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, July 26, 2017

Muslim Sanctimony

"All of the new Israeli steps on the ground from that date [July 14, when the attack took place] until today need to stop, and then the situation in Jerusalem will return to normal. Afterwards we will continue our work on everything regarding the relations between us and them."
"Since Israel tried to change the situation, the residents of Jerusalem have risen as one. You have objected to all of the steps, and we have supported you in what you have done and what you are doing. We are with you in everything that you have done and are still doing, as you are causing us pride, and you are taking care of your Al-Aqsa Mosque, your land, your dignity, your people, your religion and your holy sites. This is the response to everyone who wants to harm our holy sites. Jerusalem is ours. It is our capital and it is [under] our sovereignty, and therefore what you are doing is right."
Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas
Explosives detectors are to be installed at the entrances to the Holy Mosque
Explosives detectors are to be installed at the entrances to the Holy Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. Photograph: Mustafa Ozer/AFP/Getty Images  From The Guardian, 15 August 2011
Cleverly attributing the mass reaction of Palestinians to a perceived change in the status of their revered Noble Sanctuary and the al-Aqsa mosque compound in violently opposing the Government of Israel's decision to install security cameras and metal detectors for the safety and security of all who access the area -- when it is the incitement of the imams and the Palestinian Authority president himself urging Palestinians not to accede to approaching the complex through the metal detectors that is responsible for the violence -- is typical of Palestinian leadership.

"We reject all the measures that Israel is taking, and we warn against any harm to Al-Aqsa", declared the chief mufti of Jerusalem, Mohammad Hussein. Palestinians were forbidden from entering the mosque compound through the metal detectors. They were instructed to pray, in their thousands, in a show of defiance, outside on the streets in front of the gates with the metal detectors, rejecting their presence, as they were instructed to do. From that ongoing series of events to violent protests urged on by their leaders matters escalated. 

Israeli security police, aided by videos that captured details of the terrorism that took the lives of two Israeli police stationed at the mosque complex validate that the weapons used had been stored at the mosque complex. The three Palestinian assassins had attacked the Israeli police from the rear. The police were facing away from the mosque, toward the entrance to the mall, anticipating that if problems arose it would be from without, not within. But the assassins approached from within. The Israeli police were shot in the back, to deadly effect.

Clearly this points to the necessity of ensuring that deadly weapons do not, in the future, make their way into the complex to enable Palestinian terrorists to wreak havoc and murder. The deaths of Israelis, whether Jews or Druze, is celebrated as a victory against the oppressive 'occupiers', there to ensure that Israeli citizens remain safe in a volatile hotbed of malignant hatred and deadly violence perpetrated on them by Palestinians infused with the ardour of martyrdom, incited by the PA.

Israeli Border Police stand guard as Palestinian worshipers pray next to the Lions gate of the old city of Jerusalem EPA

Instead of the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian religious leaders responsibly condemning the violence, the perpetrators of those violent deaths, themselves killed by security forces responding to their ongoing violent intentions, have been lionized, their families assured that they will be well compensated financially for their sacrifice. Typically, the families of those who kill Israelis, like the mother of the teenage Palestinian who stabbed to death three members of a Jewish family, express pride in their offspring's valour in killing innocent people.

Jordan, whose waqf administers the Noble Sanctuary complex urged Israel to "reopen Al-Aqsa mosque and the Haram al-Sharif (compound) immediately.” The Jordanian government "opposes any harm against Muslims in carrying out their religious worship in their holy places, freely and with no obstacles", warning any attempt "to alter the legal and historical status quo in Jerusalem" would not be countenanced. Jordan’s Minister of Waqf and Islamic Affairs, Wael Arabiyat, blamed Israel for the violence, warning of "continued unprecedented harm to the sanctity of the Al-Aqsa Mosque…under the pretense of stopping violence."

The Arab League was comfortable in condemning Israel for the violence erupting from the temporary closure while the police investigation was in progress. Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit stated Israel’s "banning Palestinians from praying"  (no such ban occurred) would "inflame extremism and escalate tension". He spoke of  "the high sensitivity of issues related to religious places", blaming Israel's "carelessness", never pausing to mention the cause.

All these events gave the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the bloc of 57 Muslim nations in the United Nations, the opportunity to criticize Israel, labelling the temporary closure of the site as "a serious crime and a dangerous precedent". Protests were mounted all over the Middle East as well as throughout Europe, with Muslims gathering to sound out their dissatisfaction with Israel's reaction to the terrorist attack on its police. Israel finally reacted by dismantling the metal detectors and cameras at the Temple Mount, stating that "advanced technologies" would be installed for security.
Israeli police officers dismantle metal detectors outside the al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, July 25, 2017.  AP
That act of capitulation is, needless to say, viewed as a victory in the Arab and Muslim world order. Empowering and validating. Encouraging further demands. Viewing Israel as weak and fearful. The democracy that is Israel, giving equality to all its citizens results in Arab Israelis elected to the Israeli Knesset agitating endlessly against the very state that has given them citizenship and equality rights.

"It is far more than breaching the status quo. The Israeli government is defiling the mosques. They took advantage of the situation to impose a complete control over the compound... This move is fanning the flames and I see Israel as only the responsible cause of this situation" claimed MK (Israeli parliamentarian) Taleb Abu Arar of the Joint List. "This is our mosque and when we enter it we want to feel that. The Jews have no rights whatsoever to this mosque – it is for Muslims only. We will not accept being checked every time we want to get inside. We are asking to go back to normal and enter freely, as it was three day ago"

As though the murders had not occurred, leading to the need to secure the area. Entirely negating that the area incorporates the Temple Mount, the most sacred site in Judaism. Assaulting the Jewish presence on the Temple Mount where Jews are forbidden from praying lest they outrage Muslim worshippers. Characterizing the Jewish presence on the complex representing Judaism's most sacred religious site as a 'defiling' presence.

This sanctimony and slander is typical of Muslims. In Mecca in Saudi Arabia, there are over 700 cameras installed to track the faithful (and only the faithful may enter Mecca) for possible theft, pickpocketing and other criminal or immoral activity. Has anyone protested there? Lieutenant Colonel Fawaz al-Sahafi, who heads the security team at the mosque, informed the Saudi Gazette on an earlier occasion of plans to fit "sophisticated metal and explosive detectors" at the multiple gates at Islam's holiest of holies were under way.

Israeli police officers walk outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, July 25, 2017.
Israeli police officers walk outside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem's Old City, July 25, 2017.

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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

From Mosul to Raqqa

"[Canada's All-Source Intelligence Centre, gathers and analyzes data with the U.S.-led coalition] so we can develop legitimate military targets that need to be defeated."
"[Since ISIL] does not respect international borders, our assessments consider Daesh activity in Iraq and Syria."
"They used small drones -- ones that we would buy commercially -- and know how to drop munitions from those drones. They would use drones for surveillance and monitor the Iraqis and our tactics and strategies."
"[ISIL has] lost more than 65 percent of the land [it had dominated for its caliphate in Iraq and Syria, which had] resulted in the freeing of millions of people and significant reductions in their revenues."
"The key part is that Daesh is on the defensive. [But despite their defeats ISIL forces] are not surrendering in great numbers. That is not the way they operate."
Brig.-Gen.Daniel MacIsaac, Kuwait

How then, do they operate? As jihadists whose end goal really is the end in the sense that they court the status of shaheeds, for that equates with honour, jubilation and adulation in Islam; to become a martyr is the status they seek. Their initial goal when cornered is to escape so they can continue being feared and celebrated warriors of Islam, if at all possible. When that is not feasible, reflecting a situation inimical to survival, they fight to their honourable deaths.

This is the barbaric ideology that celebrates its gloating penchant for gruesome atrocities that make for such eye-capturing, heart-thumping attention in gory theatre that they excel in; videos of terror-in-action atrocities that gained them their notoriety and fear-factor so irresistible to the recruits their mastery of social media has gained them over the years.

With their defeat on the battlefield, outnumbered but not outfoxed, their public relations machinery has undergone an expert turn in convincing recruits to remain where they are; simply operate from wherever they happen to be. Use any weapons at hand. Any action, any attempts serve to strike fear into the minds of their targets, irrespective of meeting with success or failure.

Their proficiency both in the geographic field, mining territory to slow down the advance of their enemies, holding civilian populations hostage, killing those no longer of any practical use, or suspected of abandoning the sinking ship, and ensconcing their fighters and sharpshooters underground in expansive tunnelworks used to cache weaponry, reflects sharp minds at work, skilled in the tactics of underground guerrilla warfare.

A car bomb exploding next to Iraqi army vehicles during fighting to liberate Mosul
A car bomb exploding next to Iraqi army vehicles during fighting to liberate Mosul Credit:  Felipe Dana/AP
Threat assessments and targeting information for Islamic State targets are now turning from Iraq to Syria where the focus is being transferred. The future of Raqqa and of Islamic State hang in the balance. Even with the certainty that defeat on the battlefield will represent only a hurdle, not the end of the practised killing machine that ISIL represents. As a Sunni militia it can still learn a few techniques from a Shiite counterpart, in the Syrian regime.

The nine-month battle in Mosul close to completion, Raqqa, the ostensible ISIL headquarters, beckons.

As for the All-Source Intelligence Centre, different branches of the Canadian military are represented from intelligence, artillery and communications systems experts to geomatic engineers capturing and interpreting data from cameras, remote sensors and global navigation satellites. The maps they create from those data sources are analyzed by the coalition to identify potential threats and to select attack targets.

"Daesh command and control centres as well as combatants, installations or anything else that is essential to Daesh operations", represent the typical targets the units identify, according to Brig.-Gen. McIsaac. "Fairly routinely" the Royal Canadian Air Force operates reconnaissance and refuelling flights over Syria where the airspace is complicated with the presence of Russian and Syrian fighter jets, along with the threat from Moscow that U.S.-led coalition aircraft may be targeted.

Crews on the RCAF CP-140 reconnaissance aircraft were "significantly involved" identifying targets for allied warplanes striking Mosul "until a few months back, when we shifted to another area", that area unspecified for obvious reasons. Canada's propeller spy plane has flown ten-hour missions, equipped with cameras and sensor arrays where on-board analysts at consoles behind the cockpit search for places where enemy fighters may establish themselves in a compound, a neighbourhood, an industrial area, making bombs.

Under Brig.-Gen. McIsaac's command is also a military surgical hospital in Erbil, Iraq, treating coalition troops and civilian workers, and a small helicopter detachment, along with a recently added RCAF C-130J Hercules aircraft to transport cargo and personnel between coalition bases. Brig.-Gen. McIsaac emphasizes that ISIL is "not only brutal. It is intelligent and creative", citing vast quantities of rockets, mortars and improvised explosive devices it produces, as well as armoured cars turned into vehicular IEDs.

Worse, its adoption of unmanned aerial devices in the hands of a terrorist organization. An estimated 4,000 ISIL fighters remain in Iraq, so along with the 20,000 estimated ISIL fighters in Syria, it may take quite a while to wrap up the conflict with Islamic State.

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The Origins of Slavery

"West Africa had long been targeted by Muslim slavers from the north and east. Now their European counterparts began to make their presence felt. As the slave trade settled into its grisly triangle of suffering between Europe, Africa and America, large stone fortresses mushroomed on the West African coast, complete with dungeons and manned by whoever was willing. Massive barracoons were built to hold the human cargo; and they were built to last -- they were still in use, as dwellings, in the 1950s."*
 Persian miniature :نگارگری ایرانی

Captain James Kingston Tuckey ... entered the River Congo in 1816 on an exploratory, semi-scientific mission with the 100-ton British Admiralty ship Congo and its 56 crew.
"Initially it was like a nursery vision of Africa -- crystal-clear water above a smooth, red clay bed; smoke rising from happy villages; parrots flying in streams at dawn and dusk across the mangrove swamps to feed off the cornfields on the opposite bank; comfortable temperatures which never rose above 76-F; and, to provide the necessary touch of mystery, a huge, natural pillar of stone near the river's mouth surrounded by whirlpools and carved with innumerable symbols, which was a fetish of Seembi, the river's protective deity. As they sailed upriver, however, the reality became apparent. Down-at-heel despots wearing cheap tiaras, cast-off uniforms, beadle's cloaks, and displaying horrible skin conditions, came aboard to demand gifts and rum -- one man stayed five days to make sure the cask was empty. Poverty was endemic, as was warfare. Poisoning was so commonplace that every man of importance employed a food-taster -- not that there was much food to be tasted in most places. Once having purchased a sheep and skinned it for dinner, Tuckey was horrified to find a man chewing its hide, wool and all, that had been roasted to lukewarm on a fire. Even where the land was capable of producing food, agriculture was pursued in a half-hearted, apathetic fashion, cattle being left to roam indiscriminately, never milked and often slaughtered in calf."*

"The cause of this economic ruin was slavery, which had been practised so relentlessly over the last 300 years that it was now a fact of life. Few people dared venture a day's walk from their village lest they be kidnapped by marauding gangs. Being sold as a slave had even entered the penal code as punishment for adultery with a chief's wife. Warfare was conducted for no other purpose than the capture of slaves. Human beings had become the region's major product, the sole currency with which chieftains could buy the shoddy wonders of European civilization. The price of a man was fixed with all the exactitude of foreign exchange. The rate, in Tuckey's time, was two muskets, two casks of gunpowder, fifty-two yards of cloth, one fancy sash, two jars of brandy, five knives, five strings of beads, one razor, one looking-glass, one cap, one iron bar, one pair of 'scizzars' and a padlock. Now and then Tuckey caught glimpses of the trade. Hard-bitten slavers carrying British and
American crews and sailing under Spanish or Portuguese colours flitted by night past the Congo, sending an occasional cannon-ball its way, as they went about the business of lifting what Tuckey estimated to be 2,000 slaves per year from the Congo River -- a relatively modest haul compared to other areas."*

From: Barrow's Boys by Fergus Fleming, Atlantic Monthly Press, 1998

The Barbary slave trade
Around 1600 AD, European pirates brought advanced sailing and shipbuilding techniques to the Barbary Coast, which enabled the corsairs to extend their activities into the Atlantic Ocean, and the impact of Barbary raids peaked in the early to mid-17th century.
While the Barbary slave trade is typically portrayed as Muslim corsairs capturing white Christian victims, this is far too simplistic.  In reality, the corsairs were not concerned with the race or religious orientation of those they captured. Slaves in Barbary could be black, brown or white, Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, Jewish or Muslim. And the corsairs were not only Muslim; English privateers and Dutch captains also exploited the changing loyalties of an era in which friends could become enemies and enemies friends with the stroke of a pen.
"One of the things that both the public and many scholars have tended to take as given is that slavery was always racial in nature,” said historian Robert Davis, author of Christian Slaves, Muslim Masters: White Slavery in the Mediterranean, the Barbary Coast, and Italy . “But that is not true,"

*Slave trading was banned first by Denmark in 1802, by Britain and America in 1808, by Sweden in 1813, by the Netherlands a year later, by France in 1818 and by Spain in 1820 followed by Portugal in 1836 But under-the-counter trading to the Americas went on well into the 1850s.

Gholam Hoseyn Mirza Masoud, one of Zell-e-Soltan’s sons, with his personal African slave, Julfa, Isfahan, 1880sGholam Hoseyn Mirza Masoud, one of Zell-e-Soltan’s sons, with his personal African slave, Julfa, Isfahan, 1880s Photograph: Thooni Johannes/Institute for Iranian Contemporary Historical Studies, Tehran, Iran

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Monday, July 24, 2017

Bring Us Your Tired, Your Ill, Your Poor And Disadvantaged...

"I just wish I could get President Trump to come and see this. The people here are Mr. Trump's constituency, they're his voters, and it drives me up the wall."
"If he saw what was happening I'm sure he'd do something about it. Unfortunately ... I don't tweet."
"This organization was designed to parachute into the most God-awful places. I expected to see stuff like this in South Sudan and Haiti, but it's right here in the United States of America."
Stan Brock, 80, British philanthropist, founder, Remote Area Medical charity

"I love Trump. ObamaCare don't pay for false teeth and glasses and I blame the Democrats."
"I'm diabetic and I can't hardly see you. I need glasses but I ain't got $400 to pay for them. I know Trump will get it done for us."
Margaret Harris, 54, Wise, Virginia

"That's not Trump, [responsible that he has no insurance] it's the people in Congress. I know he's trying to help us and I'm still with him."
"We need to vote out the people in Congress who aren't helping him."
Robert Hicks, 75, former truck driver

"People are dropping out of that Obama Care. I believe if Congress would get together with Mr. Trump we would all be a lot better off."
"Repeal it and replace it with something better. Good luck to him."
Lois Black, 91, Trump supporter
Photo: Stephanie Klein-Davis, The Roanoke Times: People lined up to enter The Remote Area Medical Clinic before the sun comes up on Friday, at the Wise County Fairgrounds

"[The Senate repeal bill would be] absolutely devastating [something Trump's supporters should realize]."
"Take any president's name out of this and ask people, whoever they voted for, about massive cuts to Medicaid."
"That's taking care away from kids, folks with disabilities, parents and grandparents in nursing homes."
Tim Kaine, Virginia senator, (Clinton presidential election running mate)
Photo: Earl Neikirk, BHC - A patient gets her eyes checked at the Remote Area Medical Clinic at Wise County Fairgrounds

Senator Kaine was present as a volunteer at the county fairground in Wise, Virginia, where the British-based charity Remote Area Medical, was holding a medical workshop for the weekend, offering basic medical treatment to area residents unable to receive the medical attention they required through conventional means by attending a local hospital.

With rotting teeth, high blood pressure, some people on crutches or using oxygen tanks limped along as the morning greeted the departing night's darkness. Many had camped overnight in a field. Many other had slept in their cars, anxious to be seen, hoping to be first in line for medical attention. Staffed by volunteer doctors, nurses and dentists, thousands of people were treated inside a barn at the massive free health-care event.

Within the barn, animal stalls had been transformed into makeshift medical facilities where teams of optometrists tested for glaucoma. Mammograms and skin examinations were carried out in trucks.

Though the hugely imperfect ObamaCare limped into law through a prolonged struggle, enabling 20 million Americans to obtain health insurance, it became a popular issue during the 2016 presidential campaign where Republicans, characterizing it as an unworkable system based on an expensive overreach by government, supported their candidate's promise to repeal it.

The irony is that the very people who are most in need of the benefits of universal health care coverage from the state are the very demographic that gave their unconditional support to the election of Donald Trump the president who vowed to swiftly oversee the dismantling of President Obama's derided and despised legacy project.

In a wealthy country which has distinguished itself by being alone among the world's advanced economies lacking a public, universal health-care system covering its population's needs.

An investigative reporter for the Daily Telegraph interviewing a handful of Trump voters who were seeking out health care at the fairground found that each and every one remained loyal to the very man who plans to destroy the system that allows them a bare vestige of coverage. Each said that in their opinion ObamaCare should be repealed and that having been done, President Trump would install a much-improved system to benefit them all.

There were those who, under ObamaCare had indeed gained health insurance coverage, yet were incapable of paying for the rising cost of their monthly premiums. All, without exception, were convinced that President Trump meant to improve matters on their behalf, and that he was hampered by a retrograde Congress that cared nothing for their welfare.

Buddy Howington saw his ObamaCare premiums rise to an annual $2,500, while he earned $7.25 hourly at a local supermarket. He abandoned coverage "Then they fined me $300 for not paying. I couldn't afford to pay for ObamaCare so they fine me. Makes no sense. I don't know what's going on in Washington, but I think Trump will help eventually", the 48-year-old there to have his teeth extracted, said trustingly.

Photo: Stephanie Klein-Davis, The Roanoke Times ... Dental vision and medical care was offered free by volunteer health professionals at the Remote Area Medical event at Wise County Fairgrounds

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Really?! "Prone to Violence" Is It?

"The defendant's murderous efforts to flee, less than 48 hours after the bombings in Manhattan, are probative of his consciousness of guilt."
"The defendant's interest in jihad, terrorist organizations, terrorist attacks, and other terrorists, is probative of his motive, intent, and plan to commit the charged crimes."
New York federal prosecutors, Manhattan Federal court

"The government's insistence on introducing these three plainly inadmissible emails can only be explained by the government's desire to cherry-pick the most inflammatory evidence to force-fit the 'radicalization' theory it has drummed up to make its case more 'compelling, dramatic, and seductive'."
"The only plausible reason the government is trying to get this 'evidence' before jurors is to inflame them with evidence that Mr. Rahimi has a 'bad character' or is prone to violence."
Lawyers for the defence
Chelsea Bombing Suspect Ahmad Khan Rahimi Wants Trial Moved to Vermont
Ahmad Khan Rahimi, the man accused of setting off bombs in New Jersey and New York in September, injuring more than 30 people, is led into court Tuesday, Dec. 20, 2016, in Elizabeth, N.J. (AP Photo/Mel Evans)

Afghanistan-born Ahmad Khan Rahimi, 29, on trial for charges laid against his person alleging that he detonated a pipe bomb close to a Seaside Park in New Jersey and placed two pressure cooker bombs in Manhattan is an honest, innocent man mistakenly taken for a terrorist, and whom federal prosecutors are busy attempting to colour as such. The lawyers for this blameless man will not, however allow him to become a sacrifice to unreasoning fear and obvious Islamophobia.

Mr. Rahimi is so very obviously a victim of mistaken or misinterpreted identity. That he is Muslim and of Afghan birth gives service to prejudiced and unjust accusations with the intention of holding him guilty for crimes he had no hand in. Purely coincidental as it happens that back in 2012 he demonstrated active interest in online propaganda disseminated by terrorists. And that through the same medium became proficient in producing his own bombs.

In particular, the defence takes umbrage at government plans that jurors be exposed to video links taken from Rahimi's online accounts showing people wearing head scarves, an assault rifle and a rocket launcher; clearly provocative moves on the part of the prosecution, and totally irrelevant to the case at hand. So, he had an interest in The Book of Jihad. Doesn't everyone?

The trial judge must now consider the defence lawyers' request that government plans to show jurors a blood-stained notebook complete with bullet hole representing the prosecution's fanciful contention that it represents evidence of Rahimi's resistance through a shootout with police attempting to arrest him two days following the bombing represents yet another outrage.
Lawyers for Ahmad Rahimi wanted the trial moved to another state, fearing a prejudiced jury pool in New York.

Lawyers for Ahmad Rahimi wanted the trial moved to another state, fearing a prejudiced jury pool in New York.  (Mel Evans/AP)

It is clearly unjust, according to the defence, that prosecutors are relying on deliberately inflammatory tactics to sway jurors during the course of the trial. A trial that is likely to have been tainted by pre-judgement to begin with. Relying on circumstantial evidence depicting this American citizen as having been well prepared by choice and inclination to join the ranks of jihadist martyrs.

Simply because he opened fire on five police officers planning to take him into custody proves nothing other than the man was prepared to defend himself.

That a bomb in the Chelsea neighbourhood of Manhattan injured 30 people when it was detonated, as one of two pressure cooker bombs that were placed in Manhattan by some nefarious character is of course a crime, but one linked to their client only through the connivance of the police and the prosecution looking for a likely suspect, and focusing on their young and blameless client.

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Saturday, July 22, 2017

Back to Basics of "Resisting The Occupation"

Photo credits: Flash 90, Jonathan Sindel and Hadas Partosh.

"The decision of Jerusalem Police District Commander Yoram Halevy to place these metal detectors near the Temple Mount is a brave decision because this time last week we had two policemen killed. He is taking responsibility that things like this will not happen again."
"[Israel should not be intimidated by threats and should not reward terrorism by backing down]: I welcome the police on their courageous decisions and cabinet for backing them up."
"This is not a political issue, but a security related. No one is trying the change the status quo on Temple Mount, and I call on all Muslim residents to calm the spirits, avoid violence and listen to the police."
Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat 

Once again the Arab and Muslim world is united against Israel. Turkey and Jordan, along with the Palestinian Authority have accused Israel of closing access to faithful Muslims to the al-Aqsa Mosque. Outrage is visceral and spontaneous, denouncing the State of Israel for denying Muslims entry to the Noble Sanctuary for Friday prayers. The Jordanian-sponsored Waqf authority has accused Israel of planning to alter the status quo on the Noble Sanctuary, the third most sacred site in Islam after Mecca and Medina, which just incidentally happens to also be Israel’s most sacred site, the Temple Mount, where archaeological remnants of the Temple of Solomon are located.

A site sacred to Judaism’s heritage for thousands of years before Islam was ever introduced to the world, in the 7th Century. Where, typical of Islam, Islamic structures were built over the ruins of the Jewish Temple, twice destroyed in antiquity, by the Babylonians and by the Romans. But a site that remained a primary destination for the faithful, for Jews living in Jerusalem, throughout the greater Middle East, and in the far broader diaspora of dispersed Jewry. Muslim authorities insist that what they call the Noble Sanctuary cannot be shared by another religion, irrespective of how vital that site is to a religion and historical antecedents much predating Islam.

Islamic authorities speak of "Jewish feet defiling" the site sacred to Islam. Irrespective of the fact that Jerusalem represents Judaism’s ancient heritage, Muslims claim it as solely their own, and adamantly refuse to allow Jews to enter the sacred environs and to pray there. In the interests of maintaining peace between the two religions, Israel, after its successful defence in the 1967 conflict that liberated East Jerusalem's Old City from Jordan, agreed to allow Jordan to continue its stewardship of the site on behalf of Islam, through the authority of the Waqf which it administers.

Muslims may pray unhindered at their third most holy site in Islam, Jews are forbidden to pray at their most sacred site in Judaism, even though Israel administers the territory as its own. The presence of Jews at the site, permitted to enter but not to pray remains a source of adversity, however, with Muslims resenting Jewish presence and acting on the incitement by their political and religious leaders, hurl insults as Jews as well as rocks in a demonstration of contempt and rage. That demonstration of rage went somewhat further last week when three Arab Palestinians from a small village inside Israel attacked and killed two Israeli police stationed for security purposes at the site.

Those murders led to an immediate but brief shutdown of the site, where no one but police investigators were permitted entry, for obvious reasons, reflecting standard police procedure anywhere in the world where a violent crime of this magnitude is committed. This brief shutdown led to an immediate protest by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, but not a word of condemnation of the atrocity that had led to the shutdown. Saudi Arabia’s king responded by demanding the site immediately be reopened to allow Muslims to enter the al-Aqsa mosque for prayer.
Palestinians pray on a street near a road block outside Jerusalem's Old City July 21, 2017.
Palestinians pray on a street near a road block outside Jerusalem's Old City July 21, 2017.. (photo credit:REUTERS/AMMAR AWAD)
From those very same sacred precincts came the three assassins carrying their weapons meant to kill Israelis. Connivance with some authorities within the edifices on the Temple Mount was not entirely ruled out, enabling the three to carry out their mission. Entry for Muslims through their special gate into the compound has always been carried out without security checks. Even though weapons, including rocks to be thrown at Israeli security police and tourists have been stored there in the past, to be used to satisfyingly brutal effect.

When within a day the entry gates to the complex were re-opened, it was revealed that security devices had been installed. The Palestinian Authority immediately bristled at the news that metal detectors were put in place and henceforth all who enter the shrine must first undergo a security check. Jerusalem’s elite Muslim cleric Mohammed Hussein, forbade Muslims to enter the gates in protest of the placement of the metal detectors. They must, he insisted, pray instead in their numbers outside the gates. And so, thousands of Muslims appeared on the streets, positioning themselves to pray in protest on the streets outside the gates.

All the while, Palestinians and the world at large were being informed that Israel had betrayed its assurance to the world of Islam of free access to Muslims to their third most holy site. Worse, that plans to alter the site itself were to take place. And in the worst of all possible worlds for Islam and its faithful ummah, filthy Jewish feet would not only be ascending what to Jews is their holy of holies, but they would, henceforth, pray there as well. The Arab and Muslim world has risen as one to condemn and to threaten.

Contacts with Israel, declared Mahmoud Abbas would be suspended on "all levels". Presumably that includes security. And that would certainly spell problems for President Abbas, for without the aid of the Israeli military his own life would be forfeit, reflecting the lethal animosities between the PA’s Fatah and Gaza’s Hamas. Void of Israel’s protection, the violence-inspiring Abbas would be mortally dispatched by the violently-responding Hamas, taking advantage of the opportunity to act.

In the meanwhile, riots have broken out in Israel, with Palestinians mounting protests where clashes with Israeli troops are satisfying Palestinians’ penchant for ‘resistance’ of the ‘occupation’. In Turkey and in Jordan violent protests are taking place, charging Israel with crimes against Islam. In the streets of Jerusalem and at some West Bank locations, Palestinians throw stones and firecrackers and use burning tires to attack the Israeli security personnel. In response, Israeli troops have fired live rounds of rubber bullets and tear gas.

Any excuse for violence and incitement for more that the Palestinians can grasp in their ongoing war with Israel will do to build popular resentment at a victimhood the Palestinians and the wider circle of Islamist militants graspingly hold dear to describe the brutality levelled at them by genocidal Israelis. Muslim worshippers are informed by their religious authorities to prepare for a “long test of wills” for, according to Mohammed Hussein: “We will not back off.” No, of course they will not.

Turkey’s tyrannical president Recep Tayyip Erdogan is undoubtedly pleased with these events, purporting to talk “reason” to the Israelis to persuade the removal of the metal detectors and the opening of the undefended gates to further mayhem and murder. Israel’s security measures, according to Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yildirim, are “radical”. Not so, Turkey’s response to a failed coup attempt last summer that resulted in the arrest and imprisonment of tens of thousands of Turks and Kurds, much less the dismissal of over a hundred-thousand politicians, teachers, judges, military personnel, journalists, police and lawyers on trumped-up charges that they colluded with Turkey’s Gulenist movement to overturn the 'democratic' government.

The viciously violent attacks against Jews continues unabated, and celebrated by Islamists such as Hamas and Turkey, lauded as well by Palestinians supporting the PA’s contention that Israel sits on Palestinian land. A Palestinian man entered a West Bank settlement on Friday, climbing a security fence and entering a home where a family was preparing to celebrate the birth of a child. There he attacked four people having dinner, killing three of them, a grandfather, one of his sons and one of his daughters. 

As is so often done, the killer had posted a boast on Facebook of his intention, claiming to be motivated by Israel’s wrong-doing toward Muslim worshippers at the shrine. An off-duty soldier responded to screaming at the invaded home, rushed to the scene and shot and wounded the 19-year-old attacker who just murdered three innocent people. He has now achieved for himself hero status in the Palestinian world order.

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Friday, July 21, 2017

The ISIL Returnees Issue: The Dilemma of Unmitigated Child Abuse

"The government has absolutely no choice but to protect the Charter rights of these Canadians [who choose to go abroad to fight with terrorists in Syria and Iraq]."
"The embassy, the consulate would have to deal with them, the way they would any Canadian who's gotten in trouble abroad and assist them to come home if that's what they want to do."
"They [federal officials] always stress ... 'We cannot in any way afford to allow our actions to result in a Canadian citizen receiving basically torture, or abuse. That will never happen again'."
Lorne Dawson, professor, University of Western Ontario

"Does the Canadian government have a legal, let alone a moral, responsibility to act on these people's behalf? I think the answer is 'No'."
"They made a conscious decision to leave this country and to join a group that everyone and his dog knows is a terrorist group ... 'It sucks to be you; live with it'."
"This issue of orphans and kids born to people who joined Islamic State is going to haunt us for a decade. Who wants to take care of them? It's not the kids' fault, but these are the sons and daughters of terrorists."
Phil Gurski, former Canadian Security Intelligence Service analyst

"I really think they need to work with the Muslim community in terms of developing plans to assist them."
"They [terrorism-linked returnees] are Canadian kids, we can't just sort of throw them away."
Barbara Jackman, immigration lawyer, Toronto
More than 750,000 people have been displaced from Mosul since October [Karim Sahib/AFP]
UN: ISIL kills 163 people in Mosul in one day: Al Jazeera

The issue is undeniably a complex one, and fraught with emotion; a sense of compassion for the children born to people who of their own free will have dedicated their time, energy and aspirations to be part of an Islamist caliphate of conquest, restrained by nothing, evincing themselves no compassion whatever for the other Muslims and non-Muslims they slaughter through deliberate enactment of atrocities, the better to shock the watching world.

And it is telling, the response from various sources. From a professional immigration lawyer who speaks for immigrants and refugees, a response weighted in favour of human rights irrespective of the fact that human rights have been entirely trashed by the very people now anxious to return to a society they spurned in favour of one that modelled itself on Islam at its inception in the 6th Century as a warring, conquest-driven ideology encompassing religion, politics, social life.

From a professor who has studied the phenomenon of radicalized  youth from the perspective of a liberal-left profession priding itself on its 'progressive' credentials that allow it to proudly and loudly support the entitlements of Palestinian Arabs whose response to the creation of a Jewish state was to initiate a wide-ranging program of violent assaults, airplane hijacking, suicide bombings, attacks on Jews in foreign countries, the creation of a death cult inciting their youth to become martyrs.

From a man whose prism is that of a former intelligence officer who has seen at first-hand the plots and schemes and actions and crimes of terrorist groups threatening the stability of civilized nations serene in their democratic processes, suddenly placed on notice that their geographical distance from the volatile violence taking place in the Middle East will no longer grant them immunity from violence inflicted on them because the world has become a smaller place where air travel minimizes distance and trained assassins motivated by religious zeal commit themselves with lethal passion, and more latterly Western societies well infiltrated by religious zealots are readily conscripted to jihad.

At the present, and in the moment, as it were, when the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, the most current iteration of terrorist-jihad central in its purest-yet form of incendiary hatred theologically inspired, is in the process of swift collapse book-ending its swift rise, the issue of the hundreds of Western-sourced Islamists, trained as jihadists in the use of lethal weaponry turn restively to their adopted countries, including what offspring they have conceived. Some of whom have been known as the lion-cubs of ISIL, trained as children to kill, shoot, behead.
Social media images alleging to show an Isil sniper believed to be 16-year-old German Linda W
Social media images alleging to show an Isil sniper believed to be 16-year-old German Linda W Credit: Twitter

Canada, like other Western countries, is bracing for their return. And how to react, to treat them, to deal with them all, is an issue of grave and great concern. Canadians have experienced a taste of how their government will react under the Liberals, when a mere two weeks earlier, the al-Qaeda/Taliban-linked Omar Khadr, child soldier of Islamofascism was released from his status as a terrorist through a government apology to him, resuscitating his 'reputation' and sweetening it with a $10.5-million gift.

The government of Canada is consumed with the contrite view that it must not under any circumstances be seen to be complicit with other governments seeking to bring to justice Canadian jihadis who might be exposed to some form of torture while imprisoned, preparing to repatriate, perhaps prosecute them, but ensuring they are not persecuted for their misdeeds, as Canadian citizens. The fate of vulnerable children is yet another, critical issue which must be resolved. And it can readily be done.

With the recognition that the parents that bore them did so while threatening and committing unspeakable violence and planning far more in the future, those parents qualify for the designation and recognition of unqualified to raise those children on the evidence. Those children under their care have not been nurtured with love, but taught hatred. Their destiny, as far as their parents were concerned, was to populate a fascist Islamist state whose agenda was conquest through fear and slaughter.

Having proven themselves incapable of raising children in a familial environment based on the virtues of civilized society and providing for those children security and nourishment of the spirit, the children should be taken into custodial care. Parents charged under the Criminal Code under section 83 for leaving Canada to join a terrorist organization, participating in or facilitating terrorist activity or committing a crime for a terror group which has penalties up to life in prison are in no position to raise children.
A little girl named Amina was found by Iraqi Army soldiers when they heard her cries from the rubble. 
A little girl named Amina was found by Iraqi Army soldiers when they heard her cries from the rubble.  Credit: Rex

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

And Do Exactly What, Now?

"[North Korea] is caught in a time warp which [originated] in the armistice of 1953, designed to put a temporary halt to a war that claimed up to 3 million lives. Sixty years later ... we now find ourselves on the edge of a nuclear winter."
"...Miscalculation, rather than design, is capable of triggering a "Sarajevo" moment, and with more than a million troops under arms and some 8,000 artillery pieces located within range of half the South's [South Korea] population, this is not a moment for sending the wrong signals."
Lord David Alton, North Korea expert, Great Britain

"It is not unreasonable to assume that mass grave sites in existence today will still be there years from now."
"As we have seen in many other post-conflict settings around the world, people will want to know what happened to family members, and an accurate historical record will need to be created as part of the process of recovery, particularly on a scale such as that in North Korea."
Sarah A. Son, Transitional Justice Working Group, Seoul, South Korea
In this Saturday, April 15, 2017 photo, in what military experts say appears to be a North Korean KN-08 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICMB) is paraded across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade in Pyongyang, North Korea, to celebrate the 105th birth anniversary of Kim Il Sung, the country's late founder and grandfather of current ruler Kim Jong Un
What military experts say appears to be a North Korean KN-08 Intercontinental Ballistic Missile under development by North Korea  Credit:  Wong Maye-E/AP

North Korean defectors have brought evidence to the outside world of widespread human rights violations occurring in their country of birth of a shocking dimension. United Nations investigators determined that extrajudicial executions of political prisoners take place routinely. A United Nations commission of enquiry validated the existence of prison camps, of systematic torture, of summary executions and other state-sponsored atrocities committed against any who dare protest against their government and leader.

"They hanged people in crowded places like markets and left the bodies there for hours to instill fear among the people", stated Oh Se Hyek, a North Korean defector from Hamgyong-budko, a northeastern province of North Korea on the border with China which represents the area in the North that has expressed a majority of the estimated 30,000 North Korean defectors living as refugees in South Korea. The Security Council of the UN had been urged to refer North Korea's leadership to the International Criminal Court for prosecution of crimes against humanity.

All of which is moot. The oppression of the North Koreans by their Dear Leader Kim Jong Un, their imprisonment, torture and deaths for which the international community hopes to be able to prosecute him, may, if ill fortune has its way, be but a relatively slight figure in contrast to what could eventuate if Kim continues his provocative and dangerously volatile challenges to the West. A mis-step, an ill-judged or poorly-thought-out response to an ultimate provocation could spell a regional, even global conflagration.

North Korea is isolated, but in league with other outlier countries like Syria and Iran. Kim has been pleased to flout nuclear treaties, to sell weapons to terrorists (no constraints there, since it is in essence, a terrorist state), to helpfully aid Syria's Bashar al Assad in his chemical weapons attacks on his civilian population, and delights in enraging the West through not only testing nuclear weapons as his scientists succeed in improving their formulae with the aim of miniaturizing and producing more powerful bombs, and the long-range ballistic missiles to carry them over the Pacific, but also engaging in cyberwarfare.
Kim Jong-un on board 'Submarine No 748' during a visit to the east coast North Korean Navy Unit 167 in a photo released in June 2014
Kim Jong-un on board 'Submarine No 748' during a visit to the east coast North Korean Navy Unit 167 in a photo released in June 2014     Credit: EPA/Rodong Sinmun
The Democratic People's Republic of Korea is a deliberately isolated state denying entry to outsiders, whose people have absorbed a religious mysticism that plays right into Kim Jong Un's strategy to keep them isolated and unaware of the outside world, unable to compare the conditions they live under to those of other countries, even their neighbour, South Korea. They may be suffering hardships and privation, but their belief is that they are required to suffer in preparation for "paradise on earth". 

In a sense, submitting themselves to a divine destiny of sacrifice now for reward later, bearing some degree of resemblance to the fanatical Islamist concept of martyrdom in their preferred "cult of death", whereby jihad instructs them to kill non-believers to achieve Islamic warrior status and martyrdom to enable them to be welcomed in paradise by nubile virgins.

Should North Korea's divine leader order the combined thrust of an ICBM and nuclear warhead as he threatens, the response would be immediate. Not only would Pyongyang and its population be vulnerable to return fire, but so too would be the population of Seoul. The death toll and the overall carnage would be formidable and horribly final.

Kim Jong Un doesn't appear to be averse to slaughter and the wholesale commission of atrocities, for not even members of his extended family are immune to his barbaric disdain for human life. He ordered his uncle-by-marriage to be killed, a man who had tutored and supported him, and did the same for his half-brother in a planned assassination in a foreign setting by operatives armed with a deadly chemical.

North Korea has an immense military; one million people under arms on active duty, no funds spared for that, even while his population occasionally suffers food shortages and in some years a catastrophic famine strikes, killing countless numbers of civilian unfortunates. Now, once again, the United Nations has issued a warning that flood and drought have diminished North Korean food crops and the nation will soon be on the verge of starvation.
Mt. Paektu, North Korea. April 2013. A man plowing his field to get ready to plant with his two cows using an old wooden plow
North Korea's crop production has been hit in recent years by both drought and flooding  Getty Images

China, North Korea's sponsor, finding the North's position as buffer between the Western allies in Asia and itself invaluable, would be distressed to see a situational change with the two Koreas reuniting under South Korea's system of democratic governance. And nor does Beijing relish the prospect of a deposed Kim leading to a mass influx of North Korean refugees flooding into China. American urging for Beijing to convince Kim to stand down from his belligerence has not succeeded. Hongxiang Industrial Development of China continues to forward aluminum oxide to the North to support its nuclear weapons agenda.
An underwater test-firing of a strategic submarine ballistic missile in an undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang on April 24, 2016. KCNA/Reuters

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