on trial for possession of vastly incriminating evidence that they were working for Islamic State.

In theory the bomber might have considered setting the lights to flash on a delay to allow himself the opportunity to escape prior to detonation. However the detonator, usually constructed of volatile or inflammable materials appears to have spontaneously burst into flames; since a massive detonation was thus avoided, the device, packed with shrapnel, did not explode as planned, saving the lives of countless people, a handful of whom sustained surface burn wounds.

The bomb had been packed with metal nuts, bolts and nails for maximum devastation on explosion and seemed similar to one used by Salman Abedi in his attack on the Manchester Arena where 22 people were killed, earlier this year. In the aftermath of yesterday morning's rush-hour attack the Joint Terrorism Assessment Centre recommended that the terror threat in London be raised to its highest level of Critical.

A massive search by police succeeded in arresting an 18-year-old man as the perpetrator, although as news coverage continues and investigative reporters begin to release details more, much more will be revealed including whether this man was capable of constructing the bomb. In fact, a bomb-making facility has been discovered and when those associated with it are identified the scale and scope of the problem facing London may surprise many who deliberately turn their faces away from reality.
"We have made a significant arrest in our investigation this morning. Although we are pleased with the progress made, this investigation continues and the threat level remains at critical."
"The public should remain vigilant. This arrest will lead to more activity from our officers."
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Neil Basu, Metropolitan Police, London

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Friday, September 15, 2017

Terrorism By Remote Calls

Video: ‘Telephone terrorism’: 130k evacuated across Russia in epidemic of hoax warnings

"That's why the law enforcement hasn't been able to catch anyone so far [calls made over the Internet]."
"[The calls likely emanate from a criminal organization because of the advance warning]."
Gennady Gudkov, security expert, former parliamentarian, Moscow

"Undoubtedly, it is telephone terrorism, telephone hooliganism."
"The relevant authorities are taking all the necessary measures in order to identify those responsible for this series of calls. We are waiting for the results of this work."
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov
moscow evacuate bomb threat
Moscow bomb threat: Thousands of people have been evacuated as police investigate    Twitter

Some work it has been, too -- at least in volume, in the number of sites affected, the number of people evacuated, the concern and fear it has engendered -- and the purpose for it all eludes investigators. If it is the work of terrorists then why call and inform authorities that a bomb has been planted and is set to go off. On the other hand, terror exists because of the unknown quality of the threat, as well. Warn authorities and they must then react. By reacting, fear is the contamination that runs amok within society, and the goal of the terrorists to incite fear and terror has been achieved. And all it took was a telephone call; little effort for a large response.

And it is a costly response. Trust in the state to reliably  ensure the security and safety of the population begins to erode. Closing down business slows commerce and it has its price.  Over 150,000 people were evacuated as a result of hundreds of bomb threats achieved through anonymous telephone calls made against major public buildings. Schools, hospitals, hotels, shopping malls, airports, railway stations and universities have all been targeted by bomb threats since Monday in some thirty Russian cities.

In Moscow and St. Petersburg alone dozens of buildings had to be evacuated on Wednesday. Thorough searches disclosed nothing of alarm to be discovered. Not even the merest sign of explosive devices to be uncovered anywhere in the search areas. Russian security services busy investigating the calls are mum. The Russian media offer their own theories relating to what or who could be directing the calls, resulting from anonymous tips from among sources within law enforcement.

The RIA Novosti news agency theorized that the calls have been emanating from Ukraine. And as well, that information was in the hands of security services identifying that those behind the telephone attacks have connections to the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant; their identities soon to be released and placed on international wanted lists. "The source" had been tracked down, went the rumours, and had been identified by Russia's Federal Security Service.

From Kaliningrad in the west to Vladivostok in the far east of that vast Russian territory, hundreds of facilities have been disrupted. One mall administrator in Bryansk informed the newspaper Kommersant that her cellphone had displayed a number with a +88 designation, the Bangladeshi country code, though the caller had spoken Russian, telling her to "leave the building" since "there is a bomb inside".

A security guard blocks the entrance to the State Department Store, GUM, due to the bomb threat    Reuters

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