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.

Friday, July 21, 2017

The ISIL Returnees Issue: The Dilemma of Unmitigated Child Abuse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Thursday, July 20, 2017

And Do Exactly What, Now?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Wednesday, July 19, 2017

But Are They Salvageable?

"With the fall of Mosul and as the fight in Raqqa [the de-facto Islamic State capital in Syria] intensifies, we are definitely going to see some foreign fighters or women try to surrender."
"So, [the report] is not entirely surprising."
"There are some Canadian women who travelled to Syria and Iraq together, so it might be that they tried to leave together as well [to return to their home country on the defeat of Islamic State in Mosul]."
"There's this assumption that women are travelling just to get married or something, which is sometimes true, but mostly false [driven by ardent religious fundamentalism]."
Amarnath Amarasingam, researcher, radicalized Islam, Dalhousie University, Halifax, N.S.

"I recently spoke with a mother whose child is there [in Iraq]. The parents are worried. There are some parents who haven’t had any news from their children since the bombing of Mosul began. It’s a time of desperation right now."
"There are some parents who have maintained communication with their children, who give them updates from time to time. But in the last four or five weeks it has been radio silence."
"We have young people and those who have lived through horror. We also have children who have been born over there. The problem is larger than we think."
"I think Canada has to have a greater presence. We have to take this seriously because there are still about 200 Canadians in Syria and Iraq."
Herman Okomba-Deparice, director, Centre for the Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, Montreal, Quebec
Some 300 Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant fighters remain in the small patch of territory still controlled by the group in Mosul’s Old City, a senior Iraqi commander said on July 5. HurriyetDailyNews       

"Some of it [incentive for Canadian women to respond to Islamic State's invitation to young women to join them in Iraq as 'wives' of the Caliphate] is for the glory of caliphate, some of it 'Because I was bored', some of it 'Because these guys were kind of hunky'."
"But ... the one thing we have learned: we never saw females going to Somalia, we never saw females going to Afghanistan, we never saw females going to Bosnia in the '90s. This is a real new phenomenon."
Phil Gurski, former Canadian Security Intelligence Service analyst

5 Germans incl 16yo girl reportedly among 20 female ISIS fighters captured in Mosul

The Iraqi military and police are enjoying a belated revenge. In a country dissolved and rent by sectarian violence, the Iraqi military represent the majority Shiite demographic whom their Sunni minority counterparts once dominated under Saddam Hussein. They are delighted to turn the tables. Even more so to turn around their inglorious scampering away to safety when the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant militias first entered Mosul years earlier to loot and dominate the geography as a competing religious-political force whose feared reputation for savagery cowed the Iraqi military.

The women, particularly those hailing from Muslim communities in Europe and North America who responded to the siren call of ISIL through social media accessed on laptops, smartphones and tablets with their sophisticated public relations formula, and boastful claims of being in possession of sweeping areas in Syria and Iraq in which they were preparing to administer a bold, brave and exciting new world of crystal-pure Islam whose doctrine fed in a straight, unadulterated line from Mohammad to ISIL, obviously thrilled women, eager to join this brave new world.
Picture allegedly showing a 16-year-old German Isil member after being captured by Iraqi forces
Picture allegedly showing a 16-year-old German Isil member after being captured by Iraqi forces     Credit: Twitter
Captured now, in the ruins of the Old City of Mosul, surrounded by gloating Iraqi Shiites who view Sunnis like the young 16-year-old ISIL 'wife' from Germany, those women have reason enough to be fearful. They cannot communicate, with no Arab-language proficiency with their captors, and can only be grateful that there is U.S. oversight to ensure that they are handed over to American military personnel. Tales will eventually ensue of these women's handling by Shiite militias loyal to Iran who are settling into Mosul for good, to weight the mostly Sunni population in Mosul in favour of Shiite domination.

Canada has been informed that two of the Islamic State 'wives' rounded up in a maze of tunnels among caches of weaponry are Canadian. They are admittedly Canadian citizens, but they are as 'Canadian' as the results of living within Canada in the midst of a close-knit Muslim community where mosque attendance ensures that readings of Koranic scriptures emphasize duty to Islam including strict separation of the faithful from the infidels, and prayers invoking jihad and the primary duty of killing unbelievers. The message from ISIL had no need to be more persuasive than to guarantee that joining them would fulfill those obligations.

These foreign conscripts to Islamic State who left the comfort of their family homes to set out on a journey of their own into a future of idealized Islamic splendour and punishment of the most lethal kind for those spurning the opportunity to join the collective of the faithful, not only travelled to become wives and mothers for ISIL, but were indoctrinated into the arts of warfare, attending combat classes, learning how to use weapons and use them well.

Perhaps the most potent weapon in their arsenal however, would not be lethal devices to kill, but the will to use the same public relations methodology that ensnared them into the ideology of Islamic State, bringing to practical life the Hadiths reminding faithful Muslims of their duties to Islam. Not only are Canadian prisons rife with Islamists sentenced to incarceration for petty criminal activity, and doing their part to convince other prisoners, Muslim and those who are convinced enough to convert, to subscribe to the Islamic State ideal; they are now joined by returning jihadis.

Within society, released back into the social contract of Islamic societies that they know so well, the returned Canadian women and those from elsewhere can go about their self-assigned promulgation of the splendid virtues of Islamic State's caliphate, describing it in the calculated, admirable terms they are familiar with, to exert influence on those ripe to join the group's ideological struggle for a unified Islam and a defeated host country.

Social media images alleging to show an Isil sniper believed to be 16-year-old German Linda W
Social media images alleging to show an Isil sniper believed to be 16-year-old German Linda W    Credit: Twitter
And should any of the Canadian ISIL "brides", repatriated by an understanding and concerned-for-their-welfare Canadian government, turn out to have been in their formative-adult years when they pledged themselves to Islamic State, the current Liberal-led government of Justin Trudeau will then have the opportunity to demonstrate to the rest of the non-Muslim world just how forward-looking and "feminist" Canada is, by enriching the returnees through a cash settlement of millions, while rehabilitating their reputations by apologizing to them on behalf of furious and non-assenting Canadians.

Pity the children they've borne to Islamic State, to populate the caliphate, obeying yet another Koranic injunction. Those that survived the massive assaults on Mosul in bombed buildings, collapsing on the children whose plaintive cries of pain alerted to their presence. And the babies found abandoned while their parents pursued their obligations to martyrdom. 
A little girl named Amina was found by Iraqi Army soldiers when they heard her cries from the rubble. 
A little girl named Amina was found by Iraqi Army soldiers when they heard her cries from the rubble.  Credit: Rex

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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

The Religion of Peace

"One doctor we spoke to told us that infants as  young as one week old, children and mothers were emerging wounded and covered in dust and soil, some were malnourished."
Hamida Ramadhani, UNICEF deputy representative, Iraq
Amina, thought to be about three, was pulled from the rubble in Mosul after being trapped for days. The little girl is believed to be the daughter of ISIL fighters from Chechnya who died in battle.© Carol Guzy via ZUMA Wire
"Damn them. They killed our families, why should they get to live?"
"Mosul will never be the same again. There's nothing to be optimistic about."
Walid Khalid, 28, Mosul, Iraq

"We had been two days without water. One fighter said you can have water but in exchange I will kill one of your children."
"Another fighter stood by a running hose and said: 'This water is for the brothers only'."
Vehyeh Zekeria, liberated Mosul, Iraq

"The best way is to build a camp outside the city and they [Islamic State families] can all live there together. Their ideology is like a caner and we don't want it infecting us."
"People welcomed Daesh (ISIL) because they suffered so much before when the army was here."
"Right now, because of what they saw under Daesh, the people of Mosul are very happy to see the army again. But if the army goes back to hurting people that could change."
Samir Ahmed Sofi, Sunni Iraqi, liberated Mosul
Sunni Iraqis, after the downfall of Sunni Baathist dictator Saddam Hussein found themselves under the majority Shiite Iraqi government that took power in the same situation that the Shiite were in, beleaguered and discriminated against by the minority Sunni Iraqi government. The dissolution of the Sunni control of Baghdad and the dismissal of all Sunni members of Saddam's military created the initial resurgence of deadly reaction between the sects as each, despite the presence of international troops led by the U.S., began slaughtering one another.

In the failure of the government set up by the U.S. administration to reflect the interests of Iraqi Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds, when the majority Shiites wrenched authority to itself  reflecting its majority status, a viral undercurrent of lethal discontent roiled Iraqi Sunnis leading to a gradual emergence of militias aligning themselves with foreign terrorist groups, then morphing as a new jihadi movement under the banner of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

In Syria, as in Iraq, ISIL militias ruthlessly embarked on a bloody campaign and swiftly gained a reputation as militarily unbeatable and cruelly murderous, gaining territory as they swept the geography of both countries, claiming for themselves a huge swath of both that they called their Islamic Caliphate. Finally, the Kurdish Peshmerga, defending Kurdistan from ISIL even as the Iraqi military abandoned the second largest city in Iraq to ISIL, led the country to vanquish the jihadis in battle.
The sun sets behind destroyed buildings in the west side of Mosul, Iraq. The nine-month fight to defeat ISIL in Mosul ended in a crescendo of bombardment that damaged or destroyed a third of its historic Old City in just three weeks. AP Photo/Felipe Dana/File

The greater Sunni population in Mosul had at first welcomed the presence of Sunni-led ISIL, but soon realized how devoid of humanity their new overseers were. Now those remaining in Mosul view what remains of their once-proud city, and recount their misery living under the Islamist fist of the Islamic State. While Mosul was being slowly liberated, a central core in the Old City continued to be held by ISIL jihadis many of them foreign fighters dedicated to the Daesh mission.

With them, their families, wives and children, since Mosul became an ISIL centre, its headquarters in Iraq just as Rakka was in Syria. The United States has been giving air cover to the Iraqi military as it entered Mosul along with Iranian Shia militias, as viciously brutal in their hatred as the Islamic State. The Kurds, whose fighting spirit and resilience has been responsible for ISIL defeats, were ordered to remain outside Mosul, so the full glory of the recapture of the city would remain with the Iraqi military which had turned tail at the entry of ISIL, leaving their U.S.-sourced arms and vehicles as gifts to ISIL.

In the bombing of Mosul's Old City to dislodge the Islamic State fighters, buildings are destroyed with their inhabitants within. Rescue missions have been discovering in the ruins of those buildings dozens of children, from infants and newborns upward -- the children of ISIL fighters dedicating themselves to martyrdom in suicide attacks or killed by Iraqi forces and Shiite militias in an orgy of vengeance.

A little girl of three, rescued after several days trapped in the remains of a shattered building, asked where her parents were, responded that they were "shaheeds". Another young boy was eating raw meat from the ground in a state of starvation. Needless to say, the only 'raw meat from the ground' that would be present would represent the remains of people killed by the bombing littering the ruins.

UNICEF has announced an increased number of unaccompanied children at their medical facilities, some of them babies found alone in the debris of the ruined streets, brought in by rescuers. The business of retributive killings and the desire to exact revenge through collective punishment targeting those residents of the city thought to have supported the Islamic State presence, is most certainly underway.

Those who suffered under ISIL rule share their stories of family members killed, of destroyed homes and deprivation. Burnishing their motivation to strike out against whatever is left of the Islamic State authority that made such a misery of their lives.

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Monday, July 17, 2017

The Source That Cannot Be Named

"If the refugees stay, Sunnis will be the majority. Christians, but also the Druze and the Shia, will emigrate because the Sunnis have an extremist mindset and will eventually take over."
"Of course I support Assad. The Syrian people wanted freedom. Now they've destroyed their country."
"And we [Lebanese] used to be jealous of them."
Diab Madwar, Lebanese from Christian village Ammiq, Beqaa Valley

"Why are most of them women and children? It's because they have relatives fighting as terrorists inside Syria. That's why they don't flee internally. There are safe spaces inside Syria, but most are affiliated with terrorist organizations."
"There is definitely some torturing going on. This is war and you can't control everything. And most people being arrested are terrorists. We're not going to put them in five-star hotels."
"The Syrian army and Hezbollah are doing a huge favour to humanity because they are fighting terrorism on behalf of the world."
Maher Dana, Hezbollah-affiliated journalist

"Because of the raid we feel unwelcome here, especially because most of our neighbours are Christians and we are Muslims."
"I didn't feel hostility before [a Lebanese Police raid ousting them from 'illegal' apartments], but now I feel like the Lebanese are looking at us differently."
"We stay at home [new two-room apartment] and don't go out. If we need groceries, we go out at night."
Anas, Syrian refugee, mother of six children, Beirut
An image shared on social media of men rounded up by the Lebanese army after refugee camp raids last month (screengrab)  Shocking pictures show extent of injuries to four men who died in custody after being picked up in raids on camps near Arsal   Middle East Eye

Lebanon went through its own brutal sectarian war. When the PLO set up operations in Lebanon after the Black September conflict with Jordan forced them to evacuate and find alternative haven where they could resume their cross-border attacks in Israel, the IDF entered Lebanon to restrain and force the PLO out of Lebanon. Lebanon was invaded by Syria, which looted it of its assets. The Iranian Republican Guards al Quds militia formed a Lebanese Shia 'resistance' group, training and arming them to mount massive explosive assaults through suicide missions against the French and American UN peace missions.

Since those mass blood-lettings Hezbollah has become part of Lebanon's government by force and intimidation through its political wing, while its military wing, a proxy Iranian militia, remains a separate force from the Lebanese military, dispatched by the Islamic Republic of Iran to commit terrorist atrocities abroad and more latterly, fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's Alawite military against rebel Syrian Sunnis in a long and bloody civil war.

The collapse of Syria encouraged the entry of foreign terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, leading to the formation of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant by a breakaway al-Qaeda-linked group, has seen the country fragmented, millions of its citizens internally displaced and millions more displaced as refugees by the malevolent violence of the Syrian regime seeking to crush the Sunni revolt. The regime has been responsible for infinitely more deaths among Syrians than the psychopathic Islamic State has been.

Europe has been flooded with Syrian refugees, overwhelmingly young males, along with migrants from North Africa seeking the opportunity to improve their lives materially. Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan have absorbed millions of Syrian refugees themselves. Everywhere in the world of Islam in the Middle East and North Africa, ancient, deep-seated sectarian hatred and venomous violence merges with the added impact of tyrants punishing their populations while enriching themselves.

The legacy of tribal, clan, sectarian and political violence that roils these Muslim nations has spilled over into the rest of the world, where militant Islam has spawned a limitless number of dedicated jihadis inspired and eager to obey the hadiths that call upon the faithful to kill the infidel. So while preying on those practising their own sects' version of Islam, both Shiites and Sunnis dedicate themselves to overturning the democratic world order throughout the international community. 

Lebanon represents as illustrative a dysfunctional Islamist society as any, with its bubbling brew of viral animosities and lurking violence among its Druze, Christian, Shiite and Sunni populations all vying with one another for power and prestige, ruling through fear and intimidation. And while Hezbollah and its sponsor Iran, are busy with the aid of Russia in supporting Syria's bloody tyrant, their focus on destroying the State of Israel is diminished for the time being.
Syrian refugees live in very poor conditions (in Lebanon). This camp is located close to the Israeli border, so it is visited often by Lebanese security officials.  Photo: Constance Decorde

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Sunday, July 16, 2017

Justifying an Apology to a Jihadist and Making Him Wealthy

"The measure of a just society is not whether we stand up for people's rights when it's easy or popular to do so, it's whether we recognize rights when it's difficult, when it's unpopular."
"Had we continued to fight this, [Omar Khadr's $20-million lawsuit for reparations to his reputation] not only would we have inevitably lost, but estimates range from $30 to $40-million that it would have ended up costing the government."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
Image result for photo of omar khadr making ieds
  Sill from Video: Image released by the U.S. Defence Press Operations, Pentagon

Former Prime Minister Stephen Harper had initiated a move to put into the framework of criminal law the revocation of Canadian citizenship in those instances where anyone with Canadian citizenship joined a terrorist group or travelled abroad to fight with terrorist groups. Citizenship can be revoked when someone fails to divulge their criminal past when applying for citizenship. To most Canadians it made eminent good sense that anyone holding Canadian citizenship and passport was undeserving if they plotted against the country, carrying out destructive acts against civilization.

When current Liberal Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took up the helm of government from the former Conservative-led government, one of his first acts was to neuter that rescinding of citizenship from terrorists holding Canadian citizenship. Perhaps it made perfect sense to him to overlook the deliberate carnage undertaken by terrorists and to welcome them back to Canada with full citizenship rights, but the rationale in so doing eludes most intelligent people who still believe, however naively, that there are obligations accompanying citizenship.

When the arrangement was made to 'apologize' to Omar Khadr, the confessed murderer-jihadist who killed a U.S. Army medic and blinded another American soldier in a fire-fight in Afghanistan, Khadr expressed satisfaction that this apology due him in his estimation, according to the Rights and Freedoms guaranteed all Canadians under the Constitution, would 'restore' his reputation, and help him find satisfactory employment, because, as he stated disarmingly, all he wanted was to live a 'normal' life in Canada.
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Daily Wire    Supporters for former Guantanamo detainee Omar Khadr

While the agreement to give this man a bonus in acknowledgement of his bomb-making capabilities where the IEDs he constructed at a terrorist training camp could very well have been used to kill and maim Canadian military personnel fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda of whose groups Omar Khadr was a part, may have soothed his disappointed feelings of isolation and misunderstanding, in the process creating an atmosphere of 'reconciliation', the government chose to conduct all this quietly, surreptitiously.

As well they might, since the vast majority of Canadians are outraged at this decision. Feeling for the most part that the government acquiescence to his repatriation from Guantanamo Bay prison back to Canada, with the full return of his citizenship, should have represented more than adequate 'reparation'. Canadian military veterans observe that none of their contingent who were wounded in the battle against the groups Omar Khadr fought with, were presented with any such generous recognition of their pain and suffering.

The public is dismayed at the thought that the widow of U.S. special forces medic Sgt.Chris Speer and former U.S. soldier Sgt. Layne Morris, have gained little acknowledgement of their suffering, let alone a cash settlement from any source that would enable them to support their current and future needs reflecting circumstances that the war inflicted upon them through Omar Khadr's participation in that war. Omar Khadr was convicted on five war crimes counts, yet receives a gift of millions; those he irremediably harmed have their memories.

They also have an online fundraiser where Canadians and others, reacting to the $10.5-million Canadian taxpayer gift to soothe Omar Khadr's hurt feelings of rejection from Canadian society, are able to donate to a fund meant to give financial aid to Sgt. Speer's widow and children, and Layne Morris. They had succeeded in obtaining a $134-million judgement against Omar Khadr through a court in Utah, but the Canadian government took steps to shield their gift to Khadr from being disbursed to his victims.

Omar Khadr confessed to killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan when he was 15. He made the admission during interrogations by the FBI and U.S. military investigators, some of which were later deemed 'oppressive.' A government source confirmed Tuesday that Khadr will receive an apology and financial compensation for the conditions of his imprisonment.
Omar Khadr confessed to killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan when he was 15. He made the admission during interrogations by the FBI and U.S. military investigators, some of which were later deemed 'oppressive.' A government source confirmed Tuesday that Khadr will receive an apology and financial compensation for the conditions of his imprisonment. (Terry Reith/CBC)

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Saturday, July 15, 2017

Irreconcilable Perspectives

"[The Temple Mount attack represents] an extremely serious event which crossed all red lines. The investigation is ongoing. We will need to reevaluate all of the security arrangements on the Temple Mount and its environs."
"I call on all public leaders to act to calm the situation and ensure quiet in Jerusalem."
Israeli Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan

"Israel must reopen Al-Aqsa mosque and the Haram al-Sharif [compound] immediately."
"[Israel must] refrain from taking any step aimed at changing the historical [status quo; restraining Jews from praying at their most holy site, permitting the Jordanian Waqf authority to control the site on behalf of Muslims exclusively]."
PA information minister Mohamed Momani
Master Sgt. Kamil Shnaan, left, and Master Sgt. Haiel Sitawe, right, the police officers killed in the terror attack next to the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)
Master Sgt. Kamil Shnaan, left, and Master Sgt. Haiel Sitawe, right, the police officers killed in the terror attack next to the Temple Mount complex in Jerusalem on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)

Three Israeli Palestinians, Muhammad Ahmed Muhammad Jabarin, 29, Muhammad Hamad Abdel Latif Jabarin, 19 and Muhammad Ahmed Mafdal Jabarin, 19, plotted to obey Islam's stern injunction that all its faithful must engage in jihad, and for that purpose they killed two Israeli policemen standing duty on the Temple Mount. They made lethal use of two Carlo-style submachine guns and a pistol to succeed in their attack. One of the terrorists attempted to stab an officer after being apprehended.

In honour of their noble deed the clan they belonged to in their remote northern Israeli village erected a mourning tent. The abhorrent violence by Palestinians heeding the incitement of Mahmoud Abbas and their religious leaders who speak of Jews defiling the sacred precincts of the third holiest site in Islam, represents one element of authority inspiring those they serve, to commit these unspeakable acts of carnage.

Investigations proceeded to fully appreciate just how it was possible for three Palestinians bent on mayhem and murder were able to enter the area armed, and it was ascertained that in all likelihood they had assistance from those within the Temple Mount complex. Searches were ongoing to determine whether other weapons were present. To close off the murder scene, access to the Temple Mount was closed for the first time in memory, to Muslim Friday prayer.

Eliciting a furious response from Mohammad Hussein, the Palestinian grand mufti of Jerusalem, who took the occasion to call on Palestinians to defy the Israeli police-investigative shutdown. "We completely reject the ban by Israeli authorities." Well, of course they do; the tragedy for them is that three Palestinian heroes met their deaths, not that two Israeli policemen were murdered. "We have urged our Palestinian people to rush to al Aqsa today and every day to hold their prayers", he told Reuters.

Despite that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu issued a statement from his office that the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary would be reopened once the security evaluations and the sweep for weapons was completed on Sunday, Muslims are outraged at their inability to access the Al Aqsa mosque as though nothing unusual had occurred, claiming the incident of locking them out of their prayer space represents Israeli "terrorism".
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Border Police officers walk on the Temple Mount after a shooting attack in the area left three people injured, two of them seriously, on July 14, 2017. (Israel Police)
2 Israeli policemen shot dead near holy site, gunmen killed: police
2 Israeli policemen shot dead near holy site, gunmen killed: police
"We cannot allow for agents of murder who desecrate the name of God, to drag us into a bloody war", emphasized Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, of the delicate maneuvering that Israeli authorities must negotiate in efforts to allay Muslim concerns, iterating and reiterating that Israel has no plans to upset the status quo  and the site, administered as it is, "will be preserved".

A call from PA President Mahmoud Abbas to Mr. Netanyahu expressing concerns over a possible escalation in overheated emotions, entirely justified on the part of Palestinians, it would seem, can fairly well be interpreted as a dark warning that should conditions not return to 'normal' favouring Muslim priorities there will be untoward consequences from an outraged and abused Palestinian population.

It is as though the events as they unfolded as described by Israeli police chief Roni Alsheikh, describing the attackers opening fire on the Israeli officers from inside the holy site, never occurred. As though weapons had never been brought into the holy compound by these devout Muslims. As though after shooting the two policemen, one of the assailants hadn't made use of a knife to attack an officer checking whether he had explosives on his person, leading to his defensive death.

To the Palestinian community, and to their sympathizers, three Palestinian men were killed by representatives of the Israeli occupation. And just incidentally, and of no consequence, two Israeli policemen lost their lives.

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Friday, July 14, 2017

Diplomacy Failed, Sanctions Failed: Military Option?

"It is not only [a] ballistic missile defense system — it has real function. That is why it is alarming. And it is [a] direct threat to Russia. We are convinced that it will increase the tensions of the region. That is our principle position.''
"Economical restrictions should be a kind of tool to invoke North Korea to a peaceful process of resolving the dispute and conflict, and not to once again deteriorate the economic solution in North Korea."
"All states involved in territorial disagreements in the South China Sea need to adhere [to] the principle of the non-use of force."
Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks on during the test-launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang July 5, 2017.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un looks on during the test-launch of the intercontinental ballistic missile Hwasong-14 in this undated photo released by North Korea’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) in Pyongyang July 5, 2017.
"Well, there was a failure [in the second-to-last missile test, April]. I don’t know why it failed except there’s been quite a high rate of failure over the last year, and my guess is that’s mainly due to a very rushed pace of development. The North Korean missile program is making some progress, but I think that Kim Jong-un is willing to tolerate a very high rate of failure in his effort to try to develop a more credible long-range capability as quickly as possible. He may feel that he’s got a window of time to try to perfect some of these long-range systems, and he doesn’t seem to be deterred by all of the threats that the U.S. and China and other countries have been trying to dissuade him from continuing testing. But obviously, that’s not working."
"I think this is all just noise. Both sides are rattling sabers, but neither side is going to start a war. We recognize that a military attack on North Korea would probably not be effective in terms of destroying North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile program and would run the risk of a North Korean retaliation against South Korea and Japan, which could cost hundreds of thousands of lives. And the North Koreans know that any attack on U.S. allies in the region would provoke an American response that would destroy them. So I think both sides are posturing, but I think the risk of war is very low."
Nuclear security analyst Gary Samore, executive director, research, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, second from right, inspects the preparation of the launch of a Hwasong-14 intercontinental ballistic missile, ICBM, in North Korea’s northwest on July 4, 2017. Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP

A lot can happen in the world in the space of a month or so to shatter any sense of possible complacency such as that expressed by Mr. Samore back in April, that the likelihood of Kim Jong-un's threat of "all-out war" is simply verbal over-reach, the kind of empty threat that he appears to enjoy indulging in. Since that earlier missile test fizzled, another hugely more successful test, purported by experts in South Korea and the United States to have been an introductory intercontinental ballistic missile with a range approaching the coast of the U.S.   

Not much was seen in the Western-based news sources that an earlier missile had hit close to Russia, a next-door neighbour of North Korea, which appears to be preaching patient tolerance, diplomacy rather than responding in kind to North Korean provocations. Neither Russia nor China has a wish to see the collapse of North Korea by any means, ending with the unification of the two Koreas under South Korea with its alarming (to China and Russia) firm links to the United States, leaving no bulwark between them and U.S. interests.

And nor does either happily contemplate the kind of acceleration that would see both South Korea and Japan, concerned for their own security and defence, securing their own nuclear arms and ICBMs, with the consent of the United States. There can be no mistaking the alarm felt in both South Korea and Japan over the danger that Kim's North Korea poses to them. Public service announcements were being run in Japan to warn citizens to stay clear of windows should a missile attack strike.
North Korea Founder's Birthday
Photo by Wong Maye-E/AP
North Korean women soldiers march across Kim Il Sung Square during a military parade in celebration of Kim il Sung's 105th birthday. Gary Samore, executive director for research at the Belfer Center, sees little substantial change in the decades-long stalemate with North Korea, but with economic sanctions imposed even by China, a longtime ally, the hermit nation may be running out of options to sustain its nuclear ambitions.
The Japanese are well versed in how they must react in such earth-shaking conditions, knowing full well how to take refuge, since they are accustomed to reacting to earthquakes on a regular basis, in their earthquake-prone geography. Although the Russian representative to the recent ASEAN Shangri-La conference in Singapore urged restraint in response to North Korean threats, it is extremely difficult to set aside the reality that it is simply not possible for rational debate with North Korea with Kim Jong-un at its helm.

China, its only regional ally, has had ample experience in trying to guide North Korea's actions, to no avail. Even though China has long been North Korea's regional mentor, it too has not been immune from experiencing Kim's glum threats and petty retorts to what it feels is interference in North Korea's affairs. All the more so since Beijing has been lately taking Pyongyang's provocations far more seriously, resulting in its own sanctions hitting the North Korean economy, eliciting more threats from Kim.

Kim Jong-un's reputation has been well earned. This is a man, after all, who summarily arrested and ordered his trusted uncle by marriage, who had guided him in the early days of his presidency, to be killed. The mysterious death of his older half-brother was not really a mystery, representing as it does yet another instance of Kim's penchant for ridding himself of those he no longer finds useful or views as threats.

The Hwasong-14 missile fired into the Sea of Japan with its capacity to fly 6,700 kilometres by U.S. expert estimate, represents a direct threat to Alaska. Other competing estimates of its powerful range go up to 8,500 kilometres, and once it is fine-tuned even more, and fitted out with a miniaturized nuclear head, it becomes a viable threat to the United States and Canada. There are, as it happens, NORAD fighter bases in Alberta and Quebec and they would make achievable targets for this man whose ambitions threaten world order.

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Thursday, July 13, 2017

Speaking Ill of The Departed

"Following a request I made to consider the cancellation of this event, I was informed that the library has received legal advice that it cannot reject this room booking request."
"My office will be asking the library board to review its room rental policies in the wake of this event."
Toronto Mayor John Tory

"[The book Did Six Million Really Die by Holocaust denier Ernst Zundel] ensures that both sides of this ethnic dispute are at least available to the general reader."
"[Zundel's departure from Canada to the U.S. represents part of a] brain drain."
Barbara Kulaszka, Polish-Canadian lawyer
Barbara Kulaszka, seen here in 1990 at Imre Finta's trial. She acted as co-counsel for Finta, who was found not guilty of war crimes. Kulaszka died in June.
Barbara Kulaszka, seen here in 1990 at Imre Finta's trial. She acted as co-counsel for Finta, who was found not guilty of war crimes. Kulaszka died in June. (CBC)

"[As a lawyer defending fascist racists Kulaszka realized many successes] to the detriment of Canadian society."
"Any contact I had with her was always negative, there was no humour in it. There was nothing. It was clear to me that she embraced the philosophy of the people she represented, and she did this for a very long time."
Bernie Farber, former  head, Canadian Jewish Congress
It is telling that Barbara Kulaszka, dead at age 64 from cancer, spoke of an "ethnic dispute" possibly at the heart of her legal defence of Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites over the years. She posed as a legal professional whose morals in defence of justice  and the rights attendant on free speech extended to any kind of speech or the printed word denigrating to others in society, going so far as to incite to violence on the basis of racial bigotry, aided by slanderous depictions of Jews, reminiscent of the racist propaganda of the Third Reich.

She edited the publication written by the infamous Ernst Zundel, fascist extraordinaire, Did Six Million Really Die? and in her claims that the book made available "both sides of this ethnic dispute" clearly refers to the unapologetic assistance given by Poles and Ukrainians in the general population where anti-Semitism was rife and deadly, to the Final Solution plans of the German occupation during the Second World War when Germany led its Axis partners against the response by the Allies in conflict, while taking the time and using stretched resources and personnel to achieve genocide.

She and her ilk brought through their emigration to Canada the traditional viral enmity against Jews to Canada, and while integrating into Canadian society continued to nurse that aggravating animus, in the process minimizing the extent and ferocity of the deadly horrors we know as the Holocaust. A public outcry has been occasioned by her death; there is no public remorse or compassion for the miserable death she suffered, but there is a reaction by those she affronted to plans for a memorial in her honour.
Paul Fromm
The organizer of Wednesday night's memorial, Paul Fromm, says he and all attendees are taxpayers of the city of Toronto, and that they paid for the library. (Betsy Trumpener/CBC)

Simply because that memorial event was scheduled to take place in a public library of the Toronto Public Library group, which rented out accommodation to those wishing to honour her memory. This woman was a colleague of the notorious Doug Christie who took it upon himself to represent the interests in criminal trials of inciting to hatred and violence of a series of neo-Nazis in Canada, as well as a member of the Hungarian WWII military, Imre Finta, who had rounded up Jews for deportation to Nazi death camps.

She herself honoured Christie on the occasion of his death by asserting how unfair it was to assume he made common cause with his clients. She claimed that his defence of his clients reflected the principles of law "which in the end protect all of us from the power of the state. That type of courage is very rare". Obviously, then, she considered  herself courageous for her support of fascist denial and hate-mongering. While she herself defended the speech of Holocaust denial itself, as much as the freedom to air it.

Aside from editing the Zundel publication she wrote an essay defending Holocaust revisionism. While those she defended will mourn her passing and will miss their champion, the world is a better place for her absence.

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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Doing "The Right Thing" For Terrorists

"The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects all Canadians, every one of us, even when it is uncomfortable."
"When the government violates any Canadian's charter rights, we all end up paying for it."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

"The Conservative government could have repatriated Mr. Khadr or otherwise resolved the matter."
"On behalf of the government of Canada, we wish to apologize to Mr. Khadr for any role Canadian officials may have played in relation to his ordeal abroad and any resulting harm."
"The settlement that was announced today has to do with the wrongdoing of Canadian officials with respect to a Canadian citizen."
"The legal settlement that we are announcing today deals with a civil lawsuit launched by Omar Khadr against the government of Canada on a very precise question. Long after the firefight in Afghanistan and while he was in custody, did the behaviour of Canadian government officials contribute to a violation of the human rights of a Canadian citizen?"
Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale
Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr, 30, is seen in Mississauga, Ont., on Thursday, July 6, 2017. The Canadian government's breach-of-rights settlement with Omar Khadr is far from unprecedented, but its public apology to the former Guantanamo Bay prisoner sets Canada apart from other countries whose citizens were held at the infamous U.S. prison, an international human rights group said Monday. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Colin Perkel

The posturing of the Liberal government in their decision to apologize to Omar Khadr and to enrich him with ten and a half million of Canadian tax dollars, as a principled move to restore Canada's  honour as a bastion of justice and fair equality, reaches the ears of most Canadians as an outrage that they want no part in. The offensive tones of sanctimony and respect for the rule of law and the sacred trust that Canadians place in constitutional rights for all citizens of the country ring hollow. This is a government that is led by a man whose sense of rectitude is ideologically tinged.

Forget, or just set aside the fact that this man was being trained as a violent jihadist, fulfilling his family's inspired aspiration to uphold a fascist version of Islam. None of the Khadr family expressed or held any values conforming to Canadian imperatives of human rights, respect for others, justice or freedom. They made it abundantly clear by their venomous statements that they abhorred everything about Canadian society with the sole exception of its social welfare and universal medicare system which they took full advantage of.

Omar Khadr was involved in producing IEDs so they could be stockpiled and used to destroy the lives of those who opposed the deadly attacks on civilian populations popularized by al-Qaeda and the Taliban. He had full knowledge of their purpose and the end result of their use, and he dutifully produced them as a full-fledged member, albeit as a  juvenile, of al-Qaeda. While he may have been 15 at the time of the firefight where he threw a grenade that killed a U.S. Army medic and blinded an American soldier, it should be recalled that al-Qaeda's successor, Islamic State, trains much younger juveniles to perform barbaric atrocities.

Those who support the view of Omar Khadr as a child, as a vulnerable adolescent whose future was violated by a father devoted to al-Qaeda and its lethal mission, overlook the fact that desertion from their grasp was always possible through a deliberate act of free will. While it suits his purpose to state now that he is uncertain whether he did indeed throw the explosive that caused the death of Sgt.Speer, that he has willingly left the ideology of al-Qaeda behind, and all he wants is a 'normal' life and should be given a chance to achieve it, why the push for an apology from Canada?

Why the civil lawsuit seeking to collect $20-million as recompense for his alleged suffering? His act of treason against Canada and against humanity does not merit an apology from those he wronged. His alleged exposure to torture in the guise of deprived sleep, should be balanced against his condition at capture, severely wounded, and without the care and expertise of the U.S. military medical staff he would have died. Is he grateful that the United States' system saved his life?

In the aftermath of the horrendous events of September 11, 2001, the United States and its authorities were in no mood to allow for second thoughts; when they saw what they believed to be an enemy combatant he was rounded up, imprisoned and interrogated, and forced to live the indignity of maltreatment. Some were guilty, some were not. Some who were released returned to terrorism. Omar Khadr claims it to be the furthest thing from his mind.

Many Canadians still consider him a potential terrorist threat. He can complain that he erred and is now prepared to make amends, but his was no simple error. And the Liberal government spokesperson who in his persona as public safety minister who blames the previous Conservative government of doing harm to Omar Khadr's constitutional rights is handily overlooking that he was himself in the governing Cabinet of Jean Chretien's Liberal government at the very time that the breach of Khadr's rights was said to have occurred.

It was, in fact, the Conservative government that eventually agreed to allow this man to return to Canada to complete his prison sentence. And that Conservative government would never have apologized to a terrorist for breaching his rights as a Canadian, let alone surrendered to him a reward for his having played out a direct threat against Canadian and allies' members of the military who fought the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

A recent Angus Reid poll established that 91 percent of Conservative voters felt it was the "wrong thing" to do, in this settlement with Khadr. A greater number than the 71 percent of the Canadian public in general who feel the same way. Even staunch Liberals to the tune of three in five are in agreement that the case should have found closure in court. But this government sought instead to hand over to Khadr millions of dollars, and in the process took deliberate steps to lock the widow of Sgt.Speer out of the potential of claiming those funds as a U.S. court had found in her favour.

Full-page advertisement: Toronto Sun

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