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

Thursday, June 22, 2017

A Hateful Crime, Likely Not A Hate Crime

"[CAIR is representing Nabra's family and] will monitor the development of the investigation to ensure a thorough examination of any possible bias aspects of the case."
Lena Masri, national litigation director, Council on American-Islamic Relations

"You can't just say, 'Oh, he didn't say anything against Islam, so no hate crime'."
"[This crime happened amid an] unprecedented rise in anti-Muslim hate crimes nationwide."
"We've been doing this for a lot of years, and there are not always overt statements of bias made during the crime."
"But we firmly believe that many of these crimes would not have occurred at all if the victims were not perceived as being Muslim."
Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman, CAIR 

"Nothing indicates that the crime was motivated by hate or bias. Everyone looks at this crime and thinks that because the victims were participating in activities at a mosque, they assume that's what it was."
"It seems like a guy got enraged and just went after the victim who was closest to him."
Tawny Wright, spokeswoman, Fairfax Police Department

A motorist in Fairfax, Virginia has been accused and arrested and he will stand trial for the brutal murder of a young Muslim woman, 17-year-old Nabra Hassanen. She had been walking with a group of other young people when an enraged man driving a vehicle came across the group riding bicycles, walking, talking together companionably. The girls in the group were wearing traditional Muslim robes and head scarves.
Nabra Hassanen
Image via YouTube -- Nabra Hassanen
They were together in the early morning hours after attending the late-night Ramadan service at one of the largest mosques in the United States, the ADAMS Center. After their initial encounter, the motorist, a 22-year-old man from El Salvador whose presence in the United States is suspected as being illegal, came across the group again in a parking lot. An exchange of vituperative words took place, and the man began to chase the group of young people, holding a baseball bat.

They scattered and ran off rather than confront a man who was obviously in the throes of a psychotic rage. Nabra Hassanen appears to have been slower than her companions, and the man, now being held on a second-degree murder charge for whom no bail will be available, caught up to her, shoved her in his vehicle and drove off with her.

I wasn't  until later on Sunday that police discovered the girl's battered body beside a pond. An autopsy will determine whether she had been raped. Police are adamant to this point that they are investigating a crime of 'road rage'. No evidence exists that they can determine at this time that a hate crime was committed.

The accused, Darwin Martinez Torres, most certainly committed a heinous crime. His psychopathic rage was directed against the young people whose presence, for his own reasons, infuriated him. He was driven by his inner demons to pursue the young people with murderous intent. His intention bore atrocious fruit when he caught and abducted Nabra Hassanen. It was an odious crime.

A hate crime? Perhaps not so. In the latest statistics, the demographic most targeted for hate crimes is the LGBT community, followed by Jews, Blacks, Muslims, Latinos and Whites in descending order. There is, in addition, a sizeable gap between all of the demographics, but what is clear is that Jews, targeted mostly by Muslim incitement far more than by the far right, have been victimized by hate crimes in excess of Muslims.

Among the many Muslim community members that came out to pay their respects to Nabra Hassanen at her Wednesday funeral, her family and the Muslim community in mourning (understandably in shock) have been non-Muslims in the neighbourhood, among them members of the local Jewish community and synagogue-attendees.

CAIR's campaign to have this awful crime declared a hate crime against Muslims is yet another attempt on their part to portray the Muslim community as being under siege, to counter-weight the reality that Islamist fundamentalists are turning the world upside-down in their murderous rampage, with their declaration that Islam demands jihad.

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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Holocaust Skeletons Rattling in Europe

"I feel personally attacked, but this is for me a much more dangerous and general problem that has to be dealt with. It's a pure and simple attack on basic academic freedoms, which we take for granted here in Canada. I'm dismayed."
"[I will not allow the] campaign of hate [to distract from revealing a piece of history]."
"What I found is huge areas of human misery that have not been reported sufficiently or never. These things are not palatable to Polish nationalists who believe in myths."
"It's [the political climate in Eastern Europe] to an extent aligned with the wishes of the Polish state, which makes it all the more, I would say, appalling [the campaign to delegitimize his research]."
"They [Poles who killed Jews during the Holocaust years] were realizing their own dream of a Jew-free Poland."
"At the same time, they were very ardent opponents of the German occupation. Nothing is simple here."
Professor Jan Grabowski, historian, University of Ottawa
Prof. Jan Grabowski is seen in his office at the University of Ottawa on Thursday, May 21, 2015. The history professor has received death threats for his work on the Holocaust in Poland.
Prof. Jan Grabowski is seen in his office at the University of Ottawa on Thursday, May 21, 2015. The history professor has received death threats for his work on the Holocaust in Poland. (Jan Grabowski/The Canadian Press)
"He falsifies the history of Poland, proclaiming the thesis that Poles are complicit in the extermination of Jews."
"Grabowski fails to adhere to the fundamental rules of researchers' credibility. He uses vivid and exaggerated statements to create propagandistic constructions, rather than to provide an honest picture."
Polish League Against Defamation
German and Polish police, Poland, 1943. Yulia Krasnodembsky, from 'Hunt for the Jews.
"The current attack on Professor Grabowsky by the Polish League Against Defamation, as in a recent public letter signed by more than 100 academics who have no expertise in the subject, is baseless, putting forth a distorted and whitewashed version of the history of Poland during the Holocaust era."
"We are confident that your university [University of Ottawa], which is a bastion of learning and freedom of scholarly inquiry, will give its full support to Professor Grabowski against those who seek to besmirch his reputation and curtail his work, and by extension, ours as well."
"[Professor Grabowski is a scholar of] impeccable personal and professional integrity."
International Holocaust scholars

The Government of Poland is very sensitive about the fact that so many of the most efficient death camps like Chelmno, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek were located by Nazi Germany in Polish territory. Their establishment as extermination camps in Poland was quite deliberate, with the knowledge that there would be few protests from among the occupied population, so many of whom approved of the Final Solution. But the government is indignant when these death camps are described as "Polish", issuing swift corrections to label them as "German"; simply placed in Poland.

It is indisputable, because it is in the historical record that after the liberation of the death camps, releasing Jewish survivors who had by some miracle of fate escaped death for their value as death camp slaves and because the extermination machinery of the gas chambers and ovens could only process so many at a time, that not much compassion could be found in the Polish population for Jews.

Those Jews incautious enough to return to their home villages to reclaim their property soon discovered that the Poles who had taken possession of that property would not release them to the proper owners. Not only was there a stony reception at the reappearance of former Jewish villagers but violence was directed against them and the aura of deadly hostility was so great that many were slaughtered by Poles furious at their return.

Professor Grabowski knows very well that Poles suffered deprivation during the Nazi occupation of Poland. He also knows of the prevalence of hatred against Jews, that pogroms were commonplace, that anti-Semitism was presented in lock-step with the German dehumanization of European Jewry. As an eminent historian he is determined to peer back into history to discern details that Poland would much prefer to obscure and bury.

He is, however, determined to unearth and reveal for posterity's sake, all the ugly scars on the face of humanity that took place in Poland during the Holocaust years. Through the 25 years he has devoted to studying the Holocaust years in Poland he has concluded from what he has discovered that many Poles were not forced to collaborate with the Nazis. Rather they chose to kill Jews because to do so expressed their deep hatred for these, their fellow Poles.

Formerly, his work in uncovering these inconvenient historical realities had garnered the attention of Polish groups in Poland. What's new, he says, is that the campaign to discredit his professionalism has been imported to Canada. The Polish League Against Defamation has written two collective letters to the University of Ottawa denouncing the quality and veracity of his scholarship. He is being unmercifully hounded in his place of residence and his place of academic scholarship by foreign sources.

His publication Hunt for the Jews: Betrayal and Murder in German-Occupied Poland was awarded the Yad Vashem International Book Prize in 2014, appalling the league which named it "disturbing". One of the two letters sent to the University of Ottawa, had 130 Polish scholars signatures, none of whom have any connection to Holocaust studies. Professor Grabowski identifies some of the league's founders as ranking members of Poland's government, or ministerial senior advisers.

An estimated 5.5-million Poles were killed during the war. Of that total three million were Jewish Poles. Poland, and its collaboration with the Nazi regime is not alone. Other Eastern European and Western European countries also occupied by Nazi Germany saw fit to aid the Third Reich in its plan to destroy European Jewry, from Lithuania to France.

Canada's current Minister of Foreign (Global) Affairs has an unsavoury link in her own background as an ethnic Ukraine. Her Ukrainian grandfather, situated in Poland throughout the war years, operated a Ukrainian news outlet in complete collaboration with and support of  the Nazis

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Some Return Alive, Others Dead

"I'm relieved to know that it was  him. On the other hand I was pretty depressed to find out from the autopsy that was done in Iraq what had happened to his body."
"Knowing that he was coming home, a different feeling came over me, that it's time to get back to work."
"All my questions have been answered."
Tina Martino, Niagara Falls, Ontario
Nazzareno Tassone (right) with YPG unit, December 2016, wpmedia.nationalpost.com
"The cause of their death is rather nebulous. They seemed to be on an advanced post on the frontline when they were attacked at night."
"The Islamic State would have taken the position, which would explain why they were in possession of the bodies. Everything seems to indicate that the YPG have paid to get the bodies back."
Guillaume Corneau, Laval University, Québec 
"I spoke to him regularly while he was there and I can tell you that he was motivated by a desire to do something about the scourge of ISIS and was inspired by other Canadians who had done so."
"[He was] basically functioning as a infantryman. He was equipped with an AK type of rifle and MARPAT (Marine pattern) cammo gear. He was involved in the fight for Manbij and spoke of losing several friends to suicide bombers."
"He expressed great pride in becoming a sniper and, as of when we last spoke, had 20 confirmed kills."
"As far as I understand it there was a large Daesh (ISIL) attack, he fought, and was killed."
Webster, Tassone acquaintance

A number of Canadians, some of them former military, have over the past few years, left Canada to join the fight against Islamic State, fighting alongside Kurdish forces. One of them was 24-year-old Nazzareno Tassone, who informed his family that he meant to travel to Iraq from Calgary in June of 2016 to teach English there. Instead he furtively slipped into Syria to fight with the YPG.

He was there, fighting alongside his Kurdish friends for six months before he and another Westerner were killed on December 21 near Raqqa, the proclaimed 'capital' of the Islamic State in Syria. But his body was retained by the Islamic State forces for six months. Eventually his body was released and ended up with the Kurdish unit he fought with, who mourned his death as one of their own.

It was arranged to send his body back to Canada. The Kurdish Peoples Protection Unit spoke of Nazzareno Tassone who fought with them as a martyr, a hero. And they were pleased to know that on his return to Canada he would be honoured when his casket was driven along the Highway of Heroes.

That ritual of honouring Canadian soldiers began spontaneously during the time that Canada had its military stationed in Kandahar, Afghanistan as part of the NATO and UN coalition forces fighting the Taliban. It has since formally become a recognized and worthy ritual of respect and recognition of the sacrifice for freedom made by Canadian soldiers.

It is supremely fitting that this man who sacrificed himself in the international conflict against the Islamist jihadists who have roiled the Middle East and east Asia to North Africa and on into Europe and North America be recognized as a soldier of courage and determination in his personal decision to defend against the dark forces of violent savagery.

Now Tina Martino is preparing to give her son a funeral and to bury him at home. Her son had left a year earlier. She had been informed six months later by the YPG unit with which he was embedded and volunteered to fight on the front lines that ISIL terrorists had possession of her son's body. Six months later, in May of 2017, they managed to recover Nazzareno Tassone's body to make arrangements to transport him home.

His mother received autopsy results conducted in Iraq. That report came to the conclusion that her son hadn't died of a gunshot wound as she had been informed, but from a blow to the head. His body also had suffered broken bones.There were cigarette burns to his body and face, and it was clear that he had been bound, from the marks on his body.

But that same autopsy report described her son with a different colour of hair, taller than he was and a decade older. Only when another autopsy was conducted in Canada, when the coroner's office confirmed the body to be that of her son was she convinced that he had finally returned home.

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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

State Terrorism in North Korea

"His neurological condition can be best described as a state of unresponsive wakefulness."
"He showed no signs of understanding language, responding to verbal commands or awareness of his surroundings. He had not spoken ... or engaged in any purposeful movements or behaviours."
"...This study showed extensive loss of brain tissue in all regions of the brain."
Dr. Daniel Kanter, neurologist, University of Cincinnati Medical Center

"Systematic, widespread and gross human rights violations have been and are being committed by the Democratic People's Republic of Korea..."
"The use of torture is an established feature of the interrogation process in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Starvation and other inhumane conditions of detention are deliberately imposed on suspects. Persons who are found to have engaged in major political crimes are 'disappeared', without trial or judicial order, to political prison camps [kwanliso] ... Their families are not even informed of their fate if they die."
"The inmate population has been gradually eliminated through deliberate starvation, forced labour, executions, torture, rape and the denial of reproductive rights enforced through punishment, forced abortion and infanticide. The commission estimates that hundreds of thousands of political prisoners have perished in these camps over the past five decades. The unspeakable atrocities that are being committed against inmates of the kwanliso political prison camps resemble the horrors of camps that totalitarian states established during the twentieth century."
United Nations commission report, 2014
The launch was condemned by Japan
The May launch followed two successful tests of medium- to long-range missiles in as many weeks by Pyongyang Credit: Korean Central News Agency

The family of American university student Otto Warmbier was well aware that their son was in a North Korean prison. What they did not know was that their 22-year-old son, who had briefly visited North Korea along with a group of other 'tourists' through an arranged tour group and was detained as they all were in the process of returning home -- had been in a deep, unresponsive coma for the year he was held incommunicado, accused of being a spy.

Otto Warmbier's parents were briefly reunited with their son when the U.S. administration somehow managed to convince North Korean authorities to release the  young man, to allow him to return home on compassionate grounds. That reunion was brief because the young man, despite the best medical care available in the United States, was on a trajectory to death that was unstoppable. Mere days after returning home his life ebbed away, and his parents were left to arrange for his funeral.

While travelling in China in 2015 he had decided with the curiosity of the young to have a different kind of adventure, to sign on to a four-day tour to North Korea to celebrate the New Year of 2016. As the tour group prepared to depart from Pyongyang International Airport on January 2nd, one of their number, Otto Warmbier, alone among the group was detained. He appeared again in public filmed on North Korean television two months afterward, to 'confess' to having attempted to take a propaganda poster home with him.

He was sentenced, for that dread offence, to 15 years of hard labour at one of North Korea's notoriously brutal political labour camps. Clearly, he was interrogated. And obviously during his interrogation he was subjected to torture; at the very least the kind of manhandling that resulted in bringing him perilously close to death. The after-effect of that interrogation and brutalization was a young man in a state of suspended animation for a full year. In which state he remained to the end.

In totalitarian, brutal governments control of the population is absolute. Citizens have no recourse to justice, to the law, to state protection. Anyone unfortunate enough as a foreign visitor or resident in the country can be assured that the treatment meted out to them if they arouse suspicion regarding their motivation to peruse an embattled population out of curiosity, and come away with a memento will be similar to that of a resident-citizen. Once in the clutches of the military and the prison guards there is no exit.

This reality represents one of the reasons why the International Criminal Court exists; to bring to justice those leaders of nations whose administration of their country's affairs is beyond doubt brutal, violent and unjust. Recently there was a gathering at the United Nations to activate the international crime of aggression as a prosecutable crime. Like the earlier "responsibility to protect" United Nations internationally recognized law approved by all, but allowed to languish without a response when a country like Syria saw its president horrifically abusing his population, this law too will make everyone feel good, but produce no results.

The International Criminal Court, after all, sat in judgement of Sudan's president, declaring him a war criminal for his planned and executed atrocities against black Sudanese Darfurians. Yet Omar al-Bashir remains in his post as Sudan's leader, travels with impunity to Arab League meetings, where he is untouchable; there are none who will arrest  him and deliver him to the ICC. In the case of North Korea, China sees its current leadership as a nuisance and worrisome, but preferable as a bulwark against Western interests moving snugly beyond South Korea.

As for reunification, South Korea itself is fairly well at odds with itself; on the one hand valuing the prospect of reunification, on the other shying away from its wealthy 50 million population having to absorb an impoverished 25 million North Koreans. Germany took on a heavy burden when the Berlin Wall fell, and reunification between East and West took place; the current and long-serving Chancellor of Germany is a product of Sovietized East Germany.

The regime of Kim Jong-un has no credible opponents for whom the possibility of mounting a rebellion might become reality. The state apparatus of a maliciously powerful military might aligned against the plight of the oppressed ensures that no insurrection could possibly take place without the insurgents being mercilessly slaughtered, leaving the Republic with fewer enemies-of-the-state to incarcerate, torture and kill.

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Restore Honorifics : Ignore Entitled Pronouns

"Refusing to refer to a trans person by their chosen name and a personal pronoun that matches their gender identity ... will likely be discrimination when it takes place in a social area covered by the Code, including employment, housing and services like education."
Ontario Human Rights Commission

"Some senators [Senate of Canada, Parliament] expressed the view that forcing the use of non-gendered pronouns was reasonable because calling someone by their preferred pronoun is a reasonable thing to do. That position reflects a profound misunderstanding of the role of expression in a free society. The question is not whether required speech is 'reasonable' speech. If a statute required people to say 'hello', 'please', and 'thank you', that statute would be tyrannical, not because 'hello', 'please' and 'thank you' aren't reasonable things to say, but because the state has dictated the content of private conversation."
Dr. Bruce Pardy, professor of law, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
(Image: Marta Iwanek) : Dr.Jordan Peterson

The Senate of Canada a week ago saw fit to support the elected Members of Parliament in passing Bill C-16, reflecting the Liberal government's legislation adding "gender identity or expression" to discriminatory grounds in the Canadian Human Rights Act. It has already been enshrined in the Ontario Human Rights Code. Which translates to no longer using pronouns society has long been familiar with, simple ones that distinguish between the genders, male and female. He and she have always been recognized as references to male and female individuals.

Free society, however, has transited toward recognizing a cornucopia of new and for many puzzling genders; from being free of any association with any gender, to a confusion of a combination of genders and alternately a transfer of birth gender identity to a completely 'other' gender, one traditionally familiar and many conceived of in the feverish minds of those dissatisfied with the choices nature has given humankind. But then, nature is herself sometimes confused in her assignments.

It is no longer to be viewed as optional if one is informed that a completely new and nonsensical (to the traditionalist) identification is to be used in everyday speech designating an individual in a wide array of personal and intimate choices for recognition. Some of the choices appear to the uninitiated silly and fanciful, like "ze", "zir", or "they", grammatically incorrect, but insisted upon lest someone's feelings be hurt and the negligent speaker is deemed to be a churlish lout.

Academic Jordan Peterson, a clinical psychologist and professor of psychology, took personal offence at this strangulation of language and identity and in a rebellious move causing great consternation to students at University of Toronto where he is a -- or was -- a highly respected lecturer and teacher and posted several YouTube videos explaining his perfectly reasonable refusal to join the non-gendered pronoun bandwagon. He must have known there would be a backlash; immediate, vociferous and damning. From students, and from his own academic community.

It has become a human right to declare oneself neither male nor female, or both if the designation appears to fit the individual's view of self. It is a human right to call oneself whatever one wishes, in fact. But it stretches matters somewhat to insist that all of society must accede to the same recognition at the behest of the entitled and perhaps somewhat confused individual who views their gender with disgruntlement and confusion. Feeling perhaps that everyone should share that confusion in a spirit of support, leaving the condescension at home.

Perhaps no one has yet approached the Human Rights Commission, nor tabled a private member's bill in Parliament to make it a legal offence to flout convention and polite societal interaction by taking such liberties as speaking to and of the elderly as though they are children. Take, for example, the common occurrence of a receptionist in a medical centre or hospital calling an elderly patient by his/her first name; no salutation of "Mr." or "Mrs."; eschewing the courtesy of using the last name for the convenience of calling out the given name.

Now that is offensive to the meek and forgiving elderly who simply do a mental shrug bemoaning what has become of society that a social courtesy has been trashed in favour of treating the elderly with the disdain of ill-manners. Elderly women may not think much of "Ms." but even that might be preferable to having callow, perfect strangers address them as familiars. And elderly men who may be struggling with feelings of disempowerment in the thrall of agedness don't really relish young whippersnappers' entitlement to addressing them by their given names.

But the young and the genderless do feel entitled to being addressed in their ridiculous choices. Which is fine, their choice, but it is beyond absurd that the entire society must enter into a contract with them to support their choices.

I reckon 100-150 people out on the Hill for rally. Dylan Robertson, Twitter 17 May 2017


Sunday, June 18, 2017

Holding Psychopaths To Account

"If he was here right now, I would say to him: 'I didn't really know you, but I heard you were a good person, a kind person ... and I'm sorry I shot you. You were not a target.'"
"I'm sorry I ruined your life and took your daughter away. All she wanted to do was help students."
"I'm sorry for ruining your life that day. You weren't someone who was a target."
Unnamed teenager, killer of four, La Loche Reserve, Saskatchewan
The young man who injured seven people after having killed four others in a high school in northern Saskatchewan stood in court and apologized to the families of those he had murdered in January of 2016. He has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder. In one instance, before he entered the school he shot to death two teen-age brothers whom he knew well and had good relations with.

Dwayne Fontaine, 17, pleaded with his killer: "I don't want to die", but he was shot 11 times, twice in the head, while his brother Drayden, 13, was shot twice.The killer, himself 17 at the time he murdered four people, then left the  house and went on to the high school, on his way posting an online message: "Just killed 2 ppl", "Bout to shoot up the school". After his arrest, he was interviewed on a number of occasions by a neuro-psychologist who said he is no closer to understanding what motivated the psychotic outbreak than he was at the first interview.

Dr. Monty Nelson testified that the teen had a 58 IQ, below average intelligence, and that "thinking quickly was a major difficulty", for the young man. The court heard as well that a defence psychiatrist advised that the teen exhibits symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, has an intellectual disability, major depressive disorder and displays fetal alcohol syndrome signs. All of which conditions are not entirely rare within the aboriginal community, but which do not generate wholesale reactions of the kind that this teen treated his community to.

Substitute teacher Charlene Klyne lost her eyesight as a result of the teen's having shot her through a window while she sat in her classroom. It will be of little comfort to her to have heard that he is now "sorry for ruining" her life. Needless to say, she will live with post-traumatic syndrome and cope with sightlessness for the rest of her life. The killer strode the school hallways with a raised shotgun, students and staff scattering in terror before him.

Teacher Adam Wood managed to call 911 before he was shot in the torso and then again while he lay on the ground then transported to hospital where he was declared dead. Teacher's aide Marie Janvier ran to get help for Charlene Klyne and was shot dead. As for the two brothers who the teen shot mercilessly to death though they were friends of his, he has expressed the knowledge that the mother of the two boys has forgiven him. "I know she knows I am sorry for what I did", he said in court.

Well, that's all right, then.

This is not a teenager as some in the community had originally suggested, who was teased and bullied. He himself informed the neuro-psychologist that he had never felt bullied, he simply felt no connection to people. And that places him squarely in the community of psychopaths. This was a sentencing hearing. The judge will not decide yet what kind of sentence to pronounce since she is awaiting a Gladue report.

The purpose of a Gladue report is to give especial consideration to aboriginals who commit crimes, to take into account their background, to determine whether circumstances in the background warrant lighter punishments of their crimes. No doubt that report will dwell on the low IQ resulting from fetal alcohol syndrome and other issues relating to aboriginal disadvantages in the greater Canadian community.

A case is being weighed in Ottawa, concurrent with this one, though there is no connection between the two. This is a young man, Peter Herauf, who stabbed a 30-year-old woman who had taken a gram of marijuana from him  without paying for it. He reacted by pulling a six-inch hunting knife and stabbing her in the back, fatally. Justice Ann Alder hearing the case, feels the killer is truly remorseful.

His background is not entirely dissimilar to that of the aboriginal youth's. He was adopted by a university professor after he was left an orphan at a young age. He suffered brain damage from smoke inhalation when his mother and a sibling were killed in a housefire. His father was killed in a car accident. He suffers from a cognitive deficit which led to "immaturity, impulsivity and lack of judgement."

But he has been sentenced on a plea of manslaughter to 14 years in prison, considered to be "a fair and fit sentence in these circumstances", according to his defence lawyer who also said that the length of time of his incarceration "is in no way a reflection of the life lost." Some degree of dissonance here, is there not?

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Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Global Emancipation of Womankind

"In fact, the very best predictor of a state's peacefulness is not its level of wealth, its level of democracy, of its ethnoreligious identity. The best predictor of a state's peacefulness is how well its women are treated."
"On issues of national health, economic growth, corruption, and social welfare, the best predictors are also those that reflect the situation of women."
"What happens to women affects the security, stability, prosperity, bellicosity, corruption, health, regime type, and (yes) the power of the state."
"The days when one could claim that the situation of women had nothing to do with matters of national or international security are, frankly, over."
Valerie Hudson, lead author, Sex and World Peace, 2012

"[Within five years' time] at least 95 percent of Canada's bilateral international development assistance investments will either target or integrate gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls."
Global Affairs Canada
With bicycles, impoverished indigenous girls in Guatemala get a taste of freedom
With bicycles impoverished girls in Guatemala can travel long distances to get to school and stay at school. UNFPA Alejandro deLeon

A study produced by the McKinsey Global Institute two years ago stated that $12-trillion could be counted on to add to the world GDP simply through the advancement of women's equality. The study gathered the conclusions of various scholarly treatises all announcing that the most reliable predictor of a country's stability results from women's equality. The conclusion: the wider is the gender gap, the likelier it is that a country will be involved in civil war, pervasive social violence will result and conflict and aggression between states become a commonplace recurrence.

The previous Conservative-led government of Canada embarked on a mission to commit $3-billion on aid in a private-public partnership whose goal was to improve maternal, newborn and child health globally. The government of then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper was concerned with the issues of child exploitation, child marriage, forced marriages and most certainly female genital mutilation. Another focus of the goal committed to eradicating those pernicious, soul-destroying customs.

That focus and determined aspirational goal guided the UN to formulate its Sustainable Development Goals. With the reality in mind that an estimated 200 million girls and women have been victimized by genital mutilation common to 30 United Nations member nations all of which dedicate a cultural/religious function of contempt for the rights of women.

When a girl becomes pregnant, her present and future change radically, and rarely for the better. Pregnancy before a girl is physically, developmentally and socially ready jeopardizes her right to a safe, successful transition into adulthood. - See more at: http://www.unfpa.org/publications/girlhood-not-motherhood#sthash.6Dxbkzq4.dpuf

Freeing women from the constraints and restraints of living as inferior creatures subject to the control of men is now understood to be critical in poverty reduction. During his day, then-President George W. Bush spoke of women's equality as a "non-negotiable demand of human dignity". Sweden's Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom committed her country to the establishment of gender equality driving Swedish foreign policy.

The empowerment of women represents the advancement of all humanity. Global poverty and instability are linked to the economic exclusion of women and their social, cultural, religious inequality common to countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Canada, for one has moved its bilateral development assistance to target gender equality where 80 percent of spending on foreign aid will reflect outlays in the nation's contribution to meet this objective.

Gender Equality Forum 2017

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Friday, June 16, 2017

Assessing Europe's Terrorism Vulnerability

"In 2016, a total of 142 failed, foiled and completed attacks were reported by eight EU Member States. More than half (76) of them were reported by the United Kingdom. France reported 23 attacks, Italy 17, Spain 10, Greece 6, Germany 5, Belgium 4 and the Netherlands 1 attack. 142 victims died in terrorist attacks, and 379 were injured in the EU. Although there was a large number of terrorist attacks not connected with jihadism, the latter accounts for the most serious forms of terrorist activity as nearly all reported fatalities and most of the casualties were the result of jihadist terrorist attacks. Explosives were used in 40% of the attacks and women and young adults, and even children, are playing increasingly operational roles in committing terrorist activities independently in the EU. Most arrests were related to jihadist terrorism, for which the number rose for the third consecutive year. Also, the European Counter Terrorism Centre at Europol supported 127 counter terrorism investigations in 2016, which shows a clear indication of the growing range of jihadist activity."
10th Edition,  EU Terrorism Situation and Trend Report (TE-SAT)

Some of the findings reported in the TE-SAT 2017:
  • Arrests: 1002 persons were arrested for terrorist offences in 2016. Most arrests were related to jihadist terrorism, for which the number rose for the third consecutive year: 395 in 2014, 687 in 2015 and 718 in 2016.
  • Victims: Of the 142 victims that died in terrorist attacks, 135 people were killed in jihadist terrorist attacks.
  • Age of terrorists: Almost one-third of the total number of arrestees (291 of 1002) were 25 years old or younger.
  • Explosives: Explosives were used in 40% of the attacks. Even though terrorists use a wide range of readily available weapons, explosive devices continue to be used in terrorist attacks, due to their high impact and symbolic power.
  • Technical trend: Regarding the potential use of alternative and more sophisticated improvised explosive devices (IEDs), the current trend in using weaponised unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), commonly known as a drone, in the Syria/Iraq conflict zone might also inspire other jihadist supporters and increase the use of this kind of tactic.
  • Terrorism financing: 40% of terrorist plots in Europe are believed to be at least partly financed through crime, especially drug dealing, theft, robberies, the sale of counterfeit goods, loan fraud, and burglaries.
  • Women and children: Women have increasingly assumed more operational roles in jihadist terrorism activities, as have minors and young adults. One in four (26%) of the arrestees in 2016 were women, a significant increase compared to 2015 (18%). In addition, the United Kingdom reported an increase in the number of women, families and minors engaging in the conflict in Syria/Iraq, and the Netherlands reported that more 40 children (age 0-12 years) have travelled to Syria and Iraq.
  • Ethno-nationalist and separatist terrorism: 99 foiled, failed and completed attacks carried out were labelled as ethno-nationalist and separatist terrorism. Dissident Republican groups in Northern Ireland were involved in 76 attacks.
  • Left-wing and anarchist terrorism: The numbers of attacks of left-wing and anarchist terrorists increased in 2016 compared to 2015. 27 attacks were carried out and EU Member State authorities arrested 31 people. Italy, Greece and Spain were the only EU Member States to experience left-wing and anarchist terrorist attacks.
  • Online propaganda: The quantity of Islamic State propaganda decreased in 2016 due to lower production rates and the containment of dissemination. After a peak in mid-2015, the number of new videos produced by the Islamic State slowly decreased. In the second half of 2016, the frequency of new releases dropped even further. As the volume of Islamic State propaganda diminished, al-Qaeda and its affiliates attempted to take advantage of the situation and increased their efforts to reach new audiences.
  • Social networks: Jihadist groups have demonstrated a sophisticated understanding of how social networks operate and have launched well-organised, concerted social media campaigns to recruit followers and to promote or glorify acts of terrorism and violent extremism. The success in restricting terrorist activity online shows the impact of collaborative efforts between law enforcement, such as Europol’s Internet Referral Unit (IRU) and the private sector. 
The world has been warned. Yet again. Is anyone listening? Is it considered sufficiently irrelevant in the greater interests of not appearing to be xenophobic to view the dangers inherent in infusing Western democratic nations with an ever-rising contingent of haven-seekers and refugees fleeing conditions of war and privation, bringing with them a way of life, a culture and a tradition based on a religion that suffuses every aspect of their lives in thrall to the concept that it is incumbent on all the faithful to exert themselves in an exercise of jihad?

Jihad of various types, of course, not necessarily violent, but violence if it is seen to be necessary. From the quiescent Muslims who satisfy their obligations to Islam by faithfully praying five times daily, and speaking of their religion of peace to charm and conciliate suspicion, people who would never dream of doing physical harm to others, to the restlessly resentful Muslims for whom incitement to terrorism in the name of Islam and the honour of martyrdom, for whom jihad is a living force. Not to mention the influence of demographic numbers themselves leading to demands for Sharia.

Now Europol gives warning that Europe may be increasingly treated to events making use of explosives reflecting their deadly use in Syria and Iraq when returning fighters and aspirational jihadis whose plans to travel abroad to fight were deflected by alert European intelligence authorities are expected to present ever-larger threats to the nations that have harboured them, given them citizenship and trust that citizens respect an obligation to reciprocate.

Without wishing to acknowledge that a social compact does not rate quite the commanding influence that a religion which controls each and every aspect of daily life, political, social, faithful, musters in the minds of its followers. Europole now gives fair warning that Islamic 'extremists' determined to mount more frequent attacks within Europe arise from younger age groups and that larger numbers of those dedicated to violent jihad represent the delicate sex, with women and girls enthusiastic to gain equality in this arena despite a religious culture that keeps them subservient to males.

Needless to say, much of what is being reported is already well known and acknowledged by various European intelligence agencies. They have been busy, as they should be, attempting to infiltrate the very groups that have infiltrated their own societies at every level, private and public. Their purpose obvious enough; to disrupt and apprehend violent terrorist action. And to that end they make arrests, lay charges and hope to incarcerate the guilty before the crime has been committed.

All the while scrupulously adhering to law and order in an unequal contest between the lawful and the contemptuous law-breakers who acknowledge no laws but those that Islam presents, for its are sacred and those that mere humans mount to protect themselves from the psychopaths around them are mere impediments on the ascent of universal Islam. Europole's latest report speaks of a doubling of jihadi-action arrests year-over-year. With those arrested coming increasingly from a younger cohort.

The West is so conflicted over how to handle the growing influence of militant Islam eager to slaughter that it has never paused to contemplate the efficacy of restraining aspirational jihadis from travelling abroad to join Islamic State in their medieval butchering spree, that keeping them 'safely' at home in Europe will most certainly result in the cadres of jihadis forced to remain in Europe simply turning their sights on Europe itself, vulnerable to the religion-depraved massacres that do service to Islam.

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