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, July 31, 2014

Global Religious Persecution

"It's tragic because it's the largest Christian city in Iraq; it was what you call the nucleus of Christian presence for many centuries."
"And we have at least 25 churches in that city. All are abandoned. No more prayers, no services, no more Masses on Sundays in Mosul because no clergy, no people there that are Christian."
Syriac Christian patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan
A handout picture made available by the official government Syrian Arab News Agency in May shows Syriac Catholic Patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan walking with a Christian and Muslim delegation during a visit to the old city of Homs, Syria. A prominent Syrian Christian political leader has warned of an impending assault on Syria's northeastern province of Hassake amid reports that thousands of Islamist fighters are preparing to take control of the predominantly Christian and Kurdish area. (CNS photo/EPA)
Syriac Christian patriarch Ignace Joseph III Younan walking with a Christian and Muslim delegation during a visit to the old city of Homs, Syria  - CNS photo/EPA
"It seems like we're living in a world where there are all these perfect storms of religious persecution. There's definitely been an increase in religious persecution in the world."
"What we're witnessing in the Middle East right now is the wiping out of close to two thousand years of Christianity, and sometimes it feels like it's not politically correct to talk about Christian persecution."
"That has to end."
Andrew Bennett, Canadian ambassador for religious freedom
In Pakistan last week a mob rampaged in a ghetto of the minority Ahmadi Muslim sect in Gujranwala City. A rumour had circulated that the Ahmadis had blasphemed against Islam. In Pakistan, Ahmadi Muslims are viewed as apostates. It is considered criminal for them to call themselves Muslim, for uttering the traditional Salaam Aleikum greeting, for preaching their version of Islam; and they may not call their places of worship mosques.

When the Pakistani mob ran through the ghetto they looted homes and shops and set fire to them. During the pogrom a 55 year old woman and her two young granddaughters were burned to death. A Canadian Ahmadi doctor who had temporarily returned to his hometown in Pakistan last year to try to help his co-religionists was killed. In the past few decades some 700 Pakistanis were charged with blasphemy. Fifty of them were slaughtered before they even appeared in court.

In Cameroon, also last week, Boko Haram Islamists looted and burned a town. They murdered a few people, then withdrew back across the border into Nigeria taking with them a number of hostages, including the wife of Cameroon's deputy prime minister, a local mayor and five members of his family. This is the infamous group, of course, that has kidnapped hundreds of Nigerian schoolgirls and maintains them in captivity, as 'wives' for the terrorists.

In China the government has begun a clampdown on the 60 million Chinese Christians. Demolition orders have been issued for about one hundred churches. Congregations have been instructed to remove crosses from other church buildings. The government is clamping down on its Muslim Uyghurs, whose unrest related to their perceived persecution has led to sporadic attacks against ethnic Han Chinese. China also is known for its persecution of Tibetans and Falun Gong practitioners.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported on Monday that close to 2,500 Syrian were killed during the month of Ramadan, increasing the over 170,000 Syrians who have died during the three-year-old civil war, mostly as a result of the regime waging a war against its own people; the Shiite offshoot Baathist Alawite regime slaughtering its Sunni-majority population. And causing almost half its population to be displaced as internal and external refugees.

In Iraq, the Syrian-Iraqi hybrid al-Qaeda inspired-and-rejected Islamist caliphate of the Islamic State fanatics continue their terrorist campaign of firing squads, beheadings, and crucifixions, which succeeded in impressing the Iraqi army to such a degree that the military fled, leaving the field, Mosul banks and their military base weapons in the hands of the jihadists. Who have now also cleared the ancient Christian population out of Mosul.

Mobs in Europe, reacting to Israel's defensive assault on Hamas in Gaza have seen fit to attack synagogues in Paris. Rioters in Sarcelles scream "Death to the Jews". Nearly one third of Europe's Jews no longer feel safe living there, and as a result are considering relocating, leaving their ancient homes where an increasing number of immigrant Muslims have made life unsafe for a Jewish presence.

Newsweek has published a cover story of the plight of Europe's Jews suffering under a new wave of anti-Semitism; the headline: "Exodus: Why Europe's Jews are fleeing once again." The key finding of this week's released global study of trends in religious persecution published by the U.S. Secretary of State was: "In 2013, the world witnessed the largest displacement of religious communities in recent memory."

A January report by the Pew Research Center concluded that Christians and Muslim minorities are equally victimized, and these blatant incidents of repression, oppression and attacks take place in Muslim majority countries. Canada established the Office of Religious Freedom a year ago. Now six additional countries have undertaken like enterprises; joining the U.S., France and Britain in identifying religious freedom as a priority in their foreign policy.

Canada has taken in 20,000 refugees in recent years, responding to the Iraqi Christian emergency. Iran, China and Saudi Arabia are viewed as religiously rigidly incorrigible, impervious to opening their societies to embrace the rights of other religions and people who embrace those other faiths

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Making Tunnels Not Peace

"It's horrifying to know so many Palestinians are being killed but there is also a terrible misunderstanding."
"When Hamas attacks through tunnels or rockets, we have no choice but to fight back hard."
Omri Yadlin, president, Sapir College, Sderot, Israel

"The occupation's claim that it found tunnels and seized  it by showing pictures is a complete lie. All the occupation found were underground corridors dug into a training facility that belongs to our group near the border."
Ezzedeen Al-Qassam Brigades spokesman, Gaza
IDF soldier in Gaza tunnel, July 25, 2014
An Israeli army officer gives journalists a tour, Friday, July 25, 2014, of a tunnel allegedly used by Palestinian militants for cross-border attacks, at the Israel-Gaza Border. Photo by AP
"It takes us a little bit to our childhood fairy tales of demons."
"It's a very pastoral environment I live in, the quiet, the green grass, the trees. It's not a pleasant thought that you sit one day on the patio drinking coffee with your wife and a bunch of terrorists will rise from the ground."
Eyal Brandeis, 50, political scientist, Kibbutz Sufa
A kilometre away from Kibbutz Sufa, thirteen Hamas terrorists emerged from a tunnel on July 17 at dawn.  Dana Bar-On, who works as a counsellor for epileptic youths, and who lives in a one-room cabin near her Nir Am kibbutz, can point to the meadow where she remembers family picnics: "That's where they came through the tunnel", she said of the July 21 incursion where 11 Israeli soldiers were surprised and killed by terrorists.

"It's kind of surreal how beautiful and normal this place is, considering our location", she mused. "I've never felt so personally threatened and scared", the 27-year-old said. "They're just digging their way up into our homes and they want to kill us." And that's the talk in cafes and playgrounds, on social media and in the privacy of hushed talk at home; nightmare scenarios of armed enemies popping up close to a day-care centre.

Terrorists spraying a crowd of people with a machine gun, or exploding a suicide belt, or grabbing captives and hauling them back into the dirt of the tunnel never to be seen again. This isn't feverish imaginations gone wild. This is a community of people that have lived for years under a steady rain of rocket attacks. Alternately, a community in large urban centres that experienced the horrors of suicide-bombers on buses, in dining halls and restaurants, shopping centres and wherever people in their innocence gather.

That was before the erection of the wall so deplored by the international community. And now that Israel is defending itself once again by the ongoing onslaught of rockets and emerging terrorists from tunnels leading from Gaza into Israel, the world is also appalled that the Jewish state is seriously attempting to eradicate the rockets and the tunnels, in an effort to make life more secure for its population.

Leading 95% of the Jewish population of Israel to express their full support of Operation Protective Edge, feeling it justified and where fewer than 4% expressed an opinion that the military was using excessive force, the results of three surveys undertaken by the Israel Democracy Institute and Tel Aviv University in July.

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Beneath the Veneer of Outrage

"We were supposed to be safe there. Instead, I saw people torn apart, martyred before my eyes. It was a scene from hell."
Dalal al Adhab, Palestinian, Gaza City

"Obviously no one likes to see the suffering and loss of life that has occurred. That said, we hold the terrorist organization Hamas responsible for this. They have initiated and continue this conflict and continue to seek the destruction of the state of Israel."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada

"Last night, children were killed as they slept next to their parents. Children killed in their sleep -- this is an affront to all of us, a source of universal shame. Today the world stands disgraced."
Pierre Krahenbuhl, commissioner-general, UN agency for Palestinian refugees
A Palestinian man, wrapped in his national flag, inspects the rubble of destroyed buildings and houses in the Shejaiya residential district of Gaza City, on July 28, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/MAHMUD HAMS)
A Palestinian man, wrapped in his national flag, inspects the rubble of destroyed buildings and houses in the Shejaiya residential district of Gaza City, on July 28, 2014. (photo credit: AFP/MAHMUD HAMS)

Over 100,000 civilians are being sheltered at UN schools across Gaza after they were urged by the IDF to evacuate their homes, situated in areas the Israeli military was scouring for tunnels, for stores of rockets and other munitions cached by Hamas in schools, mosques, community centres, apartment blocks. Under orders from the Israeli military half the territory of Gaza is now under evacuation.

With its notification by leaflets, cellphone messages and other devices, Israel's is the sole military in the world that has ever attempted to defray the loss of civilian life by forewarning civilians of their imminent danger and the need to remove themselves from the target field of combat. And Hamas has distinguished itself by being the Islamist terror group that conspires to produce just such high casualty rates as are occurring through its deliberate placement of launchers and weapons in dense civilian areas.

It is not the sole terrorist group of jihadists or Muslim national military to place their own citizens and co-religionists directly in harm's way, with the intention of slaughtering them en masse to solve the irritating problem of their dissatisfaction with the state of their fortunes under the influence and command of their political masters, however. The world sits mute while Syria's President al-Assad slaughters Syrian Sunnis in their tens of thousands, and raises an outraged protest when Israel defends itself.

To defend itself from the ongoing attacks mounted by the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, Israel has been forced over the years to enact a blockade to halt the movement of jihadists, weapons and building materials diverted to lining tunnels in the terror war against the Jewish state. It has been forced by murderous suicide bombers to erect a restraining wall. It has been repeatedly forced to enter the hostile environs of a bordering geography to quell incessant rocket attacks against Israeli border communities.

And it has been forced to protect its citizens and its right to exist as a Jewish state, by once again acting out the oppressive aggressor choreographed by Hamas for world attention in the deaths of Palestinian civilians desperately living in conditions that the Islamist terrorists have forced upon them lest they forget their mandated refugee status and harbour stray desires to escape the martyrdom that Hamas has planned for them in the larger interests of international sympathy to their mutual cause.

Moshe Yaalon, Israel's defence minister has vowed, on behalf of his country that the offensive will continue at "full throttle", that Israeli forces were prepared to "deepen our presence into areas we haven't yet entered". If no place in the Gaza Strip, that overcrowded enclave that Hamas has made a virtual prison for Palestinians living there is exempt from Israeli forces' incursion attempting to neutralize jihadis' entry into Israel and rockets firing over its citizens it is because there is little other choice.

It is because Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been so busy focusing on building an immense network of tunnels, of acquiring and storing munitions and rockets, and expending vast sums of international funding to enable all of this, rather than concentrating on building a viable state infrastructure and using the funds and materials to benefit Palestinians' lifestyles and future that there is no place left that hasn't been used for war, not peace.

Gaza City itself is entirely undercut by a vast maze of underground tunnels. Tunnels which in some instances have been devised as a town centre, a command centre, a haven for Hamas members when Israel has been provoked to defend itself, and which lie under hospitals, mosques, schools and neighbourhoods where Gazans live to the best of their ability, hating Israel for making their lives a living misery while expressing gratitude to Hamas for defying their oppressor.

UNRWA, a special creation of the United Nations meant to give succor and support to the suffering Palestinians who have been encouraged to remain refugees awaiting the opportunity to flood back into a geography they remain convinced was wrenched from their possession, has maintained this festering sore of delusion.

Tediously, doggedly, the IDF counters the claims of those whose first instinct is to blame Israel for atrocities. "A short while ago, terrorists in Gaza fired rockets at Israel. One of them hit Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza. The other hit Al-Shati refugee camp", reported the IDF. Attempting to correct the initial AFP report that seven children were killed when an Israeli missile slammed the playground, citing a Palestinian doctor at the city's main hospital.

Was there ever a war conducted anywhere in the world where civilians, women and children did not die in numbers greater than the combatants waging that war?

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Necessity, the Mother of Invention

"There will be no war in the future for it has become impossible, now that it is clear that war means suicide."
Jean de Bloch, Polish financier, banker, Jew, pacifist, 1900

Elbit Systems Ltd., one of Israel's top defence contractors, has devised and perfected  a system whose purpose is meant to "defeat modern, man-portable infrared missiles". At no time in human history is such a defensive device more required than now, when terrorists and those fomenting violent rebellion are now in possession of high-tech gear like shoulder-mounted or man-portable' missiles capable of inflicting huge damage on targets, including shooting aircraft out of the sky.

This simulation shows a laser fired from under the aircraft intercepts an incoming missile (Screenshot: YouTube)
This simulation shows a laser fired from under the aircraft intercepting an incoming missile. (Image source: YouTube)

Following last week's suspension of flights into Tel Aviv in the wake of an attempted hit by a rocket attack on incoming or outgoing flights by the terror group Hamas, the need for such a defence system to safeguard international flight and with it interoperability of airlines and business contacts on a global scale is paramount. Ben Gurion International Airport, just as much as the skies over eastern Ukraine must be capable of operating civilian aircraft with safety.

Three commercial Israeli carriers -- El Al Israel Airlines, Arkia Israeli Airlines and Israir Airlines are all committed to the installation of an Elbit system called C-Music. The system is represented by a pod bolted to the undercarriage of the aircraft which has been engineered to detect incoming missiles by means of a thermal camera. The installed C-Music system fires a laser to deflect the missile off its trajectory, leading it to explode a safe distance from its target.

Elbit's C-Music anti-missile system installed on the underbelly of a passenger plane (Photo: Defense Ministry/Elbit Systems)
Elbit’s C-Music anti-missile system installed on the underbelly of a passenger plane. (Photo: Defense Ministry/Elbit Systems)

The Israeli defence ministry describes this new defence system as "the most advanced system of its kind in the world", whose capability "will provide ultimate defence to planes." If any country has been continually challenged and embattled by its neighbours, and that would include the most hostile of Islamist-terrorist neighbours dedicated to their vision of destroying the country, Israel presents as an unfortunate anomaly among nations.

Its celebrated Iron Dome system, a purely defensive system meant to halt and harmlessly explode in the median atmosphere the advanced rocketry capable of reaching deep into Israeli territory, a signal case in point. And to this point in world affairs no other country save Israel has need -- yet -- of such a defensive system. C-Music has a wider application that should appeal internationally and is designed for use with both fixed-wing and rotor aircraft.

Since its advanced design and production has come on line, Israel's transportation ministry has committed to having the devices installed on all the country's airliners. Admittedly, missiles shot by a radar-guided system mounted on an armoured vehicles would be beyond its capacity. But increasingly, it is shoulder-fired weapons, now in the hands of any number of terrorist groups that have been proliferating, not heavier weapons used by national armies.

Photo: Israeli Defense Ministry and Elbit Systems.
Photo: Israeli Defense Ministry and Elbit Systems

In 2002, terrorists fired shoulder-launched missiles at an Israeli Arkia Airlines passenger jet taking off from Mombasa, Kenya. The two missiles missed their intended target, but the incident stimulated the Israeli political/military establishment toward the development of a reliable defence. Thus far, Israel stands alone in its mandating of the technology for its domestic fleet and its military aircraft.

But then, Israel is unique in facing an incessant barrage of rockets meant to destabilize its economy, inflict infrastructure damage, and wound and kill its citizens. Not only within Israel, but globally.  Through the kindly auspices of a geographically close and brutally averse neighbour. The aviation industry is skeptical, looking at devilish details, with concerns about pilot training and the additional high operating costs which the U.S. government estimated would be around $43 billion, to outfit their own aircraft.

The Canadian military, however, is in the market for an air defence system for its VIP aircraft, including one used by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to defend against surface-to-air missiles. As a friend of Israel going well beyond the usual platitudes of support, to shout it from the rooftops as it were, caution is the better part of valour in some instances, such as protecting government from the potential of vengeance-seeking ill-wishers.

For Canada, according to the military defence acquisition guide, C-Music's intended installation will be for the time being limited to the air force's C-144 Challengers, the existing fleet of C-150 Polaris aircraft, including the prime minister's airbus. Canadian military transports like the huge C-17s and C130 Hercules used to fly into unstable regions are equipped with counter-measure devices.

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July 30, 2014 
Algemeiner Editor Dovid Efune on Real News TV. Photo: Screenshot.

As many as 25 percent of Hamas rocket attacks against Israel in the current Israel-Hamas war don’t make it out of Gaza and strike civilians inside the coastal enclave, Algemeiner Editor Dovid Efune asserted in an interview on Real News TV on Friday.

Asked about an explosion at a UN school on Thursday, which killed at least 15, according to Gazan reports, Efune pointed to the IDF’s claim that the source of the munition may have been Hamas.
Efune said, “This is really a watershed moment, which brings up a fundamental issue which is never discussed in the mainstream media and that is this: you have hundreds and thousands of rockets that are being shot out of Gaza. In our estimations, at least 25 percent of those rockets do not make it into Israel and fall short into Gaza.”

“You have the IDF saying the other day that they had at least 100, they showed a map of rockets that fell inside of Gaza. And remember, in Gaza there are no air raid sirens. All of the bunkers are used absolutely by the Hamas terrorists, where they don’t allow civilians to go inside. There’s no warning and they cause tremendous damage. On the ground though, you have the Hamas guys… and the UN who… back them up and they come in and blame everything on Israel. Everything, all the damage.”
Asked about what steps Israel is likely to take next in its Gaza offensive, Efune said that the Israeli people are calling for the threat of Hamas rockets and terror tunnels to be eliminated.

“In terms of whats gonna happen in Gaza and how far Israel can go, there’s no doubt that the Israeli public is not willing to live with this anymore,” he said. “Its become kind of a biennial event where their lives are in disarray. And you’re dealing with a responsible democratic country with [an] elected government and they have to, they have to, do what they can to protect the citizens. They do not have any choice in this matter. Having said that, there’s a lot of international pressure led by Secretary of State Kerry for Israel to pull back.”

On the role of the United Nations in the conflict Efune said: “The UN is a very unfortunate disaster. Complete, complete disaster. You have a situation there where the worst human rights violators in the world are running the show at the Human Rights Council. So, you basically have murderers who are judging themselves. It’s ridiculous. It’s preposterous. But the biggest problem is that the UN is really protecting the biggest human rights offenders. It’s clear that Hamas is using human shields; it’s clear that Hamas, which is a terrorist organization, a theocratic government, is holding its population hostage. Those are the violations that the UN has to be focused on and they’re letting Hamas off scot-free, completely.”

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The images missing from the Gaza war By Uriel HeilmanJuly 31, 2014

The images missing from the Gaza war

These weapons were found in a Hamas-built tunnel under the Israel-Gaza border, July 24, 2014. (Israel Defense Forces)
These weapons were found in a Hamas-built tunnel under the Israel-Gaza border, July 24, 2014. (Israel Defense Forces)

JTA -- The Global Jewish News Source
There’s no shortage of images from the Gaza conflict.
We’ve seen rubble, dead Palestinian children, Israelis cowering during rocket attacks, Israeli military maneuvers and IDF footage of Hamas militants emerging from tunnels to attack Israeli soldiers.
What we haven’t seen are practically any images of Hamas fighters inside Gaza.

We know they’re there: Someone’s got to be launching those rockets into Israel (more than 2,800) and firing at invading Israeli troops. But so far the only images we’ve seen (or even heard about) are the Israel Defense Forces’ videos of Hamas fighters using hospitals, ambulances, mosques and schools (and tunnels) to launch attacks against Israeli targets or ferry arms around Gaza.
Why haven’t we seen journalists’ photographs of Hamas fighters inside Gaza?

We know Hamas doesn’t want the world to see images of Palestinian fighters launching rockets or using civilian havens like hospitals as bases of operation. But if we’re able to see images from both sides of practically every other war — in Syria, in Ukraine, in Iraq — why is Gaza an exception?

If journalists are being threatened and intimidated when they try to document Hamas activity in Gaza, their news outlets should be out front saying so. They’re not.

On Tuesday, The New York Times published an account by photographer Sergey Ponomarev on what his days are like in Gaza. Here’s what Ponomarev said:
It was a war routine. You leave early in the morning to see the houses destroyed the night before. Then you go to funerals, then to the hospital because more injured people arrive, and in the evening you go back to see more destroyed houses.
It was the same thing every day, just switching between Rafah and Khan Younis.
Are there attempts to document Hamas activity?
If you’re wondering whether the Times has assigned another photographer to cover this aspect of the story, so am I: The Times hasn’t been running photos of Hamas fighters in Gaza — period. Looking through the Times’ most recent three slideshows on the conflict (here, here and here), encompassing 37 images, there’s not a single one of a Hamas fighter.

In an L.A. Times slideshow of more than 75 photographs from the conflict, there’s not a single image of a Hamas fighter either, according to the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America.

For many viewers, the narrative of this war must appear quite straightforward: Powerful Israel is bombarding defenseless Palestinians. That’s understandable when there are hardly any photographs of Palestinian aggressors.

In a July 15 Washington Post story by William Booth, Hamas’ use of Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City as an operating base is mentioned — but only in half a sentence in the story’s eighth paragraph.
The minister was turned away before he reached the hospital, which has become a de facto headquarters for Hamas leaders, who can be seen in the hallways and offices.
As Tablet noted, that’s called burying the lede.
Likewise, a Palestinian(!) news agency reported this week that Hamas executed dozens of Palestinians suspected of collaborating with Israel last week. JTA reported this, but it got no mention in mainstream media outlets.

Either reporters and editors are uninterested in telling the side of the story that shows what Hamas is doing in Gaza or they’re unable. Let’s consider that latter possibility.

Much has been made by Israel supporters of a decision by The Wall Street Journal’s Nick Casey to delete a tweet about how Hamas uses Shifa Hospital as a base of operations. Presumably, Casey deleted the tweet because of threats by Hamas either to his person or his ability to continue to cover the conflict.

A Times of Israel report earlier this week suggested as much:
Several Western journalists currently working in Gaza have been harassed and threatened by Hamas for documenting cases of the terrorist group’s involvement of civilians in warfare against Israel, Israeli officials said, expressing outrage that some in the international media apparently allow themselves to be intimidated and do not report on such incidents.
The Times of Israel confirmed several incidents in which journalists were questioned and threatened. These included cases involving photographers who had taken pictures of Hamas operatives in compromising circumstances — gunmen preparing to shoot rockets from within civilian structures, and/or fighting in civilian clothing — and who were then approached by Hamas men, bullied and had their equipment taken away. Another case involving a French reporter was initially reported by the journalist involved, but the account was subsequently removed from the Internet.
After leaving Gaza, freelance Italian journalist Gabriele Barbati, in a pair of tweets blaming Hamas for a recent civilian casualty incident, backed up the claims that Hamas threatens reporters:
Out of #Gaza far from #Hamas retaliation: misfired rocket killed children yday in Shati. Witness: militants rushed and cleared debris (July 29)
Why are we reading about this intimidation only in Jewish or Israeli media — or on blogs — and not in Western mainstream media?
Attorney Scott Johnson takes news outlets to task for this on the blog Powerline:
Hamas threats don’t account for the relentless ignorance and stupidity of the coverage of the Gaza hostilities, but they account for some of it. Reporters and their media employers cooperate with Hamas not only in suppressing stories that do not serve Hamas’s purposes, but also by failing to report on the restrictive conditions under which they are working.
This is no small point. Public opinion is a crucial element to this conflict. It will play a role in determining when the fighting ends, what a cease-fire looks like and who bears primary responsibility for the deaths of innocents.

If media outlets are suppressing images of Hamas fighters using civilians as shields, and using schools and hospitals as bases of operation, then people watching around the world naturally will have trouble viewing the Israelis as anything but aggressors and the Palestinians as anything but victims.

But they’re only getting half the story. And where I come from, a half-truth is considered a lie.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Col. Richard Kemp: Israeli Pilot Aborted Gaza Strike 17 Times to Protect Civilians; Jewish People Should be Proud of the State of Israel (INTERVIEW)

July 30, 2014
Retired Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan.
Retired Colonel Richard Kemp, former commander of British Forces in Afghanistan.

Having just returned from another tour of Sderot and discussions with Israeli soldiers at the staging area near Gaza, Col (ret.) Richard Kemp, the former commander of British forces in Afghanistan, sat down for an interview with The Algemeiner.

Deborah Danan: Why do you think the international community expresses such vociferous objection to IDF actions in Gaza?

Col Richard Kemp: Well, the starting point for so much of the world’s media, opinion-makers, political leaders, NGOs, human rights groups, will always be that whatever Israel does is wrong. It’s seen as oppressor of Palestinians, illegal occupiers – even of Gaza despite the withdrawal nine years ago – then already your starting point is at a disadvantage. Then add that to the fact that the Israeli military operations against Hamas inevitably include civilian casualties. The reason for that is because Hamas use as a key element – possibly the key element of their strategy – human shields. They want to lure and force Israel to kill civilians. And so you see images of dead babies, dead boys on the beach, women screaming about their children, and no reality can overcome those images. It’s understandable in a way, because it is heart-wrenching, I’ve seen firsthand what shrapnel can do to a baby, and it’s horrifying, and the problem is that there’s no reference, no open-mindedness to the fact that the only reason that these children have been killed is because of Hamas’ aggression towards Israel.

DD: Do you have any recommendations as to what Israel could do to change these perceptions?

RK: Israel is doing to a large extent what it can; obviously it’s got to have efficient and slick media operations to counter the distortions that are so common in the international media. But of course Israel is at a disadvantage there too because while Israel might understand the need to come out with a rapid rebuttal or message of the truth of what’s happening in the conflict, it still has to be utterly faithful to facts and cannot afford to get it wrong, or to exaggerate. Hamas, on the other hand, can say whatever they want and it doesn’t get challenged and if it does get challenged it doesn’t matter for them because they’re not accountable to anyone.
To me, the most important effort that Israel can make is not with the masses, rather it’s with the decision makers, the world leaders, after all, it’s their attitude and their understanding that will shape the way the West sees Israel.

DD: What specific steps do the US and the UK take to avoid civilian casualties?

RK: They have restrictive rules of engagement in conflicts where there is a risk of civilians getting killed, for example in Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland. They take strenuous efforts to ensure the minimum loss of life of civilian populations, including surveillance to verify the presence or absence or civilians, using appropriate munitions – that is, not dropping massive bombs if there’s a risk of killing nearby civilians, and sometimes the army might choose to go in on the ground to avoid the collateral damage from  airstrikes. Or for example, if you would attack an objective with all guns blazing, but you think that there might be civilians in the area, you might choose not to fire until you’re sure there is a positive enemy target, which of course puts your troops at a disadvantage, but it’s a risk you take to preserve human life.
Three days ago I spoke to an Israeli pilot that told me that the same morning he had aborted an enemy target a total of 17 times because there were civilians in the target zone, and eventually he abandoned the operation. I asked him, was that not frustrating? His answer was simply no. And that to me, is one of the best things about the IAF – that the last very thing they want to do is bomb a target and have that on their conscience for the rest of their lives. And it was the same thing with infantry soldiers. I spoke to soldiers who have been fighting in Gaza, and several of them said to me: ‘We know what the rules of engagement are but even without them, it is always on our minds that we cannot kill civilians.’ See for them, this has nothing to do with orders, it’s just always there at the forefront. We’re talking about [reservists who are] simply artists, metal-workers, musicians, they are not killers. They have absolutely no desire to kill civilians. In fact, in terms of civilian casualties, the attitude of IDF solders is the exact mirror image of the way they’re portrayed to the world.

DD: Tell us some more about the civilian to combatant ratio in conflicts since the Second World War. 

RK: Since WWII, the average has been 3 civilians dying for every fighter killed. In some conflicts that number is higher, 4 or 5 civilians dead for every combatant. In Operation Cast Lead and Pillar of Defense it was 1-to-1 – and that’s a figure that has been agreed upon by the Palestinians as well.  Obviously, I can’t tell you what the ratio will be of this operation because it’s not at the end. What is discouraging though, is the willingness of media to simply report the number of civilians killed in Gaza and how many are children – figures which only come from Palestinian medical authorities which are controlled by Hamas. I don’t know if they’re true or not, but you have to make an assumption given Hamas’ track record for falsification of the numbers of casualties. It is however, quite possible that when this conflict ends we will see that the ration is more than 1-to-1, and if that is the case it is likely to be attributed to two things, one is what Hamas learned in Pillar of Defense and Cast Lead in the way to better protect and hide their fighters and weapons from Israeli airstrikes, including in underground tunnels, and number two, they know from Pillar of Defense just how much traction you get from killing civilians – and of course they want to capitalize on that.

DD: In your estimation, how much damage has Hamas inflicted from rockets that fall short and end up within Gaza’s borders?

RK: I don’t know – I couldn’t possibly estimate what it amounts to in total. But obviously, we’ve just seen that rockets fired by Hamas have landed on Al Shifa hospital and Al Shati refugee camp. There’s no doubt that their munitions falling short are causing significant civilian casualties.

DD: What’s the British attitude to the war with Gaza and do you think it’s changed over the last few operations?

RK: I think that the people in Britain have been heavily influenced by the photographs of dead children, by Hamas propaganda which incidentally includes of course, falsified photos of dead children – including photographs of dead Israeli children who are portrayed as dead Palestinian children. The Fogel family was attributed as a Palestinian family. To show you the stupidity of the people that do it, in the picture you can actually see a menorah. That sort of stuff influences the British people, plus the strident voices of many of the Muslim population in England who are outraged by the number of their Muslim brethren being killed in Gaza – yet who seem to have no outrage by the 190,000 killed in Syria. No protests, no outrage there, nothing. The attitude of the British public as a whole is negative. However, the attitude of the prime minister [David Cameron] has been much more supportive than we’ve seen in the two other conflicts in Gaza. However, I think that the British abstention in the vote of the resolution of the UNHRC in condemning Israel and investigating war crimes is an act of moral cowardice by Great Britain, and one which undermines the otherwise strong support given by the government to Israel. When political leaders tell Israel to take more steps to reduce civilian casualties – thereby inferring that Israel is not doing enough and is somehow happy to cause civilian casualties – that kind of message encourages Hamas to continue their strategy of human shields and furthermore, encourages other extremist groups around the world to follow the same strategy. And that leads to the death of innocent people. Ban Ki Moon is guilty of this, David Cameron is guilty of it, Barack Obama is guilty of it.

DD: How has the British army in Afghanistan gained from the Israeli army’s expertise?

RK: There are a number of elements that Britain has taken from the Israeli army. One of which is methods of reducing civilian casualties that we’ve seen in operation since Afghanistan, where Britain has adopted tactics like leaflet dropping on targets with potential civilians in the area. British soldiers lives have also been saved by Israeli battlefield medical technology and also by Israeli counter-bomb technology, that is, technological equipment that stops or detects improvised explosive devices like roadside bombs. British soldiers’ lives in Afghanistan have been saved and are being saved by that technology. Beyond that, British and Israeli intelligence cooperation is extremely tight and that has saved the lives not just of soldiers but of British civilians as well. By the way, British soldiers and ex-soldiers strongly support Israel and the IDF because unlike many civilians, they understand the threat that Israel faces they understand the tactics used by Hamas and they understand what the IDF have to do to deal with Hamas because those same tactics are used by the Taliban and in response, British soldiers have to use the tactics of the IDF to fight them.

DD: Finally, do you have a message to the Jewish People?

RK: I would say that the Jewish people should be extremely proud of the state of Israel, they should try their best to disregard the terrible anti-Israeli propaganda that is designed solely to contribute to the conspiracy to exterminate the state of Israel – I myself, am personally outraged by the shocking anti-Semitic violence and verbal attacks that have been triggered by this conflict against Jews, especially in Paris and Germany, but also in Britain and other countries – it’s absolutely despicable and should be fought by authorities as vigorously as possible.
Israel is the one country in the western world today that is standing up for its morality and for its values against the onslaught of international jihad.

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Italian Journalist Defies Hamas: ‘Out of Gaza Far From Hamas Retaliation: Misfired Rocket Killed Children in Shati’

July 30, 2014
Gabriele Barbati, Jerusalem Correspondent for Radio Popolare Milano. Photo: GB.
Gabriele Barbati, Jerusalem Correspondent for Radio Popolare Milano. Photo: GB.
Italian journalist Gabriele Barbati said he was able to speak freely about witnessing a Hamas misfire that killed nine children at the Shati camp, confirming the Israel Defense Forces version of events, but only after leaving Gaza, “far from Hamas retaliation.”

On Twitter, Barbati, Jerusalem Correspondent for Radio Popolare Milano, and a former reporter for Sky Italia, in Beijing, said, “Out of #Gaza far from #Hamas retaliation: misfired rocket killed children yday [yesterday] in Shati. Witness: militants rushed and cleared debris.”

He said, “@IDFSpokesperson said truth in communique released yesterday about Shati camp massacre. It was not #Israel behind it.”

On Tuesday, the IDF released aerial photos showing how a rocket from Gaza targeting Israel hit the Shati camp, run by the UNRWA, and Al Shifa Hospital, which has become a de-facto Hamas headquarters, against international rules of war.

Barbati said he was unable to speak about the Al Shifa hit, but he was certain that it was a Hamas rocket that hit the Shati camp, and a witness saw militants rushing to clean the debris.

Blogger Elder of Ziyon, who praised Barbati for telling the truth in a war where many journalists have been intimidated by Hamas, noted that “When Hamas made the area off limits to reporters, it was cleaning the area from any debris that could show the truth.”
An IDF diagram showing how four rockets from Gaza hit the sea, Israel, Shati and Al Shifa Hospital. Photo: IDF.
An IDF diagram showing how four rockets from Gaza hit the sea, Israel, Shati and Al Shifa Hospital. Photo: IDF.

On Tuesday, CAMERA, the Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America, called out two correspondents from The Wall Street Journal for deleting photographs that would implicate Hamas in the war crime of using the Al Shifa hospital as a military headquarters. Other journalists, including a Gazan reporter for French media recounted to France’s Libération how Hamas had interrogated him in the same hospital, but later asked the newspaper to take down the story.

Elder of Ziyon said, “Every single report on TV from Gaza should have this disclaimer: ‘Our reporters have been threatened, implicitly and perhaps explicitly, by Hamas to only report one side of the story.Viewers must not trust anything they are saying.’”

“There is an assumption of fairness in journalism, a contract between the media and the viewers,” the influential blogger said. “This contract has been broken, as far as I can tell, by nearly every single reporter in Gaza in nearly every report, with a couple of rare exceptions.”

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Operation Protective Edge

"Today, there is no electricity in Gaza. The shelling of the station is a violation of all red lines."
Jamal Dardasawi, principal, Gaza's electricity distribution company
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014.
Smoke and fire from the explosion of an Israeli strike rise over Gaza City, Tuesday, July 29, 2014. Photo by AP

What happens when a citizen of any country doesn't pay its utility bills is that the utility cuts off its service. Israel supplies the major proportion of energy for the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Israel's energy provider is still awaiting payment of millions of dollars of energy-use that the Palestinian Authority has not found it necessary to pay for, and Israel still keeps the juices flowing lest it be accused of withholding vital necessities of life for millions of Palestinians.

Israel is, of course, accused of having hit the power plant that sat idle for weeks for lack of fuel this past winter. Since the facility powers water and sewage systems along with providing hospitals with their energy source, it is a catastrophe that eight of ten lines that run from Israel were damaged. By whom precisely has not yet been forensically determined, but fingers attached to Palestinian hands point directly toward Israel; guilt by accusation.

And striking during Eid Al-Fitr! Closing the holy month of Ramadan when devout Muslims such as Hamas and other Islamists are enjoined to love and care for their fellow Muslims. ISIS does it by slaughtering Shiites. The Syrian regime demonstrates its love and care by dropping barrel bombs on Syrian Sunnis. And Hamas enjoins Gazan civilians that it is their duty to the cause to become martyrs at the hands of the oppressors attempting to defend their own civilians from deadly rocket attacks, courtesy of Hamas.

The sanctity of holy days does not impress Islamists, evidently. After all, wasn't Israel surprised when it was attacked on the holiest of its Judaic traditional heritage religious days of Yom Kippur? And then they had the audacity to win the war against tremendous odds. That, in a nutshell, is the history of the modern Middle East. Modern in chronological date-time essence, but exceedingly backward in historical barbarity.

Israel had dispatched a number of high-profile terrorists during its Gaza incursion to halt the incessant rocket attacks against its citizens, we learn in unadorned language by Felice Friedson, whose report has been published through The Media Line, and which names terrorists just that; not namby-pamby 'fighters' or 'insurgents'. Published as is, in the National Post, how about that? Imagine, calling Hamas and Islamic Jihad terrorists! Even though, of course, they are named as such by the EU, Canada and the U.S. Impolite language nonetheless, albeit accurate.

So then, Salah Abu Hassanein, commander of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Military Media Division has been martyred, targeted by Israel in Gaza. He has polished up his last bit of propaganda aggrandizing terrorist exploits against the 'occupier', who occupies simply because he, his group and others of their ilk, terrorize Israel. Regional commanders for PIJ, who controlled the northern and central Gaza Strip sectors, have gone to meet their maker, along with Shaaban Dakdoukh, commander of Zeitoun forces known to bury long-range rockets and smuggle weapons, has also been dispatched.

Mahmoud Sinwar (how aptly named!) who directed military activities inclusive of rocket fire, involved as well in the building of attack tunnels under Israel, and the raid that captured Gilad Shalit whose eventual release also led to the release of countless murdering terrorists in his exchange, is now an honoured martyr, awaiting his letched-for virgins.

And although the Israeli command has every reason to believe heavy losses have also been inflicted on Hamas's Al-Qassam Brigades, the full extent of their martyrdom is not yet revealed since many of their mortal remains are buried beneath the tons of rubble from destroyed tunnels where they just happened to have been taking shelter. Expect the unexpected. Always.

Commander of Al-Qassam's naval force, Mohammad Shaaban, was targeted and killed with three others while in his car in Gaza City. Mr. Shaaban was known for spearheading Hamas's increasing efforts at infiltration into Israel from the sea for the purpose of conducting mass killings in Israeli coastal communities, and although his usefulness will be missed by Hamas, those Israelis living in the targeted communities will breathe a slight sigh of relief, tempered only by the fact that they know there will be someone to replace him before long.

But yet, there will be a satisfaction in the fact that an infiltration attempt was thwarted on the very day of his death, when five terrorists were handily intercepted by the Israeli army  as they emerged onto the beach at Kibbutz Zikim, where they were seen emerging by soldiers, and given their reward in Paradise. Targeted assassination scored Osama Al-Hayyah, commander of Al-Qassam forces in Shajaiah, the site of one of the first and fiercest battles of the Israeli ground operation.

Mr. Al-Hayyah has the distinction of being the eldest son of Dr. Khalil Al-Hayya, a Hamas member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, and founding member of Hamas, who would, then, have been known familiarly as Abu Osama. Despite these dreadful losses, Hamas courageously carries on, both on the battlefield and on the progress of its propaganda campaign, so hugely popular in the West, albeit somewhat less so in the Mideast where its tactics are so familiar.

As, for example, creating the uncertified and certain-to-horrify, much-repeated figures that over 80% of the 1,137 Palestinians who perished throughout the first two weeks of fighting represent non-combatant women and children. Israel, a trifle more meticulous about verities, speaks of the manipulated process of identifying the dead for the purpose of persuading the world that Israel is busy slaughtering innocents who have been unfortunately placed in harm's way.

A comparison study of the names of the Palestinians killed in Operation Protective Edge and the relationship between terror groups and uninvolved citizens carried out by Reuven Ehrilch of the Meir Amit Intelligence and Information Centre, an Israeli think-tank, reached the conclusion that out of 152 names checked, 71 were identified as terror agents, while 81 were uninvolved citizens, who had indeed been deliberately placed in harm's way as human shields.

The Gaza Interior Ministry, controlled by Hamas, has ordered social networking emanating from the Gaza Strip to speak of every Palestinian who dies as an "innocent civilian".

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The Unvarnished Unembellished Truth

"Gaza is giving children grenades ... and asking their citizens to be sheep to the slaughter."
"Gazan officials tell their people to be killed while they hide in bomb shelters. Cowards? No, this is worse than cowardice. It is vile and ugly and they should be put to shame. Instead, it is Israel who is put to shame."
"Throughout the world, injustices happen on a near-daily basis. But these same activists, when they hear the cry of the moment, if it is anti-Israel it is an easy bandwagon to get on, to get their anti-Israel warpaint on and join their friends between potlucks, veggie smoothies and coffee breaks."
"[Hamas, instead of caring about the welfare of Palestinians, is focused on] killing, of carrying the banner of martyrdom, and of watching its fellow people die."
"And yet, these are the same people who are embraced and loved by the international community, with marches on Parliament Hill in Canada's capital, and in cities throughout the world, holding banners and chanting about the destruction of the state of Israel and of death to the Jews."
"Unless we want to see another Mullah amongst us, where other religions aside from a certain variety of Islam are not allowed, where synagogues are used as latrines and garbage dumps and Christians are living in constant fear [people need to re-examine their priorities]."
Paul Estrin, Green Party of Canada president
Palestinian Children Dressed as Terrorists in Pro Islamic Jihad Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony in Gaza
No caps and gowns: These Gaza graduates sport fatigues, guns, and suicide vest  -- The Blaze

Oh dear, Mr. Estrin, what a hullabaloo of opprobrium and approbation you have raised in your political party, causing your leader, Elizabeth May, no end of consternation, having to deal with maintaining her party's stance firmly on the fence, in the middle, neutral, uninvolved, and untainted by favouritism, or as the left would have it, defence of the indefensible. Supporting Zionist Israel in its defensive war against the offensive Hamas? How could you!

But there it is, passion and frustration got the better of your political instincts. Mr. Estrin wrote an essay, "Why Gaza makes me sad", and had the effrontery to publish it online on the Green Party's website. It is not, some angered party members rage, a reflection of their party's policy. That it is not, should be a matter of shame, but that's another story altogether. "I didn't know he felt this way about Gaza", said an embattled party leader Elizabeth May. "He had not raised this before."

Well, if the New Democratic Party was able to smother their irrepressibly Israel-bashing Libby Davis whose out-of-this-world statement that Israel has been occupying Palestinian land "since 1948", since ridding itself of the equally obnoxious and flamboyantly sanctimonious Svend Robinson who loved no entity more than he did Hamas and detested no state more than he did Israel, surely the Greens can manage to balance their own party's moral compass to a finer balance?

While she and the Greens also condemn Hamas for firing rockets into Israel, they don't have an unquestioning attitude toward Israel, Ms. May iterated. At a convention that took place earlier in the month the party formally called for an immediate cessation of "hostilities" between Israel and Palestine (Palestine?), reaching the conclusion it would adopt a "posture of engaged neutrality", favouring a diplomatic end to the conflict. Their concern must have slipped Hamas's and Israel's notice.

Palestinian Children Dressed as Terrorists in Pro Islamic Jihad Kindergarten Graduation Ceremony in Gaza
Future Jihadis "defend" Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa mosque - The Blaze

How does one diplomatically engage with one hell of a deadly-dedicated belligerent force acknowledged in international circles as terrorists, whose founding covenant focuses specifically on its raison d'etre; the destruction of a Jewish state whose presence enrages Hamas's Islamist credentials that an upstart Zionist entity would take it upon itself to profane land sacred to Islam by its presence?

Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that blind ignorance afflicts members of the Green Party. If one takes a lesson from the party's peace and security critic, Ronnie Smith, who while defending Mr. Estrin's right to his opinion, but that his "knee-jerk reaction and irresponsible use of history was insulting, poorly conceived and reveals a tremendous lack of judgement unbefitting the author's post", puts a neat end-note on the issue.

A simple remedy exists: cut off his head; Lewis Carroll must have inspired the Islamists to beheading Zionist infidels.

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The Russian Bear's Tight Squeeze

"In the wake of continued aggression by Russia, which includes the ongoing supply of logistical support and weapons systems to agents of the Putin regime in eastern Ukraine, Canada is announcing its intent to once again increase economic and political pressure, in the coming days, by imposing additional sanctions on the regime and those closest to it."
"President Putin's failure to end his support to armed rebel groups constitutes a very real threat to international peace and security. His actions represent an overt, direct threat to the Ukrainian people and its rightfully elected government,"
Prime Minster Stephen Harper, Ottawa, Canada

"Russia is once again isolating itself from the international community, setting back decades of progress. It does not have to be this way. We can't, in the end, make President Putin see more clearly; ultimately that's something President Putin has to do on his own."
U.S. President Barack Obama

"Furthermore, when the violence created spirals out of control and leads to the killing of almost 300 innocent civilians in their flight from the Netherlands to Malaysia, the situation requires urgent and determined response."
 "[The 28-nation bloc means to send a] strong warning [to President Putin that the] illegal annexation [of Crimea and Russia's destabilization of Ukraine cannot be tolerated]."
Herman Van Rompuy, EU president, Jose Manuel Barroso, European Commission president

Europe's capital markets, EU citizens and banks will now be barred from buying bonds or stocks issued by state-owned Russian banks in an effort to restrict Russia's access to Europe's capital markets. For its part, the U.S. sanctioned three Russian banks; VTB Bank, Bank of Moscow, and the Russian Agricultural Bank; along with a state-owned shipbuilder. Credits encouraging exports to Russia have been suspended, and the export of certain goods to Russia's oil and gas industry have been prohibited.

The new European sanctions will include an arms embargo on Moscow along with a ban on the sale of technology that could have dual military and civilian use, or is of a sensitive nature, such as advanced equipment used for deep-sea and Arctic oil drilling. Europe has hesitated to embark on tougher sanctions, more highly dependent on its trade relationship with Russia, for fear of harming their own economies and with a view to their gas dependence on Russia.

Germany imports one-third of its gas from Russia. France has decided to proceed with its contract to deliver two high-value warships to Russia. "Unlike the Americans, we always have to get 28 countries together. And the interests are very different. All the same, I think that we -- at the latest with the shooting down of this plane -- have a situation in which we cannot simply carry on in the same way", explained Sigmar Gabriel, the German vice-chancellor and economy minister.

American authorities state they expect Europe's list of targets to include some of the same energy companies, defence suppliers and financial institutions hit with sanctions by the Obama administration even before the Malaysian airliner had been shot down from the sky over Ukraine. President Putin's obduracy may continue; there are rumours in certain circles that the Kremlin has decided to give permission for Russian forces to enter Ukraine.

If so, Russia will have completely isolated itself and earned the umbrage -- with an emphasis on outrage and disappointment -- of the rest of Europe and North America. As its already-embattled economy slowly disintegrates and Russian citizens find themselves no longer so willing to admire and encourage their belligerent president to continue raising the outraged hackles of other world leaders.

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Cyber Security

"[The Communications Security Establishment Canada] detected and confirmed a cyber intrusion on the IT infrastructure of the National Research Council of Canada."
"Following assessment by NRC and its security partners, action has been taken to contain and address this security breach, including protecting its information holdings and notifying the privacy commissioner. NRC has also taken steps to inform its  clients and stakeholders about this situation."
"NRC is continuing to work closely with its IT experts and security partners to create a new secure IT infrastructure. Every step is being taken to minimize disruption."
National Research Council statement
The Communications Security Establishment Canada complex is pictured in Ottawa. The spy agency says In a statement, the government says a cyber attack on federal government computers came from "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor."
Sean Kilpatrick / THE CANADIAN PRESS file photo  The Communications Security Establishment Canada complex is pictured in Ottawa. The spy agency says In a statement, the government says a cyber attack on federal government computers came from "a highly sophisticated Chinese state-sponsored actor."

A massive, year-long security overhaul of NRC's computer systems has been launched in the wake of a series of cyber attacks, and those attacks are believed to have emanated from China. Why might China be interested in what the National Research Council of Canada is doing? China is interested in finding solutions to vexing questions by trawling through the IT systems of other governments, of science councils, of international corporations; in short wherever it can manage to short-track the tedious business of investing time and expertise in discovering their own government, military, industrial or commercial formulae for just about anything.

The National Research Council is working on an advanced computer encryption system meant to prevent just such attacks, working alongside private sector and university research teams on a physics-based, state-of-the-art advanced system. Even while, in doing so, it hopes to prevent any and all such future intrusions, their discoveries to advance security are also of huge interest to China, never averse to hi-jacking the advances that other agencies have succeeded with, and illegally and immorally copying.

"The emerging field of quantum communication promises unhackable, secure communication that can be applied to protect our digital infrastructure" explains NRC's website. "NRC is developing photonics-based, quantum-enhanced cuber security solutions ... collaborating to develop technologies that address increased demands for high-performance security for communications, data storage and data processing." A little bit of irony there and perhaps incentive to accelerate the process....

Those statements would be of interest to the casual Canadian taxpayer happening upon the NCR website, giving them the assurance that NRC is busy spending taxpayer funding very well. Of course that represents just one of countless valuable scientific and commercial enquiries, investigations, research experiments and topics that the federal research council is involved with, in laboratories both within their own buildings and at universities and private companies around the country.
That particular statement updating the curious, would also appeal hugely, irresistibly, to covert national agents conducting Internet surveillance, persuading them it is well worth their while to lurk about in the inner cyber-sanctums of the National Research Council to search out whatever can be retrieved to be of benefit to them, without the cost and exercise of actual scientific research and experimentation. If, successful, that kind of technology would place Canada as a leader in the field of quantum cyber security.

The intelligence-and-security breach has resulted in a lengthy shut-down of the NRC's website and Internet presence, locking down accessibility until it can be assured that no further such break-ins will occur to compromise the integrity of their web presence, and result in the stealth capture of valuable materials.   Still, according to one academic, the breach is unlikely to harm research on an alarming scale.

Most of the science and engineering conducted by NRC's partners are done by individuals or small groups maintaining their data separately from NRC's servers "I'm interested (in the cyber attack) as a Canadian citizen but, as a research scientist, this has zero effect on me", he stated. Canada is in the process of integrating all of its federal IT departments with a view to consolidating 485 data centres into seven places, replacing 63 email systems with one, reducing the number of networks with a greater number of departments sharing IT infrastructure in a secure framework.

National Research Council, along with Health Canada, the RCMP, Department of National Defence, Transport Canada, and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, all have IT operations which represent the most complex and sensitive IT infrastructure in Canada. Shared Services Canada is mandated to create consolidated data centres to cut down on costs and increase security, and perhaps in the process also create a system of improved data flow.

In the meanwhile, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs, John Baird, is currently on a China visit, to advance arrangements for Prime Minister Stephen Harper's projected state visit to China later in the year. While there he is discussing with his counterpart this very issue, among others. And given that China's ruling Communist Party has announced an investigation into its ex-security chief, perhaps it's timely. President Xi Jinping had expressed his unease with rampant corruption in his country and at his inauguration had stressed his intention to clear corruption out of its administration.

He may wish to extend his determination to present China as a more trusted political and trade partner to the international community by toning down his nation's infamous penchant for making off with other countries' patents, scientific and technological research results and commercial successes.

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