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.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Mob Justice

"There is a crisis in terms of the growth of violence and crime and a parallel erosion of authority and the rule of law. These lynchings acquire a double meaning. People lynch both the suspect and the symbol of authority."               Raul Rodriguez Vuillen, professor, writer: Mexico Lynchings, 1988-2014

"If they were innocent, and I'm not saying they were, then this is a case of one group paying for the crimes of another."
"What happened the day of the lynchings is a situation that has been unraveling for some time now. One thing led to the other. In security, frustration, confusion and weariness."
Emanuel Petia, 33, Ajalpan, Mexico

"I can't imagine how this is happening in our country They stepped on every inch of my brothers' integrity, on all of t heir humanity."
Pablo Copado, brother of two lynched men
Women place crosses and flowers where a mob beat, killed and burned two pollsters who were conducting a survey, in front of the Municipal Palace in Ajalpan, Puebla, Mexico, Wednesday, October 21, 2015. As police took the two men to City Hall to try to protect them, a crowd, of some 2,000 strong, began to pelt the building with rocks. The police chief, tried to move them to safety on the second floor. But townspeople broke inside and began trashing the place, as the men looked on in shock. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Mexico has been a scene of drug cartel violence where gangs target one another to protect their turf, and authorities haven't seemed to be able to control the situation which also targets police if they think they can pursue their charged duties, and civilians who may happen to get in the line of fire of the gang wars. People were seeing the bodies of murdered drug dealers at the sides of roads, or hung in public places to deliver a message.

Demonstrators take part in a march to mark the first anniversary of the disappearance of the 43 students from Mexico's Ayotzinapa College Raul Isidro Burgos, in Mexico City, September 26, 2015. © Henry Romero

People also became acutely aware that sometimes municipal officials and the police they were told to trust, were taking a cut of the drug cartels' business. The abduction of 43 college students from Iguala who were setting out to attend a rally against corruption, and their murder and the revelation that the town's mayor and police chief were involved has done nothing to restore faith in the public that their political representatives and police are interested in bring security, law and order and justice to bear.

Little wonder that Mexican citizens are angered and frustrated and have no trust in their elected officials and their national police. But an event that happened in Ajalpan in southeastern Puebla state in October 2015 had few precedents and represented a reprehensible backlash against authorities by mortally and horribly victimizing two innocent young men. Their deaths seemed to be a matter of indifference to the townspeople in their overriding rage against government and police, however.

Mexicans have taken increasingly to mob rule, and to taking matters of crime alleviation into their own hands, a result of what many explain as having arisen from hopelessness and feelings of impotence. Little wonder, since 98 percent of murders are never solved and a mere 12 percent of crimes are even reported since there is such an utter lack of belief that justice will be served. Mostly because the state is absent in many areas.

There was an estimated 78 lynchings in Mexico last year. Last year five police officers were beaten after killing a villager during one of their operations and two of the police died. Residents of the borough of Iztapalapa have erected banners warning that thieves will not be turned in to police. Vengeance will instead be taken on their mothers.

In Chiapas State in September two men having been accused of stealing a car, were set ablaze. Self-defense groups have erupted everywhere in frustration at the state of affairs, to themselves fight organized crime, since government forces have proven incapable of challenging criminal gangs.

Two young brothers visited Ajalpan in their professional capacity as data-gatherers for their marketing company, Marketing Research and Services that was interested in having an informed idea of the number of children in the town who ate tortillas regularly. The brothers Jose 32, and David, the elder of the two were out polling residents in the town and suspicion was raised that they were really out to kidnap children in the town of 60,000.

Social media had been rife with warnings about child abductions, and that should strangers be seen in town, they be viewed with suspicion. The brothers arrived in the morning, and by evening a group of people from town demanded an explanation why they were asking questions about children. This elicited a patient explanation from the brothers who produced identification to allay fears. When the residents became aggressive, police took the brothers into custody for their safety, informing the group they were innocent.

A girl was produced who had been sexually assaulted. Brought into the precinct, "She said she had never seen them", explained Enrique Bravo, the duty police officer. Regardless, the town church bells began ringing, representing a call to parishioners to assemble, and hundreds of people flooded into the square and began exchanging rumours with hundreds more as they kept arriving.

The assembled crowd stormed the government center where the brothers were being held for their safety. The library was set on fire and the brothers were grabbed from the police. The brothers were beaten senseless by the ravening crowd until a man doused the semiconscious men with gasoline and lit a match. Local news media played and replayed a cellphone video of the atrocity.

The mob felt justified that they had solved yet another problem of child kidnapping.

A family member waits to receive the bodies of two brothers who were murdered outside the morgue in Tehuacan, Puebla, Mexico, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2015. Pollsters Rey David Copado Molina, 39, and Jose Abraham Copado Molina, 32, were beaten, killed and burned while conducting a survey in the small town of Ajalpan, authorities said Tuesday. The brothers were mistaken for miscreants and killed by a mob of townspeople frightened by both the gang violence plaguing much of the nation, and recent tales of alleged child abductions. (AP Photo/Marco Ugarte)

Labels: , , ,

Canada's Official Holocaust Memorial Note

Red maple leaf behind the Peace Tower

On Wednesday, recently-elected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau issued his first official commemorative statement for International Holocaust Remembrance Day. The 111-word pronouncement is notable less for what it does mention, than for what it doesn’t: Jews and anti-Semitism. Here it is in its entirety:
On this day, we pay tribute to the memory of the millions of victims murdered during the Holocaust. We honour those who survived atrocities at the hands of the Nazi regime, and welcome their courageous stories of hope and perseverance.
The Holocaust is a stark reminder of the dangers and risks of allowing hate, prejudice, and discrimination to spread unchallenged. It also reminds us that silence must never be an option when humanity is threatened.
As we pause to educate ourselves and our families on the bitter lessons of the Holocaust, we also strengthen our resolve to work with domestic and international partners to continue defending human rights and condemning intolerance.

Labels: ,

Credentials, Please

"The public knows a licensed engineer or geoscientist has a certain level of knowledge and skills and can practice independently and will not put them at jeopardy when they make decisions."
"You need to get the requisite education and write the professional practise and ethics exam. Those are rigorous bars to meet."
"The process is straightforward. The attainment of those standards is not always easy."
Mark Flint, CEO, Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta
Ladislav Mihaly filed a complaint with the Alberta Human Rights Commission in 2008. (EDMONTON JOURNAL/Chris Schwarz).

People who emigrate from their countries of origin with degrees in various professions often anticipate when they leave and become immigrants to other countries they will still be able to practise their professions. This is not always so, since standards of professionalism and the academic education enabling people to obtain associated certification and degrees differ from country to country. A medical practitioner from Zimbabwe for example, would need to pass Canadian standards to practise in Canada.

The same holds true for practising law, engineering, or what-have-you. Those holding foreign degrees intending to take up their profession on entry to Canada, given landed immigrant status, must meet Canadian standards of professionalism. Ladislav Mihaly who had accreditation from his native land, the former Czechoslovakia, had attempted since 1999 to register with the Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta.

Before they would accede to his request the association required that Mr. Mihaly write exams confirming his credentials. Unfortunately, he failed two tests and then decided to refuse taking any other tests. Instead he appealed to the Alberta Human Rights Commission with a complaint, in 2008. That resulted in a human rights tribunal ruling in 2014 that the tests were discriminatory, and the order followed that the association pay Mr. Mihaly ten thousand in damages and reconsider his application.

A stunning decision, in fact; one that concluded that the professional organization erred in refusing the man's credentials on the basis that he had been incapable of or unable to prove he had the required qualifications to be registered as a professional whose capabilities matched the province's requirements. The association was ordered by the tribunal to launch a review committee to look at the man's perceived academic deficiencies with a view to exempting him from exams, providing him instead with a guide to mentor him into the profession.

Mr. Flint was much relieved when Queen's Bench Justice June Ross overturned the tribunal's ruling as a result of what she saw as an unreasonable conclusion rife with errors. This new ruling, he said, would ensure public safety is protected and presents as confirmation that the association's application process represents sound judgement. The situation as it stood, presented as a challenge, furthermore, to other licensing agencies across the country in all kinds of professional associations.

The human rights tribunal had concluded in its 2014 ruling that many immigrants from Eastern Europe, Africa and Asia experience disadvantages and discrimination in the workforce resulting from language difficulties and racial prejudice, so that the imposition of exams or additional requirements should be carried out alongside individual assessments in order to avoid restricting immigrants from working in the professions, leaving them to take low paying employment in fields other than their chosen professions.

According to Mr. Flint, about 55 percent of the 9,500 applications filed by people last year with the Association for Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta for licensing, were from those outside of Canada. Complaints are unusual, with people understanding the need to upgrade their technical or language skills, when they are advised by the association on the avenues to take to reach their aspirations.

In any event, Canadian immigration officials make it clear to professionals with foreign accreditation that they will not automatically be able to practise in Canada; that steps must be taken to ensure their credentials match those of the country's professional associations, so these people do not step blindly into a situation they will later regret.

Labels: , ,

Saturday, January 30, 2016

The Old-new Canada Re-emerges

"The old Canada of Stephen Harper is gone and the new Canada of Stephane Dion is ascendant. We no longer take sides on global affairs. We don't pass judgement on right or wrong. We issue 'tough messages' to our 'friends' in Israel, while agreeing to let bygones be bygones with Iran. We signal our sympathy for Ukraine, but also our willingness to pursue 'common interests' with Russia. We're good guys. We're on your side -- whoever you are. However bad you may be, we want to get along. We mean no offence."
"You knew it was coming. You could tell, back when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was leader of the third-place Liberals and -- desperate for ways to differentiate his party from the Conservatives -- pledged to end Canada's involvement in the bombing campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. It was obvious during the campaign debates when Trudeau invoked Canada's mystical, and largely mythical, past as a stalwart of the UN's peacekeeping forces. Appointing Dion as foreign affairs minister left no room for doubt: Canada was clambering back onto the fence of international affairs, where moral equivalency rules and every outrage is relative."
"On Sunday, Dion issued a fairly pallid statement signalling that the Liberals had no intention of continuing the uncompromising support the Harper Conservatives had offered Israel."
Kelly McParland, journalist, National Post

"As a steadfast ally and friend to Israel, Canada calls for all efforts to be made to reduce violence and incitement and to help build the conditions for a return to the negotiating table."
"[Isolating Iran, as the Conservatives had done] is not good for the people of Iran ... for the promotion of human rights ... for our strategic interest in the region ... for Israel."
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion
The Canada that preferred its milquetoast image of not unsettling foreign powers whose agendas are rife with malice on the world stage is back. It returned on the back of the Liberal Party of Canada whose new leader, recently installed as another Liberal Prime Minister taking his predestined place, is set to reverse virtually all initiatives and directions that the former Conservative-led government of former Prime Minister Stephen Harper had committed the country to as a nation proud of its equable nature but firm convictions.

Diplomatic relations with a country that has underhandedly conspired to furnish itself with nuclear weapons the more convincingly to threaten its geographic neighbours, are to be resumed. In a country where such foreign missions are often under siege. Iran finds common cause and partnership in nuclear and ballistic missiles development with North Korea, reminiscent of Pakistan's aid in persuading Libya's Moammar Ghadaffi and Iraq's Saddam Hussein that they too could aspire to the prestigious nuclear club.

The time of Canada naming and co-sponsoring the annual resolution against the Islamic Republic of Iran as an gross abuser of human rights and a supporter of terrorism in the United Nations in the annual rebuff of civilized nations to Iran's power-hungry aspirations is obviously now a thing of the past. It will be viewed by the new Liberal government of Justin Trudeau as diplomatically inappropriate, while re-establishing ties with the rights-abusing Republic.

Not only do the mullahs and ayatollahs of Tehran make life miserable for religious minorities in Iran, for gays, for political dissidents, but before the Iranian mission in Ottawa was shut down, expatriate Iranians living in Canada were treated to the delightful anomaly of Iran violating their safety and security through threats and intimidation within Canada itself. Now that diplomacy will be resumed, so too can the interference in Canada's internal matters be taken up once again.

Israel will have to become accustomed to gentle official Canadian chiding about 'disproportionate' responses by the IDF to Palestinian assaults against Israel and its people. The mantra is that Israel must be responsible for handling the Palestinian demands of nationhood which they interpret as the dismantling of the state of Israel with the kid gloves preferred by European governments, while no mention is made about inconvenient and ongoing attacks by Palestinians terrorists against Israeli civilians.

"The Palestinian people has developed its [methods[ of death and death-seeking. For the Palestinian people, death has become an industry", bragged Hamas MP Fathi Hammad, augmenting the statement by former Hamas Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh: "We love death like our enemies love life". And nor is Palestinian Authority (Fatah) President Mahmoud Abbas a laggard in promoting the Palestinian cause, promoting assassins of Jews to martyrdom status, naming squares and streets in their honour, conferring handsome annuities on their families.

But Canada is now being committed to resuming warm relations with those formerly held at arm's length, including a regime that excels in beatings of its citizens in custody, along with torture, execution, and generally inhumane treatment of Iranians; inclusive of the imprisonment of the Bahá’í leadership. Ethnic minorities see themselves discriminated against in Iran. Women have few rights, and political dissidents are imprisoned and murdered. Freedom of speech is non-existent; Iran imprisons more journalists than any other country in the world.

Iran vies with Saudi Arabia in the frequent and medieval-style imposition of a death penalty, imposing hanging of juveniles, criminal convictions less due process resulting in beheading, crucifixion and military-style executions by firing squad.  Coerced confessions are useful against gays, for a fairly comprehensive picture of an rights-abusing state which should remain a pariah within the international community, but is now enjoying an enthusiastic renaissance embraced by trade-hungry countries of Europe -- and Canada.

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, January 29, 2016

Moral Acuity Blindsided

"The former government was not always wrong. It's not true that we'll start from scratch from what was done [by the Conservative-led government of Canada under Prime Minister Stephen Harper]."
"Somebody will have to explain to me in what way it is helping Ukraine that Canada has not engaged Russia about the Arctic. Canada and Russia are neighbours."
"If we don't engage in Russia, we don't help Ukraine [and] we don't help Canada or Canada's interests [similarly with Iran]."
"[The Liberal government will] engage Iran with open eyes; [the Conservative position was "irrational and ideological", harming Canada's interests."
"If Canada does what my Conservative colleagues have asked us to do - be alone to keep our sanctions -- the result is that it will be barely noticed in Iran. [And] it will hurt Canadian industry, the Canadian citizens that have families in Iran, and so on and so on. What is the rationale to do that?"
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion
stephane dion
Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion answers a question in the House of Commons. (Photo: Adrian Wyld/CP)

This is a man who wants to reduce a complex issue to its most basic formula; to place Canada in a position favourable to its bottom line, and in so doing reducing it to the position where moral ambiguity is more suitable than moral certainty, resulting in moral bankruptcy. But that's the kind of formula that appears to appeal to the Liberal Party of Canada, which now holds the majority position in Parliament, placing an egotistical dilettante politician in the position of prime minister of the country.

As a miscast foreign minister Mr. Dion who once himself aspired to the highest office in the land and dismally failed to haul the Liberals out of the purgatory which they had placed themselves deservedly into, inconvenient little details such as having the courage of one's convictions come a distant third to snatching trade and investment opportunities at the expense of national political decency. From former Prime Minister Jean Chretien whose years in office he used to feather his nest in China, the current Prime Minister was delivered the gift of advice.

China may be a human-rights-abusing Communist regime whose ambitions threaten the Asian world's stability and whose voracious appetite to become the world's dominant trade partner, soon emerging as a world power equal to the United States with no constraints from any quarter to its all-consuming energy needs to propel its vast population into a unity of the Communist ideal with its quaint consumerist capitalist streak, and its stealth purloining of other nations' industrial secrets, but there's profit to be made in doing business with the giant.

As for Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, material and military support of ethnic Russian Ukrainian secessionists and the Russian grab of the Crimean Peninsula, with all the deaths and injury and destruction that accompanied Vladimir Putin's schemes of an expanded Russian Federation in memory of the Soviet  Union, and including the sacrifice of 298 passengers and crew of Malaysian airlines Flight 17, bygones are best to be recognized as such in favour of doing business....

And then there is Tehran's absolution from scrutiny and sanctions with the completion of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1. So best to overlook that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the world's premier sponsor of terrorist groups, not averse itself to terrorizing its own population, let alone those of its neighbours, including lending its heavy hand to sacrificing Sunni Syrians in aid of the butcher of Damascus's Shiite regime. Iran's illegal testing of international ballistic missiles whose sole purpose would be to carry a nuclear warhead, is unfortunate to be sure, but trade is important.

These have become Canadian values, thanks to the Liberal government of Justin Trudeau who has chided Israel for its West Bank settlements, and penned a mournful paean to the Holocaust taking care not to mention that the genocide targeted Jews primarily and that the Holocaust is linked with the deliberate, state-planned-and-executed murder of six million European Jews; an unfortunate tragedy that the Liberal government empathizes over, having neutralized it of its victims' identity.

François Hollande and Hassan Rouhani before a meeting at the Élysée palace in Paris
François Hollande and Hassan Rouhani before a meeting at the Élysée palace in Paris. Photograph: Christophe Ena/AP

Now, what Mr. Dion is looking forward to is having a comfortable little tete-a-tete with the "moderate" President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, just as Pope Francis has done, and just as France's President Francois Hollande has done at the Elysee Palace, so that he can beam with approval and satisfaction, nodding his head in agreement as Rouhani repeats what he stated in Mr. Hollande's presence:
"We must fight terrorism … We must help the Syrian people so that the Syrian people can build a sustainable future for the country. The main problem in Syria is not such and such person, the main issue is terrorism and Daesh", and of course, the al Quds Republican Presidential Guard corps, the Iranian proxy terrorist group Hezbollah and the Iran-sponsored Shiite militias helping to ravage the country and destroy its citizens' lives.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Bending Over Backward and Inside-Out

"We’ve also seen, most recently in Europe, a rise in inexcusable acts of anti-Semitism, or in some cases, anti-Muslim sentiment or anti-immigrant sentiment."
 "When people spew hatred toward others — because of their faith or because they’re immigrants — it feeds into terrorist narratives. … It feeds a cycle of fear and resentment and a sense of injustice upon which extremists prey."
"We have to ensure that our diverse societies truly welcome and respect people of all faiths and backgrounds."
"The terror campaigns between Sunnis and Shia will only end when major powers address their differences through dialogue … [when] political, civic and religious leaders [begin] rejecting sectarian strife."
"We all recognize the need for more dialogues across countries and cultures. … So let’s bring our youth together to promote understanding and cooperation. That’s what the United States will do with our virtual exchange program — named after Ambassador Chris Stevens — to connect 1 million young people from America and the Middle East and North Africa for dialogue."
U.S. President Barack Obama
President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism at the State Department in Washington Feb. 19, 2015. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
President Barack Obama speaks during the White House Summit on Countering Violent Extremism at the State Department in Washington Feb. 19, 2015. (REUTERS/Joshua Roberts)
"In the name of the government and the chancellor I can say quite clearly that there is no place in Germany for religious hatred, no matter which religion people belong to."
"There is no place for Islamophobia, anti-Semitism or any form of xenophobia or racism."
Angela Merkel’s spokeswoman Christiane Wirtz
Supporters of the PEGIDA movement, "Patriotische Europaeer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes," which translates to "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamification of the Occident" march during at a protest rally on October 12, 2015 in Dresden.
Supporters of the PEGIDA movement, "Patriotische Europaeer gegen die Islamisierung des Abendlandes," which translates to "Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamification of the Occident" march during at a protest rally on October 12, 2015 in Dresden.

There are a number of phrases encapsulating the connection between Islam and the world's fixation on protecting itself from manifestations of Islam's dictates to its faithful, the utterance of either in polite company assured that one will be branded intolerant at best, "Islamophobic" likely, and racist at the very worst. But it is an incontrovertible fact that not all Muslims are terrorists, yet most terrorists in today's world are Muslims.

In close association with that assertion is another: There can exist Islam sans Islamism, but not Islamism without Islam.

Wherever Islam is, there is the potential and the eventual likelihood of a pathological outbreak of hostility toward the non-Muslim world, evinced in ugly, often violent mass protests against incidents of disrespect toward the Prophet Mohammad, spoliation of a Koran, insults directed against Islam through the production of a video or a book in which someone questions the supposedly "peaceful nature" of Islam, or a newspaper publishing cartoons in questionable taste.

It is of little comfort to the kuffar detested by Islamists that Islam is the fastest-growing religion in the world, currently estimated to be 1.6-billion strong in the worldwide ummah, in many countries of the world on all continents of the globe. Where once Muslims lived and thrived in the countries conquered by Islamist hordes violently converting reluctant infidels to Islam, Muslims have long since migrated from many of their countries of origin, and often because they have been tyrannies afflicting their populations.

Muslims have for quite some time now migrated and infiltrated non-Muslim countries, and in the weight of their numbers, agitate for Sharia law, even while they have altered the welcoming country's culture and social mores to suit their own imported ones, bringing with them at the same time their ancient animosities toward others, most notably expressed through anti-Semitism and a distrust and rage toward the West.

In response, Western governments, long enlightened beyond the hostile strictures of religion's clutch on society and exclusion of those from other sects and other religions, practise a patient and forgiving attitude toward any disruption in the social code caused by disgruntled entitlements not rewarded. The current president of the United States equates reactions against Islamist threats with racism, and equally finds a balance between anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim feeling.

Both he and the German Chancellor Angela Merkel in their gentle socialist idealism chastise those who practise both.

Yet it is primarily the introduction of masses of Muslims into Western geography with its scorned values that has promoted the viral return of anti-Semitism on a scale not seen since pre-World War II. Even while Mr. Obama and Mrs. Merkel are acutely aware of this, they dismiss it airily for the simple reason that one won't credit it and the other does not want to believe it.

It is indisputable that most Muslims would not dream of becoming active jihadists, although the basic tenet of their religion espouses just that. The core number of violent jihadists is relatively minuscule in comparison to the entire number of Muslims worldwide, but if there are a mere several hundred thousand, that number of people dedicated to the destruction of the West and its core values are capable of committing wholesale destruction, and they do their best to do just that.

Another factor is that even those who do not engage in terrorism can count on the presence of groups supportive of their jihadist goals, since those goals are critical in Islam. To name two of the more influential groups operating with approval by their Western hosts, there is the Muslim Brotherhood and the CAIR organization, all of them Islamists using Western politics, law and public relations to label critics "Islamophobic".

And radiating out from that inner and middle core there is the much, much wider group of Muslims who don't support jihad and are not Islamist. Their belief in cultural practices which are inimical to Western values, however, place them alongside the middle core for the simple reason that Islamic values cannot mesh with those of the West. A Pew research finding revealed that 27 percent of Muslims supportive of Sharia -- 237 million people -- feel that apostates should be executed while 39 percent -- 345 million -- support honour killings of girls and women as justifiable.

Another 281 million Muslims in Muslim-majority countries support cutting off of hands and stonings to death to be appropriate punishment for behaviours proscribed in the Koran, such as female adultery and homosexuality. Of American Muslims, fewer than ten percent feel in agreement that terrorism is sometimes justified to defend Islam, in contrast to much larger numbers among European Muslims. But that ten percent of U.S. Muslims amounts to 300,000 people.

This is what is called food for thoughtful people to ruminate on.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Canada's Spanking New Prime Minister: Trudeau Redux

Trudeau greets refugees
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets newly-arrived Syrian refugees Lucie Garabedian, centre, her father Vanig Garabedian, second left, mother Anjilik Jaghlassian, second right, and sister Anna-Maria Garabedian, right, at Pearson International airport, in Toronto, on Friday, Dec. 11, 2015. (Nathan Denette / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
The new Liberal-led Government of Canada has a smiley-face and a chuckle for anyone who needs a  hug to brighten their outlook on the future, depressed and concerned over the state of the world's conflict areas. This is, after all, 2016, as the improbable new Prime Minister of Canada keeps trilling happily, and he and his Parliamentary team are bringing Canada back to its traditional role within the international community. Which is to say, the Liberal way.

Like his father before him, Justin Trudeau is certainly different. But where his father was an academic and an intellectual and a lawyer, Trudeau junior has another type of background altogether, although both were born with the proverbial silver spoon jammed securely where it counts. Both placed a huge value on money; Pierre Elliot Trudeau famously never spent a dime he didn't have to and went about with empty pockets so aides would pick up tabs for him.

His son established himself as a public speaker, picking up hefty speaking fees, based primarily on his name-recognition and the bold assertion that he had something worthwhile to impart to a devoted public willing and able to pay him for the privilege of being in his company. He distinguished himself academically - not at all, but he did give ski and snowboarding instruction at Whistler, B.C. And he did teach drama at a private boys' school.

And this background, his supporters felt, prepared him more than adequately to lead the Liberal Party of Canada back to its entitled executive seat of power in Parliament with him at its helm. He lost little time overturning all the initiatives both internal and external that the previous Conservative-led government under the able and distinguished former Prime Minister Stephen Harper committed to both at home and abroad.

While going about government business, he also arranged for several nannies to be paid out of public funds, for his wife appears to be too posh to tend to her three youngsters. Somewhat on the scale of her husband, who while being paid a handsome salary as a Member of Parliament, spoke for hefty fees as an MP to health, educational and other groups who felt they could profit by listening to his solutions to weighty problems. Don't worry, be happy.

They see nothing amiss in Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau wearing costly gems to social occasions, boosting the sales potential of the lending jewellers. Fancying themselves glittering celebrities with the kind of vaunted sex appeal that Hollywood is famed for, they haven't been averse to flaunting themselves as owning all the attributes that make for fame in that film capital; youth, flare and consummate thespian skills, cemented by a willingness to pose shamelessly and suggestively.

While in opposition he promised to divide his cabinet equally between the genders, and this he did, appointing two more women than the previous government had done, and congratulating himself warmly in the process. Mr. Trudeau was hell-bent to retrieve Canada's paltry but effective contribution to the U.S.-led war on Islamist violence in the Middle East, offering humanitarian aid as a more palatable substitute.

His new government's pledge to inundate Canada with tens of thousands of Syrian refugees without adequate security checks went somewhat awry, but they still congratulate themselves on the successes they see resulting from their fixation on rescuing victims but not protecting those victims from the violence their bloodthirsty dictator has imposed upon his population to begin with.

The world's attention swivelled from the butchery of Islamic State to the millions of Syrian refugees fleeing mostly Bashar al Assad, not the jihadi forces of the ISIL caliphate, to take in the plight of desperately fleeing Syrians, anxious to escape the regime's barrel bombs. Imagine the surprise when Syrian refugees were loathe to leave the camps for Canada, but that hardly stopped Mr. Trudeau from bragging in Davos to leaders who were suffering under the weight of impossible numbers of refugees.

Now, some issues among refugees are cropping up, mostly relating to the tight housing market in Canadian cities where suitable accommodation for their very large families is proving to be difficult to satisfy. Temporarily placed in hotels at taxpayer expense, all other expenses paid for as required, from food to health care, education and language training, families await houses with backyards for their children to play in.

"The problem is that we have kids and we would rather be outside in a settled house than sitting at a hotel", stated Zaneb Adri Abu-Rukti, in an interview with the CBC, speaking of the ten days her family has been put up in a hotel, when they'd been assured the hotel stay would be no longer than four days. Clearly, this is representative of Syrians who fled with their money intact, leaving behind the poorer Syrian refugees who harboured no lavish expectations.

Presumably, no one would want to inform this Syrian refugee that within Canadian society there are a great many people who would also like to be established in a house of their own, so their children too might have the privilege of feeling settled and well cared for. The "desperate" people awaiting rescue from "danger" don't appear to be those whom Canadian officials who flew to the Middle East to round up refugees, actually selected.

Many of whom now long to be returned from whence they came, since some have expressed just that opinion; that they would prefer to be back at the camps in Lebanon and Jordan. Whoever might have imagined?

Labels: , , , ,

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Flirting With The Deadly Crocodile

"The responsibility for the current crisis in Iraq can be partly attributed to Iran, whose unqualified support to the Assad regime in Syria, to the al-Maliki government in Iraq -- which alienated the country's Sunni minority -- and to terrorists in the region has led directly to the rise of extremist militant groups such as [ISIL]."
Iran now finds itself in a situation where it is directly threatened by extremist Sunni groups."
"Iran is not a genuine partner, either in Iraq or in the region, and will work to undermine Western interests at every opportunity."
Department of Foreign Affairs note to Canadian government

"Iran has a long history as a bad actor in the Middle East. Iran provides military assistance to the Assad regime in Syria. Iran's supreme leader routinely threatens the destruction of Israel."
Member of Parliament Peter Kent, Conservative foreign affairs critic

"If the purpose is to deter terrorism to protect Canadians ... then the numbers have to be high to achieve this function."
"The phenomenon of terrorism is an extraordinarily damaging thing, so why wouldn't there be extraordinary awards to deter terrorism and those who sponsor it?"
John Laskin, Toronto lawyer

"These awards are absolutely rationally related to what happened to these individuals [victims of terrorism]."
"Maybe if one of the 30,000 people who work for the Ministryof Information and Security [the Iranian intelligence agency], as it's called, had put their mind to this instead of financing terrorism that letter [registering Tehran's objections to the international lawsuit] could have bee sent."
John Adair, lawyer for victims of terrorism
The current Liberal government which won the October general election in Canada is doing everything it can to reverse as many of the previous Conservative-led government's initiatives and accomplishments on various levels. Under Prime Minister Stephen Harper's mandate, the government of Canada recalled its diplomatic staff from Tehran, closing its embassy there, and at the same time invited Iranian diplomatic staff to return to Iran and shutter its embassy in Ottawa.

The Conservative government then listed Iran as a state that supports Islamist terrorism, and took steps to freeze and confiscate Iranian assets in Canada that were not diplomatic holdings. Which has left the way open for 90 terror victims from the U.S. and Canada to appear at the Ontario Superior Court of Justice to launch a suit to collect on judgements upwards of $300-million as compensation from Iran for their suffering resulting from being targeted in terrorist attacks.

This is entirely legal, since the 2012 Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act permits claims to sharing Iran's assets in Canada [Iran's confiscated U.S. assets have already been distributed and exhausted] that have been officially confiscated as a result of the Islamic Republic of Iran's acknowledged sponsorship through training, equipping and financing groups such as their proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Hamas in Syria.

One of the claimants had been kidnapped, held in the trunk of a car blindfolded and chained, then finally released after 755 days as a hostage.

Iran has hired lawyers to defend itself, asserting Tehran's state and diplomatic immunity, arguing that American judgements are unenforcable in Canada, since the amounts granted were excessive. This all comes at an awkward time for the new Liberal government which is prepared, according to statements from Foreign Affairs Minister Stephne Dion, to lift some of the sanctions imposed by the previous government aainst Iran "in a speedy fashion".

A 'speedy fashion', somewhat akin to champing at the bit is what European countries have been taking to, at the long-awaited opportunity to begin operating in Iran now that the nuclear agreement has been finalized. The anxiety to renew trade and investment opportunities by European corporations in the giant oil-and-gas-producing, human-rights-defying, Islamist menace to world stability is evident in news items outlining the scramble to prostrate themselves before visiting President Hassan Rouhani.
Pope Francis and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during their private audience at the Vatican, Tuesday

Even Pope Francis has opened Vatican doors to the Iranian president.

"We'll do it in the proper fashion, and we'll do it [lifting of sanctions by Canada against Iran] in accordance [sic] with our allies", said Mr. Dion, "[retaining some sanctions] to be sure that Iran will not have the capacity to be involved in nuclear military measures. So we'll certainly be very, very responsible." And so, taking an incremental approach, Canada is preparing to restore diplomatic relations with the crocodile-smirking Iran.

Iran has been of the strongest supporters in Iraq fighting ISIL, where Iranian al-Quds Republican Guard Corps officers advise Iraqi forces, where Iranian pilots have flown airstrikes and Shiite militia groups organized by Iran have been fighting the Sunni Islamic State group. An Islamist jihadi terrorist group that is the Sunni equivalent of Hezbollah, totally loyal to its Shiite paymasters.

The very state entity that Canadian intelligence and Foreign affairs officials have pointed out is largely responsible for the appearance of ISIL to begin with.

Whose unrelenting support for the Alawite Shiite Baathist regime of Syrian President Bashar al Assad has enabled the tyrant to continue slaughtering Syrian Sunnis who have rebelled against their status as second-class citizens in their country of birth. Their five-year-long attempt to unseat Assad has resulted in the regime strafing, bombing, chemical-assaulting, barrel-bombing, starving out, torturing and blasting Sunni Syrian neighbourhoods to smithereens, with over a quarter of a million Syrian men, women and children perishing in the dread hell that has been imposed upon them.

Labels: , , ,

Enticing Saudi Arabia to Western Values? Beware Pious Sanctimony

"[Algonquin College has] chosen to align ourselves with the government of Canada, and that is to engage rather than isolate."
"I strongly believe that through education we will be doing our part in what we can do to change cultures in different countries."
Cheryl Jensen, president, Algonquin College

"Where exactly are the avenues for advocating change? And if there are none, they are essentially not engaging in any way that will improve human rights."
"This has been well documented and well research [the fallacy that education can improve human rights]. Part of what can prop up an authoritarian regime is economic prosperity. If an authoritarian regime can deliver a good economy, it actually legitimates their authority and can entrench it further."
Duff Conacher, political studies professor, University of Ottawa/Democracy Watch

"Where do you draw the line? We drew it on a case-by-case basis. The primary driver was -- do we see the country is committed to education? Do we see progress? If we see those two things, it gets on the list."
"Change isn't going to happen overnight, but certainly having a male campus and a female campus will help us even further to change the expectations of how education is delivered."
"Listen, we're not in the politics business. We're in the business of education. We get into discussions about critical thinking, but it doesn't necessarily mean we're talking about politics. We are there as educators, and we believe that education is one of the most powerful ways in which you can build a civil society, a prosperous community. That's the work we're doing. Leave the politics to other folks."
Doug Wotherspoon, head, international operations, Algonquin College

"[There may be value inherent to bringing technical education to students in a remote and backward area of Saudi Arabia [But don't play it as a human rights endeavour. It's a commercial endeavour."
"If you're going to say that is spreading human rights like Nelson Mandela, my reaction to that is a rather uncharitable one, which is to sit down to stop from laughing out loud."
Simon Henderson, specialist, Arab Persian Gulf states, The Washington Institute
Algonquin College's campus in Jazan
Algonquin College's campus in Jazan, Saudi Arabia, is pictured in this file photo. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)
The fact that Algonquin College and Niagara College operate men-only campuses in a backwater of Saudi Arabia was not widely reported prior to public outrage expressed over Saudi Arabia's most recent state mass execution of convicted terrorists, mostly Sunni, and a handful of Shiite Saudis, accused of terrorism related activities, some 47 in one fell swoop, mostly by firing squad, a few by hanging, others beheaded. This is typical Saudi justice, including the execution of a teen among them.

The Algonquin technical-training campus was opened in Jazan, Saudi Arabia in 2013. Its presence in the repressive, human-rights abusing country is portrayed as one that is strictly education-oriented, a kind of goodwill gesture from Canada to Saudi Arabia, but its purpose based on its function is to make a killing, a multi-million profit. In its first year of operation Algonquin did realize a rather modest profit of $79,000. But it has experienced complications since; Saudi students unprepared to learn in an unfamiliar new environment, and failing classes, resulting in an enrolment rate too low to operate at full capacity. In the second year of operation Algonquin lost $1.48 million.

The union representing Algonquin's faculty is calling for the college to exit Saudi Arabia. Algonquin professor Jack Wilson, a vice-president of the Ontario Public Service Employees Union representing Algonquin faculty makes hash of the platitudes inherent in education: "You can't be a tool for change if you don't have a receptive partner for change", he observed. And therein lies the unvarnished truth, that no kind of helpful collaboration could ever induce the Wahhabist Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to deviate from its deep Islamist devotion and execution of Sharia law.

Algonquin had placed a bid for a female college and another for a male and female college. It lost the bid for a female college and has pledged to resume that attempt. Saudi Arabia is extending an effort to improve education in the country and for that purpose has opened 18 female and 19 male colleges in the last several years. There are no equality rights for women in the country, and women attending college wearing burqas or niqabs do not furnish anyone's typical picture of a liberated and egalitarian society.

Labels: , , ,

Within Evil's Dark Malice

Embedded image permalink

  • In Poland, 2,900,000 Jews were exterminated; 88 percent of Polish Jews met their death during the Holocaust.
  • In Belorussia, 245,000 of its Jews were annihilated, representing 65 percent of its Jewish population.
  • In Bohemia/Moravia those numbers were 80,000 death, 89 percent of its Jewish demographic.
  • Germany itself collected a mere 55 percent of its Jewish citizens to murder 130,000 during the Final Solution. 
  • For Greece 65,000 of its Greek Jews were rounded up and slaughtered, representing 80 percent of its Jewish citizenry.
  • Although 90,000 French Jewish lives were extinguished, this number represented only 26 percent of its Jewish citizens.
  • Hungary sacrificed 70 percent of its Jews for a total of 450,000 murdered.
  • Italy under fascist Mussolini surrendered 20 percent of its Jews, where 7500 met their deaths.
  • Latvia managed to dispose of 77 percent of Latvian Jews when 70,000 were sent to death camps for disposal.
  • Lithuania exceeded Latvia's cleansing accomplishing a 94 percent death rate in the murder of 220,000 Lithuanian Jews.
  • The Netherlands handed over 106,000 Dutch Jews for a 76 percent clearance.
  • Slovakia rendered to the Final Solution an 80 percent majority of its Jews when 71,000 were exterminated.
  • Ukraine surrendered 60 percent of its Jewish population in the deaths of 900,000.
  • Yugoslavia, with a death rate of 80 percent of its Jews, waved off 60,000 into the death chambers.
  • Austria: 50,000/36%; Belgium: 25,000/60%; Bulgaria: 11,400/14%; Denmark: 50/1.3%; Finland: 7/2.8%; Great Britain: 130; Luxembourg: 1950/50%; Norway: 870/55%; Russia: 107,000/ll%; Romania: 270,000/33%.
Numbing numbers in their totality, difficult to comprehend let alone interpret as the reality of destroyed lives of men, women and children; the hale the halt and the infants among them. Solely because they were Jews. Deliberately to destroy the presence of Jews in Europe. Had the Axis powers triumphed the extermination program would have continued.

From 1941 to 1945 Britain interned on Mauritius 1500 Jews anxious to travel to Palestine. The British Navy sank a ship in 1939 with Jews attempting to enter Palestine. A number of Jews were deported by Britain to camps on the Channel Islands during its German occupation. Thousands of Jews were deported by Britain to Athlit and Cyprus; thousands more shipped to British internment camps, while some were deported to Germany.

Switzerland curtailed the flow of Jewish refugees into its embrace through a policy of refoulement enforced from 1938 until 1944. Still, some 30,000 found refuge in or passed through Switzerland, while 10,000 were turned away. Trains en route to concentration and death camps in the
East were routed through Switzerland, but its prewar Jewish population of 12,000 was withheld from the Nazis.

The black hell of the Holocaust was illuminated with occasional examples of the "Righteous Among the Nations", a Talmudic distinction describing any who risked themselves to help save others' lives, even utter strangers. Some distinguished themselves by responding to that inner call for compassion, like Oskar Schindler, while others hid Jews in their homes and others yet assisted Jews to cross borders toward safety, while diplomatic status was used on occasion to issue transit visas or grant citizenship to fleeing Jews.

These righteous hearts are honoured at Yad Vashem in Israel, and a tree is planted -- to honour each who valorously gave of themselves -- to express a living testimony to their heroism.


Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Horror of the Expected

"There is every reason to expect that IS, IS-inspired terrorists or another religiously inspired terrorist group will undertake a terrorist attack somewhere in Europe again, but particularly in France, intended to cause mass casualties among the civilian population."
"Without reliable intelligence on the intentions, activities and contacts and travels of known terrorists it is nearly impossible to exactly predict when and where the next terrorist attack will take place, and what form it will take."
"The attacks will be primarily directed at soft targets, because of the impact it generates. Both the November Paris attacks and the October 2015 bombing of a Russian airliner suggest a shift in ISIL strategy toward going global."
Europol agency

Europol has launched a new European Counter Terrorism Centre in The Hague, Netherlands. "The current threat demands a strong and ambitious response from the EU", announced Europol director Rob Wainwright of the new unit which will employ forty to fifty counterterrorism experts to work in intelligence-sharing, to track foreign fighters, and their sources of illegal financing and firearms.

It will also be tasked with aiding EU countries in their own counterterrorism activities and investigations.

A news conference in Amsterdam revealed that over 5,000 European Union nationals are now known to have been radicalized, shifting themselves from Europe and all that the West values and struggles to maintain, to the new caliphate with its jihadi forces determined to overturn those values which it challenges the West to preserve, against the blunt force power of Islamist Sharia law scheduled to arrive on the heels of a triumphant tide of popular Islamist political ideals.

There is, after all, a large and receptive audience awaiting its arrival. Not those who are eager and willing to be recruited into the active jihadi ranks to mete out punishment deserving to those who deny the power and the glory and the elevation of Islam worldwide, but those members of the Muslim umma who have already migrated to pave the wave of reception for the inevitable.

The danger of extremist violence is characterized by Europol as "the most significant in over ten years". Many of the recruits who have fought alongside other Muslim extremists in Iraq and Syria, pointed out Mr. Wainwright, have returned "home" to Europe, and obviously present as a clear and present danger to public safety. Not very comforting, in the extreme.

But in the proverbial instance of closing the barn door once the livestock has escaped, it should be recalled that Europe is well infiltrated with millions of Muslims.

These millions may wish to live in peace with their immediate neighbours, but Islam is exclusive unto itself, and Muslims tend not to integrate themselves in a generalized atmosphere of togetherness; for one thing their mullahs and imams most often remind them of their apartness and encourage distancing themselves from the social contract of the receiving countries.

Their values and their laws do not mesh neatly with those of Islam.

Quite a few independent analysts conjecture that with the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant losing ground in Iraq and Syria -- little thanks to those nations' incapable military  prowess and courage, and owing entirely to the entry of foreign forces [and the valorous responses of Kurdish militias] assembling a response to both the Syrian regime and the multifarious rebel factions as well as Islamist groups -- they have looked outward for victories, calling upon assistance from abroad.

ISIL commanders have responded, like those in the Sinai for whom no central command is required to inspire them to launch their own well-timed and -planned exercises in inspiring fear and loathing in the minds of their targets. An increasingly globalized Islamic State with its tentacles spread from Libya to Afghanistan, Gaza to Africa, Europe to North America is able to call upon active sympathizers to commit to their own audacious targeting of the kufar.

Labels: , , , , ,

() Follow @rheytah Tweet