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.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Malignantly Devious India : Trudeau Reveals All

"India has big plans: The government in New Delhi foresees investments of $4.5-trillion by 2040 on clean power, bridges, dams, roads and modern urban infrastructure. Leaders from Europe, South Korea, China and Japan are sharply focused on Indian markets, and their country delegations are making significant inroads."
"Canada, in spite of its deep expertise in infrastructure development, as well as its much-touted Sikh diaspora, is struggling to improve trade with India -- currently a minuscule $8 billion a year, nearly the same volume as its daily business with the United States."
"In 2010, the Stephen Harper government initiated negotiations with India and proposed a landmark Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement [CEPA] between the two countries. The modalities of CEPA have been debated and negotiated ad nauseum, and Trudeau's visit could have resulted in a breakthrough, a true feather in the prime minister's cap."
Gurprit S. Kindra, professor, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa

"When one of our top diplomats and security officials says something to Canadians [it is 'not an accident' that the Indian government removed Atwal from a blacklist of people blocked from obtaining visas to travel to the country -- and that it would be convenient for some in India's government to embarrass Trudeau with Sikh separatism] it's because they know it to be true. [It was the previous Conservative government that] torqued the public service every possible way they could."
"[Canada's national security agencies and police services are trusted by government.] They continue to do an excellent job."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Preparing chappati for a communal vegetarian meal. Picture: Amritsar District Public Relations Officer
Preparing chappati for a communal vegetarian meal. Picture: Amritsar District Public Relations OfficerSource:AFP

So there it is in full, the admission from Mr. Dress-Up that whatever befell his trade mission to India -- where he hauled along four Sikh Cabinet ministers, corporate leaders, an Indo-Canadian chef (to teach Indians Indo-Canadian haute cuisine), a reporting pool and various hangers-on along with his perfect Canadian wife and three photogenic children -- lest we forget an extensive wardrobe worthy of any Bollywood film studio -- for those endless photo-ops persuading a vote-demographic in Canada this government has their interests in mind, was the responsibility of an odious Indian government conspiracy.

The government of jovial, genial, sharp-witted Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to manipulate his Canadian counterpart to portray himself as a dress-up clown, forewarning famed Bollywood actors to dress in formal Western suits while encouraging the Trudeaus to garb themselves in Bollywood couture, to capture this virtuously sensitive family in blatant cultural and religious cross-stream shameless appropriation when all that was meant was a true appreciation of Indian culture and religion manifested by a deep and abiding sense of admiration.

With Bollywood star Shan Rukh Khan. Picture: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP.
With Bollywood star Shan Rukh Khan. Picture: Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press via AP.Source:AP

So deeply involved was the Canadian Prime Minister in efforts to convince the Indian sub-continent of his esteem and veneration that he chose with great deliberation and sacrifice to Canadian trade ambitions, to jettison business and government meetings to advance trade issues between the two countries and to focus instead on building cultural and educational ties as a symbol of his undying regard -- hoping to deepen respect between the two cultural giants, of which Justin Trudeau is a leading product of Canada's.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters     Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, wife Sophie Gregoire, daughter Ella Grace and son Xavier pose for photographers during their visit to the holy Sikh shrine of Golden temple in Amritsar, India on Feb. 21, 2018. 

To the keen eye of the observer no one in India expressed a fervent wish to persuade the Trudeaus to make India their permanent home in a bid to enrich their culture and the efficiency of their government; now there's the slight to Canada. And lest Canadians be led to believe the calumnies in the House of Commons led by opposition politicians, Trudeau's trade mission did indeed reach some admirable milestones, as for example an important investment package to produce "over a billion dollars of investment in Canada", but oops, 3/4 of the funds is represented by Canadian investment in India.

Canada's goodwill was forcibly squandered by an unappreciative India, unaccountably fixated on their perception of Canada as a haven and support for Sikh Khalistanis just because the Canadian High Commission invited a convicted attempted murderer, Khalistani Indo-Canadian Jaspal Atwal, to a formal dinner at the High Commission with Trudeau et al. And photo-ops, always photo-ops, with the Liberal supporter and convicted B.C. assassin posing with Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, flaunting Canada's forgiving nature while flouting India's conviction that Trudeau's government is comprised of juvenile delinquents.

While Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was busy launching the "trillion dollars" infrastructure investment summit taking place in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, the Canadian trade mission's minister of infrastructure was showing off his homespun skills, baking chapatis at the Amritsar Harimandir Sahib alongside his boss's efforts in the same venue. Business leaders representing competing foreign countries were negotiating and signing deals for expanded trade with India while Trudeau was exchanging thespian experiences with Bollywood stars.

And then, after a week of fun and games Trudeau was ready to introduce his cute and cuddly children to Prime Minister Modi, a nice, friendly get-together with plenty of warm hugs all around. To cap off the Trudeau family vacation, don't you see? A memorable time with oodles of photos to recall all the fascinating and fun episodes indulged in at some later date. Maybe on another trip to the Agha Khan's private island for a much-needed rest and retreat from the rigors of government administration in advancing Canada's trade future abroad.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hugs PM Narendra Modi at the ceremonial reception at Rashtrapati Bhawan on Feb. 23, 2018 in New Delhi, India. Hindustan Times via Getty Images

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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Vladimir Putin's Word as Good as His Deeds

"We don't believe that this truce will bring any benefits for the civilians inside Eastern Ghouta. Five hours is not enough to do anything."
"This truce doesn't mean that we NGOs there will have any access to bring any items inside Eastern Ghouta."
"The only access is the UN inter-agency convoys. Their access there is very limited due to the restrictions from the Syrian government."
"Only ten convoys entered Ghouta in 14 months and those convoys brought less than 10-percent of the needs."
Dr Mohamad Katoub, Turkey-based doctor, Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS)

"I went outside but only for a while."
"After half a minute of this ceasefire, shells were dropped. Even if anyone tries to leave, he will be shot by the snipers of the regime checkpoint."
Firas Abdullah, physician, Ghouta Media Center
Smoke rises from the besieged rebel-held Eastern Ghouta, Syria, on 27 February 2018

  Russian media said not a single civilian left the besieged Eastern Ghouta on Tuesday    AfP
So after balking and prevaricating and demanding changes to the draft, laying out the terms of a temporary ceasefire in Syria all thirteen members of the United Nations Security Council, including permanent member Russia, signed on. There remains, it seems, a few inconvenient issues of non-agreement. Resulting in Vladimir Putin defying the ceasefire ordination he had himself signed, ordering a series of daily brief ceasefires in Eastern Ghouta in place of the 30-day truce meant to take in all of Syria.

The intensive bombing campaign that moved into its second week keeps killing hundreds of civilians and among them, children in too-large numbers for civilized onlookers to bear. But evidently not enough to persuade Mr. Putin that his alliance with Syria's regime content to butcher its own is less than worthy of a decent government. He will do no more than permit daily five-hour "humanitarian pauses", from 9:00 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day.

Out of the goodness of its large, comforting heart, Russia is prepared to set up a "humanitarian corridor" (the word 'humanitarian' fitting large into Russia's generosity of spirit) permitting some of the 400,000 civilians shrivelled in fear and privation within Eastern Ghouta to take the opportunity to leave the area in favour of taking refuge in regime-held neighbourhoods. Where their unending persecution will take on other manifestations of disfavour by the regime?

Despite the unanimous vote to impose a month-long nationwide ceasefire across Syria, Moscow has its own reading of the situation and the decision it signed onto. The UN demand that aid be allowed to enter besieged areas as well as medical teams enabled to evacuate the wounded appears to have slipped by Putin's intentions. Residents in Eastern Ghouta are desperately in need of an opportunity to temporarily at least exit rudimentary basement bomb shelters in search of food and supplies.

The daily ceasefire would begin on Tuesday and would last from 9am until 2pm each day
The daily ceasefire would begin on Tuesday and would last from 9am until 2pm each day, Russia said   The Telegraph

"The Russians are laughing at the world", one medic responded. "They don't care about human blood and they don't care about the resolution of the UN Security Council. We don't rely much on the dead conscience of Russia", spat out Haitham, sheltering in a basement with his four-year-old son. Under ongoing aerial attacks and ground fighting raging between rebel forces and regime troops, the civilian population see little relief from the latest Security Council ceasefire vote.

And nor has there been any end to chlorine gas attacks, the latest leaving paramedics and civilians alike with breathing difficulties, reported the White Helmets and the Ghouta Media Center. According to the Syrian American Medical Society working with doctors in Syria, this marked the fourth episode of its type this year, with chemical weapons used in Ghouta. It was also confirmed that 24 health facilities came under attack in the last week.
"[Russia and all other Security Council members are] obliged [to do everything possible to implement the UN resolution]."
"[The Russian announcement of five-hour daily pauses in Eastern Ghouta] is not compliance, that is not implementation of the resolution passed on Saturday, but it does show that it can be implemented."
Jonathan Allen, British ambassador to the United Nations
AFP/Getty Images
Syrian children and adults receive treatment for a suspected chemical attack at a makeshift clinic in the rebel held village of al-Shifuniyah in the Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus late Sunday.   Hamza Al-Ajweh/AFP/Getty Images

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Monday, February 26, 2018

Frivolous Conceit in a Background of Debauched Humanity

"These numbers [on a preferred SIM card] are a language. A man makes calculations for what will make him successful in life or in business."
"Among them is what his phone number says about him."
"It says he has taste. It also says he's loaded. It gives him optimism. It gives him prestige."
Haider Mohamed, 45, cellphone dealer specializing in 'distinguished' phone numbers: "World of Distinction" shop

"This number gives the impression that I am distinguished, which helps me get business, especially among officials in the state ministries who I am dealing with."
"If I call them from a regular number, they wouldn't answer my call but when they see this number, they can't ignore it because they know a VIP is calling them."
"I am always keen on carrying the latest iPhone and having latest Land Cruiser. The phone number completes the prestige."
Essa Sultan, 47, Iraqi contractor

"A friend of mine has a distinguished number that helps him get many girls."
"So I thought of trying it, but I was stunned by the prices. Some numbers are even more expensive than fancy cars."
Hussam al-Zaidi, 29, Iraqi
Corruption in Iraq extends to cellphone numbers
Corruption in Iraq extends to cellphone numbers   thebaghdadpost

In a country where just a few years ago the vicious ferocity of sectarian hatreds pitted Shiite Muslims against Sunnis, where entire neighbourhoods were subjected to 'cleansings' of the factions claimed by the others as impure in Islam whose penalty should be death, and where resulting from the Medieval-era brutality of the assaults minority Sunni former members of Iraq's Saddam-era military leaders gathered to form the final jihadist-inspired Islamist terrorism group, Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant whose atrocities horrified the world at large, the society has adopted a culture of elitism.

A nation fragmented by its incapacity to rise above the tribal mentality generating hatred, resentment and violence resulting in a nation-wide bloodbath, finding purpose in posing as cultured and influential through the access of SIM cards affording them the appearance of prestige and power and glamour. Is this a psychological coping mechanism resulting from the breakdown of civilized society, or the measure of a tribal, theocratic society with no ethical, moral yardstick of what constitutes enduring human values?

Evidently in a number of countries of the Middle East owning telephones with very special numbers conveys the impression of status, sophistication. The ownership of such a numbered telephone that is unique and draws attention is viewed as a savvy entrepreneur, an ambitious power-broker, admired and influential. It is in Iraq in particular, however, where the desire to own a luxury telephone number has elevated its acquisition into power status and explosively costly to acquire.

Mr. Sultan, the contractor, acquired his special number in 2009, paying $1,200 for it. It is distinguished by ending with six number sevens. Its value has soared to $10,000, but Mr. Sultan has no intention of parting with his very special numbered phone. It is essential as an elegant tool.

Essa Mohsen, 44, believes himself to have been personally responsible for inflated SIM card prices; he is "the King of Distinguished Numbers"; his shop boasts that very name. His stock of 2,000 distinctive cards, valued up to $3,000 is in high demand. He identifies former prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's two numbers valued at over $10,000 each. Major General Fadhil Jamil al-Barwari of the elite American-trained Counter Terrorism Service, possessed a number whose value is at least $38,000 reflecting its consecutive zeros.

Mr. Mohsen has been commissioned to acquire a rare number for $120,000. This particular phone number is imbued with seven consecutive zeros and is possessed by a police officer in Kirkuk, but the officer refused the offer of $120000, proffered by a television baron. "He cherishes it. Just like wine, the older it gets, the more valuable it becomes", Mohson explained of the reluctance of the police officer to relinquish his special number even for the amount offered.

At the elite governmental level, SIM cards with distinguished numbers were given to politicians as a way of bypassing endemic corrupt graft, currying favour by presenting these desired numbers where the cards were viewed as laundering bribes, to be traded for cash. According to dealers, many of their regulars are assistants to Iraqi politicians and military officers who come to them to sell the valuable SIM  cards given as gifts to their bosses.

The cards capable of attracting big money are recognized as "presidential numbers". Haider Mohamed, owner of the shop "World of Distinction" in central Baghdad, claims he had once traded a particularly 'beautiful' number to a businessman for a $60,000 Lexus.

An artificial societal prestige symbol for a people lacking a moral base, absent values, seeking to advantage themselves through impressing others possessing the very same culturally debased ideation.

Golden 40,000 IQD Example: 78XXAABBCC
Golden plus 80,000 IQD Example: 78XXABCABC
Platinum 160,000 IQD Example: 78XXXXAAAA
Platinum plus 280,000 IQD Example: 78XXAABBBB
Diamond 800,000 IQD Example: 78XXAAAAAX
Diamond plus 1,600,000 IQD Example: 78XXXAAAAA

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Sunday, February 25, 2018

Damaging Damage Control

"I believe the prime minister either needs to substantiate these claims, that elements within the Indian government have played an active role in embarrassing our prime minister, or he needs to disavow these statements."
"The implications of saying that elements in the Indian government have played a role in this are profound."
"Either there are reasons for Canadians to be very concerned and obviously the prime minister and other officials have known about this [convicted and sentenced Indo-Canadian Sikh terrorist taken off an Indian government blacklist] for some time, in which case I think it needs to be expounded upon and Parliament needs to be advised. Or this is a wild accusation, not based on facts, in which case the prime minister has allowed a major diplomatic incident to happen."
Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, Canadian House of Parliament

"On Saturday, Indian government officials were angry at suggestions by Canadian officials that India was responsible for Khalistani terrorist Jaspal Atwal getting a visa to India and used his presence to embarrass Trudeau."
"[On the contrary, the Atwal invitation to attend a Trudeau entourage dinner at the Canadian High Commission] was part of a number of Trudeau's own events that did not involve the Indian government at all."
"[Prime Minister Trudeau's state visit/family holiday represented a] disaster that has little parallel in India's recent diplomatic history."
The Times of India
Still from video where Justin Trudeau assures Indian Prime Minister Modi that Canada is prepared to fight back against religious terrorism

"We know each other. He knows my name, he'll come and say, 'Hey Jas, how you doing?' We have a good relationship I never see any problem,."
"But now he says, 'Oh Jaspal's not supposed to be here, this and that.' It surprised me."
"I don't know why he's [B.C. MP Randeep Sarai, Surrey Center] taking all the responsibility; he had nothing to do with that [Atwal's invitation to attend dinner and other events."
"The high commissioner, they're the one giving the invitation. Everyone's name goes through CSIS and the RCMP."
"India's government has nothing to do with anything."
"I don't want to see our prime minister embarrassed. I will not come to Delhi, so please take me off the list. This is what I told them [Liberal party official in New Delhi]."
Jaspal Atwal, post-India trip, Surrey, British Columbia
Jaspal Atwal, Amarjit Sohi
The appearance of Jaspal Atwal, right, a B.C. man with Liberal ties who was convicted in the 1980s of the attempted murder of a Punjabi politician, was a huge embarrassment that threatened to derail the trip. He was photographed at one event with Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi, left, as well as Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, and was disinvited from another. (Name of person who submitted photo withheld upon request)

Damage control has gone into overtime in the Prime Minister's Office. Trouble is, everyone involved is as left-footed as the blundering egotist they're trying to protect. None of what they claim is true, and the truth is that the Liberal party, and the Prime Minister of Canada are comfortable in the presence of individuals who have distinguished themselves as enemies of another state, even those fundamentalists given to violence who were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Indo-Canadians. They have influence among their followers; they are vote-guarantors.

No one, presumably was meant to notice the presence of a Sikh extremist among all the cozy attendees of various events celebrating Justin Trudeau's scintillating presence at the Canadian High Commission, during his India trip, where his prancing idiotic little infantile dance in Bollywood garb appeared to thrill onlookers admiring of this man who, wherever he goes on the international circuit embarrasses both himself and by extension, Canada and citizens of Canada.
Trudeau India 20180221
Trudeau and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, left, met with Chief Minister of Punjab Amarinder Singh in Amritsar on Wednesday, a meeting that initially helped ease Indian concerns about Canada's stance on extremism. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

Indian government concerns that Canada, under Justin Trudeau, will do nothing to disrupt a resurgence of Sikh separatist conspiracies against India appear to be fully justified by the imbecilic performance that Trudeau engaged in throughout his eight-day family junket to India, where he felt he could show off Canada's embrace of its huge Indo-Canadian population through the elevation of elected Members of Parliament to important positions in Trudeau's extremely select Liberal cabinet.

Through sheer unadulterated ineptitude and rank stupidity, Trudeau has succeeded in justifying Indian authorities' concerns over Canada's real position with respect to Khalistani separation groups within Canada once again, whipping the embers of potential violence into the atmosphere, re-igniting passions in Canada and elsewhere, victimizing an important member of the British Commonwealth. That Canadian government officials are now busy spreading their version of a conspiracy against Canada hatched by Indian authorities is beyond belief.

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Trudeau On The World Stage : How're We Doing?

"If they had Googled the name, this guy would have shown up in two seconds."
"They obviously decided they were going to do things differently and put their guy out there. But this has done irreparable damage to the relationship [between Canada and India]."
Garry Keller, former chief of staff, foreign affairs, Canada
"This was an opportunity to get Canada to lean away from rival China at a time of high Sino-Indo tensions."
"Yes, Trudeau looks pretty silly in his outfits. The Atwal invite was a mind-boggling dumb political blunder. But if this ends bad, I’m not sure India gains anything out of it, even if they think they are sending a stern message. It’s lose-lose when eyes should be focused on China."
Stephanie Carvin, national security analyst, professor, Carleton University
Trudeau calls India tour ‘excellent’ despite controversy over invite to Sikh extremist

The Prime Minister's Office and Justin Trudeau's legion of defenders have been attempting to insinuate that the security failure in inviting a known felon, a man who belonged to an outlawed terrorist group and who was convicted of attempted murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison, whom a former Indo-Canadian premier of British Columbia and fervent critic of Sikh extremism accused of beating him almost to death to a state affair at the Canadian High Commission reflects a plot planned by India.

However, the truth is that this man, a stalwart supporter of the Liberals, an Indo-Canadian Sikh, Jaspal Atwal, although well known in the Sikh community, and whose activities have been closely followed by the RCMP appears to have a well-received presence within the Liberal party, his criminal past notwithstanding. Surrey Centre MP Randeep Sarai, knows him well, and was the one who extended the invitation for this convicted felon to appear alongside the Trudeaus on their India trip.

A more inconvenient juxtaposition could barely be imagined, immediately following Justin Trudeau's assurances of Canadian non-tolerance for terrorism, to both the first minister of the Punjab who had accused the current Canadian government of giving aid and comfort to Khalistani separatists in Canada, and to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who had approached the Canadian Prime Minister on more than one occasion to express his unease at Canada's stance with respect to Khalistani provocations out of Canada.

Justin Trudeau's infantile preening while in New Delhi, playing  the colourful tourist impudently engaging in cultural sartorial misappropriation would have been vociferously denounced as racist imperialism had anyone but himself engaged in these disrespectful shenanigans. It was the thespian, the self-absorbed megalomaniac in Trudeau that had come to the fore. A man who had once taught
drama classes at a private school in Vancouver, now Prime Minister, delighting in meeting Bollywood actors in dress-up -- he and his family, that is; the Indian actors wore respectful Western-style suits.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, daughter, Ella-Grace, and son, Xavier, visit Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, India, on Monday.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau with his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, daughter, Ella-Grace, and son, Xavier, visit Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad, India, on Monday. (Sam Panthaky/AFP/Getty Images)  Delhi journalist Shivam Vij: "You know, this whole thing about Justin Trudeau being so handsome has been taken over with 'Hello, what's with the clothes?'"

Back when Russian President Boris Yeltsin strode the world stage, usually half-cut, eliciting gasps of amused disbelief from watchers as he spontaneously acted out his peculiar impulses to relax formality by performing all manner of inappropriate-to-his-station skits of droll proportions, his clumsy but demeaning-to-his-office behaviour brought huge embarrassment to his country. Russians do enjoy their hard liquor -- they are usually more discreet in public; Putin by comparison, shuns it.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, on the other hand, lives in a perpetual state of arrested adolescence, he simply cannot rise above his self-veneration, his touching belief that he can do no wrong, that he is the world's premier admired gallant and defender of the weak and the vulnerable. He clamours righteously for the world to become more 'feminist' as he has done, he speaks volumes of his dedication to the working class, to equality rights for the alt-gendered. His pretense at being middle-class and socialist in spirit belies his love of opulence, wealth and ostentation.

His free-spirited public show of all of that in India doesn't appear to have impressed either the Indians, Canadians, or the outside world looking in with great bemusement on these revelations. There is another side to this man's agenda, however, that is more troubling; that he lends his position and prestige to meeting with unsavoury personages, from outlawed terror group leaders (Tamil Tigers, Khalistani separatists), to purported Afghan hostages who happen to be criminals, as example.

For no effort however puzzlingly unseemly, is too far a road to travel when the prospect of votes arise as a result. Little puzzlers like Trudeau's affection and support for the Castro brothers in Cuba, his fascination with the Communist Chinese Politburo, that can turn political matters 'on a dime', his stated willingness to restore diplomatic ties with the Islamic Republic of Iran, an exporter of terrorism and exemplar of internal persecution of its public. Trudeau will turn up at mosques in Canada visibly celebrating extremism.

He has sent Liberal parliamentary secretary for foreign affairs Omar Alghabra, to attend a meeting of the world’s largest group of Islamic countries at the 44th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in Cote d'Ivoire, last July. Canada, lest anyone be uncertain, is not, has never been, and possibly never will be a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, a matter which appears to have slipped Trudeau's notice.

Canada's Department of Global Affairs was asked if Alghabra would be speaking at the conference as a guest, raising the topic of Islamophobia; the response was that he planned to address "ways to promote diversity and counter anti-Muslim discrimination". Scheduled, at the same opportunity, according to Global Affairs, to "articulate[ing] a position in line with our foreign policy which includes the protection and promotion of the rights of women and girls around the world", symbolic of Canada's nobility, one certain to impress the OIC.

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Friday, February 23, 2018

An Indigestible Acquittal

"She wants peace. She wants healing. She wants justice and we're going to continue to look for justice on her behalf."
"Justice was not served today. My community of Sagkeeng will be hurting as I go home today. The people in this country need to know Tina [Fontaine] was loved by everybody."
"The [justice] system has failed our people. We need to correct that. We need to right that for all the Indigenous people in this world."
Sagkeeng Chief Derrick Henderson
see caption
September 2013 school photograph -- Tina Fontaine

The young aboriginal woman, a teenager of 15 who had literally 'lost her way' in life, weighed all of 72 pounds. Her body was discovered, decomposing in the Red River outside of Winnipeg, wrapped in a duvet cover and a plastic bag. The duvet cover was one which witnesses claimed to be similar to one owned by the man accused of murdering her in 2014, and latterly on trial. Forensics could not establish the cause of her death, DNA evidence washed away by her eight days submerged in the river.

It took the jury eleven hours of deliberation to reach their conclusion of insufficient evidence leaving doubt that the 54 year old Raymond Cormier, charged in her death a year after the discovery of her body, was guilty of the girl's murder. She was a girl, her age of fifteen marking her as under-age for sexual exploitation, and Raymond Cormier had indulged himself, having sex with her, claiming he had no idea how old she was.

He had allowed Tina and her boyfriend to stay in his lodgings and provided them with drugs before having sex with her. Tina had left her home at the Sagkeeng First Nation an hour and a half drive north of Winnipeg, ostensibly to look for her mother. Tina had been raised by a great-aunt on the reserve that was her home. Evidently her father had recently died, murdered, and Tina felt traumatized, deciding to leave to join her mother in Winnipeg.

There were secret recordings made by police admitted into evidence at the trial. Although no DNA evidence linked the man on trial to the decomposing body and an autopsy failed to determine the cause of the girl's death, the words that came out of Raymond Cormier's mouth should have helped to convict him of her murder. Undercover investigators had bugged Cormier's apartment. There was a recording of him speaking to a woman that he would bet Tina was killed because of his having had sex with her: "I found out she was 15 years old".

Another recording had him arguing with a woman that there was a little girl in a "grave someplace screaming at the top of her lungs for me to finish the job. And guess what? I finished the job". Tina did scream at Cormier, accusing him of stealing her bicycle to pay for drugs. In the care of social services in Winnipeg, they had placed her in a Winnipeg hotel, and then she disappeared. To live on the street, it seems, where she was sexually exploited.

All 15 years of her, all 72 pounds of the girl, all the hurt and disappointment of her life, abandoned by her mother, raised by a relative, experiencing the trauma in the murder of her father, failed by social services and her own confusion over how life should be a promising future for a girl of fifteen. There was sufficient incriminating evidence to hold this despicable man for her murder, but evidently not sufficient enough.

"There are two distinct questions. Was Tina Fontaine's death caused by an unlawful act? Did Raymond Cormier commit the unlawful act? The defence is saying you should say no to both." Only if they are satisfied -- stressed Chief Justice Glenn Joyal in his final isntructions to the jury -- that her death was unlawful must they determine if it was Cormier who was responsible for her death.Yet simply because the cause of her death was undetermined it should not be inferred her death was lawful. Evidence, he said, indicated the unlikelihood she had died of an overdose or had committed suicide.

Her body, after all, had been wrapped and weighted down by rocks. Experts testified they had no idea how she died. The jury, according to legal experts, could convict her accused killer despite a lack of physical evidence. "It is not a requirement that there be physical evidence of a crime in order for a conviction to be entered. A case can be built of circumstantial evidence. But there has to be -- enough to remove any reasonable doubt on the part of the jurors", stressed criminologist Steven Kohn of the University of Winnipeg.

The jury, unfortunately, failed Tina Fontaine.

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Thursday, February 22, 2018

South Africa: Spiting Itself

"The Western Cape is about to reach Day Zero, when the taps will run dry. The Israeli government approached the ruling ANC party to offer solutions years ago, but the ANC turned them down and adopted a pro-Palestinian stance."
"This petition demands that the ANC cease importing the politics of the Middle East and taking an anti-Israel unilateral stance. We demand that the South African government commence immediate talks with Israel to ask for help with solving our water crisis."
Cape Town petition of desperation

"The rug has been pulled from the Israeli ambassador, who will not be able to exploit our very serious water crises for his own cheap publicity and whitewashing of his regime."
"Israeli water technology is not unique or special; such technology is widely available through other more friendly countries."
South African wing, Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS)
Sorek Desalination Plant, Israel is located about 15km south of Tel Aviv, Israel and opened in October 2013 with a seawater treatment capacity of 624 000m³/day, making it world's biggest seawater desalination plant.
Image credit: Wordpress

"The Western Cape is the only province in the country run by the official opposition party, the Democratic Alliance ... this means that the relationship between national government and the Western Cape is complicated, as the water crisis shows."
"Two tiers of governance – the Western Cape province and the City of Cape Town – went above and beyond what was required to prepare for drought. The system failed, however, at the level of national government."
"Wasteful expenditure in the national department of water and sanitation, erroneous water allocations to agriculture and a failure to acknowledge or respond to provincial and municipal help obstructed timely interventions."
"National government’s numerous spanners jammed up the works of a system that could have managed the crisis quite effectively."
David W Olivier, ‘Cape Town’s water crisis: driven by politics more than drought’

"There is nothing Israel can do to save Cape Town right now ... it takes two to three years to build a desalination plant and there is no quicker solution than that. The only thing Capetonians can do is to reduce consumption and save water, in order to get us to winter."
"Israel has never offered South Africa a free desalination plant, but its companies have been invited to tender and its assistance has never been formally turned down."
"There is no doubt that corruption has led to the collapse of infrastructure."
DA [Democratic Alliance] councillor Errol Anstey, Capetown
Cape Town has started down the road of desalination. Shutterstock
It is certainly not for lack of trying that Israel's efforts to convince South Africa it could be effective in stemming the inevitable tide of water shortage in Cape Town, much less in all of South Africa has ultimately failed. For years the previous Israeli Ambassador to South Africa appealed to President Jacob Zuma and his cabinet to allow Israeli technology, the best in the world in desalinization, to build badly needed plants for South Africa. The result has been a total spurning of Israel's offers.

Now Cape Town, the second-largest city in South Africa, a tourism draw and a major developed city, is on the cusp of being without water. Its three-year-old drought in Western Cape province where Cape Town is the provincial capital and economic powerhouse has brought the dams which the city is reliant on for its water to a perilously low supply level. No rain is forecast for the near future. But this is not an emergency that has recently emerged with no warning. An escalating water shortage has been a reality for decades.

The alarm was sounded about the city's looming crisis over two years ago; ample time to plan, develop and implement an effectively responsive plan of action to meet the challenge. The time is now fast approaching when the dams reflect a 13.5 percent capacity and the water authority will be mandated to turn off all taps across the city. That date is expected to arrive early in June. It was slated for arrival two months earlier, but stringent conservation methods reduced daily water use below 550 million litres from over a billion litres, resulting in a two-month reprieve.

Moody's ratings agency has warned of a likely credit downgrade on the basis that in recognition of the city's income inequality the water crisis may trigger a threat to social order. As the only South African province not controlled by the African National Congress, the Western Cape is governed by the opposition Democratic Alliance, a liberal party reflecting the membership of liberal whites, "Cape Coloured", ethnic groups and urban, educated blacks fed up with the ANC's corruption and mismanagement.

The national government, hoping that Cape Town's threat on the water issue would reflect badly on the opposition party and lead to its failure linking it to the water failure, disregarding the simple fact that water-supply infrastructure is an obligation of the national government, not a provincial government blithely ignored the coming crisis. The ANC government did little to plan effectively for badly needed new water infrastructure, as a result. That, along with the ANC's ideological identity caused the avoidance of its responsibilities.

The linkage is clear in that Israel's ambassador to South Africa two years earlier was slated to address an international conference on South Africa's water  crisis to be held in Johannesburg. As the global leader in water conservation, recycling and irrigation and its offer of cutting-edge desalinization technology, this would have been the time to make important decisions. Instead, the conference was cancelled, reflecting political pressure from the BDS South African wing.

Despite the constant snubs, the former and the current Israeli ambassadors continued to offer aid in Cape Town's water crisis only to be rebuffed each time. Since the South African government has signed on to boycotting Israel in solidarity with the Palestinian cause, the issue remained in limbo. Hamas took part in the ANCs National Conference in December and it was at that conference that the ANC made their decision to downgrade the status of South Africa's embassy in Israel to a "liaison office" and an announcement of intent was made triumphantly public.

The citizens of South Africa and those living in Cape Town will pay the price. Israel's expertise reflecting 70 years of research, benefits not only Israel itself, but the Palestinians and Jordan both of which in the midst of an arid desert environment, are provided with water security provided to them through Israeli auspices. And they are not the only countries of the Middle East which have turned to Israel for the technology to benefit themselves in water security.

Cape Town is now in the throes of building desalinization plants, but they will not be on stream for years, while the city will be facing the dilemma of its extreme shortage in the very immediate future, swiftly approaching. And even when those plants are built, there and elsewhere in South Africa, some experts believe they will be unable to provide all of the water that the country requires.

Solidarity forever.

Cities like Cape Town may now have to rely on desalination to help them survive drought.
Morgana Wingard/Getty Images

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Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Snubbed Canadian Thespian : Justin Trudeau, Making Friends and Influencing Prime Minister Narendra Modi

"A veteran Indian diplomat said in his long experience with bilateral visits, he had never experienced a trip of this nature, where the visiting dignitary spent so little time in official engagements with counterparts in the Indian government."
"[Though wishing to remain anonymous lest he appear] churlish [this diplomat is extremely puzzled that a junior minister was dispatched to greet Trudeau]."
Hindustan Times

"The beautiful photogenic Trudeaus went to see the Taj Mahal in Agra, where they were welcomed not by the provincial chief minister, not even a junior minister, but by district officials."
"There seems to be no end to the Indian snubbing of the Canadians, even as the Trudeaus are trying their best to disarm the Indians with a charm offensive."
"India has often accused Canada of sheltering Sikh separatists. Sikhs in Canada form a voting bloc for Trudeau, so much so that he even attended a Khalsa Day parade organized by a radical Gurudwara [Sikh temple] in Toronto. Some Sikh Gurudwaras in Canada have also barred the entry of Indian diplomats."
"For Trudeau, this trip is all about the Sikh vote in Canada. Ironically, Trudeau's visit was meant to mend fences with India, given that India has made clear its disapproval of Trudeau's appeasement of Sikh separatists. It's the sort of thing, India fears, that could reignite Sikh extremism in Indian Punjab."
"Trudeau has to choose between not reigniting Sikh separatism in India and keeping some of his voters happy. He can't have both. If India were to start supporting Quebec separatists, it can't imagine that Canada would have good relations with India. It works both ways."
Shivan Vij, New Delhi journalist, Washington Post
Still from video, Global News
The Trudeaus love dressing up and they love attention and they love vacations, and goodness gracious, they've rolled all their favourites together and are now in the process of wowing India. Hoping for some extracurricular opportunities to appear in a Bollywood movie perhaps? One of Justin Trudeau's scant few work experiences was as an acting coach at a private boys' school, after all; the other as a snowboarding instructor and one doesn't think snowboarding would go over in India, so you've got to grasp your opportunities where you can.

Um, does it seem a tad patronizing, a bit of cultural appropriation on the part of the Trudeaus to make such a great show of demonstrating the traditional Indian namaste gesture of veneration while clad in opulent Indian formal wear -- certainly worthy of photographing and demanding oohs and aahs of admiration for the family that represents Canada on the world stage, even if it does so in the most ostentatiously cringeworthy manner conceivable.
Omar AbdullahVerified account @OmarAbdullah
Is it just me or is this choreographed cuteness all just a bit much now? Also FYI we Indians don’t dress like this every day sir, not even in Bollywood.
The Prime Minister of Canada, off on another junket whose purpose is to impress and influence the world at large with his cultivated sense of preening extraordinariness. True, he is one-of-a-kind, and most Canadians are grateful for that. Grateful that when he vacates the station he now holds, his fanciful endowment of vanity and virtue-signalling, his condescension and his promotion of progressive values will go with him. Justin Trudeau may never be sick and tired of posing for photo opportunities but much of the Canadian voting public is of viewing them.

He has not excelled at making friends for Canada within the international community, nor at his clumsy efforts in promoting Canadian exports (and values) along with succeeding in signing off on potentially lucrative and job-creating trade agreements. His inner ego is so focused on his personal attributes including his pathological feminism that success eludes everything he touches. In Canada's relations with powerhouse India he crudely boasts that there are more Sikhs in his cabinet than in India's. Three of his Sikh ministers are accused of supporting Sikh extremist Khalistanis.

His Minister of Foreign Affairs is persona non grata with Russia, but Trudeau muses that he would like to restore diplomatic connections with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a theocratic tyranny recognized for its support of terrorism and its vicious hostility to the West, alongside its persecution of its own people. Expanding trade with China is a Liberal party focus and Justin Trudeau was under the illusion his sunny personality could persuade Beijing to sign a trade union with Canada amending its attitude toward worker rights and female empowerment in the process -- and failed.

A new, amended NAFTA trade agreement with the United States and Mexico is in the works portending ill for both Mexico and Canada leading Canada to look elsewhere in diversifying its trade options. No problem in signing off on the European Union-Canada free trade agreement that would incorporate workers' rights, environmental concerns and feminist empowerment there, but vastly controversial when haughtily foisting it upon the nations prepared to sign the Trans-Pacific Trade Deal, in the process alienating Japan, traditionally one of Canada's largest trade partners.

The irrepressibly fatuous mouthpiece that is Justin Trudeau was warned years ago about "stepping on the minefield of the extremely sensitive domestic Indian politics and damaging bilateral relations with this key country" as a piece of cautionary advice by Ramesh Thakur, an international affairs expert. India has good reason to be suspicious about Canada's role in giving haven to violent Sikh separatists; its failure to hold accountable conspirators who masterminded the Air India bombing at the loss of 329 lives over Lockerbie, Scotland remains in evidence as a blot on Canadian justice for the victims.

And now, in the midst of the Trudeau family's imperial vacation-visit to India, CBC News has revealed that the Canadian High Commission in India had invited Jaspal Atwal to a formal event it is staging in New Delhi, a dinner with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Atwal has quite the background; a member of the International Sikh Youth Federation banned in Canada, the U.K. the U.S. and India as a terrorist group years ago, he had been convicted in 1986 on Vancouver Island of the attempted murder of Malkiat Singh Sidhu, an Indian cabinet minister.

As though that in and of itself was not enough to warrant a wide berth between this man and the official Canadian entourage, Jaspal Atwal was convicted as well in an automobile fraud case; charged but failed to be convicted in a 1985 near-fatal attack on Ujjal Dosanjh, a Sikh separatist movement opponent who became premier of British Columbia years later. The invitation, after CBC's having aired these details, asking the Prime Minister's Office to comment, was rescinded.

Sophie Trudeau, Jaspal Atwal
Sophie Trudeau and Jaspal Atwal pictured in Mumbai Feb. 20. The Trudeaus attended a business and cultural event in the city that evening celebrating Indian cinema.

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Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Collegial Cooperation in Conflict : Syria

"February 19 was the one of the worst days that we’ve ever had in the history of this crisis."
"I opened his mouth [one-year-old baby with blue skin and faint pulse] to put in a breathing tube and I found it packed with dirt."
"This is just one story from among hundreds of wounded."
Abu al-Yasa, doctor, Eastern Ghouta

"Since this morning the bombing has not stopped."
"I was in the street and twenty rockets hit houses around me. The people are living as if they are dead."
Abu Jihad Darawi, Ghouta resident
A Syrian civil defense member carries an injured child rescued from between the rubble of buildings after a government bombing in the rebel-held town of Hammuriyeh, in the besieged Eastern Ghouta region on the outskirts of the capital Damascus, on February 19, 2018. (AFP Photo/Abdulmonan Eassa)
"We no longer have the words to describe children’s suffering and our outrage."
"Do those inflicting the suffering still have words to justify their barbaric acts?"
UNICEF statement
Over 400,000 people live in Eastern Ghouta. An enclave of Damascus, in the hands of the Sunni Syrian rebels whom Syrian President Bashar al-Assad contemptuously calls "terrorists", for spurning his Shiite-centric regime. The enclave has been surrounded by government troops since 2013, in a siege tactic meant to starve out the residents, forcing them to live with inhumane privation. Food, medicine, the very basic necessities of life have been denied the population.

In the hands of a variant array of rebels, some of them jihadists, zones of control have been claimed in Eastern Ghouta. There is also a Kurdish minority living there, but all have been denied humanitarian aid, punishment for having among them the presence of rebel militias, defiant of the rule of the Alawite regime whose assaults upon the civilian populations of Sunni Syrians have proven to be equally atrocious to the humanity-debased attacks of Islamic State whose dread slaughters have garnered it global disgust.

The latest attacks on Eastern Ghouta for three days straight have intensified the civilian death toll; "spinning out of control" is how the United Nations described the situation in the rebel area. Rocket and artillery fire, air strikes and an absolute dedication to cleansing the area of its fighters has battered the enclave in an apparent softening up of the area preparatory to a large ground onslaught planned for the besieged and suffering region.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, about 200 civilians have died, a quarter of them children.

The bodies of civilians who were killed in Syrian army bombardment on the town of Hamouria in the rebel-held enclave of Eastern Ghouta are seen lying on the ground at a make-shift morgue the morning after the attacks on February 20, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / ABDULMONAM EASSA)

Syrian state media claims that pro-regime forces were making preparations to move onward toward the Kurdish pocket of Afrin in northern Syria where Turkish forces were ordered by their president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to cleans the area of Kurdish YPG fighters whom he claims are aligned with the Kurdish PKK resistance fighters in Turkey. State media in Syria describe regime fighters prepared to fight alongside Kurdish troops from the People's Protection Units to "join the resistance against the Turkish aggression".
Free Syrian Army fighters head towards Afrin as part of the Turkish operation [AP]

"If the regime is entering Afrin to oust the YPG, there is no problem. But if they are entering to protect the YPG, then no one can stop us", warned, Mevlut Cavusoglu, Turkey's foreign minister. Turkey's air and ground offensive against Afrin controlled by the Kurdish YPG has encountered a level of resistance from Afrin's Kurdish defenders far surpassing Turkey's expectations. However, Erdogan defended the slow progress of the operation, claiming to be cognizant of the need to avoid placing the lives of Turkish troops and Kurdish civilians at needless risk.

In the meanwhile, informing parliament in Ankara that Turkish troops alongside their Syrian rebel allies are preparing to lay siege to Afrin "in the coming days". According to Erdogan, the Kurdish People's Protection Units which control Afrin are a "terrorist" offshoot of the Kurdistan Workers' Party and he detests them all, and can think of no more appropriate punishment for them that they be routed by his troops, relinquishing the territory he aims to use as a protective ring along the border between Syria and Turkey.

Turkey has given warning it plans to open fire on regime forces should they fight alongside the Kurds, risking the prospect of a direct confrontation between Turkish and Syrian troops, with Russia apparently on the sidelines preparing to leap into action to put a stop to the situation if it appears to burgeon out of control. Moscow seems more than comfortable with Russian troops attacking Eastern Ghouta alongside the regime's forces, but draws the line at its two ostensible allies coming to blows between them.
Many of the dead were children as the regime stepped up its attack on the Damascus suburb
Many of the dead were children as the regime stepped up its attack on the Damascus suburb Credit: Khaled Akasha/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The rows of small bodies of Syrian children bombed to death in the last several days, wrapped in their burial shrouds, does not appear to unduly faze Moscow or give it second pause, while the prospect of Turkey and Syria ferociously engaging on the battlefield targeting one another rather upsets Russian plans for everyone to get along together.
"Ghouta is of major symbolic importance to the regime because it is so close to Damascus and it matters for economic and security reasons,."
"If the regime takes it, they can tell their supporters that the war is almost over and the opposition only controls some pockets in the north, east and south but not in what the regime calls ‘useful Syria’ in the west."
"Everyone is interested in reaching a deal: the regime, the Kurds, the Turks, the Russians. I think the question now is what that deal will look like but I don’t think the parties are interested in fighting each other."
Ibrahim al-Assil, fellow, Middle East Institute
Turkish-backed Syrian rebel fighters fire from the town of Salwah, less than 10 kilometres from the Syria-Turkey border, towards Kurdish forces from the People's Protection Units (YPG) in the Afrin region. AFP/Getty

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Monday, February 19, 2018

China's Arms Exports in the Ascendancy 

"Take for example Somalia, the CPP [Chinese Communist Party] has an embassy there. They know which forces are the government's and which are the rebels, and do business with the bosses. When the bosses need something, the embassy finds out and reports the matter to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which tells the Ministry of Defence, which in turn contacts the export companies."
"[The Chinese navy's] southern fleet can use this as a means of expanding its influence in the South China Sea [through its delivery function] as well as the Indo-Pacific oceans, and also because international waters are a convenient location for making the trade."
"This money [from weapons transactions] does not go to the [Chinese] military region's accounts, but will be stored by the export company CEO in, say, an account with HSBC [bank]. Only a few generals know where the money went."
Anonymous insider, general engineer in Chinese state-run defence corporation
The National Interest

The anonymous informer spoke of illegal weapons agreements taking place between Chinese suppliers and foreign rebel groups in a discreet collaboration between the Chinese Communist Party and Chinese arms manufacturers where corruption aids both in circumventing both sanctions imposed to prevent weapons reaching the hands of terrorists and the universal (in word of not deed) proscription against providing weaponry to regimes committing violent atrocities against their own populations.

In 2017, it appears the Chinese regime was instrumental in seeing that $300-million worth of weapons was transferred to police in the Philippines. Weapons that were used in the killing of thousands of Filipinos executed summarily, reflecting Philippine President Rodrigo's Duterte's 'war on drugs'. Venezuela too, has been supplied with anti-riot equipment to aid it in its campaign of suppression of dissenting Venezuelans in the country's economic, social and political meltdown into Bolivarian socialism.

And nor has the Chinese Communist Party abandoned its pouting, preening little North Korean tyrant, helpfully aiding its military with modernization moves in technological assistance with the North's ballistic missile program while officially China has acceded to pressure within the United Nations to cool its supportive relations with Pyongyang. Back in 1993 the government of Rwanda acquired machetes from China enabling it to arm a third of the male Hutu population followed the next year by 800,000 Tutsis being massacred in 100 days.

A report published by the Conflict Armament Research group based in the United Kingdom stated its findings "mirror broad trends in the global market for Warsaw Pact-calibre materiel. China predominates as a producer." Three years of research concluded that even as the United States, Russia and other countries engage in conflict with the ISIS terrorists, much of their arsenal originated in weapons facilities in China. Validation resided in 43 percent of arms captured from ISIS were of Chinese origin, another 1.8 percent of American origin, acquired mostly through conflict with U.S.-supplied weapons to Iraqi troops.
A VT5 lightweight main battle tank, built by China North Industries Corp (Norinco), is on display at Airshow China in Zhuhai, Guangdong province November 3, 2016
A VTS lightweight main battle tank produced by China North Industry Corp. displayed at Airshow China, Zhuhai, Guandong Province, November 3, 2016   Reuters

China has been busy manoeuvring for a larger share of the export market of weapons around the world. Chinese armament sales soared from 3.8 percent of the global total to 6.2 percent between 2011 and 2015, according to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, overtaking France as the third-largest weapons exporters, after the United States and Russia which still account, between them, for over half of the world's total weapons exports. The difference is largely that the U.S. and Russia supply their respective allies for the most part, and client states.

Beijing is prepared to do business with anyone willing and able to pay. Chinese armaments have traditionally been produced from Soviet or Russian designs, while of late Chinese weapons technological engineers have made great strides in perfecting their own brands, closing in on competing with Russian and Western equipment. Their armaments are still considered inferior to those of its Russian and American counterparts, and this salient fact accounts for its clients who, unable to afford those, gravitate to Chinese-manufactured arms.

China is on a growth spurt on any index, and as it expands its trade and communication, transportation, investment and influential presence around the world, its arms sales are growing in lock-step with its growing dominance influencing other nations through its One Belt One Road initiative. From 2012 to 2016, Chinese arms sales represented 6.2 percent of the global arms market, an increase of 74 percent compared to 2007  - 2011. Its arms exports outdistanced Germany, France and the U.K. to where it now stands, as the world's third largest arms exporter. This planned, long-term trend is one to watch.

China's 2015 market share, though well below that of the United States at 33 percent, represents a gradually closing gap with Russia's 23 percent. Chinese arms exports have had little trouble eclipsing those of France, Germany and the United Kingdom. Next on the agenda: Russia, and then the United States. At which time it will be interesting, at the very least, in that classic Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times -- to see the kind of lethal devices of mass destruction being acquired by the world's most notoriously dangerous regimes and non-state militias of a terrorist stripe.

Will we then relish describing the Communist Party of China as the world's pre-eminent exemplar of immoral, profit- and influence-centric conquest?

Army officers and soldiers in action during a drill on January 3, 2017 in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of China.
VCG | Getty Images
Army officers and soldiers in action during a drill on January 3, 2017 in Yinchuan, Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region of China.

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