Politic?

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.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Turning The Tide

Fighters from the Islamic State group parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces armored vehicle down a main road at the northern city of Mosul, June 23, 2014. (photo credit: AP/File)
Fighters from the Islamic State group parade in a commandeered Iraqi security forces armored vehicle down a main road at the northern city of Mosul, June 23, 2014. (photo credit: AP/File)


The United Nations warns that thousands of foreign fighters are streaming out of their homes in Europe and North America to swarm into the Islamic State-led conflicts in Iraq and Syria, on "an unprecedented scale". The jihadists streaming into the Middle East come from 80 countries "including ... countries that have not previously faced challenges" of eager young Muslims signing on to the Islamist ideology of jihad as a requirement of all pious Muslims.

Months earlier, a UN security council report stated that 5,000 recruits had travelled to Syria and Iraq to fight alongside the Islamic State and other fanatical jihadi groups like Al Nusra. Anxious to do their duty to respond to the call to arms on behalf of the expanding caliphate. Intent on not missing any of the exciting enticements to be part of history, in taking action that will restore pride and honour to the world of Islam.

And in deciding to turn their backs on the countries that gave their families haven, and in which many young Muslims feel society insufficiently respects Islam -- leaving them with the perception that in living in Europe or Australia, they are not living in a Muslim world, but in a sham world that prides itself on democratic ideals, while shunning the important ideals of Islam -- refusing to adopt Sharia law in representation of the needs of Muslims, their decision is its own reward.

Because of the concerns over the numbers of young Muslim men leaving for the Middle East, a backlash has been spurred aided by additional concerns that the fighting skills and weapons, and ability to produce improvised explosives represent a threat to the homeland, once those aspiring jihadis eventually decide to return from whence they came, countries like Australia, Britain and Canada have enacted new laws to attempt to forestall their leaving, and in the event they do, that they remain under scrutiny.

Some countries have gone so far as to state that those who leave to join the global jihad will forfeit their citizenship, have their passports removed, and will be stateless. For those willing to remain where they end up, where the constant conflict is concentrated and who have decided to settle there permanently to live out their lives or to die as jihadists, this is of little concern. For others, increasingly, finding that the allure of jihad hasn't lived up to its reputation, it is a problem.

Hundreds of foreign jihadists have decided to return to the countries they came from, but find themselves unable to. Some, because active steps are taken to dissuade them, others because those active steps are now including a response so powerful that it leads to death. News has arisen that the Islamic State has taken to executing foreign fighters who attempt to leave the Syrian city of Raqqa. Rumours are that one hundred have been killed so far.

Add those to the hundreds who have been killed in U.S.-led coalition air strikes and ISIS attrition may begin to bite. A verifiable source within Syria, opposed to both Islamic State and the terrorism of the Syrian regime claims that in Raqqa the Islamic State has estabished a military police force for the purpose of identifying and arresting foreign fighters who fail to report for duty. Their homes have been raided, the fighters arrested.
 
In October, according to the British press, five Brits, three French, two Germans and two Belgians attempting to return home when they complained of being tasked with fighting other rebel groups rather than the Syrian regime were being held by the Islamic State as prisoners. An estimated 50 Britons expressed a wish to return, but fearing jail or worse, according to researchers at the International Centre for the Study of Radicalization, King's College London, have been restrained.

And nor is it likely that the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham will feel too generously inclined toward foreign fighters who have fought alongside locals and acquitted themselves well, deciding to return home, in light of campaign setbacks they have suffered lately. Where the Kurdish peshmerga is celebrating their victory in breaking the Islamic State siege on Sinjar, formerly trapping Yazidis and Kurdish fighters.

Similarly, news from the Pentagon that a number of Islamic State leaders have been killed in coalition airstrikes must most certainly have ensured that a black fog of ill temper has settled over what remains of the Islamic State leadership. Two thousand air raids taking place in 40 days across October and November succeeded in killing over 500 ISIS fighters, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

Word does get around, and the new circumstances of coming and going whereby even if success in leaving is realized, return may not be so simple, and those who attempt to may lose their lives in the process at the hands of the very same disgruntled forces they left the comforts of Europe to battle with, may ensure that the tide of willing new foreign recruits will dry up significantly in months to come.
ISIS rebel militant soldiers on the frontline
Islamic State (Isis) rebel militant soldiers. According to a UN Security Council report, Isis currently has enough weapons to continue fighting in the middle east for another two years. Photograph: Medyan Dairieh/ZUMA Press/Corbis

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Sony Kaput: Cyber Terrorist North Korea, Take a Bow

"Stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism."
"The world will be full of fear. We will clearly show ... how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to."
"The world will be full of fear. Remember the 11th of September 2011."
"Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY."
The Guardians of Peace, North Korea
Workers remove a billboard ad for "The Interview" in Hollywood on Thursday, a day after Sony announced it was canceling the movie's Christmas release due to a threat from a group of hackers that U.S. investigators have linked to North Korea.
( Veronique Dupont / AFP/Getty Images / December 18, 2014 )   Workers remove a billboard ad for "The Interview" in Hollywood on Thursday, a day after Sony announced it was canceling the movie's Christmas release due to a threat from a group of hackers that U.S. investigators have linked to North Korea.

Whoever might have linked 'guardians of peace' with North Korea? But there you have it. The psychopaths in North Korea are horribly misunderstood. By launching high-powered rockets, and testing nuclear weapons they are doing their utmost to sue for peace world wide. Peace can be had, a precious resource that we understand death achieves. And North Korea offers to deliver peace to those who yearn for death; they offer the means and the mode.

If that appears a contorted passage of thought, do not be overly concerned. Human brains and the cerebral power they bring to understand the subtlety of 'sophisticated' messaging, do have their limitations, when one is not of the elite cabale of North Korean leaders, led by the redoubtable
Kim Jong-un whose brilliance as a film critic cannot be overly stressed.

Here's betting that the West thought that Islamists -- and the hordes of ignorant, ravening Muslims whom they incite to violence at the very thought of anything involved in Islam being degraded by some cartoonist's funny-pen chronicling of the absurdity of a religion celebrating itself as that of peace, slaughtering even its own adherents in its never-ending campaign of conquest -- had lunatic bullying techniques all wrapped up.

Seems they're alert and carefully watching North Korea to learn the techniques used by the 'sophisticated' among the world's psychopathic states. And here we thought the suspected Israeli-U.S. coalition was so brilliantly innovative tying up Iran's spinning centrifuges with StuxNet. Amateurs, clearly, in contrast to North Korea's 'sophisticated' experts in extortionate exploitation of burrowing worms set to explode and disintegrate vital corporate data.

Revolution Muslim in 2010 made a stab at malicious threats at Comedy Central, convincing them to proceed carefully on their Muhammad episode, taking care not to reference Muhammad unduly. Fine for beginners. That was a single episode, Muhammad-washed; this is an entire network down for two days before the coup de grace was even delivered.

"The IT  department has absolutely no idea what him them", said a Sony insider, (ask the Japanese security experts) after the hackers had already been twiddling about the innards of the network for weeks. "Every PC in the company is useless and all of the content files have either been stolen or destroyed or locked away." Gone, by golly: 100 terabyte of sensitive data.

"Wiper malware" destroyed the company's internal systems, its infrastructure melted away.

"It's just business as usual, if the year was 2002. [There are] lots of PAs having to run jump-drives back and forth all over the place, and hand delivering hard copies of files and scripts", a Sony TV staffer stated. It's not fear, but anger that this part of the world exhibits; that a craven surrender to an absurdly costly attack has stumped all those brilliant minds, incapable of dealing with issues that have been long known, but more or less set aside for some future time.

Hello, future time.

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Gatestone Institute


"Hate Speech" was invented in the Kremlin of the USSR by political operatives who saw that it could be used effectively against anyone who did not agree with you, whom you wanted to silence.
It would seem indispensable for all people who want to defend their liberty to take a stand against criminal and violent people who aim to destroy or damage their societies. If those people are extremist Muslims, why should they be exempt? And if they are not extremist Muslims, why should they not be protected from the same threats and violence that menace us?
Ironically, however, it is not the violent Islamic teachings inspiring these crimes that are questioned, criticized -- or prosecuted -- as hate speech on major media outlets or among political circles. It is, instead, the victims of these teachings: among others, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Lars Hedegaard, Susanne Winter, Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff, Imran Firasat, and Geert Wilders.
What Geert Wilders does cannot be called hate speech. It is legitimate a struggle, if occasionally imperfect, to protect the liberties of all of us in the face of unending threats and attacks, most recently from Islamic extremists.
Geert Wilders is not an extremist of any kind. He is a democrat who defends Western values, the most important of which are liberty and life. We should not prosecute Wilders. We should thank him for sacrificing his life to defend us -- and defend him back.
What a week. In an Australian café, a self-declared jihadi seized at least 17 hostages, two of whom were killed; and in Pakistan, 148 people, including 132 children, were massacred by the same branch of the Taliban that tried to murder Mala Yousafzai to prevent her from being educated.

Whether the terrorist in Australia acted alone or had an organization behind him is irrelevant. It did not stop him from killing two hostages. The manager of the Lindt cafe, 34-year-old Tori Johnson, and a 38-year-old lawyer and mother of three, Katrina Dawson, lost their lives.
What we have in both slaughters are individuals motivated by the same ideology, Islamism, and committing attacks against innocent civilians. More alarming is that many people apparently seem not to want to talk about the motivations, apart from mental illness, behind both attacks: Islamic ideology. Perhaps they fear being exposed to the same violence one day, or perhaps they fear jeopardizing business deals or votes. There may also be the temptation to run away from reality, in the hope that the more you deny it, the farther you are from it.
The ideology that flew planes into the World Trade Center in the U.S. and that took people hostage in Australia and that murdered over a hundred schoolchildren is one and the same. Without discussing it -- what is there in or about it drives people to violence and hatred? -- violent attacks, threats and intimidation are here to stay.

A wise and courageous man in Europe, Geert Wilders, has been speaking out about these truths for years -- and has been made to pay a huge price for it. When the filmmaker Theo van Gogh was murdered in 2004 over his short film, Fitna [ordeal], the paper on the knife in his back promised that Wilders (and Ayaan Hirsi Ali) would be next. Wilders lives in a state-provided house with high security; for his defense of freedom, he has received countless death threats and has been called "a hate mongering racist," "a bigot," "an extremist" and other names intended not to flatter. He is the founder and leader of the Netherlands' Party for Freedom (PVV), ranked number one in the polls; the creator of the film Fitna, and also author of the book, Marked for Death: Islam's War Against the West and Me.
Wilders warned Australia. He has devoted his life to warning us all. In a February 2014 television interview, he spoke to Australians about Islamism:
"Look how in societies today where Islam is dominant and prominent, how any non-Islamic person, whether it's a Christian or an apostate or a woman or a critical journalist, how they are treated. This is in a very bad way, often with the death penalty or imprisonment or all those kind of terrible things."
Geert Wilders warns Australians about the dangers posed by Islamism, multiculturalism and mass immigration, on ABC Lateline, Feb. 13, 2014.

Due to an enormous influx of people from Islamic countries in the last decades, he continued, Dutch society has changed and worsened, so that,
"unfortunately non-Western immigrants, often Muslims, are over-represented in statistics of crime, of dependency on social benefits, that we have honor killings, that we have genital mutilation, that we have streets where women with headscarves and burqas are not the exception any more. And that it's getting worse... What I'm trying to do when I visit your beautiful country, Australia, is warn Australians that even though it might not be the case today, learn from the mistakes that we made in Europe: be vigilant and look at Islam for what it really is. Islam is not a religion of peace. Islam is a totalitarian ideology. The best example is that if any person, any Muslim wants to leave Islam, then the penalty is death. It is not even allowed to leave it."
Wilders made clear that he was not threatening or attacking anyone for a religious or ethnic identity:
"I have nothing against the people. I have nothing against the Indonesian people or the Arab people or the Muslim people. I'm talking about the ideology. And indeed, as long as a country has a culture, a religion, an ideology where Islam is dominant, it will never be a democracy. It's also happening in Indonesia. Look at how they treat Christians in Indonesia or how they treat Christians in any other country where Islam is dominant."
...
"Why is it not possible to build a church in Saudi Arabia, where, as we in the Netherlands, have almost 500 mosques being built; why is it not possible to buy or sell a Bible in any Muslim or most of the Muslim countries, whereas we can buy a Koran here on every street corner? This is the exact example of the fact that Islam is an intolerant society."
Wilders emphasized that there is no moderate or non-moderate Islam, but there are moderate and non-moderate Muslims:
"As a matter of fact, the majority of the Muslims living in our society are moderate people. But don't make the mistake that even though there are moderate and radical Muslims that there is a moderate or a radical Islam. There is only one Islam, and that is a totalitarian ideology that has no room for anything but Islam. You see it once again in any country in the world where Islam is dominant."
Wilders's critics claim he is a bigot who hates all Muslims and wants to drive all of them out of Western countries, regardless of who they really are and what they do. Those claims are completely false.

Wilders has made it clear countless times that what he opposes is Islamic violence and totalitarianism, and that he has no problem with Muslims who are peaceful and law-abiding. The problem, he says, emerges when Muslims engage in violence or criminal acts, or try to impose their religious beliefs on non-Muslims, or attack or threaten those who do not agree with them, or try to establish the parallel legal system of sharia courts in their neighborhoods, or rape (with our without a gang) European girls, and so on.
"I believe that Muslims that are in our society today are of course equal as anybody else, as long as they adhere to our laws, to our constitution, to our values. And as long as they do not cross this red line -- if they commit crimes, if they start beating up women, if they start the genital mutilation, if they start to commit other crimes and honor killings as they unfortunately do in Western Europe, many times -- if they do that, I believe we should expel them, the same day if possible, from our country."
"So to stop the immigration to our societies -- because we have had more than enough Islam in our societies -- and people who are here and who are behaving according to our laws and our constitutions are happy to stay, are equal to anybody else, or even want to help them with the better education, but if they cross the line of crime, start acting according to Sharia law, there will be no place for them in our free societies…."
It would seem indispensable for all people who want to defend their liberty to take a stand against criminal and violent people who aim to destroy or damage their societies. If those people are extremist Muslims, why they should be exempt? And if they are not extremist Muslims, why should they be not protected from the same threats and violence that menace us?

In September 2010, an Australian Islamic fundamentalist preacher, Feiz Mohammad, in an internet chat room incited his Muslim followers to behead Wilders.

Ironically, however, it is not the violent Islamic teachings inspiring these crimes that are questioned or criticized -- or prosecuted -- on major media outlets or among political circles. It is, instead, the victims of these teachings: among others, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Lars Hedegaard, Susanne Winter, Elisabeth Sabaditsch Wolf, Imran Firasat, and Geert Wilders. They are threatened by Muslims, accused by progressives of being "extremists," interrogated by authorities, and even sued and made to stand trial.

Wilders lives in a state-provided house, outfitted to be bulletproof, and heavily guarded by police. He is driven from his home to his parliament office in an armored police vehicle, has round-the-clock bodyguards, and wears a bulletproof vest. "I am in jail, he says, "and they are walking around free."

The life Wilders is forced to lead stands as proof that there is something terribly wrong with the current Western stand toward Islamic terrorism and "hate speech." "Hate speech" was invented in the Kremlin of the USSR by political operatives who saw that it could be used effectively against anyone who did not agree with you, whom you wanted to silence[1]. It is a way to try forcefully to coerce others to your religion or way of thinking, or, failing that, to make them afraid to speak and neutralize them. Islamists and jihadists use hate speech to convert impressionable people, as Adolf Hitler did, to their way of thinking, and to recruit followers and jihadists who might enjoy torturing and beheading.

What Geert Wilders does cannot be called hate speech. It is a struggle, if occasionally imperfect, to protect the liberties of all of us in the face of unending threats and attacks, most recently from Islamic extremists. Geert Wilders is not an extremist of any kind. He is a democrat who defends Western values, the most important of which are liberty and life. We should not prosecute Wilders. We should thank him for sacrificing his life to defend us -- and defend him back.

[1] Flemming Rose, The Tyranny of Silence (Cato Institute, 2014. 240 pp.)
Related Topics:  Uzay Bulut

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Gatestone Institute


 
The Harvard University Dining Service has been rebuffed in its efforts to join the Boycott Movement against Israel. A group of radical anti-Israel Harvard students and faculty had persuaded the dining service to boycott Sodastream, an Israeli company that manufactures soda machines that produce a product that is both healthy and economical. But Harvard President Drew Faust rebuffed this boycott and decided to investigate the unilateral action of the Harvard University Dining Services.

I have visited the Sodastream factory and spoken to many of its Palestinian-Arab employees, who love working for a company that pays them high wages and manufactures excellent working conditions.  I saw Jews and Muslims, Israeli and Palestinians, working together and producing this excellent product.

The Sodastream factory I visited was in Ma'ale Adumim—a suburb of Jerusalem that Palestinian Authority leaders acknowledge will remain part of Israel in any negotiated resolution of the conflict.  I was told this directly by Palestinian president Mohammad Abbas and by former Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.  Moreover, in all the negotiations about borders and land swaps, the Palestinians have acknowledged that Ma'ale Adumim will remain within Israel's borders.

Accordingly, although the factory is in an area beyond the Armistice lines of 1949, it is not really disputed territory.   Nor does it pose any barrier to a two-state solution.  Moreover, Israel offered to resolve its conflict with the Palestinians in 2000-2001 and in 2008, but the Palestinian Authority did not accept either offer.  Had these generous offers been accepted, the dispute would have ended and Ma'ale Adumim would have been recognized as part of Israel.  So the Palestinian leadership shares responsibility for the continuation of the conflict and the unresolved status of the area in which Sodastream operates.  Punishing only Israel—and Israeli companies—for not resolving the conflict serves only to disincentivize the Palestinian Authority from accepting compromise solutions.
The students and faculty who sought the boycott of Sodastream invoked human rights.  But it is they who are causing the firing of more than 500 Palestinian workers who would like to continue to earn a living at Sodastream.  As a result of misguided boycotts, such as the one unilaterally adopted by the Harvard University Dining Services, Sodastream has been forced to move its factory to an area in Israel where few, if any, Arabs can be employed.  This is not a victory for human rights.  It is a victory for human wrongs.

I have no doubt that some students and other members of the Harvard community may be offended by the presence of Sodastream machines.  Let them show their displeasure by not using the machines instead of preventing others who are not offended from obtaining their health benefits.  Many students are also offended by their removal.  Why should the views of the former prevail over those of the latter?  I'm sure that some students are offended by any products made in Israel, just as some are offended by products made in Arab or Muslim countries that oppress gays, Christians and women.
Why should the Harvard University Dining Service—or a few handfuls of students and professors— get to decide whose feelings of being offended count and whose don't?

In addition to the substantive error made by Harvard University Dining Services, there is also an important issue of process.  What right does a single Harvard University entity have to join the boycott movement against Israel without full and open discussion by the entire university community, including students, faculty, alumni and administration?  Even the president and provost were unaware of this divisive decision until they read about it in the Crimson.  As Provost Garber wrote:

"Harvard University's procurement decisions should not and will not be driven by individuals' views of highly contested matters of political controversy."
Were those who made the boycott decision even aware of the arguments on the other side, such as those listed above?  The decision of the HUDS must be rescinded immediately and a process should be instituted for discussing this issue openly with all points of view and all members of the university community represented.  The end result should be freedom of choice:  those who disapprove of Sodastream should be free to drink Pepsi.  But those who don't disapprove should be free to drink Sodastream.

Economic boycotts should be reserved for the most egregious violations of human rights.  They should not be used to put pressure on only one side of a dispute that has rights and wrongs on both sides.

*Alan Dershowitz, Felix Frankfurter Professor of Law, Harvard Law School (emeritus) and author of Terror Tunnels:  The Case for Israel's Just War Against Hamas (Rosetta Books 2014)
Related Topics:  Israel  |  Alan M. Dershowitz

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Gatestone Institute


These European parliaments are also turning a blind eye to the fact that, under the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, there is no respect for the rule of law, free speech, transparency or accountability.
These Western parliamentarians are in fact acting against the interests of the Palestinians, who are clearly not hoping for another corrupt dictatorship in the Arab world.
"The situation in Palestine does not conform at all with democracy or the rule of law... Wake up and see the loss of rights, law and security." — Freih Abu Medein, former Palestinian Authority Justice Minister.
"Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] wants to concentrate all authorities in his hands and the hand of his loyalists. He's acting in a dictatorial way and wants to be in control of everything, especially the finances." — Yasser Abed Rabbo, Secretary General of the PLO.
By turning a blind eye to human rights violations, as well as assaults on freedom of expression, the judiciary and the parliamentary system in the Palestinian territories, Western parliaments are paving the way for a creation of a rogue state called Palestine.
European parliaments that are rushing to recognize a Palestinian state are ignoring the fact that the Palestinians have been without a functioning parliament for the past seven years.
The Palestinian parliament, known as the Palestinian Legislative Council [PLC], has been paralyzed since 2007, when Hamas violently seized control over the Gaza Strip and expelled the Palestinian Authority [PA].

These European parliaments are also turning a blind eye to the fact that, under the PA in the West Bank and Hamas in the Gaza Strip, there is no respect for the rule of law, free speech, transparency or accountability.

This week, the European Parliament also adopted a resolution recognizing Palestinian statehood in principle. A total of 489 MEP's voted in favor, while 88 were against.
Ironically, the EU Parliament vote coincided with an unprecedented crackdown by the Palestinian Authority leadership on the Palestinian Legislative Council and its secretary-general, Ibrahim Khraisheh, in Ramallah.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas ordered the arrest of Khraisheh for allegedly criticizing PA Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. Following strong protests by leaders of various Palestinian factions, who described the decision as a flagrant breach of freedom of expression, Abbas was forced to backtrack.

But for Abbas, this was not the end of the story. After canceling the arrest order against Khraisheh, Abbas dispatched policemen to the parliament building in Ramallah to prevent the top official from entering the compound. The presence of the policemen at the main entrance to the parliament building drew sharp denunciations from many Palestinians.

The Palestinian Legislative Council building in Ramallah. (Image source: Alaraby)

Khraisheh was removed from his job because he dared to criticize the Palestinian government for arresting Bassam Zakarneh, head of the public employees' union in the West Bank. Many Palestinians have also denounced the arrest of Zakarneh as an assault on workers' rights and an attempt to intimidate them.

But the EU Parliament and other parliaments that voted in favor of recognizing Palestinian statehood did not see a need to comment on Abbas's measures against the PLC and one of its senior officials.

EU parliamentarians who voted in favor of Palestinian statehood are most likely unaware of what the former PA Justice Minister, Freih Abu Medein, had to say about the rule of law and order in the Palestinian Authority.

Abu Medein drew a bleak picture of what the future Palestinian state would look like. In a damning article he published last week, Abu Medein wrote: "The situation in Palestine does not conform at all with democracy or the rule of law, because the Palestinian mentality is too coarse to cope with transparency of the law and its regulators and provisions."
Abu Medein's scathing attack, which is directed first and foremost against Abbas, ended with an appeal to Palestinians to "wake up and see the loss of law, rights and security" in the areas controlled by the PA and Hamas.

The former Palestinian Authority justice minister is not the only prominent Palestinian who seems to understand that a Palestinian state under the current circumstances would be anything but democratic.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, the secretary-general of the PLO who until recently was considered one of Abbas's top confidants, was quoted last week as strongly condemning the Palestinian Authority president's "dictatorial" rule.

Referring to Abbas by his nom de guerre, Abed Rabbo said: "Abu Mazen wants to concentrate all authorities in his hands and the hands of his loyalists. He's acting in a dictatorial way and wants to be in control of everything, especially the finances. I don't know what this man wants and why he's behaving in this way. What will happen after Abu Mazen's departure?"

The parliament members of Sweden, Britain, France and Portugal who voted in favor of recognizing Palestinian statehood do not seem to care about their Palestinian colleagues, who have been deprived of carrying out their parliamentary obligations as a result of the power struggle between Hamas and Abbas's Fatah faction.

Nor do they seem to care if the Palestinian state would be another corrupt dictatorship where there is no room for the rule of law, transparency or freedom of speech.

Obviously, Western parliamentarians see no wrongdoing or evil in the actions of the Palestinian leadership and Hamas. They are prepared to vote in favor of a Palestinian state even if it does not appear to be headed toward democracy and transparency.

These Western parliamentarians are in fact acting against the interests of the Palestinians, who are clearly not hoping for another corrupt dictatorship in the Arab world. By turning a blind eye to human rights violations, as well as assaults on freedom of expression, the judiciary and the parliamentary system in the Palestinian territories, Western parliaments are paving the way for the creation of a rogue state called Palestine.

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How Western Media Enable Islamic Terrorism



la-epa-egypt-unrest2-jpg-20130819If the West is experiencing a rise in the sort of terror attacks that are endemic to the Islamic world—church attacks, sex-slavery and beheadings—it was only natural that the same mainstream media that habitually conceals such atrocities, especially against Christians and other minorities under Islam, would also conceal the reality of jihadi aspirations on Western soil.
As The Commentator reports:
[T]he level of the [media] grovelling after the tragic and deadly saga in Sydney Australia over the last 24 hours has been astounding.
At the time of writing, the lead story on the BBC website is of course about that very tragedy, in which an Islamist fanatic took a random group hostage in a cafe, ultimately killing two of them.
He did this in the name of Islam. But you wouldn’t get that impression if you started to read the BBC’s lead story, which astoundingly managed to avoid mentioning the words Islam, Islamic, Islamist, Muslim, or any derivations thereof for a full 16 paragraphs. The New York Times, which led by calling the terrorist, Man Haron Monis an “armed man”, waited until paragraph 11.
In the Guardian’s main story – whose lead paragraph simply referred to a “gunman” — you had to wait until paragraph 24.
If you’d have blinked, you’d have missed it.
….
In the wider media, reports about Muslim fears of a “backlash” have been all but ubiquitous.
If these are the lengths that Western mainstream media go to dissemble about the Islamic-inspired slaughter of Western peoples, it should now be clear why the ubiquitous Muslim persecution of those unfashionable Christian minorities is also practically unknown by those who follow Western mainstream media.


As with the Sydney attack, media headlines say it all. The 2011 New Year’s Eve Coptic church attack that left 28 dead appeared under vague headlines: “Clashes grow as Egyptians remain angry after attack,” was the New York Times’ headline; and “Christians clash with police in Egypt after attack on churchgoers kills 21” was the Washington Post’s—as if frustrated and harried Christians lashing out against their oppressors is the “big news,” not the unprovoked atrocity itself; as if their angry reaction “evens” everything up.

Similarly, the Los Angeles Times partially told the story of an Egyptian off-duty police officer who, after identifying Copts by their crosses on a train, opened fire on them, killing one, while screaming “Allahu Akbar”—but to exonerate the persecution, as caught by the report’s headline: “Eyewitness claims train attacker did not target Copts, state media say.”

A February 2012 NPR report titled “In Egypt, Christian-Muslim Tension is on the Rise,” while meant to familiarize readers with the situation of Egypt’s Christians, prompts more questions than answers them: “In Egypt, growing tensions between Muslims and Christians have led to sporadic violence [initiated by whom?]. Many Egyptians blame the interreligious strife on hooligans [who?] taking advantage of absent or weak security forces. Others believe it’s because of a deep-seated mistrust between Muslims and the minority Christian community [what are the sources of this “mistrust”?].”
The photo accompanying the story is of angry Christians holding a cross aloft—not Muslims destroying crosses, which is what prompted the former to this display of Christian solidarity.

Blurring the line between victim and oppressor—recall the fear of “anti-Muslim backlashes” whenever a Muslim terrorizes “infidels” in the West—also applies to the media’s reporting on Muslim persecution of Christians.

A February 2012 BBC report on a church attack in Nigeria that left three Christians dead, including a toddler, objectively states the bare bone facts in one sentence.  Then it jumps to apparently the really big news: that “the bombing sparked a riot by Christian youths, with reports that at least two Muslims were killed in the violence. The two men were dragged off their bikes after being stopped at a roadblock set up by the rioters, police said. A row of Muslim-owned shops was also burned…”
The report goes on and on, with an entire section about “very angry” Christians till one confuses victims with persecutors, forgetting what the Christians are “very angry” about in the first place: nonstop terror attacks on their churches and the slaughter of their women and children.

A New York Times report that appeared on December 25, 2011—the day after Boko Haram bombed several churches during Christmas Eve services, leaving some 40 dead—said that such church bombings threaten “to exploit the already frayed relations between Nigeria’s nearly evenly split populations of Christians and Muslims…”  Such an assertion suggests that both Christians and Muslims are equally motivated by religious hostility—even as one seeks in vain for Christian terror organizations that bomb mosques in Nigeria to screams of “Christ is Great!”

Indeed, Boko Haram has torched 185 churches—to say nothing of the countless Christians beheaded—in just the last few months alone.

Continuing to grasp for straws, the same NYT report suggests that the Nigerian government’s “heavy-handed” response to Boko Haram is responsible for its terror, and even manages to invoke another mainstream media favorite: the poverty-causes-terrorism myth.

Whether Muslim mayhem is taking place in the Islamic or Western worlds, the mainstream media shows remarkable consistency in employing an arsenal of semantic games, key phrases, convenient omissions, and moral relativism to portray such violence as a product of anything and everything—political and historical grievances, “Islamophobia,” individual insanity, poverty and ignorance, territorial disputes—not Islam.

As such, Western mainstream media keep Western majorities in the dark about the Islamic threat, here and abroad.  Thus the “MSM” protects and enables the Islamic agenda—irrespective of whether its distortions are a product of intent, political correctness, or sheer stupidity.

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Friday, December 19, 2014

Imperilling American Film Culture - Seriously?

"This is something that's being treated as a serious national security matter. There is evidence to indicate that we have seen destructive activity with malicious intent that was initiated by a sophisticated actor."
"The United States stands squarely on the side of artists and companies that want to express themselves. And we believe that that kind of artistic expression is worthy of expression and is not something that should be subjected to intimidation just because you happen to disagree with the views."
"They [North Korean leaders] would be mindful of the fact that we need a proportional response, and also mindful of the fact that sophisticated actors, when they carry out actions like this, are oftentimes -- not always, but often -- seeking to provoke a response from the United States of America."
"They may believe that a response from us in one fashion or another would be advantageous to them. So we want to be mindful of that."
Josh Earnest, White House press secretary

"Both of us [Rob Lowe and Seth Rogen] have never seen or heard of anything like this."
"Hollywood has done Neville Chamberlain proud today. Wow. Everyone caved. The hackers won. An utter and complete victory for them."
Rob Lowe, Twitter

"We've made progress. But what we just saw with Sony shows a lot more progress needs to be done. That means, by the way, that Congress also needs to take up cyber-security legislation that's been languishing for several years now."
U.S. President Barack Obama
From now on, Hollywood films will have to be Dear Leader-approved.
AP Photo/David Guttenfelder   From now on, Hollywood films will have to be Dear Leader-approved.

Well, now, to characterize North Koreans engaged in any kind of endeavour -- although bullying of one kind or another, whether it is by testing nuclear devices, or shooting off long-range missiles, or threatening a South Korean invasion, or, now, protecting the 'dignity' of their Dear Leader from the outrage of theatre guffaws -- as 'sophisticated', is stretching things a bit. Transforming the proverbial sow's ear to a silk purse of undeserved praise.

There are those who believe that security in corporations, businesses, government offices, is simply not as tight nor as vigilant as present-day realities mean them to be. And that no system is completely and absolutely tight, is a given; there are always areas that have been neglected, overlooked, or not thought of that can be exploited by someone doggedly determined enough to find entrance and spew malice.

And the threats posed by the North Korean group certainly are baleful in their intention. If they wanted to set about proving that they are capable of destroying a company, they certainly succeeded. Making public names, medical records, emails, corporate issues, even the release of not-yet-issued films, all of Sony's computers, servers, its website were fully compromised, and now utterly useless. All its records, its capability of functioning at any level, destroyed.

The hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace left Sony's infrastructure crippled, whether beyond resuscitation is yet to be seen. In its security department there are "three information security analysts, overseen by three managers, three directors, one executive director and one senior-vice-president"; a covey patterning themselves after the Keystone Kops.

"Stop immediately showing the movie of terrorism", was the demand, and the assent came, abjectly with the withdrawal of the offending comedy, The Interview. A new kind of terrorism, cultural bludgeoning of free speech. Serious films and comedies alike can be made of the U.S. administration, the CIA, the FBI, parodying and holding them up to ridicule, and all is well.

But hold a camera up to the absurdity of a North Korean preening popinjay eager to have the world tremble at his word, and 'sophisticated' actors can engage in cyberespionage and bring the U.S. film industry to its quavering knees.

"The world will be full of fear. We will clearly show ... how bitter fate those who seek fun in terror should be doomed to."
"Whatever comes in the coming days is called by the greed of Sony Pictures Entertainment. All the world will denounce the SONY."
Guardians of the Peace 
Funneee, Ho-Ho.
George Orwell, where are you when we need you most; you'd love the perversion of language and meaning beyond anything you ever imagined back in those days of innocence. Even you might not have foreseen a tin-pot dictator of the pretentious and murderous quality of King Jong-Un as an international film critic of such impeccable and canny sophistication.

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All's Well at the Kremlin

"As for palace coups, calm down. We don't have palaces, therefore, we cannot have a palace coup. We have the Kremlin official residence, it's well-protected, and this is also a factor of our state stability."
"Maybe our bear should stop chasing piglets through the forest and sit calmly eating berries and honey. Maybe [then] they will leave the bear in peace? No, they won't leave him. They will always try to chain him up. And as soon as he is chained up, they will tear out his teeth and claws."
"The relatives of people who carry out terrorist attacks know about it in the majority of cases. But that does not give anyone, including the leader of Chechnya, the right to carry out prejudicial punishments [destroying family homes]."
"A friend of mine from Europe, a big boss, asked me recently, 'Do you have love?; I replied, 'Meaning what?'  'Well, do you love someone?' I said, 'Well, yes.' 'And does someone love you?' I said, 'Yes'.
Russian President Vladimir Putin

Well, thank heavens that Vladimir Putin has found love. He has also found himself in a hard place, but he's a tough bear, and he plans to tough it out. Starting with the refusal to back down from the crisis in Ukraine; hardly likely he would offer to return Crimea to Ukraine, since that little annexation coup alone accounts for a good proportion of the 80% approval rate he enjoys among the Russian electorate. He's got love from that source, as well.

How long that source of love remains is yet to be seen. But their president has promised the Russian people that they will have to buckle down for no more than two years, before the economy turns around and all is rosy once again. And he hasn't hesitated to point out the reason for Russia's problems: "They are winners [United States and Europe], they are an empire now and the rest are vassals and have to be driven into a corner", he explained.

Which neatly sums up in that brief explanation just what the Russian Federation is all about; an empire in temporary decline, former vassals trembling at the very thought of a future, re-empowered Russia. From the sublime to the ridiculous; the annual press conference going from fierce to maudlin. But Russians can be assured as long as their president has love, all will be solved.

No one has asked for the details involved in hauling Russia out of its economic decline; after all, Crimea is off limits, and the Sochi Winter Games represented an international triumph of a party, showing that Russia had arrived. It's just that since its arrival it has more or less lost its way and it could sure use that $60-billion cost of the party as a stop-gap while the ruble continues to shrink its value and the price of a barrel of oil declines even further.

As for a palace coup; that depends, there are so many palaces, none of which evidently officially exist, but they are there, nonetheless. Starting with Mr. Putin's own megamonster of a palatial mansion befitting his status as a rich, very rich man; riches somehow mysteriously acquired throughout the course of his presidency/prime-minstership/presidency, etc.

If his wealth were added back-to-back with that of his cronies Russia might hobble by.
image
ruleaks/Wikimedia Commons

Of course the West is responsible for the conflict in Ukraine; nothing to do with Russia. Although when a Ukrainian journalist had the unmitigated gall and fearlessness to ask how many Russian soldiers had died fighting in Ukraine, and what had Mr. Putin to say to their mothers, he denied the presence of any Russian military supporting eastern Ukraine separatists.

Any Russians who might be in that particular geography were strictly volunteers, responding to "a call of the heart", indomitable patriots, not young Russian military men with no option but to grimly respond to orders to present themselves to fight alongside the ethnic Russian Ukrainian secessionists, risking life and limb to their mothers' sorrow, as their coffins are delivered quietly back home.

NATO expansionism in eastern Europe represents an international travesty, the slow and steady building of a new "virtual" Berlin Wall. As for Russia's bear's teeth and claws; read between the lines, folks. The bear's teeth are equated with Russia's nuclear weapons. They do have that arsenal, remember? And they most certainly know how they're to be used; as threats, of course, nothing more.

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Getting It Right

"As a result of concerted Iraqi and coalition pressure, ISIL's initial momentum has been stopped. Iraqi forces demonstrated recently that they can reclaim their territory as we've seen in Baiji, Kirkuk and Irbil."
Col. Daniel Constable, commander, Canadian Joint Task Force, Iraq
CF-18 Operation IMPACT
A Royal Canadian Armed Forces CF-18 Hornet fighter jet from 4 Wing Cold Lake, Alberta lands in Kuwait after the first combat mission over Iraq in support of Operation IMPACT on October 30, 2014. Photo: Canadian Forces Combat Camera, DND
While the U.S.-led coalition using air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Al Sham makes claims to having made a huge difference in the forward momentum celebrated by ISIS and feared by Iraq and Syria, let alone its neighbours having to cope with additional refugees on top of the millions the Syrian civil war has created, there are reports out of the battlefields signalling that all is not quite as glowing as the coalition reports.

ISIL jihadists pushed Iraqi forces from the city of Baiji north of Baghdad on Wednesday. Local tribes fighting ISIL, as well as Iraqi police have complained that support from the Iraqi military and the government has been less than ideal, with the expected ammunition not appearing, causing them to withdraw and retreat, leaving ISIL in place and in control. Obviously coordination is less than ideal.

ISIL terrorists took control of another village in Anbar province and the city of Haditha is still being fought over while remaining under the control of government forces. An Iraqi military helicopter was shot down last week by ISIL forces using a shoulder-fired missile, the result of captured military bases by ISIL when fleeing Iraqi military gifted their adversaries with state-of-the-art military equipment.

Despite months of coalition airstrikes, according to Iraqi analysts, ISIS has suffered the loss of little of the territory it took possession of earlier in the year. The Islamic State remains in control of large areas of Iraq, as it does in Syria. Causing Iraqi security experts to name the situation a stalemate. The result of the airstrikes is that ISIS has closed in on its holdings.

In control of 85 percent of Anbar province, ISIL has launched fresh attacks against Ramadi the provincial capital, according to Reuters. When prodded to respond to the question of how much territory ISIS may have lost resulting from coalition strikes, Col. Constable stated: "They're stopped. They're contained."

It will "at least take a minimum of three years" before a turning point against the ISIS forces is reached, according to U.S. Lt.-Gen. James Terry, commander of the American forces fighting in Iraq. He too states unequivocally that ISIS forces have been halted in their advance. They are now focused on holding the territory previously seized.

"I think they're having a hard time in terms of communicating right now, in terms of resupply", he stated. As for Canadian attacks; among the successes are listed machine-gun emplacements, artillery pieces and a factory producing improvised explosive devices.

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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Fairness and Gross Understatements

"The system did not adequately deal with the individual, there is no doubt about that."
"We do need to know why the perpetrator of this horrible outrage got long-term residency."
"We particularly need to know how someone with such a long record of violence, such a long record of mental health instability was out on bail after his involvement in a particularly horrific crime."
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott

"The new Bail Act amendments will ensure that an offender charged with being an accessory before the fact of murder will be forced to show cause why they should get bail."
"It is our intent that offenders involved in serious crime will not get bail."
Brad Hazzard, New South Wales attorney general
One of the Lindt Chocolat Cafe workers makes her escape. Picture: AP Photo/Rob Griffith
One of the Lindt Chocolat Cafe workers makes her escape. Picture: AP Photo/Rob Griffith Source: AP

Man Haron Monis was removed from a government terrorist watchlist some time in 2009. He was obviously on that watchlist for a reason. That reason might have had a great deal to do with his having odiously and often loudly proclaimed his commitment to jihad, of course. When asked just why it was that the man wasn't on any national security watchlist, Comm. Andrew Scipione, commissioner of the New South Wales police, responded that charges against him were not politically motivated.

Of course the charges were those of rather egregious crimes. Murder, for one; the murder of his ex-wife. He was convicted of criminal harassment of families of Australian soldiers killed in Afghanistan to whom he wrote obnoxiously horrible letters of condemnation. His appeal of that conviction was lost three days before he took 17 people hostage at the Sydney cafe.

And then there were the charges of sexual assault, over forty counts in total, involving seven women. His live-in girlfriend, a Muslim convert, is accused of having stabbed the man's former wife 18 times before burning her to death in April 2013. But this man, charged as an accessory to the murder, and the woman charged with the death, were both out on bail. Because the magistrate granting them bail commented that to do so represented a "simple matter of fairness".

The best part of all of this is that despite the criminal activities and the charges emanating from them, and that Man Haron Monis had at one time been on a national terrorism watchlist, he was granted permanent residency in Australia. Police, according to Commissioner Scipione, had asked that Monis not be granted bail in  he murder case, but the court in its wisdom ruled otherwise.

After the fact, however, the New South Wales government seems prepared to revoke bail for Mr. Moni's girlfriend, the charged murderer, Noleen Hayson Pal. Which seems so unfair, given that she must surely be in mourning after the death of her cleric lover.

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Fighting Terror, Meting Out Justice in Pakistan

"We announce that there will be no differentiation between 'good' and 'bad' Taliban and have resolved to continue the war against terrorism till the last terrorist is eliminated. The fight against terrorism is our fight and to counter it, a holistic roadmap is needed".
"We have all unanimously decided that a committee comprising of all parliamentary parties under Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar will prepare a plan of action which will be submitted to national leadership within seven days,"
"Today's conference has decided to draft an action against terrorists and act upon it immediately."
"This heinous incident is an example of the barbarism whose example cannot be found in the history."
"Operation Zarb-e-Azb is continuing successfully but what we have decided today encompasses how to tackle terrorism from the whole country."
"We have proposed terror cases should be expedited."
"If terrorists are not punished, then who will be punished?" 
Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif
Sirajul Haq, head of the Islamic political party Jamat-e-Islami, leads the funeral prayers of two school boys who were killed by Taliban militants at a school run by the Army, in Peshawar, Pakistan (EPA) Sirajul Haq, head of the Islamic political party Jamat-e-Islami, leads the funeral prayers of two school boys who were killed by Taliban militants at a school run by the Army, in Peshawar, Pakistan (EPA)

Ah, the audacity of sanctimonious hypocrisy; it should leave us speechless with disbelief. But we are becoming accustomed to it. Hearts bleed with compassion -- as how could they not -- for the tragedy of so many young lives taken, along with the adults who made it their life's work to give them a headstart in life by educating them. The anger against those who lack that very same compassion to the extent they carried out the bloody carnage is also universal.
 
As to a response to Mr. Sharif's questions: why, terrorists of any stripe, of course. Including, needless to say, those whom the government of Pakistan held so close to its bosom in years gone by whom the Pakistan military and intelligence service directed toward Afghanistan, championing the Taliban's return to govern Afghanistan while assuring NATO and the United States that Pakistan could be relied upon in the 'war against terrorism', even while the United States rewarded Pakistan by annual billions for their military upkeep.

Pakistan knows, even through its pain, how to manipulate. Perhaps it was Pakistan that developed the concept of Chutzpah, though Jews think it belongs to their cultural awareness of bald and bold entitlements through corruption of realities. Prime Minister Sharif, lifting a ban on the death penalty for terrorist crimes after discussing the legal system's "inadequacies in punishing terrorists", has reached out now to Afghanistan to coordinate a response against terrorism.

Pakistani army chief Raheel Sharif met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani along with Afghan and American military officials to 'share intelligence' about the deadly attack that led to a Taliban massacre of over 140 people, mostly young students at the Peshawar Military School. Afghanistan was asked to take action against head of the Pakistani Taliban, Mullah Fazlullah, who Pakistan claims is hiding out in Afghanistan's border region.

Proof in the form of intercepts and recordings were handed to Afghan authorities of Fazlullah's involvement from Afghan soil. Perfidy, they name is Pakistan. This is the country, after all, which chose to shield the Afghanistan Taliban within Pakistan's border region, while tasking it repeatedly with attacks against Afghanistan. This is the country that gave haven to al-Qaeda and its redoubtable leader, while assuring all that Pakistan was a reliable champion of democracy and anti-terrorism.

This is also the country that dispatched, through its military's involvement with Islamist jihadist proxy groups, paramilitary forces into the contested Kashmir region time and again, and which also is responsible for the bloody atrocity that took place in Mumbai, one of many, but the latest in November 2008 where ten hand-picked and meticulously trained Lashkar-e-Taiba operatives attacked the city, killing 172 people and injuring hundreds throughout a four-day siege.

If Prime Minister Sharif is looking for examples of heinous barbarity that have no peers in history he need look no further than the ongoing attacks by his country's surrogate Islamist militias, terrorists by any other definition, against Indian interests. As to his unchallengeable rhetoric about punishing terrorists ("If terrorists are not punished, then who will be punished?"), look no further than the case of Zaki-ur-Rehman Kahvi.

This is the man credited with orchestrating that very same atrocity, the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks, a senior commander with Lashkar-e-Taiba, a well-recognized Pakistani terrorist group with contacts infiltrated within the Pakistani military and intelligence agency. He has been awaiting trial since 2009, but a Pakistani court, a day after the deadly Taliban attack on the school in Peshawar, granted him bail.



Of course a bloody, devastating atrocity committed by Pakistani terrorists aided and abetted by Pakistani military is not quite the atrocity, despite the carnage, that an attack against a Pakistani target represents. Pakistani blood is simply more dear than Afghan or Indian blood, and that is merely a fact of life in Pakistan, a 'democracy' with a difference, and oh yes, a nuclear arsenal in a country that never seems to hesitate to wreak neighbourhood carnage.

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How Goes The War?

"[Islamic State] is very much affected by the successes of the air campaign. We are seeing that they (Islamic State) are far less offensive and far more defensive. They are changing their tactics."
"Many months ago they were openly and overtly on the move throughout Iraq, exploiting their momentum. That is absolutely no longer the case. They are having to hide. They have had to stop using bigger weapons systems like tanks, artillery. Right now they are setting up defensive positions and using asymmetrical tactics such as [Improvised Explosive Devices]."
"The assessment still is that ISIL presents enough of a threat that I know that as it sits right now there are targets being surveilled, detected and prosecuted."
"From a military perspective I have got a sense the Canadian media have been very respectful of the op sec (operational security)piece. It truly is a matter of protecting our people and taking the threat very seriously."
"With what happened with Cpl. (Nathan) Cirillo and Warrant Office (Patrice) "Vincent, (it) drove home to Canadians that this is an enemy that is ruthless and has to be taken seriously. As commander here my number one goal is the protection of my people."
Col. Daniel Constable, Kuwait City, Kuwait
Aircrew aboard a CC-150T Polaris from Air Task Force-Iraq conduct night air-to-air refueling operations with Canadian fighter aircraft in support of Operation IMPACT. (OP Impact/DND)
Aircrew aboard a CC-150T Polaris from Air Task Force-Iraq conduct night air-to-air refueling operations 
with Canadian fighter aircraft in support of Operation IMPACT. (OP Impact/DND)
"We're not at risk [in Canada] from ISIL [Islamic State] because we're fighting them. We're fighting them because we are at risk from them."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Ottawa

Matters have ostensibly moved so successfully with the U.S.-led coalition of airstrikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham that they have had to huddle in situ rather than set out in mechanized columns as in the past, moving on schedule toward one target after another; towns and cities, Iraqi military bases, vital dams and water plants, uprooting the regime's defense and taking possession of oilfields to exploit and enrich their conquest of the country.

The setback that is being described is that of a hitherto-successful major force whose reputation for extreme brutality and battlefield techniques lodged blind terror in the minds of the Iraqi military which melted away at the first sign of the oncoming ISIS convoys. What Iraq could not accomplish for itself, on its own, the allied intervention of the West and a few MidEast countries has done for them, placing them on the brink of setting their timetable for full push-back.

Prevailing conditions, stated Col. Constable, provide for "Iraqi forces to decide when the time is right to go on the offensive to clear those areas that were taken by ISIL". He was speaking to a Postmedia journalist, the peripatetic Matthew Fisher, from Kuwait near the Canadian bases where 600 Canadian personnel, six CF-18 Hornets, two CP-140 Aurora reconnaissance aircraft and a CC-150 Polaris in-air refuelling tanker are based.

"[Compared to Libya] where we were not as well co-ordinated with the forces on the ground that were being attacked by (Gadhafi's) forces, what I see different in this war [is coalition aircraft improved] preciseness of targeting because of Baghdad's involvement. For example, when F-18s are assigned to do close air support and strike missions the ultimate target engagement authority is the government of Iraq."

A CP-140 Aurora aircraft pilot from Air Task Force-Iraq conducts a mission during Operation IMPACT on December 13, 2014.   (OP Impact/DND)
A CP-140 Aurora aircraft pilot from Air Task Force-Iraq conducts a mission during Operation 
IMPACT on December 13, 2014. (OP Impact/DND)

The RCAF's Auroras, it was pointed out were "a tremendous asset to the coalition". Their electro-optical and infra-red cameras, state-of-the-art synthetic aperture radar, permit crew "to determine if a vehicle has a weapon on board that has been recently fired", and "to see through the weather". The Aurora, given its impressive flying time is able to "record the impact of weapons as they fall", lingering "to record post-blast effects, which amounts to near real-time battle damage assessment."

Reports that Iranian F-4 Phantoms had also carried out strikes against Islamic State targets is an impolite, impolitic topic, given the Republic's status among coalition partners. "The only thing I can say about the Iranian forces is that I am in the same boat as you. I have only read open source materials that have said that what purport to be Iranian assets (are) flying in Iraqi air space. I honestly don't know if the Iranians are doing this. I cannot really comment on the Iranian piece."

How morally embarrassing. It certainly does gall when a self-respecting democracy proud of its human rights record, prepared to damn the truly brutal record of a country that has insinuated into the same fight, must swallow the gall threatening to choke off those statements of condemnation in the reality of unfortunate consequences of taking sides.

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

A Horribly Blighted Nation

"We selected the army's school for the attack because the government is targeting our families and females."
"We want them to feel the pain."
Muhammad Khorasani, Pakistani Taliban spokesman

"They opened fire ... and then went out. But very soon they came, broke the doors and entered and again started firing."
"They killed most of my classmates and then I didn't know what happened as I was brought to the hospital."
Khalid Khan, 13, Peshawar Army Public School; school student
Reuters Taliban attack school
Safe: A soldier escorts schoolchildren after they were rescued from from the school
"The Pakistani military has never really wanted to launch an all-out war against the TTP; it much prefers to send its troops in every few years and give the TTP [Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan] a bloody nose."
"But today's attack may well have changed the equation. When you go after someone's kids, they tend to take that pretty personally."
Jonah Blank, senior political scientist, RAND Corp., U.S.

Eventually, the Pakistan Armed Forces did manage to evacuate 960 people from the school building under attack by the Pakistani Taliban. Whose seven well-armed and motivated attackers wearing Pakistani Military uniforms were able to bypass gated security to make their way with the use of a ladder to a side entrance of the school, access the auditorium and begin their shooting spree, indiscriminately discharging their weapons at school staff and children unmercifully.

The death toll was 132 students of all ages, and at least nine staff members, and many others wounded. One hundred died in the auditorium alone. Boys and girls are taught in separate buildings, and as the attackers roamed from hallways to classrooms they shot dead anyone they could see while military gunships hovered above the school, unable to act, in the knowledge of hostages within. Wounded arrived in convoy after convoy of ambulances and in the Combined Military Hospital dead students lined the hallways, placed in white body bags.
AFP PHOTO / Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan
AFP PHOTO / Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan    The Taliban fighters who allegedly stormed the Peshawar school.

By 6:30 p.m., after six hours, the attackers were dead. Some of them were killed by the army, some committed themselves voluntarily to martyrdom by detonating suicide vests, in the process slaughtering more children. And nor were they finished, even in death, having left behind them bombs to deter those entering the school, mandating caution in the evacuation of the wounded. This is a hard lesson in the old adage of as ye sow so shall ye reap.

It is very well known that the Pakistani intelligence services have long worked alongside militant groups, and were in fact well infiltrated by fanatical Islamists. Their determination to wreak havoc in Afghanistan and India ensured that the terrorist groups were well shielded by the military and the intelligence services who not only turned a blind eye to their actions, but actively promoted them, all the while declaring they were champions of the war on terrorism. It is where Osama bin Laden found haven in Abbottabad, his family compound in close proximity to an elite officers' training compound.

Pakistan's government covertly encouraged the Afghan Taliban, helping to train, arm and motivate them, and when they achieved government in Afghanistan, recognized their legitimacy. Once they were routed by Western invading forces led by the U.S. and NATO with the blessing of the United Nations, to route the Taliban and Al-Qaeda, they were given safe haven in the North West Frontier Province and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, which also sheltered al-Qaeda.

Their actions stimulated the birth of the Pakistani Taliban, partially motivated when General Musharraf charged the military with the assault on the Red Mosque, home to fanatical Islamists who were also championed by Tribal Chiefs in the Swat Valley and elsewhere, who shared their fanatical Islamist ideology. Himself an Islamist, Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, who once negotiated with the Taliban and Tribal Chiefs now vows to take revenge against them.

"We will take revenge for each and every drop of our children's blood that was spilled today", he stated, ordering three days of national mourning for the attack representing a "national tragedy unleashed by savages". Pakistan, in fact, is a savage place, where laws threaten Christians with mortal punishment in claims that they insult Islam or the Prophet, and similar laws are brought into force should Muslims attempt to convert to Christianity.

Pakistan's love affair with conflict against those neighbours it considers enemies, does not reflect kindly upon it as a civilized nation. The fact that this destabilized country is in possession of a nuclear arsenal gives scant comfort to those imagining a future conflict with India when Pakistani passions lead to conflict resulting from its constant state of paranoia. Pity the children of Pakistan where hill tribes murder health workers attempting to inoculate them against dread disease.

Pity the children of Pakistan where fanatical Islamist groups destroy schools, declaring them to be hotbeds of Western ideas and ideals, damaging the minds of Pakistan's children

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