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.

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Historical Versions of Choice

"As social conflicts continue to sharpen, the party needs to divert attention, and of course a parade is a good way to do that by whipping up nationalist fervour."
Zhang Lifa, historian, Beijing

"Every emperor has his weakness, and Xi wants to demonstrate his might and prestige."
"The parade is a chance for the Communist Party to show its gleaming knives and shiny boots so the people will submit to the fear and the charm."
Hu Jia, Chinese dissident
Chinese soldiers get off trucks at Tiananmen Square as preparations continue for an upcoming military parade in Beijing on Sept. 1, 2015. China is set to hold a military parade on Sept. 3, marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. (Photo: Wu Hong, European Pressphoto Agency)

China has created a new national holiday. It is prepared to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War. Events to mark that celebration are planned across the country, with a three-day holiday and a spectacle of martial might to be paraded through Beijing. The festivities are on special order of President Xi Jinping, and predate the current financial crisis roiling the Communist Party and rumbling through global stock markets.

But it is, given the circumstances, a serendipitous distraction for a population that has reason now to be concerned about the economic future of their country, along with their own financial comfort. The slumping stock market and the devaluation of the yuan is of huge concern to the Chinese administration in Beijing, and to the rest of the world, not least the United States with fears of China dumping American securities assets.

China's president has a vision of a "rejuvenated" China, as a rising military power whose rivals tremble before its might. Its focus most notably is on Japan, the once-militant country whose island nation acted as imperial conquerors in its brutal invasion of China and Korea. And it is laying claim to the version of history that it plans for posterity, that the Communist party ended the 14-year Japanese occupation of parts of China.

A guest list has been prepared for Thursday's scheduled parade that includes leaders of nations that fought Japan or suffered through Japanese aggression. In the viewing stands at Tienanmen Square will be guests of honour, Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Park Guen-hye of South Korea. Conspicuously absent will be officials from the U.S., Australia, Indonesia and a few other regional nations.

The year 2019 will mark 70 years since Mao Zedong's Communists fought the Nationalist Chinese in a bloody civil war when the People's Republic of China emerged. China is altering history to suit its version of what should have taken place but hadn't actually. It was the Nationalist armies of Chiang Kai-shek, and not Mao's Communist guerrillas who engaged the Japanese. Of the three million Chinese soldiers estimated to have died in 1937-45, the majority were Nationalist soldiers.

The Communist soldiers, almost beaten at the time of the Japanese invasion, were busy rebuilding their troops behind enemy lines, once in a while ambushing Japanese troops. Chinese leaders are busy with the indoctrination of the Chinese public in emphasizing the atrocities committed by Japanese troops during the war. Anti-Japanese sentiment has been stoked so that young people feel rage over Japanese reluctance to apologize sufficiently for its wartime belligerent violence.

As for the infamous 1989 Tienanmen Square firing on and killing an estimated thousand protester students, let alone the deadly famine, chaos and social violence of Mao's policies: "We don't learn that much about those things at school. China has a long history and the things you mention are just a tiny portion of our past", a university student who is a journalism major stated to a Western journalist.

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Neighbourly Relations

"The decisions the Pakistani government will be making in the next few weeks will significantly affect bilateral relations for the next decades."
"We can no longer tolerate watching our people bleeding in a war exported and imposed on us from outside."
Afghan President Ashraf Ghani
In this Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015 file photo, an Afghan man reads a local newspaper with photos of the new leader of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor, center, and former leader Mullah Mohammad Omar who was declared dead, in Kabul, Afghanistan.  (AP Photo/Rahmat Gul, File)
"We don't need his permission to announce our decision, and have made contingency plans for whether he says he will follow our decision or not."
shura leader Ahmad Rabbani Quetta Pakistan

"Mansoor is trying to show that he is the leader and no one can reach him on that level. [With the backing of the Pakistani intelligence agency, Mansoor] is the only one right now that has more support than anyone else for the leadership."
"With Pakistan's support, it doesn't matter who supports him and who doesn't."
Mohammad Ismail Qasimyar, foreign relations adviser to the Afghan government's High Peace Council

With the declaration in public, more than a year after the fact, of the death of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammad Omar, a succession conflict has arisen between the leadership of the Taliban and the family members of the late Mullah Omar. Whose deputy Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was declared his successor. Mullah Omar's family insists that a proper election for a new leader must take place.

What echoes here of the split between Sunni and Shia Muslims over the succession after the death of the Prophet Mohammad! But a gathering of a thousand Taliban members have assembled for a "unity shura" in the Pakistani city of Quetta that has long been seen as a secure place for the Afghan Taliban The meeting's purpose is to resolve the crisis that has arisen over leadership.

And that official Pakistan has unofficially turned a blind eye to the proceedings enrages Afghanistan's president for the sheer effrontery and hypocrisy that it represents. When it is more than obvious to anyone seriously involved in the ongoing conflict between Afghanistan and the Taliban that without Pakistan's aid their campaign would be hobbled.

And to that end, a unity shura; a dispute resolution committee -- is to formally deal with the Taliban leadership crisis. A biography of Mullah Mansoor was published b the Taliban expressing his backers' desperation to gain support for their candidate. It is Pakistan's support for the Taliban that has earned Afghan President Ashraf Ghani's accusations of ongoing and deliberate destabilization of his country on the part of Pakistan.

"Yes, our officials have contacts with them. Our officials have ability to contact and bring them to the negotiation table. That doesn't mean that our intelligence agencies have control on each and every thing," Pakistani security analyst Zahid Hussain said in objection to the accusations from Afghanistan. A series of deadly attacks on Kabul killing 50 people and wounding hundreds brought to a head strained relations between the two countries.

Leading President Ghani to express his frustration and anger at Pakistan on live television, accusing it of deliberately inciting violence in his country. His efforts to reach an agreement to work together to find a reasonable compromise in dealing with the Taliban insurgency, has failed, due to the intransigent inability and unwillingness of Pakistan to reign in its inter-Intelligence agency that has always conspired with the Taliban.

The Taliban's success, its installation as the government in Afghanistan would never have materialized if it hadn't been for the aid given it by Pakistan's government, its military and its intelligence agency, aiding and abetting and giving haven to the Islamist insurgency. Their control of Afghanistan best suited Pakistan's purpose, given to nefarious interference in the affairs of its neighbour added to its hatred of and attacks against India over Kashmir.

This is the same Pakistan that gave shelter and support to al-Qaeda, enabling Osama bin Laden to live in obscurity and comfort in a town with an established officers' garrison within spitting distance of the bin Laden family compound. The same Pakistan that arrested and charged with treason the Pakistani physician who cooperated with the United States in identifying the presence of bin Laden in Abbottabad.Osama bin Laden compound2.jpg Waziristan Haveli

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A delegation organized by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-NY) in Albany last year to lobby for a bill introducing halal lunches in New York public schools.
In recent years, three American public school districts have provided taxpayer-supported lunches meeting Muslim students' dietary standards. They have not similarly provided lunches satisfying any other students' religious standards. The halal foods purchased with public funds are costlier than comparable non-halal foods.

This is problematic under the U.S. Constitution's Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses. Even if a school district endeavors to provide all students with food satisfying each one's religious requirements, it would arguably entangle the government in religious observance and so violate the separation of "church" and state. If a school district goes out of its way to provide food satisfying the religious requirements of only some students, but not others, it risks illegally giving them unequal advantages and elevating their religion over others. This is especially so given that the school food is paid for at least partly with public funds, although the schools have been reluctant to reveal how much tax money is involved.

The Halal Programs

Public schools in Dearborn, Michigan, first began offering halal lunches in 2001. That winter, the school district invited "proposals from halal food distributors to provide food at several of its 28 public schools," and began a pilot program. Presently, according to David Mustonen, director of community and public relations for Dearborn Public Schools, "All schools have a halal option five days a week."

Halal public school lunches conflict with the U.S. Constitution's Establishment and Equal Protection Clauses.
Dearborn Heights' Crestwood School District started a halal food pilot program in 2013-14. Last year, Crawford High School in San Diego operated a pilot program offering a halal lunch option twice a week.

Legislators in both New York City and New York State have proposed mandating public schools to serve halal food. In February 2014, New York City Councilman Rafael Espinal introduced a resolution requiring New York City schools "to provide a halal lunch menu option." Three separate bills have been introduced in the New York State Assembly during the current (2015-16) term that would require public schools in big cities to offer halal lunch options. One of them requires that the food be provided to Muslim students "at no cost."

Media stories about lobbying efforts to serve halal food in New York City and San Diego public schools largely framed the issue as one of poor Muslim children going hungry because government-funded public schools failed to provide food satisfying their religious requirements (e.g., for San Diego: here, here, and here; for New York City: here and here).

The articles' presumed parents could not or would not provide lunches or argued that unheated packaged lunches were insufficient to enable children to learn effectively. Adds David Loy, legal director of the ACLU Foundation of San Diego & Imperial Counties, "The [San Diego] school district has a valid secular purpose of promoting equal educational opportunity by ensuring that low-income students eat lunch and therefore learn more effectively." New York City's proposed legislation shares these assumptions.

The coverage has also focused on meat. Articles typically presume that supplying halal meals equates to serving meat meals, although one story about Dearborn Heights indicated the school district was offering more vegetarian options in addition to meat, and one about San Diego commented that salad dressings are sometimes not halal.

Other Religions Excluded

The Middle East Forum asked Mustonen whether Dearborn makes kosher or other religiously compliant meals available to students. He responded only: "If there were a demand for kosher lunches (hot or cold) the district would consider that as an option." In other words, no. Neither San Diego nor Crestwood (Dearborn Heights) responded to any questions about whether they provide food satisfying non-Islamic religious requirements. The legislation pending in New York City and State does not require public schools to satisfy religious dietary requirements of non-Muslims. For instance, they are not required to offer kosher meals, despite New York's historically large Jewish population.
Few, if any, public school lunch programs in the U.S. benefit students of other religions having dietary restrictions.
While the Forum cannot conclusively say that no public school lunch programs in the country benefit students of other religions having dietary restrictions, several public school districts that have traditionally had large Jewish populations were contacted for this article. Districts contacted include: New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland, Chicago, Los Angeles, Scarsdale, New Rochelle, Lawrence School District (Nassau County, New York), Lower Merion (Pennsylvania), Shaker Heights (Ohio), West Bloomfield (Michigan), and School District 68 and Township High School District 113 (Skokie/Highland Park, Illinois). They uniformly responded that they do not offer kosher lunches.

New York City, Baltimore, Lawrence School District, and School District 68 offer a few items, such as juice, marked kosher. Philadelphia and Chicago have eliminated pork products from their menus, and Cleveland has cut back on pork products.

Government Funds Used to Pay a Premium for Halal Food

Beginning with the 2014-15 school year, the federal government pays for free lunches for all students (i.e., free to students, paid for by the federal government) at a school if more than 40% of its students come from low-income homes.
Crawford qualifies for free lunches for all students, according to Loy.

Dearborn declined to provide details about the number and percentage of its students participating in the federal lunch program, but as of 2011, approximately 60% of its students qualified for federal help. A number of Dearborn schools, if not the whole district, likely qualify for lunches free to all students courtesy of the federal government under the new federal policy. In any case, it receives millions of federal dollars each year for free and reduced-price lunches.

Crestwood (Dearborn Heights) also declined to provide information, but data suggest Crestwood also meets the 40% threshold for universal access to free lunches. As of 2009-10, 46% of Crestwood High School's 1,260 students received subsidized lunches, and as of 2014, 62% of them did.
Halal meals for the Dearborn program reportedly cost 20-30% more than equivalent non-halal meals.

Halal meat costs more than non-halal meat. Asked about the Dearborn program's cost, Mustonen responded only, "Any increase in cost is off-set by an increase in revenue." He provided no details, and the source of the increased revenue is unexplained.

Reportedly, halal meals for the Dearborn program cost the district 20%-30% more per meal than equivalent non-halal meals. Significant dollars are involved: the Dearborn school district contracted to pay $228,000 for halal meat. The time period covered by the contract was not provided.
Neither San Diego nor Crestwood (Dearborn Heights) school district responded to inquiries on the respective program's cost or any other issue.

Before beginning its pilot program, the San Diego school district reportedly spent "$16 million a year on 22 million meals for students, but adding a halal menu could be a considerable extra cost... the meat is a bit pricey because it is considered hard to come by." A later story about the San Diego halal program mentioned increased cost only in the context of the food being organic, not in the context of it being halal. It gave no specifics, other than stating organic drumsticks cost "a few extra cents." Like Mustonen, Gary Petill, food services director of San Diego Unified School District, stated that increased participation – paid for by the federal government – covered the increased cost.

Demand for school lunches at Crawford has increased by about 300 meals (it is unclear whether that figure represents the additional number of meals per week, or the number of additional students participating in the twice-weekly halal lunch option), the cost of which is borne by the federal government, not by parents or students. Not all additional participants are Muslim; the breakdown of Muslim as compared to non-Muslim new participants is not known.

Crestwood (Dearborn Heights) food service director Lori Squire did not respond to an inquiry for this article but has reportedly said a maximum of 20% of students who buy their meals opt for the halal chicken patty option. It is unclear to what extent federal funds subsidize those lunches.

To sum up, three American school districts are providing Muslim students with food meeting their religious requirements. Dearborn is not doing the same for students of other religions, such as Jews. San Diego and Dearborn Heights ignored questions about how students of other religions are treated. New York City and State are considering legislation that would require schools to provide halal food but not food meeting any other religious requirements. The halal food costs more than comparable non-religiously prescribed food. It is paid for in part or in whole with millions of dollars in federal funds.

In effect, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, and San Diego appear to have established Islam as an official religion, whose rituals are endorsed by the government and paid for with public funds. New York City and New York State may join them. Other religions, such as Judaism, are unrecognized. It may be halal, but it sure doesn't sound kosher.
Johanna Markind is associate counselor at the Middle East Forum
Related Topics:  Islamic law (Shari'a), Muslims in the United States  |  Johanna Markind

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Gatestone Institute


  • To this day, the Obama administration mourns the fall of Egypt's Islamist President Morsi, and turns a cold shoulder to forward-looking President el-Sisi, who is (sometimes) trying to take Egypt into the 21st century and extricate Egypt from its economic and societal crisis.
  • Muslim Brotherhood terrorism against the Egyptian regime is a perfect example of how this "political movement" is in reality a terrorist movement whose objective is the violent overthrow of Egypt's government. The White House, fully aware of the facts, continues hosting senior Muslim Brotherhood officials and shows them respect during consultations about the American Islamic community and U.S. policy in the Middle East.
  • Events in Sinai prove there is no such thing as "political Islam." There is a radical Islamist leadership that represents itself to the gullible West as "moderate," preaches violence from mosques, cloaks itself in ideological-religious tradition, and employs Islamist terrorists to attack civilians and Egyptian government targets.
  • It is hard not to conclude, looking at President Obama's record (ignoring protesters of 2009 in Iran; "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone"; the dictatorial way the Iran deal is bypassing the democratic process) that in his heart-of-hearts, he is far more committed to supporting extremist Islamist regimes -- whether the mullahs of Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood -- than to supporting democracy, individual freedoms or human rights.
  • The Europeans are more aware of the situation but woke up too late. As hundreds of thousands of migrants from Muslim lands continue to pour over Europe's open borders, there is little doubt that radical Islam is poised to take over the West. Islamic communities and terrorist cells continue to mushroom throughout the cities of Europe.
  • The world is beginning to understand that the catastrophes of the Middle East have nothing to do with the resolution of the Palestinian issue but are caused by the innate homicidal tendencies of the Arab rulers and the regional Islamist terrorist organizations.
Hamas is in trouble. Its relations with Egypt are going from bad to worse, and the influx of money, primarily from Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the mosques in the Western world -- where charity (zakat) was collected to finance anti-Israel terrorism -- has dwindled to almost nothing. So has the flow of arms and explosives from Iran, Libya, Sudan and Lebanon. The resulted is the weakening of Hamas rule in the Gaza Strip, making it ever more difficult for Hamas to continue its ongoing subversion of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in the West Bank and its non-stop attempts to overthrow President Mahmoud Abbas to take over the West Bank and establish there the sort of Islamic emirate it established in the Gaza Strip.

Hamas's military buildup was halted when the President Mohamed Morsi's radical Muslim Brotherhood regime in Egypt was toppled and General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi was elected President. Morsi, it will be recalled, strangely received support from President Obama until he was ousted. The Obama administration supported him despite Morsi enabling for the flow of money and arms to Hamas in Gaza to continue unhampered through the tunnels in the Sinai Peninsula. The weapons were used not only to attack Israel, but also to sabotage peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians and, indirectly, to attack the Palestinian Authority.

The Islamist terrorism festivities ended when President el-Sisi clamped down on the Islamists in Egypt, destroyed the tunnels and sealed Egypt's border with Gaza. Since el-Sisi has been president of Egypt, Muslim Brotherhood rule has ended and the tunnels have been destroyed. It is hard to fathom why, to this day, the Obama administration mourns the fall of the Islamist Morsi administration and turns a cold shoulder to forward-looking el-Sisi, who is (sometimes) trying to take Egypt into the 21st century and extricate Egypt from its economic and societal crisis.

Since el-Sisi has been in power, money and arms no longer flow through the tunnels into the Gaza Strip; instead they began to flow in the opposite direction, from the Gaza Strip into Egypt's Sinai Peninsula. Since the Muslim Brotherhood and its affiliated terrorist organizations, Hamas among them, have not accepted defeat, there has been an increase in terrorist attacks targeting the Egyptian regime both inside the country proper and in the Sinai Peninsula. The terrorist campaign receives ongoing support from the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas' military-terrorist wing, and the ISIS-affiliated Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis. Both continuously attack the Egyptian police and army in the Sinai Peninsula, murder Egyptian officials and target Egyptian institutions.

The endless terrorist campaign in Egypt has proven yet again that the claim of a political Islam, separate from the terrorist organizations, is simply a lie. Muslim Brotherhood terrorism against the Egyptian regime is a perfect example of how the "political movement" tries to represent itself as dealing only with the da'wah [proselytizing], while in reality it is a terrorist movement whose objective is the violent overthrow of el-Sisi's administration. The White House, fully aware of the facts, continues hosting senior Muslim Brotherhood officials and shows them respect during consultations about the American Islamic community and U.S. policy in the Middle East.


While being hosted by the State Department on a visit to Washington in January 2015, Muslim Brotherhood judge Waleed Sharaby (left) flashed the organization's four-finger "Rabia" sign. At right, ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi (from the Muslim Brotherhood) displays the Rabia sign.


The events in the Sinai Peninsula prove there is no such thing as "political Islam." There is a radical Islamist leadership that represents itself to the gullible West as "moderate," preaches violence from the mosques, cloaks itself in ideological-religious tradition, and employs a hard core of Islamist terrorists to carry out attacks on civilians and Egyptian administration targets.

In the meantime, the real victims are the Egyptians. The Muslim Brotherhood's terrorism has paralyzed Egypt's tourist industry, as foreigners fear to visit Egypt's antiquities. And now there are terrorist threats to the New Suez Canal, a project initiated and carried out under the leadership of General Sisi to turn both banks of the two canals into an international logistics, commercial and industrial area.

The Islamists' plans are clear. First, they want to leverage violence, murder and countless Egyptian army casualties into establishing an autonomous terrorist enclave in the Sinai Peninsula. Then they will try to overthrow the Egyptian government and reinstate an Islamist Muslim Brotherhood regime headed by Morsi. That is exactly what their offshoot, Hamas, did in the Gaza Strip when it liquidated Palestinian Authority officials and established an Islamic emirate. The writing on the wall is still illegible as far as the U.S. government is concerned. Or else the Obama administration is still in the thrall of extremist Islam and its Muslim Brotherhood leaders. The two main ones are Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has just called new elections so that he can try again to acquire enough seats in parliament to amend Turkey's constitution to award himself a one-man Sultanate, an absolute dictatorship-for-life to go along with his new palace. The other is Mohamed Morsi, whom Obama apparently is still backing.

It is hard not to conclude, looking at the U.S. president's record (ignoring the protesters of 2009 in Iran; "I've got a pen, and I've got a phone" and the dictatorial way the Iran deal has been short-circuited to bypass the democratic process) that in his heart-of-hearts, he is far more committed to supporting extremist Islamist regimes -- whether the mullahs of Iran or the Muslim Brotherhood -- than to supporting democracy, individual freedoms or human rights.

The Europeans are more aware of the situation but unfortunately woke up too late. As hundreds of thousands of migrants from Muslim lands continue to pour over Europe's open borders, there is little doubt that radical Islam is poised to take over the West. Islamic communities and terrorist cells continue to mushroom and gather strength throughout the cities of Europe.

From the beginning of the wave of attacks in Egypt, senior Egyptian security officials threatened Hamas. Egypt warned Hamas to stop training, arming and sending its terrorists to collaborate with ISIS operatives in attacks against the Egyptian army. Hamas steadfastly denies any involvement, even as it continues collaborating with ISIS against Egypt.
As far as Hamas is concerned, destroying the Egyptian army is essential, because its continued actions along the Rafah border and in Sheikh Zuweid in the northern Sinai Peninsula prevent Hamas from acquiring money and stockpiling weapons to fight Israel, which weakens its subversion against Mahmoud Abbas and its plans to take over the West Bank.

Despite profuse denials, at the end of August 2015, four operatives from Hamas's military-terrorist wing, the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, were taken off a bus by armed Egyptians on the way from Rafah through the Sinai Peninsula to Cairo. Hamas immediately accused Israeli intelligence of responsibility and warned the Egyptian authorities that "the abduction of its operatives will not go unpunished."

In response, Dina Ramez, a co-host on Egypt's official TV station, called Hamas out on its lies and denials of its terrorist activities in the Sinai Peninsula against the Egyptian regime. She asked Hamas, "If you are not involved in terrorism, what were your senior Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades operatives doing in Sinai?" and called them "cockroaches."
Sources in Hamas called her a "whore," and called Egypt a loser country defeated by Israel, using a peace treaty to sell Palestine to the enemy. Was that really the way to thank Egypt for everything it has done for the Palestinians, sacrificing its army and soldiers for us? It is a sad situation for the Palestinians and for our leadership.

What have we Palestinians gained from Hamas's military actions against Egypt? What have we gained from our solidarity with Islamist organizations fighting against Assad in Syria, or joining organizations such as the "Palestinian Liberation Army" fighting for Assad? Why are we killing each other in the Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp? Why do we refuse everything the Israelis offer us?

Anyone who remembers history remembers the ungrateful path trodden by the Palestinians against the Kingdom of Jordan, when our leaders, headed by Arafat, tried in 1970 to overthrow King Hussein, despite the refuge Jordan offered us during the catastrophes of the Nakba in 1948 and the Naksa in 1967. Then we did the same thing in Lebanon, to where we fled from Jordan. The PLO relocated its headquarters to Beirut, and went on to turn Lebanon into a terrorist country and the lives of the Lebanese into a nightmare. If the Israelis had not invaded Lebanon in 1982, and forced the PLO to relocate to Tunisia (where its behavior was also criminal), the Palestinians definitely would have destroyed Lebanon.

The Middle East is in chaos, and Palestinian factionalism and ingratitude continue to inflame the dissolution of the Arab states and the internal Palestinian division between Hamas in Gaza and the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

The world is beginning to understand that the catastrophes of the Middle East have nothing to do with the resolution of the Palestinian issue, but are caused by the innate homicidal tendencies of the Arab rulers and the regional Islamist terrorist organizations.

The only person left who believes the Israeli-Palestinian nonsense is President Barack Obama, even though he is witness to the murders, rapes, beheadings and the millions of refugees, next to which the Palestinian issue is an old, irrelevant and very tired joke.
Bassam Tawil is a scholar based in the Middle East.

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Gatestone Institute


  • Most of the Palestinian camps in Lebanon and Syria have long served as large weapons warehouses controlled by various militias belonging to different groups. This has been happening while the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which is formally in charge of the refugee camps, continues to look the other way.
  • The 120,000 Palestinians living in Ain al-Hilweh are "unfortunate" because they are not being targeted by Israel. Otherwise, there would have been an international outcry and the UN Security Council would have held an emergency session to condemn Israel and call for an immediate cessation of hostilities. Instead, Ain al-Hilweh may soon fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State terrorists.
  • The Syrian Army has also been dropping barrel bombs on the camp almost on a weekly basis. But because Israel cannot be blamed, Palestinians killing Palestinians is not something that the international media and community are interested in.
  • Instead of admitting their responsibility for turning the camps into military bases, Palestinian leaders often prefer to blame others, preferably Israel, for the plight of their people.
Palestinians are once again paying a heavy price for allowing terror groups and armed gangs to operate freely inside their communities. But this is not happening in a refugee camp in the West Bank or the Gaza Strip. Rather, it is taking place in Lebanon, one of three Arab countries that host hundreds of thousands of Palestinians.

This explains why the international media and human rights organizations have shown little interest in what is happening inside the largest Palestinian refugee camp in Lebanon, Ain al-Hilweh.

For the past two weeks, dozens of Palestinian families from Ain al-Hilweh have fled their homes after fierce clashes that erupted between Fatah militiamen and terrorists belonging to a radical Islamist gang affiliated with Al-Qaeda and Islamic State.

The UN Security Council has clearly not heard of the fighting in Ain al-Hilweh. That is why it has not even issued a statement expressing "concern" over the plight of the Palestinians in the camp.

The international media, for its part, has thus far shown little interest in the story. Why? The answer, as usual, is simple: No Israeli involvement.

The 120,000 Palestinians living in Ain al-Hilweh are "unfortunate" because they are not being targeted by Israel. Otherwise, there would have been an international outcry and the UN Security Council would have held an emergency session to condemn Israel and call for an immediate cessation of hostilities.

But, because Israel cannot be blamed, Palestinians killing Palestinians is not something that the international media and community are interested in.

The clashes in Ain al-Hilweh have so far resulted in the killing of four Fatah militiamen. At least 35 people were wounded in the fighting, which has been described as the worst in years. According to eyewitnesses, the rival parties have used various types of weapons to attack each other, including rocket-propelled grenades.

The four dead men have been identified as Fadi Khdeir, Ala Othman, Rabi Mashour and Hussein al-Saleh.


Smoke from explosions rises from Ain al-Hilweh refugee camp in Lebanon, Aug. 25, 2015. (Image source: Arab Tomorrow video screenshot)


The latest round of fighting in Ain al-Hilweh began after Islamist terrorists tried unsuccessfully to assassinate Abu Ashraf al-Armoushi, a senior Fatah security commander. Earlier, the terrorists managed to kill another top Fatah official, Talal al-Urduni.

Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon have always been considered "extraterritorial" zones, managed exclusively by various armed groups. The Lebanese police and army have no role in maintaining law and order inside the camps. As in most similar situations, where armed clashes have erupted inside refugee camps, all that is left for the Lebanese Army to do is monitor the situation from a distance.

In 2007, however, the Lebanese Army was forced to intervene to stop armed clashes at another refugee camp, Nahr al-Bared. Dozens of people, many of them soldiers, were killed in the fighting, which also resulted in the near destruction of the camp. Nearly 30,000 Palestinians were displaced, and Nahr al-Bared remains a closed military zone.

Residents of Ain al-Hilweh are worried that they will meet the same fate as Yarmouk refugee camp in Syria. Yarmouk was once home to some 200,000 Palestinians. Today, the number of the residents has dropped to 12,000. Hundreds of Yarmouk residents have been killed and injured in fierce fighting between rival militias during the past four years. The Syrian Army has also been dropping barrel bombs on the camp almost on a weekly basis.

Yarmouk, Nahr al-Bared and Ain al-Hilweh continue to pay an extremely heavy price for agreeing to turn their camps into military bases. Most of the Palestinian camps in Lebanon and Syria have long served as large weapons warehouses controlled by various militias belonging to different groups. This has been happening while the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), which is formally in charge of the refugee camps, continues to look the other way.

As the fighting in Ain al-Hilweh shows, the Palestinians have once again fallen victim to what many of them describe as the "chaos of weapons." It is this type of anarchy that allowed Hamas to expel the Palestinian Authority from the Gaza Strip in 2007. Refugee camps in the West Bank and Gaza Strip are also full of weapons and gunmen belonging to various groups, including Fatah and Hamas.

Maher al-Shawish, a Palestinian writer and political analyst from Lebanon, says that Ain al-Hilweh is now facing a serious humanitarian crisis due to the ongoing fighting. "If you see the destruction inside the camp, you will realize that it is facing a real catastrophe that needs to be stopped immediately," al-Shawish said. "The clashes are disgraceful for the Palestinian cause."

But instead of admitting their responsibility for turning the camps into military bases, Palestinian leaders often prefer to blame others, preferably Israel, for the plight of their people.

Ain al-Hilweh may soon fall into the hands of Al-Qaeda and Islamic State terrorists. Yet instead of facing this threat and calling on the international community to assist in foiling the terrorists' plan, Gen. Subhi Abu Arab, a top Fatah security commander in Lebanon, chose to hold Israel responsible. Needless to say, Israel has nothing to do with the latest round of fighting in Ain al-Hilweh or the "chaos of weapons" inside Palestinian refugee camps.

Still, Palestinian officials such as Gen. Abu Arab never miss an opportunity to lay the blame at Israel's door. They also continue to lie to their people by claiming that Israel is behind Islamic State. Referring to the clashes in Ain al-Hilweh, Gen. Abu Arab had no problem explaining that, "This is a Zionist scheme to eliminate the right of return, displace the Palestinians and stir trouble inside the camp by using a fifth column."

As long as Palestinian and Arab leaders continue to believe conspiracy theories and refuse to wake up to the reality of the dangerous situation inside the refugee camps, the Palestinians of Ain al-Hilweh, like those of Yarmouk, sadly will face a bleak future.
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Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Dying A Racist Martyr : Guilty As Charged

"Everything I did for our people, to secure the existence of our people and the future of white children."
"You can inspire tens of millions of our people and give them hope for the future [by acquitting the murderer who stood before them]."
"[I wanted] to kill Jews, not to kill people."
"I was thinking of the ongoing, systematic genocide of white people by Jews."
"I'll die alone in a cage. I'll die a martyr, I hope."
Frazier Glenn Miller Jr., 74, former Ku Klux Klan leader, Kansas
F. Glenn Miller Jr. yells as the jury as they leave after being found guilty of three counts of capital murder on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, at the Johnson County Courthouse in Olathe. Miller was convicted of fatally shooting three people outside Jewish facilities in Overland Park on April 13, 2014. Jurors will now consider whether Miller faces the death penalty or life in prison.
F. Glenn Miller Jr. yells as the jury as they leave after being found guilty of three counts of capital murder on Monday, Aug. 31, 2015, at the Johnson County Courthouse in Olathe. Miller was convicted of fatally shooting three people outside Jewish facilities in Overland Park on April 13, 2014. Jurors will now consider whether Miller faces the death penalty or life in prison. ALLISON LONG along@kcstar.com

Read more here: http://www.kansascity.com/news/local/crime/article32879232.html#storylink=cpy

He is a white supremacist and he was convicted of capital murder. He stalked a Jewish centre and an assisted-living facility in suburban Kansas City, seeking out Jews to kill. As matters unfolded, he killed not Jews but three non-Jews. On April 13, 2014 he drove to the Jewish Community Center of Greater Kansas City in Overland Park, Kansas. Hundreds of people had come together for a singing competition. Typically, Jewish social and community centers are open to people of any faith.

When he opened fire he fatally struck Dr. William Corporon, 69, and Reat Underwood, the 14-year-old grandson of Dr. Corporon. On an outing, grandfather and grandson could have no awareness that they would die together just as they had taken pleasure together in attending a singing competition. From there this racist hate-monger drove to a nearby assisted-living facility, Village Shalom, where he shot to death 53-year-old Terri LaManno.

As part of his testimony on Monday in court during his week-long trial before Judge Thomas Kelly Ryan of Johnson County District Court, Glenn Miller Jr. expressed his regret at not having killed more people. His intention was to kill Jews, as many as he could manage. As fortune had it, no Jews were killed, but other people were. And he urged the jurors sitting in judgement on his murder spree to find him not guilty of the charges.

He described in his testimony that his father had ingrained in him knowledge about Jews. And because of what his father taught him, he had been a 'white activist' for the past sixty years. The hatred evidenced in such people with racist delusions so deeply entrenched that reason surrenders to the most base emotions and conclusions. A people whom genocide almost wiped from the face of the Earth accused of genocidal intentions against 'white people'.

Although he admitted that he was responsible for the shootings that killed three people, he meant to kill only Jews. And he had acted nobly, surrendering himself to complete defence of the white race. "Diversity", he wrote on an easel, before delivering himself of his rants, "is a code word for white genocide!"

The jury chose not to respond to his urging to acquit him of all charges.





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When Good People Grievously Err

"Most Canadians and Westerners are unaware of instructions drilled into the impressionable minds of Muslim boys at a very early age in schools by mullahs, or religious teachers. They are taught that idolatry or associating a partner with Allah (shirk) unbelief (kufr), and apostasy (ridda) are crimes against God deserving of death, and that it is obligatory on Muslims to execute this punishment. They are taught any rule of law apart from Sharia is sinful and illegitimate, and that it is obligatory on Muslims to establish Sharia rule wherever they can and persist in the effort until the whole world eventually submits."
"The result of such teaching, and the culture that perpetuates it, is the ideology of jihad that glorifies terrorism as the cult of martyrdom."
Salim Mansur, professor, Western University, London, Ontario
Two Muslim women demonstrate against the proposed Quebec charter of values outside the legislature in Quebec City.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot   Two Muslim women demonstrate against the proposed Quebec charter of values outside the legislature in Quebec City.

It was with a sigh of relief that Quebec elected a Liberal government and threw out the separatist Parti Quebecois and its agendas to destroy the unity of the Canadian confederation. A new man came on the scene, a reasonable man who believed in equality and in federation, a doctor by profession who would lead Quebec back into union with the other provinces and put a stop to the uneasy relationship his province has agitated toward for decades.

But now the Quebec government of Liberal Premier Philippe Couillard has brought forward new legislation that would stifle free speech. Bill 59 is a perverse bit of legislation, as inimical to free democratic values as Bill 101 has been in banishing English in the province. Bill 59 would make it illegal, through a proposal made real initiated by the Quebec Human Rights commission, to bring lawsuits against any who engage in "hate speech".

Hate speech is defined in this context as criticism of Islam. The Conference of Islamic Cooperation must be chortling with satisfaction, if they know of this new initiative in Quebec. Where the Parti Quebecois made strides to bring into law the illegality of wearing conspicuous religious symbols for civil servants serving the public, Quebec's Liberal party has gone to the opposite extreme. The Conference of Islamic Cooperation has been attempting for years to have the United Nations declare that criticism of Islam represents a criminal, human rights offence in its obvious "Islamophobia".

No other religion in the world would have this distinction of being universally protected against criticism. Coincidentally, no other religion in the world has roiled the international community with its calls to jihad and its spread of global terror. No other religion in the world has been responsible for the countless bloodthirsty deaths of its own, from Africa to South Asia to the Middle East. No other religion in the world is guilty of inciting its own faithful to flee the countries where sectarian, minority ethnic and tribal oppression and conflict makes migrants and refugees of their own.

Professor Mansur speaks on behalf of Muslims who have fled the oppression and repression and human rights violations common in Muslim majority countries for haven elsewhere, where democracy and equality rights benefit all equally under the law. Those Muslims who are appalled when the strictures of Islamist values and Islamist Sharia law have followed them and taunt them and once again imfringe on their lives.

Premier Couillard states that Muslim terrorism is a response to criticism of Islam. Believing that if criticism becomes unlawful then terrorism will cease to be a problem; jihadists will no longer have a reason to spread their brand of violence across the world. President of the Quebec Human Rights commission, Jacques Fremont, has stated publicly his intention to sue any who "write against ... the Islamic religion ... on a website or on a Facebook page." Effectively joining ranks with repressive countries like Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey and Iran.


This alarms Professor Mansur, an outspoken critic of fundamentalist Islam. "As a Canadian, I know the values of freedom and democracy are indispensable for the world of Islam if it eventually makes the transition from closed to open society. These values, especially freedom of speech, have to be vigorously defended and taught to immigrants from Muslim countries to embrace as citizens of a liberal democracy."

"...In Bangladesh bloggers have been hacked to death for practising free speech. In Iran, Saudi Arabia, and across the Middle East freedom of speech and freedom of religion are repressed with lashings, crucifixions, imprisonments and beheadings. This is why Bill 59 is not merely a diminution of liberal democracy. It is worse It is a betrayal of those Muslim immigrants and refugees in Quebec who came seeking freedom and democracy. And it is an abject capitulation in appeasing those Muslims who cling to the values of a closed society and fear, like rulers of the OIC countries."

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The Spies Who Came In From The Cold North

"I am first and foremost Canadian. I have lived for twenty years believing that I was Canadian and still believe I am Canadian, nothing can change that."
Timothy Vavilov

"[My Canadian heritage was] an important part of who I am. It is the only culture I can associate with, and has been a cornerstone of my identity."
Alexander Vavilov
Timothy Vavilov, 25, left, and brother Alexander, 21, pictured in 2010. Their parents are spies who came to Canada in the 1990s and took over the identities of dead Canadians.
Elise Amendola / The Associated Press   Timothy Vavilov, 25, left, and brother Alexander, 21, pictured in 2010. Their parents are spies who came to Canada in the 1990s and took over the identities of dead Canadians.
"It is interesting that it took so long for the authorities to realize that the application for citizenship was without merit, since they had already known that the parents' citizenship was fraudulent."
Sergio Karas, Toronto immigration lawyer

"Anyone who moves to this country with the explicit goal of establishing a life to further a foreign intelligence operation, be it in this country or any other, is clearly doing so in the service of, or as an employee or representative, of a foreign government."
Federal Court of Canada

It is the stuff of best-selling spy thriller novels; Russian espionage in Western countries. Not that Western countries don't themselves engage in espionage activities targeting Russia. Or, for that matter, any other country. But the excruciating lengths to which Russian intelligence has gone on occasion to install agents, assuming identities of another nation's citizenry, and laying low for decades while appearing as ordinary citizens, does boggle the mind.

And when a country's intelligence agencies discover the existence of such deeply engrained covert activity, there is denial, embarrassment, and swift withdrawal of tainted nationals. In the case of revealed undercover spies Elena Vavilova and Andrey Bezrukov, whose two sons were born in Canada while their parents purported to be ordinary Canadians, it is heartbreaking to read the testimonials of the two young men protesting the revocation of their Canadian citizenship.

Associated Press/ FBI
Associated Press/ FBI    Andrey Bezrukov and Elena Vavilova, Russian operatives who were sent to Canada to develop “legends” that would mask their spying activities in the United States.

At first glance, in any event. The complex arrangement of infiltrating Canada to appear as Canadians with solid bona fides established over a prolonged length of time, was to enable the parents to eventually migrate to the United States, and there to conduct their undercover studies, relaying the information back to Moscow. The two took the identities of two dead Canadian children. And for twenty years lived their faux Canadian lives.
Court  Documents
Court Documents   A court document showing the Canadian passport of Tracey Lee Ann Foley (a.k.a. Elena Vavilova). A Russian couple stole the identities of Tracey Foley and Donald Heathfield, Canadians who had died as infants. The couple maintained the fiction for two decades until they were arrested in 2010 and sent back to Russia in a spy swap.
 
Once their Canadian identities were firmly established the two spies moved with their sons to France, and from there to Boston, to become naturalized American citizens, with the aid of their faux Canadian identities. An FBI investigation revealed the identities of ten Russian spies busily searching out useful data for Russian intelligence; among them this pair. They were eventually traded for four Russians imprisoned in Moscow for spying on Russia.

Their two boys who attest to their Canadian personas actually hadn't lived very long in Canada; the younger of the two for only one year; so much for being first and foremost Canadian. Citizen and Immigration Canada revoked the citizenship of both brothers a year ago with the explanation that as they were born of parents who were representatives of a foreign government they were not eligible for Canadian citizenship.

The parents, according to a report from Citizenship and Immigration, were sent to Canada "specifically for the task of stealing the identities of Canadians and building their respective legends prior to relocating to the United States, the 'target country', as Canadians." The pair worked for the Russian SVR Foreign Intelligence Service and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is convinced that the older brother had become an operative with the SVR.
"CSIS has since informed CIC that Timothy Vavilov had been 'sworn in' by the SVR prior to his parents' arrest. It is not known if Alexander has also pledged allegiance to the SVR."   

For his part, Timothy Vavilov denies any "grooming me for espionage" on the part of his parents, accusing authorities in Canada of attempting to "tarnish our lives". He and his brother had been "indirectly notified by top officials of the Canadian Secret Services" they would lose their battle to have citizenship restored.

Court Documents
Court Documents A court document showing the application for Canadian Citizenship for Timothy Foley (a.k.a Timothy Vavilov).

In his affidavit, Timothy Vavilov wrote: "The representatives of the Canadian Secret Service stated that 'if you continue, there will be consequences -- for example, a campaign to publish damaging information about you in the press. I have a strong belief that the reason for the revocation is political and is not something we can influence."

Astonishing.

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Islam Amok Among The Faithful

It's a tossup which is sadder, more horrendous, more heart-breakingly dreadful; that people live in realms where conflict is ongoing and persistent, where oppression, discrimination and poverty are endemic, or that people, desperate to save their lives and that of their loved ones, and hoping to find an improvement in their lives and hope for the future, set out on arduous, miserable journeys only to find impediments in their way, if they survive the journey.

graphic

The world watches with fascinated horror as the agency for destructive atrocities empowers itself through the certainty that their god has instructed them to commit barbaric acts of slaughter, rape, enslavement, banishment as they righteously claim the geography vacated to the presence, for their emerging and growing Caliphate. Armed forces attached to the countries which are experiencing the ignominy of seeing their borders collapsed are hapless in response.

Instead, a minority population of Kurds, an ethnic group whose ancient heritage in the geography has been denied nationhood, has taken up arms against the ferocious intruder and represents the only internal militias with the power and determination to defend not only themselves but the helpless ethnic and religious minorities that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant commit carnage against. The ISIL threat is one of mass dementia where humanity has been replaced by a religious ferment steeped in bloodshed.

But it is a government in Syria led by a minority-sect Muslim president who instructs his military to strafe and barrel-bomb his own majority-sect Syrian civilians that has unleashed another kind of terror, one that the United Nations had long since pledged it would be honour-bound to prevent. It seems, in the reality of the ongoing civil war of Bashar al-Assad against Sunni Syrian discontent, to utter platitudes of denunciation will suffice, however.

The Arab League has no intention of assembling its well-armed forces to march on an Arab despot, irrespective of the kills attributed to him. The Organization of Islamic Cooperation whose purpose is to defend Muslims against non-Muslims is unwilling to contain the vicious blight that has Muslims slaughtering Muslims.

The Arab League patiently awaits Western intervention. It has happened so often, from Iraq to Afghanistan and Serbia. And then, when the slaughter abates, blame can be directed not against Muslim butchery, but Western interference in Arab affairs.

Thousands now cross daily along the 175-kilometre border between Serbia and Hungary. None of the migrants have intention of stopping in Hungary; its economy is struggling and it is socially hostile to absorbing the columns of Africans, Syrians, Afghans and Pakistanis among others seeking haven elsewhere than in the Arab/Muslim world.

They aspire to reach Sweden, Norway, Belgium or Germany. No fewer than 800,000 refugees and migrants are expected to cross into Europe this year.

A migrant man holding a boy react as they are stuck between Macedonian riot police officers and migrants during a clash near the border train station of Idomeni, northern Greece, as they wait to be allowed by the Macedonian police to cross the border from Greece to Macedonia, Friday, 21 August 2015
There has been unrest on the border between Greece and Macedonia as migrants try to travel towards northern Europe -- BBC News
Discord has erupted in the European Union over the plight of the refugees and the migrants, over who will take an apportioned number and who refuse to do so. The backlash from citizens of various European countries who have witnessed the gradual decay of their culture and their society as it is transformed into one wholly unfamiliar to them and distressing beyond words has warned their leaders that enough had long since reached their shores.

Migrants arrive in Kos (19 August)
  Fifty thousand people arrived on the shores of the Greek islands in July-- BBC News

Citizens of war-ravaged Syria debate whether to slip under the multiple layers of barbed wire into Hungary or to surrender their cash to smugglers to get them further into Europe. Germany, Austria, hopefully. The refugees are tired, exhausted, fatigued, dispirited, how much trudging in oppressive heat can people endure? The unfit, the children, the wounded, it is all too inhumanely miserable. They set out to find a haven for themselves, not this misery.


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Freeing Fahmy

"Canada continues to call on Egypt for the immediate and full release of Mr. Fahmy, and full co-operation to facilitate his return home."
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper

"Canada is disappointed with Mohamed Fahmy's conviction. This decision severely undermines confidence in the rule of law in Egypt. The government of Canada continues to call on the Egyptian government to use all the tools at its disposal to resolve Mr. Fahmy's case and allow his immediate return to Canada."
"Senior Canadian officials in Canada and in Cairo are pressing Egyptian authorities on Mr. Fahmy's case. [Canadian authorities are] advocating for the same treatment of Mr. Fahmy as other foreign nationals have received."
Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Ottawa

"Canada has consistently called for Mr. Fahmy's full and immediate release, and this is what we will continue to be doing."
Canadian Ambassador to Egypt, Troy Lylashnyk

"We're profoundly concerned about the conviction Our consular officials in Cairo have been working with great focus on this issue. We have reached out to the Egyptian government at the highest levels, and we'll continue to do so to represent the interests of Mr. Fahmy."
"In some of these consular cases, the most effective thing is not always to get out with a megaphone."
Defence Minister Jason Kenney, Ottawa, Canada

Al-Jazeera journalist Canadian Mohamed Fahmy, accused along with Egyptian Baher Mohamed of supporting the blacklisted Muslim Brotherhood in their coverage for the Qatari-owned broadcaster, talks to human rights lawyer representing him, Amal Clooney during his trial in Cairo on Saturday. The court sentenced Fahmy and Mohamed, along with Australian journalist Peter Greste who was tried in absentia after his deportation early this year, to three years in prison. KHALED DESOUKI / AFP/Getty Images
Asking for the "immediate return" of Egyptian-born Mohamed Fahmy reflects what countries are supposed to do on behalf of their nationals who get in trouble abroad. Mr. Fahmy is often described as a 'Canadian' journalist. He is an Egyptian who works as a journalist abroad, and he decided to take employment with the Qatar-based Al-Jazeera, as its station head in Cairo, Egypt. Nice fit, that, an Egyptian working for a Qatari news source.

As an Egyptian Mr. Fahmy cannot have been ignorant of the politics involved in the Middle East. As a journalist he must have known how suspicious most Middle East countries are of Al-Jazeera's coverage. The news empire funded by oil-rich Qatar is not neutral in its reportage; it reflects the values of Qatar. And Qatar is a staunch supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, of Hamas, and it has links to the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Egypt freed itself of the curse of the Muslim Brotherhood and has declared it and its offshoot Hamas terrorist groups. Egyptian authorities have their hands full, coping with the infiltration of Brotherhood Islamists within the country, and its actions in the Sinai Peninsula where Salafist Bedouin, Hamas, al-Qaeda affiliates and Islamist Jihad, along with Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, are in common league with the Brotherhood.

Under these circumstances it is hardly surprising that Egyptian authorities fail to look kindly upon anyone working with and for Al-Jazeera, particularly in the critical time of dissent and violence when the presidency of Mohammed Morsi was revoked by Egyptian dissatisfaction with his disastrous year's rule and the former chief of the Egyptian Armed Forces who had warned Mr. Morsi he was on a dangerous trajectory, took formal reigns of the country, later to be elected president by popular demand.

So Mr. Fahmy, along with his co-accused, were of a certainty aware of all this background, yet they chose to pursue a story with the Qatari bias which would only enrage Egyptian authorities at a time of chaotic destabilization. And Mr. Fahmy, in a desperate ploy to be exiled from his native country, chose to divest himself of his dual citizenship, in the belief that he, like one of his colleagues, would be permitted to return to the country to which he latterly pledged loyalty as a citizen.

Peter Greste was returned to Australia, and the third co-accused, Baher Mohamed, sentenced to three years' imprisonment at this second trial, a native Egyptian like Mr. Fahmy, must remain where he is. Countries in the Middle East in particular, whether they term themselves as democracies or not, tend to be harsh on journalistic freedom. Russia, Turkey, Venezuela, China and any other countries ruled by autocrats and dictators are known as unfriendly to journalists.

The three Al-Jazeera-employed journalists defend themselves by claiming they were only doing their jobs as journalists, and given by whom they were employed their job was obviously to report the news from a particular perspective, often quite unpopular in the countries from which they do their reporting. Arguing that they're pawns in a geopolitical conflict, also argues that they might have and likely should have diagnosed the conditions under which they were employed and forecasted a likely outcome.

Mr. Fahmy is one of those Canadian citizens of passport-convenience. He arrived in Canada with his family in 1991, and after completing his journalism education, chose to exit Canada for work abroad. That the Egyptian government considers the news network for which Mr. Fahmy worked as little more than a propaganda arm of Qatar cannot have been news to Mr. Fahmy. Knowing the obvious did not deter his work as their Cairo station manager. Obviously the job had appeal for him, and obviously he decided to take any risks that came with it.

With the removal of Mohammed Morsi from the presidency and the installation of President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi, it should have been predictably obvious that supporters of the previous president and the party he represented would be persona non grata in Egypt. Justice Hassan Farid stated that the three English-language journalists had broadcast "false news ... with the aim of harming the country", that they imported broadcasting equipment sans approval, and without permission broadcast from their hotel.

"What I am asking for right now is Mr. Harper to intervene. It's time for him to prove that he can help and support a Canadian citizen. I believe this [verdict] is extreme injustice and extremely unfair", stated Mr. Fahmy's wife, Marwa. Well, holding Canadian citizenship does ensure that consular officials will be involved when a Canadian abroad runs into trouble. But Canadian citizens are individuals and make choices at their own discretion, not involving the government.

Canada can, and will continue with its diplomatic overtures in an attempt to have Mr. Fahmy freed of incarceration. His native country feels that one of their own behaved as a traitor to the best interests of the nation. Under circumstances such as this, there is just so much and no more that diplomacy can accomplish. But quiet diplomacy that permits each side some dignity when one or the other retreats from a position to please the other, is certainly the way to go. 

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Sunday, August 30, 2015

Pre-Emptive Inaction


"The discussions on this case continue; they continue very frequently. They are taking part both locally, nationally, internationally."
Spokesperson, Canada Border Services Agency

"We don't want them to just walk away."
Nazia Khalid, press secretary, Pakistani High Commission, Ottawa
A video screen shows Jahanzeb Malik, 33, making an appearance at the Immigration Refugee Board hearing in Toronto on Monday, May 11, 2015.
Stewart Bell / National Post   A video screen shows Jahanzeb Malik, 33, making an appearance at the Immigration Refugee Board hearing in Toronto on Monday, May 11, 2015.

What does any self-respecting nation do when it is alerted to the fact that members of terrorist groups have appeared on their soil, and may be planning terrorist attacks? Why, just what Canada has done; arrested the presumed threats to the country. And, since they are citizens of another country, their deportation is a matter of primary importance.

The first action is to ensure that they are not left at large to pursue any nefarious, injurious-to-society activities, the second is to rid the country of their presence.

Pakistan is a Muslim country whose relations with its neighbours are fraught; both India and Afghanistan have Pakistan to thank for violence and ongoing threats to their own security. Pakistan and its military and its infamous secret intelligence service is well infiltrated with violence-dedicated Islamists; both Afghanistan and India can attest to their neighbour's deadly interference in their own affairs.

That Pakistan's mountain tribes are independent of central rule, and pose an internal and external threat as well, is another factor in the country's instability with the spectre of this nuclear-armed country failing to safeguard its nuclear warheads from capture by tribal Islamist jihadis. Pakistan's own paranoia and its threats to use nuclear weapons should it believe that neighbouring India may invade, describe it as a menace to the entire geography.

That menace does not stop in the near abroad, but travels elsewhere across the globe. And Canada is the beneficiary of lone Islamists appearing on its shores, portending no good. Muhammad Aqeeq Ansari and Jahanzeb Malik are two men from Pakistan known to have jihadist terrorist connections and aspirations whom Canada is determined to deport to their native Pakistan. Ansari is a member of the terrorist group Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan.

And Malik, who has family living in Canada and who arrived in 2007, was arrested on suspicion of planning terrorist attacks, backed by an arsenal of weapons and Islamist materials also in his possession. They both claim concern for their safety should they be returned to Pakistan. As for Pakistani authorities, they would prefer that the two men be kept incarcerated in Canada, courtesy of the Canadian taxpayer.

While neither man faces criminal charges in Canada, their deportation is critical; neither is a Canadian citizen, and the Immigration and Refugee Board has ruled that both represent security threats to the country. The Canada Border Services Agency and Department of Foreign Affairs authorities have been meeting with the Pakistani high commissioner and the Toronto-based consul general of Pakistan.

That the government of Pakistan has not yet arrived at their final decision whether it will agree to the deportations is intolerable. These are their nationals; claiming that they may represent a threat to Pakistan security is an absurdity, given the obvious reality that the entire machinery of government is well infiltrated by threats to their own security. The government policy of the country represents a threat to the country's security.

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