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.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Sourcing Out Terrorism in Canada

"Since their emergence in the 1980s, environmentalist-motivated incidents have been slowly increasing as a proportion of overall terrorist activity."
"This trend shifted, however in 2010-15, when religious attacks emerged as the most prominent type of terrorism, along with pockets of anarchist and supremacist activity."
"No organizations of the same scale [Front de liberation du Quebec/Sons of Freedom] have been active in Canada's recent history. Rather, incidents in Canada represent groups of individuals who come together for a single attack, or individuals who share a common ideology."
"As Canada and other countries around the world take action to address the activities of terrorist travellers, individuals who are unable to travel to conflict areas could feel a heightened motivation to carry out an attack in their country of origin, including Canada."
Study, Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society

"Rather than reflecting broader motivational trends, these distributions [high proportion of cases with no motive identified] may reflect a tendency for some groups to advertise their motives more explicitly than others, or certain groups to have better success at evading detection following incidents."
Professor Daniel Hiebert, University of B.C., study principal investigator

Video footage showing Aaron Driver is seen behind RCMP Deputy Commissioner Mike Cabana and Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Strachan during a press conference.
Justin Tang / Canadian Press    Video footage showing Aaron Driver is seen behind RCMP Deputy Commissioner Mike Cabana and Assistant Commissioner Jennifer Strachan during a press conference.

This study, prepared for the 2016 Public Report on the Terrorist Threat to Canada, commissioned by the federal government, has led its researchers to conclude that 29 percent of terrorist incidents were religiously motivated, committed between 2010 and 2015. Another seven percent of incidents were recognized as anarchist motivated, while three percent were given the category of supremacist in nature and origin. The bulk of terrorist attacks, at 61 percent, were classified as unknown for their motivation.

The study states that all religious terrorism dating back to 2001was recognized to have been "motivated by jihadist beliefs". (But one mustn't link that by prefacing 'jihadist' with Islamist.) A conclusion that should surprise no one. Where the surprise comes in is that huge bloc of 61 percent where the motivation for the events remained unsupported by any type of conclusion as what caused them. It also seems a little far-fetched, given the propensity of government agencies and the news media to be reluctant to name terrorism for what it is, and its proponents for what they represent.

There have been a number of well-recognized plots that were apprehended by security and intelligence agencies in the country before their plans could be carried through. There were also the commission of violent Islamic State-inspired deadly attacks, one of which was an audacious and amazingly effective attack by a lone gunman on Parliament Hill, in the wake of the gunman shooting to death a military reserve guardsman standing sentry at the national war memorial a stone's throw from Parliament.

At least the study's principal investigator had the good sense to urge caution in reading the results arrived at, given the large number of instances lacking identification of motive. But rather than subscribe to his recommendation that groups themselves lacked the will to identify themselves and their actions it makes eminently greater sense to scrutinize the unwillingness of government and media to zero in on Islamist jihadis as perpetrators of violent action and destabilization, a denial that none of this has anything to do with Islam, a 'religion of peace'.

Europe too, is extremely concerned over the large numbers of Muslims that have migrated out of their Muslim-majority countries to settle across Europe since the continent and some countries in particular; France, Belgium, Norway, Germany and Britain as example and the United States in North America, have experienced far more Islamist violence resulting from the large numbers they have absorbed. And it is those large numbers, assertive in their entitlements, representing a restive, potentially threatening demographic, that restrains government from citing Islam as a cause for fear of generating even greater threats.

Since, in Canada, the threats from the Muslim community focus for the time being on the much smaller Jewish-Canadian community, and 'activists' in sympathy with the Palestinian 'cause' against the 'occupier', requiring 'resistance' embarking on a deep-rooted anti-Semitism, seek to slander and delegitimize Israel, while agitating on university campuses and denigrating and threatening Jewish students, the concern is not as large yet as when the general indigenous community comes under threat.

In and of itself, the study which sets out to perform an analysis of a database of terrorism and extremism incidents, examined identifiable incidents back to 1960, encompassing the Animal Liberation Front and on up to vandalism at two Ontario mosques in the wake of the 2015 Islamic State attacks in Paris. That far greater incidents of attacks and vandalism occur toward Jewish targets becomes a non-issue. As in Europe, such incidents come at the hands of racist Muslims.

Professor Hiebert, the study's lead author, is a geographer, his profession is not known to study terrorism and why he was chosen to lead the study is yet another puzzle in the results so far known. He undertook to distinguish between acts of terrorism from the categories of violent extremism and hate crimes. Why this should be is strange indeed, since there are definite links in many instances with all three.

The study did point out the emerging trend of overseas terrorist attacks committed by Canadians of Islamist persuasion, particularly since 2013. Most, it was pointed out, were committed by terrorists "affiliated with jihdist-motivated organizations". In good conscience, an inescapable conclusion. The Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre singled out the Islamic State group for its success in persuading, through its social media links, Muslim Canadian youth to join its jihadist movement.

A special nod was given to the future and what it may portend as Canadian extremists determined to travel abroad to join jihad in the Middle East, North Africa or South Asia see their attempts foiled and turn instead to expressing their belief in their sacred obligation to Islam to engage in jihad, making their mark right here in Canada.

Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa Citizen     A tourist shot this photo of Michael Zehaf-Bibeau during his attack near Parliament Hill.

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Sunday, October 30, 2016

The Fearful Abomination of the United Nations Shamelessly Collaborating with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Hounding Israel, Delighting the Palestinian Authority

The United Nations and its member bodies never miss a chance to validate the general and growing impression that their nobility of purpose and their function take on an increasing aura of a myth. The respect due the world body has long since dissipated as organized cliques within its membership set out to have their agendas recognized and given assent by elected groupies within the organization competing for seats on various councils, most of which turn out to be utter shams, perverting entirely the honour and purpose of those they sit in.

The latest absurdity to arise is an example par excellence of an underhanded, uneven and biased perversion that turns history, heritage and truth on its head, to install in their stead a latter-day fable whose official installation and recognition has put the lie to the declaration that the United Nations cultural heritage body, UNESCO, exists to ensure that it "contributes to peace and security in the world by promoting collaboration among nations through education, science, culture and communication in order to further universal respect for justice, for the rule of law and for human rights and fundamental freedoms".
Jewish worshipers cover themselves with prayer shawls as they pray in front of the Western Wall, in Jerusalem's Old City, during Passover, April 6, 2015. Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)
Jewish worshipers cover themselves with prayer shawls as they pray in front of the Western Wall, in Jerusalem's Old City, during Passover, April 6, 2015. Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

UNESCO has allowed itself to be highjacked by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation through member states Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, Oman, Qatar and Sudan on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, all exemplars of peace, good governance and world security through their dedication to goodwill and fairness and decency within the world body at at home in their various nations where no hint of human rights abuses could ever see the light of day, the ICC apart.

Their efforts within UNESCO to "build peace in the minds of men and women", has somehow failed to impress Israel, which once again became the focal point for the assembled Arab/Muslim gathering intent on obliterating Jewish history, antecedents and cultural, religious heritage with the claim that Judaism's links to Jerusalem are naught but a figment of the imagination of those who wrote historical facts for posterity. It would be tantamount to Israel invoking history to point out that Jewish tribes were illegally expelled from Mecca by Mohammad, to now recommend to the UN in all fairness that Mecca and Medina be restored to Judaic rule.

The resolution drafted by the Palestinians had a distinct purpose, to blot out history, Judaic memory, culture, heritage and sacred connections to Old Jerusalem, as though Israel's claims to the ancient city are of recent vintage, and the Palestinians' reflections of undocumented but true history written for the moment, of the moment. The holiest site in Judaism, the remnants of the Two Temples of Solomon and the Temple Mount on which they stood, have become Muslim territory with no actual predecessor religion of great antiquity.

A model of the second Holy Temple (Photo: Shutterstock.com)
A model of the second Holy Temple (Photo: Shutterstock.com)

The third most treasured site in Islam, a religion that feasts on the precepts and figures of worship of earlier religions, Judaism and Christianity, takes precedence with UNESCO agreeing that those sites are under the dominion of Islam their names distinguishing the Tomb of Rachel and of the Patriarchs, distinctly Judaic sites, along with the Temple Mount, all henceforth to be acknowledged by the UN body as Islamic sites with Arabic titles to distinguish them. History trashed.

This assault against Judaism and the State of Israel along with world Jewry, witness to the trashing of their entire heritage, a complementary strategy linked to the obliteration during Nazi Germany of millions of Jewish lives accomplishes the delusion that there is no legitimacy in Israel's existence on a geography now acknowledged as being Arab/Muslim from antiquity forward. Oddly enough, this conforms completely to Islam's injunction that no land consecrated to Islam may be occupied by any other religious group.

To their everlasting shame to be documented through this historical vote, Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Chad, China, Dominican Republic, Egypt, Iran, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Mauritius, Mexico, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Russia, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan and Vietnam voted for the resolution, while Albania, Argentina, Cameroon, El Salvador, France, Ghana, Greece, Guinea, Haiti, India, Italy, Ivory Coast, Japan, Kenya, Nepal, Paraguay, Saint Vincent and Nevis, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Uganda and Ukraine. Absent were: Serbia and Turkmenistan abstained

Only Estonia, Germany, Lithuania, The Netherlands, United Kingdom and United States voted against the resolution. The resolution, among other insults, assaults and absurdities states it: Deeply deplores the failure of Israel, the occupying Power, to cease the persistent excavations and works in East Jerusalem particularly in and around the Old City, and reiterates its request to Israel, the occupying Power, to prohibit all such works in conformity with its obligations under the provisions of the relevant UNESCO conventions, resolutions and decisions.

Needless to say, archeological evidence of Jewish existence in Jerusalem is viewed with horror by the Arabs and Muslims who do their own archeological digs to destroy any such items that come into their hands that might lend credence to the historical fact of Jewish existence in the holy city, along with the existence of the temples which the Roman-Jewish historian Josephus, among others, recorded in his own writings.
Terminology of all the disputed sites to be referred to by their Arabic names, along with other, allied assaults against reason and intelligence that must be of great satisfaction to the Palestinian Authority, finding itself an established and respected part of the world community in its de facto membership of the UN as a nascent state supported by the Non-Aligned Nations happy to do the bidding of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.


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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Reading Terrorism's Lethal Threats

"The one thing I've always been concerned about in all my years in public safety, be it as police chief or [Ontario] commissioner of emergency management, is that the things you don't know are the things you fear the most."
"The only responsible thing ... is to prepare."
Julian Fantino, board member, Mackenzie Institute security think-tank

"It is among the most dangerous and lethal agents available for a bio-terror attack, with extraordinarily high mortality rates if people exposed to anthrax are not treated quickly."
"This information [who might be designated to] prophylactically [receive anthrax vaccine, is kept secret for] national security reasons."
"This information could end up in the hands of those who could use it to inform their plans to harm Canadians through an act of terrorism."
Rebecca Gilman, spokeswoman Public Health Agency Canada
One outside expert said the relatively small number of anthrax vaccine doses ordered by the Canadian government likely means it is stockpiling the vaccine to administer to first responders or health-care workers, but not the general public.
One outside expert said the relatively small number of anthrax vaccine doses ordered by the Canadian government likely means it is stockpiling the vaccine to administer to first responders or health-care workers, but not the general public.

"It's a strange number [dose being ordered of BioThrax by the Public Health Agency of Canada]."
"If you're talking about a mass inoculation effort, you would need hundreds of thousands or millions of doses."
Leonard Cole, expert on bio-terrorism, Rutgers University

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control is taking delivery of 44.75 million doses of anthrax vaccine from its producer, Emergent Bio-Solutions of Michigan, as per a 2011 contract. Given the population of the United States, three times the amount of doses expected by the Centers for Disease Control, it's clear that the vaccine is not meant to be used for the entire population. Perhaps to target those in the population whose location, employment and critical positions make sense to inoculate. In any event, the order in the United States is 160 to 300 times greater than the number Canada has committed to.

Citing the bacteria for anthrax as being identified as "one of the most dangerous and lethal" biological agents, should it be used as a biological weapon, the Public Health Agency of Canada has seen fit to order up to 28,000 doses of anthrax vaccine. For a population of some 35-million. So obviously it is foreseen as a necessity to inoculate a limited number of Canadians, featured among them politicians, scientists, military and of course heads of government. Leaving, needless to say, the bulk of the population to fend for itself.

In the wake of the 9/11  terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pennsylvania, the United States went through a further shock when letters whose contents were identified as spores of the potentially lethal bacteria were addressed to and duly delivered to a number of media and political offices in the United States. Five Americans died as a result of being exposed to this highly virulent animal disease. The individual responsible was named as a government scientist who was mentally unstable.

With government agencies and political authorities focusing on the methods and madness of jihadist terrorist groups throughout the world wreaking havoc wherever they impose their murderously recognized version of the Koran's call to jihad running amok and challenging the fire power of those opposing them, the use of pathogens as weapons of mass destruction is a thought too far to contemplate. Yet, a Middle East regime professing to be in conflict with terrorism has been found responsible for using chemical weapons for mass destruction on its own population.

The use of bacterial agents as weapons of mass destruction is, under the circumstances, no far-fetched nightmare, though it is an acknowledged nightmarish scenario. Its potential for use as a weapon sees it as an enormous public health threat. The tender issued by Public Health Agency of Canada envisions the vaccine to be used as a preventive measure and also prophylactically, once people have been exposed to anthrax. The bacteria kills 80 percent of those who breathe in the spores, indicating its threat level.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Global Affairs Canada     The Bacillus Anthracis bacteria that causes anthrax.

In contrast to Canada, the U.S. plans for enough of the vaccine to treat large populations exposed to anthrax, according to Michael Kuhlman, chief scientist for contract research at Battelle, a non-profit research group working with the American government on bio-terror defence. In addition, it could be used on people not yet exposed after an initial attack, on the assumption that increased assaults are on their way.

Mr. Kuhlman emphasized the potential of the threat, pointing out a report in 2015 that Islamic State jihadists had murdered a scientist at the University of Mosul in Iraq when he refused to aid them in the development of a biological-weapons program. Earlier, at the time the Taliban crumbled under the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan, al-Qaeda was developing an anthrax factory there.

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Friday, October 28, 2016

The Method to Their Madness

"We fear we are just at the beginning." These villages are 35 to 40 kilometres outside Mosul. The closer you get to the city, the worse it could get."
"We've had reports ISIL are moving people, and we don't know where, but with their history of barbarism, you fear it's somewhere with strategic value for them."
Rupert Colville, United Nations human rights organization

"ISIL’s depraved, cowardly strategy is to try to use the presence of civilian hostages to render certain points, areas or military forces immune from military action, essentially using tens of thousands of men, women and children as human shields."
"In the face of these flagrant violations of international humanitarian law by ISIL, it is even more crucial that government forces and their allies ensure scrupulous respect for these laws."
"Captured (Isis) fighters and those perceived to have supported them must be held in accordance with international law."
UN spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani

"Daesh detains families or sometimes just young people as they withdraw from an area. My brother was in the village of al-Hood and is one of those that they have taken. We do not know what has become of him."
"When the army attacks any village, civilians are caught in crossfire. We have to decide whether to go to the army side or stay where Daesh is. Daesh considers anyone who leaves the land of caliphate as ‘apostate’ so they force people to go with them as they withdraw towards Mosul."
Jassim, 36, a farmer from Qayyarah

"Congestion is increasing in the city, since the military operation began, hundreds of families from villages around Mosul began to come to the city and they are housed in schools and empty government buildings."
"They live under difficult conditions and we are helping them as much as we can by giving them food, water, blankets and other needs. They are scared."
Issa, a teacher in his 30s
A family walks away from the front line in Mosul, Iraq
A family walks away from the front line in Mosul, Iraq Photograph: Carolyn Cole/LA Times via Getty Images

It is thought that about eight thousand families have been force-marched by Islamic State jihadis into Mosul from outlying villages. Their purpose is obvious enough; to ensure there are sufficient numbers of ordinary Iraqis in all parts of the city so that artillery or aerial bombardments are withheld for fear of inadvertently killing innocents. This tactic is not unique to Islamic State of course, it is one practised by all terrorist militias for whom human life is of negligible value, balanced against their agenda.

Iraqi families trapped in the general vicinity of Mosul are also being shepherded to other places besides Mosul. The town of Hamam al-Ali, once had a population of about 23,000 residents, but since becoming a stronghold for Islamic State, the town's population has been increased to 60,000 and it is not hard to imagine how strained resources are to manage a tripling of the population. The U.S.-led air coalition has been trying to bomb the vehicles sometimes used to transfer villagers, when they are empty of passengers.

The people helpless to defend themselves from being forcefully displaced, arrive to find place for themselves in abandoned buildings, ending up living in dire straits with their human necessities for survival in short supply. A young disabled girl, along with five other people who were unable to keep up with a group forcibly marched from their village, were shot dead by ISIL terrorists just south of Mosul. Their deaths known to everyone, the bodies left in plain sight to ensure that fear motivates others to cooperate.
Internally displaced persons clear a checkpoint in Qayara, some 50 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. Islamic State militants have been going door to door in farming communities south of Mosul, ordering people at gunpoint to follow them north into the city and apparently using them as human shields as they retreat from Iraqi forces. Witnesses to the forced evacuation describe scenes of chaos as hundreds of people were driven north across the Ninevah plains and into the heavily-fortified city, where the extremists are believed to be preparing for a climactic showdown.  (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)
Internally displaced persons clear a checkpoint in Qayara, some 50 kilometers south of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2016. Islamic State militants have been going door to door in farming communities south of Mosul, ordering people at gunpoint to follow them north into the city and apparently using them as human shields as they retreat from Iraqi forces. Witnesses to the forced evacuation describe scenes of chaos as hundreds of people were driven north across the Ninevah plains and into the heavily-fortified city, where the extremists are believed to be preparing for a climactic showdown. (AP Photo/Marko Drobnjakovic)

While in the same village, ISIL was reported to have tied six civilians to a vehicle by their hands to be dragged about, an honour accorded them in view of the fact they were relations of a tribal leader known to be fighting with Iraqi government forces. This is yet another specialty common to Hamas, in Gaza. Another 70 bodies shot through with bullets was discovered by Iraqi security forces in the village of Tuloul Naser, on October 20.

Fifty police officers held hostage by ISIL were executed outside Mosul on Sunday. Somewhat balancing the ledger on atrocities, are reports of revenge attacks by forces closing in on Mosul, on men and boys believed to have fought for ISIL, surfacing as well.

On its social media sites, ISIL has posted suggestions of plans to retreat to the deserts of Anbar province on a temporary basis, there to rebuild and plan additional atrocities on Iraqis. As it is they have done stupendous harm. Kurdish peshmerga and Iraqi security forces have taken the full brunt of ISIL suicide bombings, killing and injuring a substantial number of those dedicated to releasing Mosul and its million residents from Islamic State.

The roads and hills around Mosul have been littered with IEDs, while snipers with Islamic State have been dispatched to greet coalition militias as they approach Mosul. Execution style killings continue to take the lives of former police officers as ISIL retreats from its Mosul territory.

A man accused of being a Daesh fighter sits before a crowd of newly displaced people near a check point in Qayyara, east of Mosul, Iraq, Wednesday.
Goran Tomasevic, Reuters -- A man accused of being a Daesh fighter sits before a crowd of newly displaced persons at at a checkpoint at Qarayya, east of Mosul.

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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Institutional Incompetence

"I have never been more angry. I know that anger is a raw emotion and not necessarily the best thing to push public policy on. But I have never been more angry."
"Even now, after all this [ISIL butchery of Yazidi men, enslavement of thousands of Yazidi girls and women], they're still saying it's not easy to do. Of course it's not easy to do [rescue the Yazidis from their difficult-to-approach places of haven]. But it's the right thing to do."
"There is something fundamentally wrong, and pardon my crude colloquialism, but something o f--king wrong with the system if that's the talking point that goes out on this: ['It is not easy to bring the Yazidis here from the places where they are': Canada's Immigration Minister],"
"If we are actually saying that it's too hard for them to do this, then why do any of these people [lawmakers, public servants] have jobs. I just don't understand this. It's wrong."
Michelle Rempel, Conservative critic for immigration, refugees and citizenship, Canada
An ISIS fighter speaking before the start of a slave auction of Yazidi women and girls. (Sceenshot: YouTube)

It was this 36-year-old former cabinet minister in the previous Conservative-led government in Canada who worked to persuade Parliamentarians in the House of Commons to vote to declare the persecuted Yazidi minority in Iraq -- seeking haven in Kurdistan from the degradation imposed upon them by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant -- suffered from war crimes and genocide, and that Canada had an obligation to make a genuine effort to rescue as many of the Yazidi women as possible, as refugees.

The world first learned about the plight of the Yazidis when it was being reported in the media that thousands were stranded on Mount Sinjar where they escaped in desperation as Islamic State jihadis entered their traditional towns and villages below. The Islamic State jihadists declared the Yazidis -- an ancient ethnic group worshipping an ancient religion -- to be devil worshippers and deserving of death. Thousands of men and boys were slaughtered, the women and girls rounded up to become sex slaves.

A Yazidi girl who was raped and then
killed by ISIS fighters. (Screenshot.)

The tens of thousands of Yazidis who escaped immediate death and enslavement when their city of Sinjar was over-run by ISIL, were freezing on the mountain, faced with starvation and the lack of drinking water. Their plight was desperate. And it was Kurdish militias that opened a route to rescue them, leading them off the side of the mountain to a pass that took them across the border, from Iraq to Syria, and safety. The U.S. finally submitted to public pressure and began a brief bombing mission to cover their escape.

A Yazidi woman who eventually escaped from ISIS captivity.  (AP)

But those were the ones who escaped. The Yazidis represent a sizeable minority, They don't worship Islam, but rather an ancient amalgam of several religions pre-dating Islam. There is an estimated 700,000 of the ethnic group, considered distant cousins as it were, of the Kurds. Their home territory is in the Shingal Mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. And their home territory has been horribly marred with the symptoms of what has befallen them through the ISIL incursion in fall 2014.

Mass graves of Yazidi men have been discovered. Thousands of Yazidi women and girls, enslaved, subjected to rape and torture, forced abortions and other  horrors, languish in the marketplace of slavery so celebrated by the ISIL caliphate, quoting from the Koran to lend dignity to their insufferable human rights violations marking them for the barbarians that they are, given to dreadful atrocities and regarding them as symbolic of their power and strength.

Most of the women who managed to escape the nightmare that the jihadists placed them in are in "internally displaced persons" camps in Iraq, where the United Nations refugee system doesn't reach. Germany has nonetheless exerted itself to succeed in absorbing over a thousand of the women as refugees. Aside from the Kurds, however, the Yazidis have few champions to speak on their behalf. So it really does behoove Canada to take a stand.

Puzzlingly, when the current Liberal-led government in Canada took great pleasure in portraying Canada as a saviour nation for taking in 30,000 Syrian refugees, they managed to overlook the plight of the Yazidis, far more desperate in many ways than the fate of many of the Syrians absorbed by Canada. The need for asylum to be given to Yazidi refugees is dire. Canadian immigration officials have been in Iraqi Kurdistan, ostensibly to get an idea of the situation, but they are moving in agonizingly slow motion.

On Tuesday in the Canadian House of Commons, the entire roster of Parliamentarians voted 313 to 0 to finally act with some speed to fulfill the humanitarian obligation to offer haven to Yazidis. The excuse was always given that it was too difficult to select Yazidis deserving of asylum because they had not first been scrutinized and given official status as refugees by the United Nations. It does the Trudeau government no credit that its Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion refused a motion the interim conservative leader of the Opposition brought before the House condemning the atrocities against Yazidis by ISIL, as genocide.
ISIS fighters in Iraq. (AP)

The excuse was that this was a responsibility of the United Nations. Following hard on their refusal to endorse the motion came the results of a UN investigation, with the High Commissioner for Human Rights confirming, based on that investigation, that the Yazidis were subjected to horrors easily surpassing the UN's 1948 genocide convention, designating the barbarities committed against them as genocide.

"Something changed in me. I was furious. When I heard our bureaucrats and the UN talk about why we couldn't be bringing these people to Canada, that was it. The thing that has angered me most is we have this absolutely ineffective inertia within our bureaucracy in Canada, and as well within the UN, in dealing with this. We have every tool at our disposal. The most frustrating thing for me over the past year and a half has been listening to all the reasons why we can't help, that it's too difficult."
"Well, I'm sorry."
Michelle Rempel, Official Opposition critic for immigration, refugees and citizenship

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Palestinian Entitlements

"France doesn't recognize Palestine as a state, but our mission there is called Diplomatic Mission of Palestine. Some European countries have given us full diplomatic missions -- Hungary, Russia, Austria, Bosnia, Turkey, Poland, Malta, Serbia, Czech Republic, Ukraine, Sweden and Montenegro -- and others [such as France, Spain, Ireland and Norway] don't recognize us as a state, but we have diplomatic representation there."
"It's symbolic and it's happening in Europe. Canada can do it, too. I can't talk politics with Canada if we're not seen as a political body."
"My mission is to promote Palestinian and Canadian relations. I want Global Affairs Canada to deal with [my mission] as a recognized political body."
Nabil Maarouf, representative of Palestinian General Delegation in Canada
Nabil Marouf, representative of the Palestinian General Delegation in Canada. Diplomatica

You bet he does. This man, representing the Palestinian Authority, not the State of Palestine, for there is no such state, wants to leap-frog the PA into the status of statehood by default, not by negotiations that will lead to the privilege of statehood. A privilege that the United Nations offered to both Palestinian Jews and Arabs in 1948 and which Jews gratefully accepted, while Arabs forcefully declined. So forcefully that they fled the area that represented the Jewish state, while protesting that all the land they unilaterally identify as Palestinian land should be theirs.

In fact, the geography that was meant to be returned to Jews in recognition of their ancient homeland and their ongoing presence as Palestinian Jews was instead splintered into three portions, the largest of which was underhandedly given by the British Mandate [despite its promise to Jews] to Transjordan's Bedouin Hussein dynasty when the Saudis took possession of land they originally lived in, to mollify them, establishing the Saudis in Arabia later to become Saudi Arabia and the Husseins in Transjordan.

Leaving a smaller portion to be divided equally between Jews and Arabs for their states. Instead, the combined Arab armies of the surrounding Muslim nations marched on newly-declared Israel to destroy it and return the land to Islam, a project that was repeated time and again with each time the Arab militaries seeing defeat at the determined hands of one tiny nation's military. Which is why the Palestinians, still agitating to recover all the land they declare theirs still have no state.

But this man, representing the purported interests of the Palestinians feels entitled to urge the Government of Canada to effect a 'simple' and 'unassuming' name change for his delegation from the currently named Palestinian General Delegation to the more authoritative General Delegation of Palestine. In fact, he represents Palestinian interests, certainly not the interests of 'Palestine', for there is, as yet, no designated 'Palestine' as a state to be given equal status as a state in Canada for diplomatic or any other purpose.

Palestinian Nabil Maarouf insists that Canada's refusal to effect the change he strives to persuade them of, represents a signal that Canada does not acknowledge the geographic region of Palestine. That's certainly one way of putting it. He complains that no official federal delegation has yet visited 'Palestine'. How can they? there is no 'Palestine', though they might, if so inclined, visit the West Bank and the Palestinian Authority. Where the same disingenuous arguments will be thrown at them.

All this man wants is for the minister of Foreign Affairs to "see the facts on the ground". Not recognition of the state of Palestine, "but what we want is a small promotion", he urges, citing the fact that many European countries while not recognizing Palestine as a state -- yet -- have agreed to accept diplomatic missions in their capitals. So why doesn't Canada? "Is it going to hurt Israel in any way?", he goads. In fact, what he and his like focus on is hurting Israel in any way they possibly can.

 While Canada provides indirect support for the Palestinians, their representative in Canada would like to see it increased, for Canada to contribute more funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. UNRWA was established in 1948, at the creation of the State of Israel and the refusal of Palestinians to accept a state of their own on ground delegated to them. It is the longest-running 'refugee' funding racket the world has ever seen. The Palestinians have had over sixty years to demonstrate their capability to operate a nation, but prefer to exist on international hand-outs.

This is typical of the Palestinian Arab sense of entitlement, that nothing substantive is required of them to show the world that they are capable of becoming a country of self-pride in being able to fend for themselves as Israel has done. They chose instead to invest and indulge in violent backlash, in inciting their people to commit murderous crimes, and when that wasn't effective enough they went off on a public relations slander initiative of Israel to delegitimize it by labelling it as an Apartheid state, and an 'occupier'.

An 'occupation' resulting from the necessity of self-defence. Defending itself against one onslaught after another by combined Arab armies, and against the terrorist actions of Palestinians taught from childhood to adulthood to view Jews as cursed enemies that must be destroyed before 'Palestine' can be made whole again, as if 'Palestine' ever existed other than as a home for Jews before the Arab incursion and claims of ownership of name and geography.

This is a particular specialty of Muslims. To co-opt the principals and principles of another, ancient religion, as their very own, presenting it as the 'finished product', declared so by none other than Allah through the divine auspices of the Prophet Mohammad. The ancient symbols of Judaism, the heritage sites of particular note in the Old Testament, and the Jewish Prophets, including Christ, are adopted wholemeal into Islam with the note of pride that Abraham, Moses, Christ and the lesser prophets were all, in actual fact, Arab, not Jews.

"How can you [Canada] talk about your fight for refugees, but not give to UNRWA?" he goads righteously. Palestinian Arabs are no longer refugees except for international public relations conveying the image of having been ill-done-by, innocents held in violent thrall by an evil state which targets Palestinian children for death. When the truth is Palestinian children are trained and geared to attack Jews as a tribal, religious obligation to restore 'honour' to Islam which forbids land once consecrated to Islam to host vestiges of any other religion.

Canada sees all too well where so much of the international financial support provided through UNRWA goes, to celebrate and honour Palestinian 'martyrs' who surrender their lives with pride while in the process of slaughtering Jews fulfilling their obligations to the cause of 'resistance' and avoiding any hint of possible 'normalization' with Jews and the State of Israel.

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Tuesday, October 25, 2016

First Revenge, Then Subordination

"In the beginning, there will be revenge. But then it will be better."
"[When ISIL militants arrived in our village], we were all deceived by their appearance. We thought they were Muslims. [Once they began punishments for petty crimes and extorted residents], we realized they had nothing to do with Islam."
Ali, 40, Sunni Iraqi driver

"The whole village received me. They all like me. They cried for me [when she left her husband. She began to brace herself for recriminations from her husband’s affiliation with Islamic State]."
"It wasn’t my fault. I’m not guilty. Why should we [her wailing children] be displaced?"
Khowla, Sunni Iraqi woman, wife of Islamic State fighter
Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images
Khowla fled with her six children from her village to seek refuge in one of the many camps set up by the United Nations to hold the tens of thousands of Iraqi Sunnis expected to flee from Mosul and surrounding towns and villages as the Iraqi military, the Kurdish Peshmerga and Iran-allied Shiite militias establish themselves on the perimeter of the country's second-largest city with its remaining 1.4-million inhabitants, nervously awaiting the battle set to enter Mosul itself.

Those in the camps are guarded by armed men allied with the Iraqi regime. The camp doesn't offer much; no electricity, only tents set up where children play in the dirt while their mothers wonder where the food to feed them all will come from. In Khowla's instance, the camp has been placed close to her home village. She is not permitted to enter the village, to go to her home, already being used by another family. She is kept in the camp awaiting interrogation by Iraqi officials interested in her husband.

Gradually, thousands of Sunni Iraqis have begun their exit from their home villages, as the 30,000-strong allied Iraqi forces move closer into Mosul's surrounding perimeter preparatory to recapturing the city ruled by Islamic State for the past two years. The Sunni Iraqis sitting in the camps await questioning from authorities to explain their own activities during the time they lived under the Islamic State jihadis. Uncovering any links they may have had with ISIL appears a primary objective.

Human rights groups have reported executions, torture, arbitrary arrests of Sunni Iraqis by the militias and Iraqi security forces. Any with family members who had joined ISIL are barred from a return to their villages by local officials, by tribal authorities, or by vengeful neighbours. East of Mosul another camp holds dozens of young men behind a padlocked gate, separate from families. Some of the men had been sequestered for 40 days, with no indication when, or if they might be permitted to leave.

"We fled a prison for another prison", Mohamed Asad said, sitting among a  group of young men.

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Setting The Stage For Peace : Israel/Palestinians

"We consider ourselves part of the family, part of the people of Efrat."
"Seventy percent of our village works in Efrat. They treat us very well and we are very good to them, too."
Ahmad Mousa, 58, contractor from the neighboring Palestinian village of Wadi Al Nis

"This is good [meeting as a group, Palestinians and Israelis]. Our relationship is evolving."
"[Jews in Efrat] should stay on their land. These are their houses. They bought them with their own money. We should have no problem living together — if there is peace."
Noman Othman, 41, construction worker from Wadi Al Nis

"I came for a reason. I came to talk about our relationship, between you [Israelis] and us [Palestinians]."
"[There is a locked gate blocking the entrance to my village, enforced by Israeli security ­forces.] That gate should be removed."
"And that racist sign? That should also be removed. It’s outrageous. [Signs posted across the West Bank warning Israelis it is against the law and 'dangerous to your lives' to enter cities and villages in control of the Palestinian Authority."
"It prevents our Jewish friends from visiting us."
Ali Musa, 49, from the village of Al Khader

"Some people say there will be one state, some say two states. As neighbors, we are already living together."
"[Those who responded to the invitation to come to his home were] true men, courageous men."
"I know there were men I invited and they did not come, because this takes initiative and courage."
"It is absurd that having coffee with Jews is considered a crime by the Palestinian Authority." "Initiatives that seek to foster cooperation and peace between people should be encouraged, not silenced. It’s time the Palestinian Authority asks itself whether it would prefer to fan the flames of conflict instead of working to bring people together."
Efrat Mayor Oded Revivi
A view of the Israeli settlement of Efrat, a few miles south of Bethlehem in the Israeli-occupied West Bank. (Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images)
There are those among the Israelis and the Palestinians who view one another as potential friends and certainly as neighbours since in effect they are neighbours. The mayor of the West Bank settlement of Efrat, Oded Revivi, who happens also to be a lieutenant colonel in the country's army reserve had, in his capacity as mayor surrounded by Palestinian villages, gone on his own initiative to visit with some of those villages on the occasion of Palestinian holidays. He obviously viewed this as time well spent, getting to know some of his neighbours a little better.

Seeking to return the compliment as it were, he sent out invitations to surrounding villages in an open invitation to Palestinians that they would be welcome at his house to help celebrate the festival of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, where palm-roofed huts are traditionally built, in memory of the biblical 40 years of desert wandering as Moses led the Jews out of Egypt to a land promised them by God. His invitation had garnered the willing response of several dozen Palestinians.

Who arrived to find themselves in the company of friendly, welcoming but armed settlers, few of whom spoke Arabic though the Palestinians themselves spoke passable to excellent Hebrew. Perhaps not surprising in that these were also Palestinians who familiarized themselves with the language, as labourers in the Jewish enclaves. Employment is sparse in the West Bank and Palestinians are eager to find employment wherever it is offered. There is no general social aura of stigma in taking these jobs.

On the other hand, a senior Palestinian security official said days later that "any Palestinian co-operation with settlers is viewed as violating the law, as he co-operates with the enemy". What that security official is referring to is the generally accepted agreement among the Palestinian Authority's Fatah and Hamas, that friendliness between Jews and Arabs is to be discouraged, as "normalization" in social neighbourliness would lead to Palestinians overlooking the Israeli 'occupation' of land they secured when joint Arab armies failed repeatedly to conquer Israel.

On this first-time occasion when a Jewish West Bank settlement invited neighbouring Palestinians to celebrate a holiday with them, there was a general relaxed atmosphere and some surprising statements were made as those at the celebration shared refreshments. Some of the Palestinian guests among the 30 settlers expressed complaints over their treatment, though none of those present mentioned either Israeli President Netanyahu nor PA President Mahmoud Abbas. In response, some of the settlers spoke of the wave of Palestinian stabbings.

Within the Efrat settlement, over a thousand Palestinians come to work daily at shops, infrastructure maintenance, street sweeping, work on solar panels, on construction of new homes and remodeling of older houses. Work that the Israelis feel they are not suited for, and which the Palestinians are content to accept, to keep working and earning a living for their families at the settlement located a few miles from the Palestinian militant Gush Etzion Junction from which over a dozen Palestinian attacks against Israelis emanated in the past year.

Palestinians from nearby villages visit the home of the mayor of the Jewish settlement of Efrat in the West Bank on Oct. 19. Mayor Oded Revivi invited the Palestinians to his home to celebrate the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. (William Booth/The Washington Post)
To everyone's surprise, after the amicable parting, when the Palestinians returned to their villages and the settlers no doubt congratulated themselves that their representatives out of their population of one thousand had warmly welcomed the several dozen Palestinians who responded to the invitation to take part in the Sukkot celebration, Palestinian Authority security arrested four of the Palestinians who had been present in Efrat for that singular event. One of those arrested was Riad Abu Hamad.

It wasn't his first time to be apprehended by PA security. Earlier in 2016 he had been interviewed on Israeli television to discuss his relationship with West Bank Israeli settlers. That too was considered to be an outrageous insult against Palestinian values that determine "normalization" attempts are viewed as criminal activities harming Palestinian 'resistance' against the 'occupier. Abu Hamad explained to his interlocutors that he had not committed any harm to Palestinian interests.

"I've spoken out against closing [Israeli] factories in the West Bank. We need the work. Where are the Palestinian factories?", he later said to an interviewer with an Israeli news outlet.

Israeli media reported the breaking news that four Palestinian men who had been detained since Thursday by their own government for visiting with their Jewish neighbors over the Sukkot holiday last week were finally set free. 124News
Perhaps the arrest of the four Palestinians represented a reaction by the Palestinian Authority meant to remind all Palestinians that it remains verboten to have any discourse or personal relations with Israelis, all of whom the PA considers enemy occupiers. Occupiers of a land mass that was traditionally heritage land of ancient Israel and which had never been completely vacated by Jews, although an influx of Arabs from Egypt and Trans Jordan had settled there at the turn of the 20th Century.

Partition, offered by the United Nations in 1948, to serve the needs of the two populations after the Second World War, was meant to solve the problem of Jewish-Arab clashes sometimes of a truly violent dimension when many lost their lives to intra-ethnic hatred and competition for land. That offer was gratefully accepted by Jews, and rejected uncategorically by Arabs, co-opting the original Palestinian designation that was Jew-centric for their own, to identify them in the mind of the international community as a deserving indigenous people wronged.

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Sunday, October 23, 2016

The NATO Member and U.S. Ally

"They say, 'Don't go to al-Bab'. We are obliged to, we will go there. We have to prepare a region cleansed from terror."
"Recently the Republicans’ nominee (sic) Mrs. Clinton similarly said she would continue to support the PYD. A very unfortunate statement. I think the meaning of making such a statement in politics is quite different. In fact, I see this as a political novelty."
"This [arming the Kurds] must not be done because the region has sensitivities. Are you not aware that you have caused the killing of 600 thousand people with these weapons you gave? Where is the importance of human life?"
"They say ‘well, I have got weapons, let the bombs rain down from the skies, who cares if those killed are Muslim."
"[The [anti-IS] coalition represents 63 countries, all of them relying on] a bunch of PYD people [to fight IS. Turkey would never stand for] the creation of a terror corridor [in northern Syria, the Kurdish autonomous region]."
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

"The presence of Turkish military units inside the Syrian border is totally unacceptable in any form. We will deal with them as an occupying force and will confront them by all possible means."
"[Turkey is guilty of] flagrant aggression, which targeted innocent citizens [Syria considers this] a dangerous development that could escalate the situation."
"Any attempt to once again breach Syrian airspace by Turkish war planes will be dealt with and they will be brought down by all means available."
Syrian Army General Command

"As for reports of Turkish Air Force airstrikes in northern Syrian regions, we have heard about these statements. We are very alarmed about what is happening. As I understand it, we are talking about attacks on areas inhabited by the Kurds."
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov
A Turkey-backed rebel fighter in Marea shoots towards Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) in Tel Rifaat [Khalil Ashawi/Reuters]
A Turkey-backed rebel fighter in Marea shoots towards Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) in Tel Rifaat [Khalil Ashawi/Reuters]
Erdogan, determined to make his mark as the resurgent Ottoman Sultan in Iraq and Syria, both of whose governments warn Turkey to withdraw from within their sovereign borders. He speaks of his concern for human life -- Muslims in particular, while relentlessly bombing Kurds in Turkey and Syria, outraged that the U.S.-led coalition is so heavily dependent on the Kurdish militias. This dependence on their determination and fighting skills owes entirely to the fact that they have proven repeatedly they can be trusted and they are committed to the defense of not only Kurdish enclaves but also for the lives of Christians and Yazidis seeking haven with them.

Erdogan obviously has missed his political lessons in American political parties and their candidates as being irrelevant to his understanding of what motivate the United States in deliberating on who, how and why. He appears as well deliberately oblivious when it suits him to what he most certainly knows is the source of the hundreds of thousands of fatalities that have taken place in Syria; adducing that the ultimate responsibility of those deaths must be the United States for selling weapons to the Syrian military, not the regime's deliberate deadly response to sectarian protests is just too obtuse.

Erdogan is rather a late-comer to the NATO alliance members' war on Islamic State jihadis, since up until a relatively short time ago, Turkey saw fit to aid and abet those very same ISIL terrorists. When push came to shove, he had to make a choice and did so grudgingly, turning his back on those he had supported and was complicit in furthering their agenda, not only by sheltering them and offering Turkey as an open corridor for aspiring ISIL fighters from abroad to flow through to Syria, but conspiring to aid ISIL's black market in fossil fuel sales.

Turkish warplanes and artillery have struck Syrian Kurdish fighters in the north of Syria with the state-complicit news agency in Turkey advising that up to two hundred Kurds were killed as Turkey initiated a major escalation against Syrian Kurds whom he accuses of being allied with the outlawed Turkish PKK Kurds. Syrian rebels have been advancing under the Turkish bombardment to take a northern Syrian town held by Kurdish-led forces. Turkish tanks crossed into Syria close to the town of Marea, heading to Tel Rifaat, determined that no corridor where Kurds will be established next to the Turkish border will be facilitated on his watch.

Turkey, grimly states Erdogan, is prepared to embark on a mission to do the necessary in Raqqa, ISIL's Syrian stronghold for its caliphate, but never, ever in coordination with the Syrian Kurdish militias, a stance which fails to sit well between Turkey and the United States, and which perhaps bemuses Moscow, which has agreed to its own self-interested arrangements with Turkey. That Russia and Turkey are on opposite sides in supporting Bashar al-Assad no longer appears an impediment to their improved relations.

Washington's trust and backing of the YPG Syrian Kurds is a reflection of their effectiveness as fighters well prepared to do battle with Islamic State. The Syrian Kurdish successes on the battlefield fuel Erdogan's fears that their advance will serve to give heart to the Turkish separatist Kurds. Turkey talks of driving Islamic State from its captured towns and villages, but focuses its efforts on putting up roadblocks against the advance of the Syrian Kurdish fighters. A situation not dissimilar to Russia and Syria declaring their targets to be ISIL, while besieging and bombing Sunni Syrian rebels.

Smoke rises from a bomb attack south of Mosul, during an operation to attack Islamic State militants in Mosul, Iraq, Oct. 20, 2016.  (photo by REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani)

Turkey continues to focus on battling the Kurds. Kurdish fighters reported an intense attack with tanks and heavy shelling. A senior commander confirmed the Turkish attack on his forces north of Aleppo. His description of the fighting was brutal, but he dismissed Turkey's claims of having killed a large number of the Kurdish militias; no more than ten fighters had been killed, he emphasized. Whether ten or two hundred, what Turkey has commended itself for is precisely what Erdogan has given pained voice to as violent persecution of Muslims.
Turkish planes have even been on bombing missions close to Aleppo. It is difficult to ascertain whether Moscow really is perturbed by Turkey's bombing of Syrian Kurds. But since they are allied with Syria's regime and the regime is equally livid as is Iraq over Turkey's intervention in both conflicts since it seems obvious by Ankara's direction that the Turkish military is not focusing on Islamic State jihadis, but remains fixated on bombing Kurdish enclaves, the lives of innocent Kurds really do lie at Erdogan's paranoid feet.
And even while a relative lull occasioned by a 'humanitarian pause' announced by Syria and Russia was taking place, Turkish jets escalated their bombing in Aleppo province. The presence of Turkish troops on Syrian soil, according to the Syrian military, is a "dangerous escalation and flagrant breach of Syria's sovereignty". Any Turkish warplanes entering Syrian air space would be shot down, warned the Syrian military. Perhaps this is an issue urgent enough for Damascus to more fully discuss with Moscow, in its refreshed alliance with Turkey.

A Turkish Air Force F-16 fighter jet
© AP Photo/ Anatolia, Kenan Gurbuz

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Saturday, October 22, 2016

Pronoun Sensitive Authoritarianism

"Because the logic underlying the arguments is that ... biological sex, gender identity and gender expression vary independently [happens to be] absolutely contradicted by the data. It has become unmoored from the underlying reality [representing] all interpretation."
"Well, if it's all interpretation it's not distinguishable from fashion."
"I started to understand the role that ideology played in these underlying horrors of the 20th century and that put me deep into the study of the psychology of religion and that's really what happened."
"I've had a number of clients who have been bullied into states of mental uncertainty by their politically correct peers."
University of Toronto Professor Jordan Peterson, psychologist, author, intellectual, iconoclast
Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto professor who refuses to use gender neutral pronouns, participates in a heated discussion with some students at the university's downtown campus.
Jordan Peterson, a University of Toronto professor who refuses to use gender neutral pronouns, participates in a heated discussion with some students at the university's downtown campus.  (Eduardo Lima / METRO NEWS)

Professor Peterson has no love of pretension and demandingly entitled social blackmail engaged in by gender-confused, alt-gender and all other individuals who refuse to conform to their biologically determined sex, pouting and blaming general society for their lack of acceptance as "normal but different", a group that includes so many alternates to the binary relationships of nature-conventional male and female, that he has risked his professional standing by taking a deliberate stand to express his denial and frustration with the issues of political correctness in the tender matter of gender.

It is most certainly worth asking the question: when did social sanity fly out the door to become a mass psychosis genuflecting to the petulance and accusations coming out of the alt-gender community? The answer may very well be when society surrendered to guilt over never having in the past, taken the situation seriously and using the issue as a topic for light-hearted incredulity. And, of course, much, much worse in less polite and politic, diplomacy-absent portions of society. When, then, society opened the window to increasingly absurdly dysfunctional socially-gendered demands and took them seriously.

Sex and gender, in fact, are private matters. And as such have no loudly, glaringly visible place in the social arena. In the sense that what happens in the bedrooms of the nation should remain there, discreetly, behind locked doors. As in who, really, cares? Do your own thing. Enjoy it, take pleasure in it, keep it to yourselves, don't flaunt it, because no one is interested. Of course under the new, open and accepting mind-bending social aura, what was once viewed as an absurd circus is now viewed as a respected sideshow, and gay parades are vaunted and lauded as a symbol of society's accepting manner.

Where once people paid admission to enter circus sideshows, they now flock to downtown streets of towns and cities in the Western world to show their grovelling support for the garish display of rude and nasty costuming and behaviour that once was guaranteed to bring embarrassment and shame to the minds and hearts of ordinary people. Ordinary people have now become aficionados of coarse and offensive behaviour in public, chuckling with appreciation at the bizarre and the wretched display of sexual license gone frantically insane.

Professor Peterson alleges none of this; he is an academic, a diplomat though his detractors would deny that, who simply insists on making a distinction between the absurd and the acceptable. Language in particular matters to him very particularly, and when language is contorted unreasonably and made effectively meaningless on the assertively loud whims of a minority he finds it unacceptably offensive. He advocates for simple, intelligent and workable language to defy the chaos of reworking society, subordinating it to a juvenile whim, complicating human inter-communication.

"One of the things I've come to understand is that the central functional axiom of Western civilization is that language ... is the process that keeps chaos and order in balance ... and that when [language is] corrupted, we careen into chaos or pathological order." Not for him the efficacy of appeasing the demands of the LGBTQIA community or communities by surrendering to the dire necessity not to continue hurting their tender feelings by committing to their non-binary gender pronouns. "The people who made these words are possessed by ideology and not to be trusted", he claims.

"We're going to have 31 different classes of pronouns? No, we're not. It's just not possible. People can't do that. Our language doesn't allow for that; we can't remember that; what if we make a mistake?" In New York City, evidently 31 gender identities and expressions have now been formally recognized. From "bi-gendered" to "agender", "gender-gifted" to "genderbender", and how about "genderfluid"? To make light of these demands is to insult those who count upon the goodwill and weak spines of those unwilling to be identified as philosophically Philistine.

"Part of it, apart from the untenability, is that ... you actually don't have the right to demand that of someone. You know that every individual is surrounded by the mass of humanity. And the mass of humanity is to be categorized in the fastest and simplest manner possible because you can't do it any other way. We use 'he' and 'she', and we use 'they' when there's more than one person, and we do that for purposes of simplicity of interaction. And for you to come to say, 'You have to mark me out as singularly special in the manner that I require and you have to remember it, no, it's like, no, you can't ask that of me, because you're actually not singularly special."
Professor Jordan Peterson claims that the University of Toronto is attempting to transform its human resources department into "a politically correct institution."
Michael Peake/Postmedia/File     Professor Jordan Peterson claims that the University of Toronto is attempting to transform its human resources department into "a politically correct institution."

His colleagues at University of Toronto are scandalized. He received two warning letters, one from the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences which Dr. Peterson identifies as "an exemplar of Orwellian doublespeak", reminding him that the university is engaged in protecting the issue of gender neutrality, as gender identity and expression are now protected classes in the human rights code. The arts dean wrote of the university stance on free speech to be defended, and a paragraph later felt the need to impose a limit on free speech emanating from Dr. Peterson.

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Friday, October 21, 2016

Enter the Resolute, Powerful New Russia

"The ancient city of Aleppo, a place of millennial civility and beauty, is today a slaughterhouse - a gruesome locus of pain and fear, where the lifeless bodies of small children are trapped under streets of rubble and pregnant women deliberately bombed."
"[The siege and bombardment of Aleppo's rebel-held east are among the] crimes of historic proportions [being committed in Syria]."
"[The Human Rights staff has] documented violations of international humanitarian law by all parties in Aleppo."
"Armed opposition groups continue to fire mortars and other projectiles into civilian neighbourhoods of western Aleppo, but indiscriminate air strikes across the eastern part of the city by government forces and their allies are responsible for the overwhelming majority of civilian casualties."
"These violations constitute war crimes. And if knowingly committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against civilians, they constitute crimes against humanity."
"[The failure of the international community - particularly the UN Security Council - to protect civilians and halt the bloodshed] should haunt every one of us."
UN human rights chief Zeid Raad Al Hussein
People listen to a speech by UN human rights chief Zeid Raad Al Hussein at the Human Rights Council in Geneva (21 October 2016)

EPA -- Zeid Raad Al Hussein said the failure to protect civilians in Syria "should haunt everyone of us"
"Crimes of historic proportions" were being perpetrated in eastern Aleppo and elsewhere within the country, an impassioned accusation that an emergency session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva heard from its head, Mr. Zeid, causing Syria's permanent representative to the United Nations, Hussam al-Din Ala, to respond with his own livid and dismissive statement as he insisted that the Syrian government was entirely within its rights under international law to defend itself against terrorism.

A self-exculpatory explanation that obviously failed to impress those present, including the charity Save the Children which issued its own warning, that aid workers and medical professionals stationed in eastern Aleppo engaged in life-saving humanitarian efforts were sending reports of widespread use of cluster bombs, banned under international law. A statement surprising no one who can use their mental faculties to interpret what they see, hear and read.

How refreshing: the Human Rights Council actually exercising its franchise to pinpoint and illuminate with all the horrified dismay it deserves, the medieval criminality of a modern-day, supposedly civil-advanced nation in the Middle East, pitilessly targeting its own civilian population for annihilation with the use of both technologically advanced and internationally forbidden weapons, from chemical attacks to barrel bombs to bunker-busters. Ably assisted by an emerging world power; Russia.

And because of missing security guarantees, and given that humanitarian groups associated with the United Nations have previously suffered the misfortune of coming under fire from Russian and Syrian warplanes and bombs, the UN stated it had no option but to delay plans to proceed with medical evacuations from Aleppo, hoping to take advantage of the second eleven-hour "humanitarian pause" unilaterally declared on generous impulse by Syria and Russia. Who that pause has benefited has been a puzzle, other than to symbolically demonstrate the humanitarianism compelling the two allies.
One of the roads in Bustan al-Qasr that people would have to use to access one of the safe exit points opened for people wishing to leave rebel-held areas of Aleppo (20 October 2016)
Russia has told civilians to leave rebel-held Aleppo through several corridors-- Reuters
Russia plans, it has announced, to suspend air strikes between 08:00 and 19:00 local time on Saturday to enable both civilians and rebels to leave the city through what they describe as safe corridors. Both civilians and rebels can be forgiven for construing that invitation as a possible forfeiture of life and limb, given their experiences to date of Russian humanitarian offers. The result being that, unsurprisingly, very few people have reportedly taken advantage of the offer. As for the rebel factions, their lack of gratitude can be assessed in their assertion that to do so would result in forced displacement and surrender.

Meanwhile, passing through the English Channel in international waters, a Russian naval convoy of war ships from the Norwegian Sea is en route to Syria through the eastern Mediterranean. Among them is the aircraft carrier Admiral Kuznetsov, the only carrier in the Russian navy. The aircraft carrier is capable of carrying over 50 aircraft. Its weapons systems include granit anti-ship cruise missiles, a formidable combination. One can be forgiven for speculating further on the need to dispatch such a convoy, and to that particular geographic point.

Map showing route of Russian task force
According to Friday's Komsomolskaya Pravda: "This is no tourist trip to the Med. It will strengthen Russia's current naval presence off the Syrian coast and provide air cover. The aircraft carrier planes and on-board weapons may also be used for strikes against terrorists." Strikes against terrorists? What terrorists? The besieged Sunni Syrians in Aleppo and elsewhere who have already paid the price of protesting their unequal status in a Shiite-led government that describes its civilian opponents as terrorists?

The venerable British Broadcasting Corporation reads the ominous signs somewhat differently, as a symbolic message to the West, that Russia, powerful Russia, is back in the game, and equal in its resolute military manifestations wherever Mother Russia's interests lie geographically, to any significant presence the West is capable of cobbling together. Russia means business, it is a re-emerging power capable of rising above and beyond the criticism levelled at it by a jealous and paranoid NATO, and the rest of world had better recognize that fact.

Russian aircraft carrier travelling through the Channel

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