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, May 25, 2018

On Humanitarian and Compassionate Grounds

"He came to me in 2012 saying that, you know, he wanted to change his life and all this stuff. He wants to kind of ... find a better environment for his family."
"I had no indication that he had a background of violence. He was very soft-spoken -- like he was not a very loud person."
"He was quiet, to himself."
Chris Franco, owner, Franco Kickboxing/Pankration, Vancouver, British Columbia

"At this time the federal government is not willing to let us bring him here because he's a Cuban national."
"If the defendant is found not guilty, the question then becomes what does he do. If he was an Italian national, we would send him back to Italy."
"We can't send this man back to Cuba."
Gail Levine, Miami-Dade prosecutor
Kelly Giraldo (right), owner of a Burnaby hair salon, and her husband Ariel Gandulla. Gandulla 
is wanted on murder charges in Florida. The couple and their three kids came to Canada in June 
2012. They have been living in the Lower Mainland. (Facebook photo) PNG
The man in question here has a family, a wife and three young children. His wife established a hair salon in Burnaby, after the family arrived in Canada in 2012, where they now live in that suburb of Vancouver. The 50-year-old Ariel Gandulla, a Cuban who lived legally in the United States, is wanted in the U.S. on charges of a particularly grim murder. Charged with him are three other men; one of whom is the owner of a chain of groceries who hired the three to murder a man who had been sleeping with his wife.

An arrest warrant had been issued by American prosecutors for the 2011 murder of Camilo Salazar. The man's mutilated corpse had been set on fire, and the remains were found on a South Florida dirt road. His hands had been tied behind his back, his throat slashed, his pelvic section burned. A most particularly grisly murder. And one of the murderers is living, as a fugitive from justice, in Vancouver.

The charges laid by U.S. prosecutors include murder, kidnapping and conspiracy to commit murder. Yet scruples are expressed on moral grounds that both Canada and the U.S. are squeamish about returning the man to his country of birth and citizenship?

Two of Mr. Gandulla's companions-in-murder are incarcerated in Miami while the man who recruited and paid them has fled the U.S. and is believed to be in hiding in Spain. Gandulla had permanent residency status in the U.S. though a Cuban national. Gandulla, at age 50, 5-foot-11, is a Mixed Martial Arts middleweight. He trained at Franco Kickboxing, where he pursued judo and Muay Thai. Gandulla worked as a welder and he has been attempting to obtain Canadian citizenship.

The little matter of his application for refugee status however, is an issue that has held him back. There were a number of attempts to obtain permanent residence status dating back to 2014. That Gandulla is known to have a record of criminal activity, including allegations of involvement with a violent street gang, charges of battery on law enforcement, a conviction for cocaine possession while living in the U.S., hardly makes him an ideal candidate for Canadian citizenship.

Understandably, the family's 2014 application for refugee status and permanent residency on humanitarian and compassionate grounds was denied -- with the documentation presented outlining his illegal and criminal U.S. activities. The family made another similar attempt a year later, and it too was turned down. And since neither Cuba or the United States is prepared to authorize his re-entry, the Canadian government has few options to deal with this man other than to grant a judicial review to be considered by a different immigration officer.

The reason that the U.S. Miami-based prosecutor knew where the man wanted for involvement in a nasty murder is that his location was posted on his Facebook page, since deleted. Obviously, this man is no genius; as a fugitive from justice incapable of keeping a low profile because social media beckoned. A violent criminal and a cretin but for the time being he's living in Canada and feels entitled to having his refugee claim considered on humanitarian and compassionate grounds.

MMA fighters Alexis Vila (left) and Ariel Gandulla (right) at the Young Tigers Gym in Miami in 2008. Vila and Gandulla are now accused of taking part in a murder plot. Gaston De Cardenas / PNG

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

One Belt, One Road for International Harmony

"SOEs form an integral part of China's national strategy for global expansion."
"That is a major reason why China has created monstrous SOEs through internal mergers in the first place."
Duanjie Chen, senior fellow, Macdonald-Laurier Institute

"[Canada is being too] sensitive [about Chinese capital flows into Canada. The national security review represents] looney [behaviour on the part of Canada]."
"We just hope the Canadian side could adopt the same standard for Chinese companies compared with other foreign companies [investing in Canada]."
"Chinese state-owned enterprises — they are not guilty. They have made great contributions to safeguard the welfare of the Chinese people. We feel it is really a pity that we couldn’t make such kind of good deal to happen."
"I think it will definitely send negative signals to the market, especially it will attack the confidence of the Chinese investors who want to invest in Canada."
"My first impression, to tell you the truth, [is] that I think the Canadian media or the Canadian public is too sensitive about the Aecon case because Aecon is just a construction company."
"From your side, you have your rules and regulations on the foreign companies overtaking Canadian companies. I think for the national security issue it is your internal affairs. The Chinese side does not want to interfere [with] it."Chinese Ambassador to Canada Lu Shaye
An Aecon Construction scissor lift operator. CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Tobin Grimshaw
An Aecon Construction scissor lift operator. CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Tobin Grimshaw

If Canadian authorities react with more caution to Chinese investment in Canada than they would to investment by any other country, there is a good reason for it. China is an omnivorous predator, eager to gobble up wherever and whenever it can, sensitive proprietary technologies to benefit its own industries. It has created state-owned enterprises that act as independent corporations purportedly with no interest other than profit, and while the profit motive is writ large, so is the looting of industrial and governmental intellectual property.

The issue of the China Communications Construction Co., Ltd. financial holding division making a bid to the value of $1.5-billion to buy into Aecon Group Inc. has been fiercely resisted by the opposition in Parliament. Finally, Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains announced Ottawa has committed to blocking the controversial sale. Canada, he stated, is "open to international investment that creates jobs and increases prosperity, but not at the expense of national security".
Ottawa announced a full national security review of the Aecon deal in February.
Ottawa announced a full national security review of the Aecon deal in February.  (David Kawai / THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Opposition Members of Parliament, business groups and domestic construction companies can all now breathe a sigh of relief that their criticism and warning that China would gain access to sensitive Canadian intellectual property and that local construction firms would become less competitive in future project bids, has borne fruit. The simple fact is, Aecon's contracts include the refurbishment and maintenance of nuclear facilities, along with the building and maintenance of sensitive telecommunications lines.

For Canada-China trade talks this represents an awkward juxtaposition of events, at a time when Justin Trudeau is anxious that under his watch an elusive free trade deal with China be gained, at a time when the North American Free Trade deal, encompassing Canadian, Mexican and American industry and trade is on shaky grounds with current revision of the NAFTA talks underway and faltering. On his recent disastrous Beijing trip, Trudeau made the mistake of demanding that China accede to his personal inclusion of social, environmental and gender stipulations.

Chinese authorities and negotiators were sufficiently taken aback to have pushed the Canada-China talks into some obscure cubicle from which it may never emerge, after recommending that Canada adhere to economic, trade-based discussions, rejecting the Trudeauian trade-talk stipulations. Coming hard on the heels of Trudeau's pathetic comic-impersonation shtick in India when similar free trade opportunities were bungled, it seems that Trudeau's inability to interact seriously with other leaders places him as a symbol of arrested juvenile development.

Permitting the Aecon sale to proceed would most certainly have impacted Canada's defence capabilities, and impact on its shared defence relations with the United States whose own sensitive intelligence and defence as well as intellectual properties would be affected. Not that the U.S. doesn't have ample examples on its own soil of American international conglomerates anxious to do business in China signing over delicate trade intelligence for the opportunity to invest in China.

As it is, American officials look with disfavour on Trudeau's approval of Canadian technology companies bought out by Chinese SOEs, as when Norsat International Inc. was acquired by the Chinese firm Hytera Communications Corp., Ltd., in view of the fact that Norsat had contracts with the U.S. Department of Defence, the U.S. Marine Corps, the U.S. Army, aircraft manufacturer Boeing, NATO, Ireland's Department of Defence along with others.

The approval by Trudeau of the takeover of ITF Technologies -- a fibre-laser technology company -- by Hong Kong-based O-Net Communications, reversed a decision by former Prime Minister Stephen Harper to block the deal. Aecon itself possesses contracts to install and maintain telecommunications lines with Bell Canada, with some of those lines traversing the Canada-U.S. border. "We do have shared infrastructure that needs to be looked at", commented Michael Wessell, commissioner of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission.

A worker passes in front of a truck displaying Aecon Group Inc. signage at a construction site in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, on Monday, Feb. 26, 2018. Photographer: Cole Burston/Bloomberg via Getty Images

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Islamist Refugees Littering Canada

"In those posts, there are many of them that I saw resemble clear support of the Islamic State."
"Furthermore, this support crossed the threshold where he's providing advice. He's providing material support. He's providing how-to information."
"When I come to the conclusion at the end, it's not just because I think it and I feel it. No, it's based on evidence. You gotta ask yourself, what's going on here?"
"[The use of social media — and particularly Facebook — is crucial to ISIS. It's important to distinguish between] couch jihadists [who] talk big [and real threats]."
"Are they going to cross the threshold? Or are they just basically a big mouth, so to speak."
RCMP Constable Tarek Mokdad, terrorism expert 
Othman Hamdan, who was acquitted of terrorism-related charges, shields his face from the media on his way into a bail hearing in Fort St. John after he was charged in 2016. (Brett Hyde/CBC)
"I was found innocent from all of these false accusations but I'm still being incarcerated. Please forgive me if I show some of these symptoms [trauma of prosecution], like agitation."
"While I was writing these [Facebook] pages I thought I was engaged in a political debate and I thought freedom of expression meant I didn’t have to explain every single word."
"I went from a nobody to a somebody who had thousands of followers [on social media, responding to his posts]."
"[In a May 2014 post]: #Islamic State. I am one of them. [At a May 2018 Immigration and Refugee Board hearing] It doesn’t mean I a member of ISIL."
"I was just reacting, angry at them [Facebook deleting his accounts over graphic violence postings] and saying], 'Look, you really didn’t have a reason to ban my account'." [And then a threat to Facebook] You’ll see us in your nightmares."
Othman Ayed Hamdan
Facing deportation, the Jordanian-born Palestinian, a refugee claimant and Canadian resident, claims to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, brought on by a barrage of official Canadian accusations, all of which are false, according to his account. A British Columbia Supreme Court judge acquitted him of terrorism-related charges last fall, but that hasn't stopped immigration authorities from re-arresting him, with a number of detention reviews all pointing to the fact that he poses a danger to the public.

Before a hearing of the Immigration and Refugee Board, this man was accused of calling for lone wolf attacks through a Facebook account. Authorities were alarmed and arrested him in 2015 and he has since been re-arrested, despite the acquittal. He noted he has been taking therapy from a psychologist for the past eight months to deal with his persecution complex caused by the initial accusations and arrest. This man, who moved to Canada in July 2002 from the United States where he was studying electrical engineering, explained his Facebook accounts was where he published poetry.

He gained thousands of followers, he explained, to debate religion and politics with, all responding to his criticism of Islamic clergy whom he sardonically invests with hypocrisy, as well as the Muslim Brotherhood and non-Muslim governments leaders. They were all representative of political satire, he insists. During his trial, eighty-five posts were questioned, the judge concluding they failed to represent terrorism. Given the evidence, this is a real head-spinner.
Police say Hamdan praised the action of radicalised Muslim convert Zehaf-Bibeau who shot and killed a Reservist soldier on honorary guard duty at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Ottawa in 2014. Photo shows people just reacting to the shooting before para-medics arrive: Radio Canada

He placed blame on former Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the October 2014 lone-wolf attack that killed a military reservist standing guard at the National Cenotaph in 2014, and resulted in the attacker storming the House of Commons and a resulting shooting stand-off before the intruder was shot to death. "Arrogant" policies of the government had led to Canadian bloodshed, he claimed.

The funeral of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, killed in an October 2014 terrorist attack in Quebec. On social media, Othman Hamdan allegedly called Vincent's killer a "hero." THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Graham Hughes

The funeral of Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent, killed in an October 2014 terrorist attack in Quebec. On social media, Othman Hamdan allegedly called Vincent's killer a "hero." THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Graham Hughes
In a March 2015 post he promoted "killing methods such as slitting their throats or shooting using a silencer and killing using poison and killing by choking", among other posts all describing methods for lone wolf attacks including the use of vehicles to shoot from, then drive off, or to commit vehicular homicide with. All of these posts evidently, grossly and unfairly misunderstood. His interpretation of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms leading to his right to free expression.

Born in the UAE of Palestinian parents, this man has learned well the vulnerabilities of the Canadian system of justice and how to play to his audience, whether that of his fellow Islamists through Facebook, or Canadian authorities determined to rid the country of his terrorist-supporting and -aspiring presence. When he arrived in Canada he was granted refugee status. He doesn't have Canadian citizenship, and it should be a simple enough matter to escort him out of the country, but a clever lawyer and a sympathetic Liberal government under Justin Trudeau may just reverse that.

He is suing the government for wrongful accusations and arrest, and under Justin Trudeau he may just end up with millions to show for his hurt feelings and get to remain in Canada as a virtuous man who has been unjustly accused of actions he had no intention of committing, to become a symbol of wrongfully accused, a hero in the pantheon of similarly misunderstood Palestinians ensconced in Canada promoting 'resistance' to 'Islamophobia' and slandering the West.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

C'Mon Over!

"Aided and abetted by similarly inclined municipal and provincial politicians, official Ottawa's averting of its gaze from border breaching, is only one facet of a much larger political impulse."
"The impulse? To import, through legal and perhaps illegal immigration and refugee intakes, large numbers of future, grateful prospective voting blocs, contrary to Canadians' national interest."
Julie Taub, former member, Immigration and Refugee Board
David B. Harris, director of intelligence program, INSIGNIS Strategic Research Inc.

A family from Haiti approach a tent in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec, stationed by Royal Canadian Mounted Police, as they haul their luggage down Roxham Rd. in Champlain, N.Y., Monday, Aug. 7, 2017. Charles Krupa
Canada's smiley-face Prime Minster Justin Trudeau started the ball rolling when he tweeted, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump's message that under his administration the United States was prepared to police illegal migration and rid the country of millions of undocumented migrants living and working in the U.S. With his usual smug righteousness, Trudeau did some virtue-signalling that Canada loves migrants and would welcome them all, for Canada does not discriminate and irrespective of ethnicity, religion or ideology all are welcome to enter Canada.

They've been entering ever since. To claim refugee status. Not only those who have lived in the U.S. on special permits set to end, but those smuggled into the country and living there illegally for years. Even many from African countries who obtain visitors' visas for the especial purpose of entering the U.S. only to exit it forthwith at the closest illegal crossing they can reach and that's usually from New York State directly into the Province of Quebec.

To expedite matters and be viewed as especially kind and helpful, the federal government has stationed RCMP officers at those illegal crossings to greet the migrants wishing to declare themselves refugees, and escort them to inland Canada Border Services Agency offices where they are then invited to make their asylum claims. Right at the illegal crossings, while official Ottawa claims it intends to stop these crossings from happening, welcome tents have been set up, along with washrooms, chairs, and food.
Refugees who crossed the Canada-U.S. border near Hemmingford, Quebec, are processed in a tent after being detained in August. The flow of asylum seekers that began this past summer has resumed this spring. Most of the new arrivals are Nigerians. (Geoff Robins/AFP/Getty Images)

Since early 2017, 20,000 people from Haiti and Nigeria and El Salvador among other countries have penetrated Canada's border illegally. Over the course of the summer, 400 such migrants claiming refugee status are expected to come across on a daily basis. And now, for the first time in Canada's refugee intake history, there are more entering illegally than the number who make application legally a trend expected to continue and swell. The total refugee-claimant numbers have risen from 18,644 a year earlier to the current 48,974.

There is an initial cost to be reckoned with for each of these asylum seekers, of between $15,000 to $20,000, but that is just the beginning of the financial burden to the Canadian taxpayer. Despite that these migrants are not legally genuine refugees until a formal hearing takes place, they are entitled to a social assistance package rivalling those of Canadian citizen entitlements with benefits such as medical care, children's dental and eye care, prescription drug care, and housing, along with legal aid support. All this, at a time when the province is struggling to provide Canadians with the level of care they need.
Mostly Haitian migrants about to cross illegally into Canada in August 2017. Approximately 25,000 people crossed illegally into Canada to claim asylum last year, about 18,000 at the Quebec- US border. Photo Reuters/Christinne Muschi

The cost to Canadians for the 20,000 illegal crossers thus far is estimated between $300 to $400 million. But it doesn't stop there, since tax-funded immigration reviews and appeals, along with the potential need of years of social-welfare support during the process swells the cost exponentially.
The system is now so overwhelmed by history-breaking numbers that legal applicants' hearings are sometimes cancelled in an effort to deal with claims by illegal arrivals. In so doing, in effect rewarding illegal migration.

Jean-Pierre Fortin, Union leader for the Canadian Border Services Agency remarks that Canada has been left with a "Swiss cheese" border. Canada has the option of creating temporary CBSA ofices at illegal border entry points. When migrants declare their refugee intentions at such offices transiting through the U.S. they would be refused in recognition of the agreement signed between the U.S. and Canada reflecting the 'safe first country' entrance where if entry is either Canada or the U.S. the other turns away entrants to the second safe country.

Mr. Fortin recommends setting up hundreds of CBSA members to work on plugging border gaps. To do so the agency would have to hire more officers and be better funded, with their technological tools upgraded. Instead, Canada welcomes illegal entrants with trailers, tents and bathrooms, and where food is available to the weary cross-border infiltrators where the most popular crossing from Champlain, N.Y. to Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Quebec means a crossing of about ten metres.

And directly opposite, four kilometres east, stands the official Lacolle crossing, studiously avoided by the migrants who opt for the illegal over the legal means of entry to Canada. Just west of the popular illegal crossing and another six kilometres leads you to the official Hemmingford crossing, another option for legal entry to Canada, but spurned in favour of the opportunistic illegal crossings guaranteed to eventually lead to a hearing but with the current and anticipated future backlogs the burden of housing, feeding and health services to the teeming hordes can go on for years.

Rows of tents had been set up in 2017 near the illegal border crossing point in Quebec to house the influx of illegally crossing asylum claimants before they're sent on to Montreal and Toronto, etc. Photo- Radio-Canada

Ontario is currently undergoing a prelude to a provincial election with the leader of the New Democratic Party, high in the polls, promising to turn Ontario into a "sanctuary province" for illegal migrants, where public services would be open to everyone irrespective of citizenship status, including voting privileges. The three-month waiting period for public health coverage would be waived. "It's a basic humanitarian piece. It's a basic value that I think the vast majority of Canadians hold that human beings are human beings and we shouldn't withhold the necessities of life from anybody."

How do you argue with that logic? Justin Trudeau certainly wouldn't.

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Cause and Effect

Dr. Thomas Pollard, a cardiothoracic surgeon in Knoxville, Tenn., and his team working to replace heart valves that had been damaged from endocarditis, an infection the patient developed from injecting drugs.   CreditShawn Poynter for The New York Times

Cause and Effect

"We've literally had some continue using drugs while in the hospital. That's like trying to do a liver transplant on someone who's drinking a fifth of vodka on the stretcher."
Dr. Thomas Pollard, cardiothoracic surgeon, Knoxville, Tennessee

"It's just a lot of anecdote -- surgeons talking to each other, trying to determine when we should and when we shouldn't [conduct open-heart surgery on hearts damaged from infections patients develop from injecting drugs]."
"Everybody has sympathy for babies and children. No one wants to help the adult drug addict because the thought is they did this to themselves."
Dr. Carlo Martinez, cardiac surgeon, Methodist Medical Center, Oak Ridge, Tennessee

"He said once someone's been shooting up, you go through all this money and surgery and they go right back to shooting up again, so it's not worth it [life-saving heart surgery]."
"I was just dumbfounded."
Brian Mignogna, stepfather, Jerika Whitefield, Olive Springs, Tennessee

"I know next time God might not save me. They will not treat me for a second time if I have track marks or anything like that."
"Nobody will see me because of my drug use history."
"I'm trying to think of ways to get myself more hope here."
Jerika Whitefield, 28, mother of three
A spike in the number of patients coming in with infected heart valves has surgeons speaking up -- because even if the expensive and involved surgery is successful, most of these patients will still die young. Wochit

A serious new health hazard has surfaced linked to methamphetamine use and the opioid crisis, both of which pose as dire threats to people's health and longevity in a culture where drug use has become distressingly commonplace. Both because doctors and dentists as well have been over-prescribing the use of painkillers, and because the looser availability of street drugs has captured the minds and perceived emotional needs of people as never before.

With the proliferation of drug use, users are increasingly becoming ill with endocarditis as a result of injecting drugs, often repeatedly going through these bouts of ill health resulting from continuing to shoot up even after first-time recovery of endocarditis. Jerika Whitefield was one of the countless people developing endocarditis, an infection of the heart valves. Bacteria entering her blood after methamphetamine injections caused the endocarditis, a now-commonplace-occurrence among drug users.

Before undergoing surgery, the very ill woman was informed by the attending cardiologists that should she continue shooting up, and should she become reinfected, the surgeons would not again operate to save her life. While drug users' habits are responsible for damaging their hearts, surgery is able to salvage the damaged organ, but if the addiction is unaddressed the result will simply be repeats of the situation.

Dr. Pollard had an experience that unnerved  him when he replaced a 25-year-old man's heart valve, the result of injecting drugs. Several months on, the man returned with the very same injury to his heart repeated due to continued drug injection. Because Dr. Pollard would not repeat the surgery on the basis that this self-harm was needlessly repeated, the man died not long afterward at a  hospice. "It was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do."

Doctors in the United States are increasingly encountering patients developing endocarditis from injecting drugs. At two Boston hospitals, a recent study revealed, seven percent of endocarditis patients, intravenous drug users, survived for ten years without reinfection or other complications, while 41 percent of patients who were not IV drug users survived. Dr. Pollard now lobbies hospital systems for the provision of addiction treatment for those endocarditis patients willing to be involved.

A billboard warning of the dangers of painkillers near Oak Ridge, Tenn.  CreditShawn Poynter for The New York Times

Rural east Tennessee is particularly afflicted by addictions. Poverty-stricken small towns and poor health conspire to leave people with little hope for their futures. Opioid prescriptions remain high, with death rates from overdose three times that of the national average. Most doctors operate on patients with a first-time endocarditis presentation resulting from drug injections, but repeat infections mean the damage can be more extensive and more difficult to remediate.

Ms. Whitefield suffered from endometriosis as a teen, a disorder of the uterine tissue, as well as interstitial cystitis, a painful bladder condition, leading her to prescription opioid use for years. After her third child was born, she suffered postpartum depression and began injecting crushed opioid pills and meth. She shared a needle with one of her brothers in 2016 which resulted in initiating organ shut-down and was rushed to hospital.

"She was a young mother and her family was involved; her father was there [at the hospital]", explained Dr. Martinez, the on-call heart surgeon. "To me, it seemed she had that social support that patients need once they recover from this." The initial infection was cleared with the use of antibiotics. Two months later she required surgery, her mitral valve so damaged signs of heart failure were evinced.

Before Dr. Martinez operated, he warned that the surgery would be "a one-time deal", recalled her stepfather. Since her surgery, she has felt weak, suffered occasional chest pains, had problems sleeping, felt cold continually. She also had hepatitis C, common among people who inject drugs. Her cardiologist, Dr. Larry Justice, informed her that "One of your other valves is leaking a a fair amount. I can't guarantee you won't need another valve surgery",  he informed her.

"I just want to live to see my kids grow up", she responded.

Left, a heart-lung machine used during an endocarditis valve-replacement operation. Right, Dr. Pollard working on a patient.  CreditShawn Poynter for The New York Times

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Sunday, May 20, 2018

Iranian "Resistance"

"The United States just withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal. The move is fully justified not only on the grounds security, but primarily because Iran's Iranian Khomeinist revolution is a deadly and propulsive ideology that the West cannot allow to become a nuclearized one"
"The idea of using children as human bombs originated in was also advanced by Iran. As the German scholar Matthias Küntzel wrote, 'Khomeini was the first to develop a full-blown death cult'. During the Iran-Iraq war, the Ayatollah Khomeini imported thousands of plastic keys from Taiwan. The ayatollah sent these Iranian children through the Iraqi minefields in the direction of the enemy, to open a gap with their bodies. Before each mission, Iranian children were given a key to hang around their neck; they were told it would open the doors to paradise."
"Since then, the baby suicide bombers made their appearance in Gaza, Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and Afghanistan."
"U.S. flag-burning and chanting 'Death to America' became common in the Middle East only after the Iranian takeover of the US embassy in Teheran. When Donald Trump pulled the US out of the nuclear deal, Iranian MPs in their Parliament burned the American flag. In the last few months, Iranian girls who took off their veil were arrested and beaten. It was Iran that made chador a symbol of political Islam. A woman wrapped in a black chador, the most severe form of hijab, has become one of the most visible images of the Islamic Republic."
"The archipelago of political Islam in Europe, from Tariq Ramadan to the Muslim Brotherhood, revolves around the orbit of the Qatar-Iran axis. The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood openly sided with Khomeini's revolutionaries as they overthrew the Shah, and now threatens Saudi Arabia and the UAE and others in the region."
"The Iranian ayatollahs were the first formally to persecute the Christian populations in the Middle East. Today, Iran is on list of Open Doors' ten worst countries for Christians. The idea of attacking Jewish communities around the world is also an Iranian invention: in 1992 and 1994, the Jewish community and the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires were blown up. Until Iran's Revolution, no country had promoted a false Holocaust denial." 
Giulio Meotti, Italian journalist, author, Cultural Editor, Il Foglio

"Resistance is the only way to confront these enemies [the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia], not diplomacy."
"Exiting the deal [nuclear agreement] and their concerns over Iran's missile work are excuses to bring our nation to its knees."
"Listen! Any war that occurs will result in your [Israel] annihilation. You have no escape route but to the sea. Don’t reply on your air bases. They are within the range [of our missiles] and will be made unusable in no time."
"We know you very well. You’re very vulnerable. You have no depth or rearguard… Every spot in your occupied territory is an intersection of fire, from the north to the west. This is a new phenomenon. You don’t have a way to escape and live in the dragon’s mouth."
Brigadier General Hossein Salami, deputy head, Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps
Hossein Salami, deputy head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, speaks during Tehran's Friday prayers Jul
Hossein Salami, deputy head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, speaks during Tehran's Friday prayers .. (photo credit: MORTEZA NIKOUBAZI/ REUTERS)

The removal of the Shah of Iran and the return of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini from exile to establish the Islamic Republic of Iran marked a gradual and relentless change taking place in the Middle East, where Persian Iran's Shia sect began its influence-peddling in a geography that is majority Arab and Sunni Muslim. Iran's first success was to persuade Shiites in Lebanon to adopt Iran's death cult of martyrdom, and to that end, initiated, trained and armed their proxy militia Hezbollah which eventually became part of the Lebanese government in that tribal, ethnic and religion-fractured country.

In the wake of the Arab Spring uprisings other opportunities presented to Iran to remake the influence and control of the Middle East in its own image. Syria's civil war gave it the opportunity to intervene and to support the minority Shiite government of Bashar al-Assad in its bloody war against Sunni Syrian 'terrorists'. When the U.S. invasion of Iraq removed Saddam Hussein from power along with his minority Sunni stranglehold, Iran supported the Shiite Iraqi minority that took power. When Houthi rebels in Yemen asserted themselves against the majority Sunnis, Iran armed and aided them.

In the U.S., alarm was raised over the prospect of this extremist fanatical Sharia-led theocracy exerting its appeal to the wider radical elements populating the Middle East. Grand Ayatollah Khomeini's siege of the American Embassy in Tehran and hostage-taking of U.S. diplomats failed to endear his rule to the U.S. who became the "Great Satan", while the "Zionist entity" became the "Little Satan", both of which were recognized as enemies; the former to be resisted, the latter to be exterminated.
Members of Iran’s revolutionary guard on parade in Tehran. Photograph: Morteza Nikoubazl/Reuters

Sunni Arab countries -- suspicious and nervous over Iranian muscle-flexting -- endowed with vast petroleum resources, bought technologically advanced, sophisticated weaponry for their military, but it is doubtful that the weapons will ever be used to their full potential, for as fighting forces there appears to be a lack of something essential in organizing a disciplined and effective military, proven time and again when combined Arab armies attacked Israel. Israel, on the other  hand, also possesses strategic and updated weapons, which it knows how to use with precision and to great effect.

The nation that was once an outlier among Arab nations is now grudgingly acknowledged as a permanent fixture, one that can be relied upon as an ally in facing the threats represented by Iran's increasing domination in its Shiite axis of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen. With President Donald Trump's withdrawal of the U.S. from the international nuclear agreement with Iran, U.S. sanctions have been reimposed, once again burdening the Iranian Republic which squandered much of the billions it received on signing the agreement, on pursuing its Shiite axis in Syria and Lebanon.

Iran itself has named its "axis of resistance", borrowing ironically and purposely from former president George W. Bush's "axis of evil" designation for Iran and its satrapies. Iran, for all its growing influence, and its support of terrorist groups to match its own terrorist proclivities, has been backed into a corner. The loyalties it bought, with all that incoming cash, from Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, let alone Hamas in Gaza, are becoming fraught with concern; lacking financial support they are all unable to act to their fullest potential.
iran missiles

Cornered rats snarl and bite. Iran's is now a poor economy whose neighbours have outspent it with conventional weapons. It harboured an irresistible determination to gain weapons of mass destruction that would overwhelm conventional weapons in the hands of its neighbours. The deal that bought Iran time with its nuclear technology, did nothing to deter it from ongoing designs to perfect ballistic missile delivery systems, making clear its intentions for the near future. It was the unrepentant ballistic missile tests and Iran's steady encroachment in Iraq and Syria that led to its loss of U.S. support for the nuclear agreement.

The frustration that led Iran to respond to Israeli airstrikes on weapons it was providing to Hezbollah transiting through Syria, by firing rockets toward Israel and Israel's warplane bombing of Iranian military targets in Syria question whether the Islamic Republic is on the brink of becoming more reckless, teetering beyond mere threats to active military assaults on its big and little "Satan" enemies.

IRGC troops (file photo)

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Saturday, May 19, 2018

Spurned Among The Nations

"The IDF employs many creative means of reducing friction with Gazans and uses numerous methods, most of which are not made public, to prevent them from reaching the fence. In addition, over the past few weeks there have been serious efforts to save the lives of children and civilians who have been pushed to the front lines by the Hamas, who are trying to hide behind them in order to infiltrate and attack Israel."
"When there is no alternative, and live ammunition must be used to stop those who storm the fence, the soldiers make heroic and sometimes dangerous efforts not to kill and to only injure those on the other side. The IDF stations senior commanders at every confrontation point to ensure that every shot is approved and backed up by a responsible figure with proper authority. Every staging area has an especially large number of troops in order to make sure that soldiers are not put into life-threatening situations where they will have no choice but to fire indiscriminately."
"A situation where thousands of people rush you is frightening, even terrifying. It is extremely difficult to show restraint, and it requires calm, mature professionalism. Sixty-two dead is an enormous number. But I can testify from my first-hand experience, that every bullet and every hit is carefully reported, documented and investigated, in Excel spreadsheets. Literally. I was there and I saw it with my own eyes."
"This isn’t the time or place to discuss the situation in general and the desperate plight of the residents of Gaza. I’m not interested in starting a political discussion here, although I do have a clear position. What I’m trying to do is present, for everyone who really wants to listen, the extent of the IDF’s enormous effort to protect Israel’s borders while minimizing injuries and loss of life on the other side."
Kinley (Moshe) Tur-Paz, founder and CEO, Kibbutz HaDati Educational Network
Image: Gaza-Israeli border
A Palestinian protester slings rocks near the fence between Gaza and Israel on Tuesday.   Mohammed Saber / EPA
Palestinians living in Gaza have been exploited by Hamas convincing the people who live a deprived existence under the iron rule of the terrorist group which administers the Gaza Strip that their plight of misery could be solved if they simply 'returned' to Israel where their forbears had lived before 1947. Convinced they should congregate and 'demonstrate' at the border between Gaza and Israel and break down the separation fence to express their rage and frustration with their straitened lives, Gazans responded in their thousands.

With and among them have been members of the terrorist group conspiring to use the distraction value of teeming Palestinians flooding the border to elude the notice of the Israeli Defence Forces stationed there to prevent a large-scale invasion of Palestinians into Israel for fear of violence. Using fence-cutters, Hamas operatives have attempted to enter Israel. Warning of various types, from leaflets to cellphone messages have informed Palestinians that the IDF has been instructed to use all means to prevent incursions over the fence.

The response has been that while some of the Palestinians gathered to protest have done so in a non-threatening manner, many among them have flown kites over the border with incendiary material to set fire to vast hectares of farmfields, while others use slingshots to hurl rocks at IDF soldiers, some throwing Molotov cocktails, others brandishing meat cleavers, shouting their intention to slaughter Jews. There are Jewish communities established in close distance from the border, under threat should Hamas terrorists all of whom are pledged to Israel's destruction, advance.
Palestinians run to take cover as an Israeli drone fires tear gas grenades east of Gaza City (AFP)

Israel, and the IDF have done everything they possibly can to prevent harm to civilian Palestinians. Tear gas, stink bombs, warning shots and rubber bullets, and live fire when all else fails. What other country threatened with a large-scale invasion of enemies intent on mayhem and murder would not do the same? Yet because this is Israel defending itself against hordes incited by those who abuse them as a way of distracting from their corrupt totalitarian rule, and of using vulnerable people among whom they know there will be injuries, Hamas sees purpose.

So far, 63 Palestinians have lost their lives in such provocations as to concern the IDF that their proximity will result in ingress and danger. Of that total no fewer than 50 have been identified and corroborated by Hamas and other terrorist Palestinian groups as part of their militias. None of which serves to defend Israel against accusations of disproportionate reaction resulting in loss of life of 'peaceful' protestors burning thousands of tires to produce a smokescreen to enable Hamas extremists to infiltrate undetected.

Two things have converged to enrage the Palestinians, both in Gaza and the West Bank; the relocation of the American embassy to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv, and their worsening situation, viewing themselves abandoned by their Arab neighbours. Locating in a part of Jerusalem that has been without question with the sovereign state of Israel since its inception. The U.S. declaration in moving its embassy was careful to explain that this was a move reflecting reality; Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, which didn't preclude the U.S. agreeing with the Palestinian Authority's bid for East Jerusalem as its capital.

But just as Palestinians refused the United Nation's Partition Plan and chose to exit the area of the fledgling Jewish State in 1948 while combined Arab armies prepared to descend on Israel to destroy it after which they assured the Palestinians, they could return, their leadership now too decries any perceived entitlements to sovereignty of the Jewish State which they continue to refuse to recognize as a Jewish State. Sneeringly referring to Israel as an apartheid state, yet Arabs, Druze, Kurds, Christians as well as Jews live with equal rights in Israel while the West Bank and Gaza are Judenfrei; any Jews that stumble into those territories as good as forfeit their lives.

The Arab states that in 1948 supported Palestinian demands for the extermination of Israel, no longer do. For one thing, though Arab states with the exception of Jordan have never offered permanent residence and citizenship to Palestinians, view them as unassimilable and undesirable. For another ongoing unreasonable demands by Palestinian leaders that Israel sacrifice everything and they themselves need make no concessions to achieve peace has not quite impressed their Arab neighbouring leaders as it once did.

Iran and Turkey, non-Arab and each weighing their opportunities to exert power and influence over the Arab states have presented themselves as major irritants to the equilibrium of the Middle East. Those ambitions have resurrected the latent but always-simmering sectarian Muslim antipathies into violent conflict, destroying first Iraq and then Syria. Iran's interference in Syrian, Iraqi, Yemeni affairs and its Lebanese-based Hezbollah militia, in the greater goal of Shiite hegemony and Iranian power structure has served to divide the Middle East.

The Arab states of influence, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, now view Israel as a permanent influence and part of the Middle East. Its powerful military's reputation and its intelligence services are seen as a counter to the ambitions of the Islamic Republic of Iran to command the entire region as satrapies to Iranian command. Iran not only threatens its Sunni Arab neighbours as well as promising to destroy Israel, it funds and helps to arm Hamas. When Hamas threatens Israel's stability, it is Iran that celebrates.

When Israel's critics in the West censure it for defending its sovereignty and the life and security of its people they indicate the low standards they hold both the Palestinians to, and themselves as well. Since in doing so they defend terrorist groups prepared to send marauding and inflamed people pushed to the brink of desperation through corruption and maladministration of Hamas and the Palestinian Authority.

Ismail Haniya, the head of the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas, gestures to demonstrators at a protest along the border with the Gaza Strip on May 18, 2018 (AFP Photo/MAHMUD HAMS)

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