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 31, 2009

Selective Justice

Heritage artifacts that are thousands of years old are treasured objects of antiquity and cultural reverence. They should always be in the possession of the countries for whom their meaning transcends the merely 'antique'. The essence of their beauty and uniqueness, the meaning of their heritage value represent the present celebrating the past, acknowledging it for the bridge it represents between past and present.

The Elgin marbles being held by Great Britain remain embraced by that country, although they should be returned to Greece. Heritage objects of value to Canada's aboriginals were recently returned to them. Egyptian obelisks that represent huge cultural value to the country where they were made, exist as antique treasures elsewhere in the world. But then Egyptian history is rich in mummified remains, many of which are scattered in museums all over the world.

The Dead Sea Scrolls represent a similar, albeit singular treasure of antiquity. And there are not many of those treasured bits and pieces of ancient script on animal skin (vellum) to be found. They are directly and unmistakably linked to ancient Israelites, to the Middle Eastern tribes who proclaimed their allegiance to the then-remarkable differentiation in religious belief; monotheism.

These fragments reveal their heritage; written in Paleo Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, (languages known to have been used by learned Jews of the period) and vastly pre-existing Judaism's offshoot, and much younger religions, Christianity and Islam. Their content reveals ancient scriptures written by a priestly caste to comprise the Old Testament. Expert testimony has attested that these fragments faithfully recorded the very scriptures that are the basis of Judaism.

It is a lunatic assertion that the ancient fragments are illegally in the possession of Israel's Antiquities Authority, as the Palestinian Authority and its various supporters have feverishly been claiming, through their propaganda machinery. The fragments which are currently on loan to Toronto's Royal Ontario Museum for a special show, belong to the people and the country that represent world Jewry; it represents their particular heritage, religion and culture.

Groups who support the Palestinians' claim to ownership of the Dead Sea Scrolls are deliberately ignorant of the fact that there is no basis for the claim of ownership by Arab Muslims of a Jewish religious-cultural heritage item of ancient antiquity. The original Palestinians were known to themselves as inhabitants of the land Arab Palestinians now claim as their own, and they were Jews.

Canadian leftist groups, ignoring reality and embracing ideology, pursue their twisted agenda that simply fits quite nicely with that of a group portraying themselves as underdogs in an unequal battle for property rights; territorial and heritage.

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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Branding a People

It's pretty miserably repugnant that societies are able, with a good degree of impunity, target a group of people distinguished from the general population by charges of illicit behaviours and traditions, unlike those of the mainstream. A people whose presence transcends national borders, living in various parts of Europe and who have, over centuries of suspicion and discrimination, been stigmatized and preyed upon.

This could represent the social conditions of black populations living in mostly-white communities. And it could very well represent the social revulsion heaped upon Jews living for millennia in various countries of the world, and seen as deviant from the norms through their different religion, culture, heritage and ideology. As it happens, even when Jews and blacks had attempted to integrate into the general social structure, they were still set aside and reviled.

One might think that a minority like the Roma living in a country as civilized as the Czech Republic would no longer be threatened, harried, victimized and discriminated against. One might think the more forward-looking, socially advanced and economically advantaged a country is, the more relenting the population would be in its acceptance of those whose exterior and 'culture' remains 'different' than their own.

But the Canadian report released just recently by the Immigration and Refugee Board paints an extremely disturbing picture of a degraded society among whom Roma have been and still are facing extreme difficulties. Intimidation, physical attacks, claims of illegal acts, disallowing Roma to use public facilities, even Roma children being denied entry to restaurants are all shocking pieces of intelligence that defy civil intercourse.

That a political party could broadcast a video on Czech television calling for "the final solution" to the Roma "question" rings alarm bells in recall of the horrors of the Nazi "final solution" to the world's Jewish "problem" resulting in six million European Jews being exterminated in death camps. Arson attacks on Roma homes, unwillingness to hire Roma, lack of economic opportunities, keep the population in subdued fear and poverty.

Little wonder there are incidents of crime and a syndrome of social assistance lifestyles. Roma children are denied decent educations available to all other children of the Czech Republic; they are considered 'retarded' and only the poorest grade of education is awarded them. The high unemployment rate among Roma - an intentional by-product of racism - inadequate housing and the ongoing fear of extremist threats makes for a dreadful existence.

Little wonder then, that the Czech-Roma population is so eager to depart their country of birth, and to seek opportunities for a humane existence elsewhere.

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A Wretched Double Standard

Oops, here comes the outraged union of the Canadian Association of University Teachers eager to give a lesson in civics and law to the administration of Carleton University. Which had heeded the angry response of the public upon learning that a man whom France has requested be extradited from Canada to stand before a court of justice that plans to prosecute him for the crime of mass murder, by relieving Hassan Diab of a summer teaching position.

This man, claims the executive director of the union representing 65,000 university teachers, librarians and researchers, is eminently qualified to teach the sociology course he was contracted for, on a temporary basis. While he is under house arrest, is required to report regularly to the RCMP, and wears an electronic monitoring bracelet. He may be accompanied by those assigned by the court to ensure surety under his bail conditions.

"He's innocent until proven guilty", grieves CUPE local 4600 organizer Stuart Ryan. Casually overlooking the reality that individuals charged under the law with grave offences against society - like sexual molestation, or posting or receiving child pornography, or for having absconded with funds entrusted to them - are generally removed from positions of trust until they are able to clear their names.

The charges that French authorities have brought against Mr. Diab are somewhat more serious. He stands accused there of killing four innocent civilians, of bombing a Paris synagogue and of injuring many more people in the process. Does this profile recommend this man to teach a sociology course at a university? Teach a course to students as though nothing amiss had occurred?

Is this not tantamount to shrugging off an issue as dire as terrorism directed against innocents? In the process of which scorn for the sanctity of human life is evidenced by an outraged union insistent that one of its members must be free to go about his life as though nothing had occurred to upset society. Justice? An offence against the most basic of human rights and public morality is no reason to withhold opportunities for the accused?

Mr. Diab will most surely have his day - or as many days as it takes - in court, where he can deny the charges brought against him. He will have lawyers - even a coterie of lawyers, all eager to represent him in this high-profile case - working on his behalf to prove his innocence and that French authorities in their zeal to clear up an embarrassingly-outstanding case, have identified an innocent man wrongly. And that is when Mr. Diab may be considered for further employment with Canadian universities.

The sanctimonious position of the union is breathtaking. The CUPE organizer states his belief in parallels between Carleton's decision and the previous banning of a poster for "Israeli Apartheid Week", where a poster illustrating an Israeli helicopter firing at a Palestinian child holding a teddy bear was declared unfit for public display at the university. Casting dire aspersions on a country in a deviously politically motivated propaganda choreograph and crying foul!

As immoral as that position was, this is far more troubling. The public does, after all, have something to say about the civility of public discourse in this country, and particularly in public-private spaces where tax dollars are responsible for funding institutions of higher learning. Egregious displays of slanted political bias against a democratic country, favouring an adversarial self-victimizing population that celebrates its 'refugee' status as a favoured underdog has no place on university campuses.

The equation with the university decision to revoke the temporary teaching engagement with this man charged with mass murder in France as an unwise and socially-contrary device, allying it with the university's former decision to ensure its campuses were not involved in a despicable smear campaign against a democratic country battling terrorism, represents the height of absurdity, but does tellingly reveal the corrupt mindsets of those levelling the accusations.

Accusations that represent the characteristics of left-addled minds purporting to defend the rights of the oppressed against dastardly Jews. Any mechanism is eagerly grasped when it could present as a shield against the charge of anti-Semitism. The situation is a handy one to be utilized as an offensive tool against that most historically spurned and detested of populations world-wide, presenting as the very raison d'etre for the existence of the Jewish State, which will defend its own.

The union and its supporters, along with those members of the Canadian and international academic establishment whose agenda this represents, are unprincipled, their accusations are morally repugnant. Quite understandable if this were a quasi-democracy like Lebanon, led around by the nose by a political agency that contorts democracy, that controls the country's politics and society - like Hezbollah.

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Gotcha! Reversed

Prime Minister Harper will no longer be obliged to defend himself against accusations that he offended Roman Catholics by not adequately observing Church ritual. Claims that Mr. Harper, on the occasion of the state funeral held for former Governor General Romeo LeBlanc in Memramcook, New Brunswick, unheedingly pocketed a proffered wafer representing the 'body' of Christ instead of respectfully (even as an evangelical Protestant) eating it, raised a furore across the land.

That, despite that the officiating priest who had offered Mr. Harper the wafer, having attested that it had been duly eaten, when the story had first emerged. But the news media wanted some lively responses and they ran with it, joyfully picking up the story from the Saint John Telegraph-Journal; determined to get as much mileage and reader response from ongoing speculation out of the story as was conceivably possible.

Everyone felt like weighing in; from outraged Roman Catholics, to priests inveighing against offering the wafer to a non Roman Catholic, to pundits who did their best to assess the fallout come election time. The Pope, on meeting with Mr. Harper, had the good sense to avert his attention from this non-issue. And now, the very newspaper that broke the story had to eat crow, admitting that the reporters who wrote the original story did not themselves suggest that the prime minister gave grave disrespect to ritual by placing the wafer in his pocket.

The insinuation verging on accusation was written into the story after it was filed by way of an edit. Added without the knowledge or acquiescence of the two reporters who filed the story and whose bylines appeared above it. Mischief? You bet. Malfeasance? Of a type. Both the editor whose offensive addition was responsible for the resulting national (even international) hubbub, along with the editor-in-chief who exercised such poor judgement, are looking elsewhere now to fulfil their newspapering aspirations.

Controversy in this particular instance over for now. Doubtless there will be other purported lapses in due diligence to be reported on in the future. But for now, the paper involved has published an apology, one graciously accepted by the Prime Minister.

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Stressed, No Kidding!

Stressed? Who wouldn't be under those circumstances. Circumstances entirely of his own making, but there it is.

He was described as 'despondent', when he surrendered himself to Montreal Police so they could question him on 'suspicion' of 'alleged' criminal manipulation of other peoples' investment funds. People whom he had cultivated over decades, become close personal friends with, was intimate with generations within their families, who trusted in his professionalism to safeguard their wealth.

Not that all were wealthy by any means. Some were people who had accumulated retirement funds that they hoped would see them through a bit of comfort and financial ease in their last decades of life. He was, in short, a person of social and professional stature, one of whom it is said - mostly when things go awry and are reported on dolefully when such matters are revealed - "he was a pillar of his community".

Alas, pillars lose structural integrity and with time crumble. The integrity of that particular pillar was perhaps always a facade, and those hundreds of people, including extended family, placed their trust in a sham. Caveat emptor speaks to human trust; it warns that things may not always be as they appear, that due diligence should be employed to avoid disaster, small or large. But how to shield oneself from belief in the trustworthiness of a friend?

Now in handcuffs the 67-year-old Earl Jones is 'stressed', according to his layer. Who hastens to add that he seeks no sympathy on behalf of his client, who is manfully and responsibly making himself available to questioning, ready to stand before a court of law for justice to be done. Many desperate people facing bankruptcy, express a poverty of imagination in new-found hope their money may be recovered.

Their erstwhile personal friend and confidant, now in custody, elicits their scorn, and they robustly cheer witnessing his new, chastened demeanor. "I would just like to have an understanding of how he could have betrayed us", said one thoughtful victim of this man's avarice. This man's company was never registered with Quebec's financial regulator. In a classic slamming of the barn door, the regular has frozen all of Earl Jones's bank accounts.

The accounts, unfortunately were void of funds, and as such the hopes of his victims are on the verge of collapse. Missing funds are placed broadly in the range of between $30-million to $100-million. That's a lot of money to disappear, leaving no trace.

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Which Is The Child?

Just as well that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has his concerned wife Carla Bruni Sarkozy to look after his welfare and well-being. The world knows how incompetent men are at looking after themselves. She is front and centre in his life, right on cue as he leaves hospital, ushering him from the confines of the heart treatment ward to the Elysee Palace. Such an escort, as is well known, is quite necessary for it takes a woman to guide a man to his place of comfort.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Nicolas Sarkozy (centre), escorted by his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (left), gestures as he leaves the Val-de-Grace military hospital in Paris


Nicolas Sarkozy (centre), escorted by his wife Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (left), gestures as he leaves the Val-de-Grace military hospital in Paris

She grasps his hand, guiding him to his waiting limousine. He grasps her hand, needful of her guidance. This is an interesting photograph illuminating an interesting relationship. A mother takes a child's hand to guide the child while it is developing a sense of personal space and independence. The perspective here of an elected head of country requiring the emotional comfort and support of a spouse in lieu of a mother is fodder for conjecture.

Is this merely a loving gesture between a man and a woman, husband and wife, demonstrating their devotion to one another, and the fact that equality of presence is a fact of their co-existence? Is this a juvenile demonstration by two celebrity-figures of their mutual attachment to one another? One does not, after all, often view two mature figures clinging so obsessively to one another in public.

Is this head of state so incapable of measuring the quality of his life that he is incapable of acknowledging the kinds of foods he requires for good health and the amounts needed to ensure his energy levels in a high-stress position matches the energy output of his devotion to high-impact exercise? Is his acquiescence to the energy-input/output protocol his wife has devised for him indicative of an intelligence reflective of his political stature?

Does this human dynamo who so loves calibrating his activities so they resemble the frenetic activities of a shrew - which itself requires constant restocking of its energy resources to enable it to live as it rushes about - not understand the simple equation of energy input to energy output to maintain a reasonable physical and mental balance? Has he never heard of anything so pedestrian as mod - er - a - tion?

In all things? On the evidence, seems not.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Inelegant? Perish The Thought!

Garden toads are horny little creatures, and they're quite delightful to view, in my opinion. But elegant, by any stretch of a feverish imagination, they are not.

They are elemental little amphibians, and it's nice to know that one's garden is sufficiently cleansed of harmful chemicals to attract toads. They are not slimy or cold-blooded like reptiles, nor are they cuddly like those other little creatures present in gardens; chipmunks and squirrels. Unlike birds, they do not sing, nor do they sound, but they do perform useful functions, hunting insects.

There are some people who remind one of other creatures with whom we share this Earth. People who are horny, slimy, cold-blooded and who yet sing their own praise while hunting their prey. There is one individual who comes instantly to mind whose character encapsulates all these attributes, and more.

He has a name that sings to the tongue, but his tedious ego and his lust for salacious trysts does him no credit, little more the executive post he holds.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi claims that all the luridly scabrous allegations levelled against him - not least those made public by someone who should know him as well as anyone possibly could; his long-suffering and utterly disgusted wife - are false and completely without substance in truth.

"There are a lot of pretty girls about. I am no saint, but you know that."

Yes, we do, the entire world knows that; you have made it abundantly clear that you are no saint, and that pretty girls, both young and old find you completely irresistible. A little long in the tooth many might say, but they're rarely men, mostly women. And you most certainly do present as a horny old toad. Somewhat lacking the natural allure of the real thing.

You do have the ability to place things in their proper perspective, we'll give you that: "As long as I'm present, nothing inelegant can happen because I'm a person of good taste, culture and elegance." It is undeniably good taste for a bored and self-obsessed 72-year-old to lust after and pursue a 17-year-old girl, no doubt about it.

Your good taste is most obvious, as is your cultured background and your attention to elegance when you entertain call girls whose fee has been paid by your good friends seeking political and business advantage in return. You, after all, need pay no one for sexual gratification; it nullifies the lure of the chase, the art of seduction.

Of which you are a past master. Maestro. Let the drums roll, the violins wail, the trumpets blare.

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Twisted Logic, Twisted Conclusion

Canada's long-disputed seal hunt has now been officially placed under trade sanction by the European Union. All trade of seal pelts, oil, and meat have been banned by the European Union thanks to its craven submission to the propaganda power of the animal-rights lobby in Europe which politicians there see as potentially harmful to them come election time.

There is nothing particularly reasonable about the decision, it is reactive in nature, in recognition of the public's willingness to suspend belief in a humane seal hunt, practised in Canada.

The Canadian government intends to appeal the ban on seal products importation to the EU.
While it is true that aboriginal communities will be exempt from the ban there will be no way to adequately prove to the satisfaction of animal rights activists that seal product importation is solely the result of an aboriginal seal hunt. They too will be impacted by the ban, and most certainly subsistence seal hunters living in coastal communities will be harmed.

To follow this issue to its logical conclusion, shut down all abattoirs.

The federal government's anger over this move, long threatened, but now that it has arrived, no less surprising, will move it to appeal to the World Trade Organization, as it contravenes WTO guidelines. "Canada's hunt is humane, scientific and follows environmental rules of sustainability" announced Canada's International Trade Minister Stockwell Day during a news conference.

Furthermore, the EU's zeal in banning seal products is surprising when viewed in the context of real world and international concerns.

Ranking European Union members do a brisk business with the Islamic Republic of Iran whose dangerously incendiary and oft-stated intention to commit an act of existential aggression against a member-state of the United Nations - one which has friendly relations with its democratic peers in the European Union - identifies the EU's values as puzzlingly hypocritical at the very least.

Fundamentalist theocratic and militaristic Iran has defied the international community and the United Nations in its dismissal of demands that it cease working on nuclear adventurism for the purpose of attaining nuclear weapons. At the same time that it thumbs its Islamist nose at the UN and its nuclear-watchdog, it promises to annihilate Israel. The world has witnessed the recent quasi-election for president in Iran with an utterly corrupted outcome.

No country nor its legislative body is ignorant of the fact that Iran is a murderously repressive state, one that tyrannically oppresses its population, uses sharia law to loosely apply the deterrent of capital punishment, routinely violates the human rights of women, homosexuals, political dissenters and minority religions.

Yet countries of the European Union see nothing amiss in their multi-national electronics companies, their oil refining conglomerates doing business with the country.

What a peculiar double standard. The European Union and its members states have little to feel superior about when it comes to demonstrating their collective ethics and principles.

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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Raped, Disowned Child

It is unspeakably horrible to envisage a child of eight, a trusting little girl enticed by a group of boys, accused of being responsible for a group attack where the child is repeatedly raped. What, after all, does an eight-year-old little girl know, what can she do to protect herself? What could possibly be going through her mind while she is being assaulted repeatedly, other than to beg her tormentors to leave her, and wish for her parents to rescue her.

There are societies, traditions, cultures and religion-inspired laws that believe women, even girls, are responsible for the dreadful things that men do to them. Parents who believe that their despoiled daughters are no longer valuable as living human beings, flesh of their flesh. Love they may have lavished in raising these daughters suddenly vanishes in the face of a belief that the honour of their family and of their line has been irremediably besmirched.

Leaving them to relinquish their interest in a girl-child or a daughter or a sister, a wife, a niece, entirely. Blaming them for insubordination to the dictates of a patriarchal society. Particularly one - given the prevalence of 'dishonour' and 'honour killings' in Muslim societies - where Islamic sharia law demands harsh punishments; stoning, lashing, death for women in circumstances where they are accused of loose morals.

It defies belief in the nature of family and the relationship between fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, that family honour will have been seen to have been offended by a daughter speaking with a man not of her family, dressing 'inappropriately', defying the authority of male family members, being attracted to the company of a man not approved by her father. Leading to a deserved punishment.

Which, in the case of family honour seen to have been more seriously impacted by a daughter found to have had sex outside of marriage - or as has happened, being the victim of a rape, seen to have stained and defiled the family through her vile conduct - leading inexorably to a far more grave punishment than merely being beaten. The father, the brother or the uncle of the offending woman is tasked with restoring family honour by restorative murder.

Or a committee of village elders led by a cleric administering shariah law commits a girl child who has been raped and considered guilty of using female wiles to corrupt an otherwise honourable male to countless lashes. In other instances, a woman who has committed adultery sentenced to be stoned to death. In cities, those authorized as defenders of the faith as policing agents for virtues and vice will beat and arrest women for being improperly clad.

As in Sudan recently where the General Discipline Police Authority who patrol streets in their zeal to maintain standards of public decency arrested thirteen women gathered in a restaurant - for the criminal offence of wearing trousers. For this violation of the Sudanese criminal code the women were penalized by a punishing sentence of receiving 40 lashes.

In countries like Jordan, Lebanon, the PA-administered territory, Iraq, Iran and elsewhere in the Muslim world, a family's men, whether it is the father, a young son or another male relative, who enact the justice of shariah law for dishonouring a family, may receive no sentence at all, or a brief, notional sentence, because it is generally recognized that they were responsible not for murder, but for cleansing the family's dignity of dishonour.

All of this is horrible, an assault on human dignity, the freedom of human nature, on women's human rights, but they appear to elicit little real interest from the world at large. Until situations erupt in other parts of the world, Europe or North America where immigrants bringing their cultural traditions with them, exercise the same kind of moral punishments there that they are accustomed to doing in their places of origin.

The sad and sordid story of an eight-year-old girl living with her Liberian family in Phoenix, Arizona, who was lured with the promise of chewing gum to a shed close to a vacant apartment where she was restrained and raped by four boys aged nine to fourteen, and who was then disowned by her parents for bringing shame to her family, is one of those items that catches the reader's instant disbelief.

A child who has undergone such a horribly traumatic violation, and whose physical state and mental anguish is ignored. Instead of being gathered to her family, her grievous wounds lovingly tended to, she has been spurned, to suffer abandoned and alone. The family of the child blames her for the assault and rape perpetrated upon her. She is held to be responsible for the situation that has resulted in her family honour being sullied.

Devastatingly unspeakable.

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Saturday, July 25, 2009

Is There Honour In Killing?

Canada is horror-struck that three young sisters and their step-mother were discovered to have been deliberately murdered by their father, Mohammad Shafia, their mother Tooha Mohammad Yahya, and their son, sibling of 19-year-old Zainab Shafia, 17-year-old Sahari, and 13-year-old Geeti, along with 50-year-old Rona Amir Mohammad. The three - father, mother and brother of the murdered girls were arrested and charged with murder in the first degree and conspiracy to commit murder.

How it is possible for people to become so humanely degraded, so incapable of recognizing the enormity of the aberration they represent as people taking deliberately intentional steps to murder their kith and kin is beyond most peoples' imaginings. The primary consciousness of empathy, the connection between children and parents so irretrievably corrupted. This is the face of evil. It is beyond comprehension that a mother would be complicit in planning the murder of her three daughters.

It begs belief that a young man would agree to assist his parents to kill his sisters and the step-mother who had been the major female influence in his life. Cultures that practise a version of religious observance that claims through its primitive kind of heritage that women are inferior to men, and must be violently subjugated in recognition that they are a source of troubles and afflictions of temptation have infiltrated their presence around the world.

Fundamentalist religionists from Sikh to Muslim to Buddhist, Christian or Judaic practise a misogynistic heritage of patriarchy which insists on controlling every facet of a woman's life. From infibulation to duennas, from binding feet to the wearing of burkas and the niqab. Women are sequestered within the confines of the family home, taught no skills other than those she will require as a wife - which is basically to please her husband - and must accept arranged marriages.

Not all religious traditions wreak the horrible dead-end discipline on women that "honour killings" represent. Daughters who disgrace Christian households were traditionally disowned and thrown out of their families to fend for themselves. Orthodox Jewish households said a prayer for the dead, and cut off all contacts with their young women who were felt to have offended orthodoxy and cultural normatives. As uncongenial as these practices were they were emotionally abusive, not physically murderous.

Islamic fundamentalists may not be the only groups in the world that practise this kind of theocratic fanaticism in condemning young girls and women to stoning, public shame and humiliation, lashings, being outcast, and above all, murdered to cleanse the family's honour of the shame they have brought upon it, but they are the most visible in the prevalence of these honour killings. Young girls can be said to have brought dishonour to their families through their unacceptable mode of dress and manner.

More egregious disobedience to family values were represented by girls defying tradition by appearing in public with a male outside of the family group. Expressing affection for a male or even interest in one was considered an unacceptable offence. Actually having a physical affair with a man outside of marriage was anathema and deserving of death. A young girl or woman being the victim of rape would be viewed as deserving punishment by somehow provoking that incident of rape.

Muslim groups within Canada are angry that the media and the general public have reacted with aghast outrage at the dreadful deaths of these four women at the hands of their family members. Claiming that as soon as an event is labelled an 'honour killing', it is seen as condemnation of Muslims. As long as such a dreadful tradition resonates within the Muslim community, even within a minority of the ummah, it becomes incumbent on the greater community to condemn it and root it out, not insist it is a fabrication of a febrile Western mind, celebrated by the international media.

In the instance of this family, Mohammad Shafia, his wife Tooba Mohammad Yahya and their children having emigrated to Canada to begin a new life, that new life should have meant abandoning the primitive and hateful practises left behind in their native Afghanistan. That it did not occur in this manner, that the head of this family remained an unreconstructed monster that insisted on controlling the women in the family is a tragedy.

But it should surprise no one. Long ingrained customs and traditions are not easily shed. They are lightly abandoned when one is an impressionable young girl emerging into early adulthood, witnessing the manner in which all other young women live out their lives in a new and open environment, but this is no reflection of what their domineering father demanded of his female charges. Zainab's attraction to a young man of whom her father disapproved was her death sentence.

It is abundantly clear that the 18-year-old son, Hamed Shafia, was successfully inducted into the traditions of his heritage and culture, given the influence of his father. That love for his sisters and his step-mother could not transcend the influence of such a debased culture may not be surprising given the needful attachments of young people, but it is disappointing. Hamed Shafia was emotionally and culturally coerced to abandon his humanity.

Perhaps the worst place in this affair was that played out by Tooha Mohammad Yahya, the biological, though perhaps not emotionally-bound mother of the three young girls. Even if she represented the persona of an abused woman, she was complicit with her husband in planning the murder of her children. We are all the beneficiaries of free will; when put to the test we are capable of choosing another path than that down which we are led.

Tooba Mohammad Yahya ensured her place in infamy by having surrendered her sensibilities and sensitivities to a culture of blame, vengeance and death. She helped murder her three daughters and she helped to stifle the emerging maturity and humanity of her oldest son. Where is the honour to be had in lending oneself to the most horrendous of human acts of betrayal?

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Nasty Conclusions

Errors are made, particularly when someone is under great pressure. And what greater pressure can any political leader constantly be assailed with than control and guidance of the affairs of his country? Which country of the world is more embroiled constantly in the affairs of the international community than that of the United States, imparting a further burden on its leader? And which country of the world is more conflicted through traditional suspicions between black-and-white than the United States?

So when President Obama, during a news conference, was prodded to give his opinion on the fractious controversy that has resulted over the arrest of a prominent black Harvard professor during a police investigation of a reported home break-in, Mr. President began his response really well, then proceeded to jettison the balance he initially attempted to achieve through impartiality. As a (bi-racial) black man well acquainted with the constant discrimination suffered by black men, he succumbed to an irresistible provocation.

He was right; he wasn't in possession of all the facts. And he, as a friendly acquaintance of Professor Henry Gates, knows him as a calm, dispassionate professional of high regard. This was most certainly not the man who confronted an investigating police officer who regarded him with suspicion that he might be an intruder. Just doing his job. Had the police not responded to an alert that a break-in appeared to be underway, because it was the home of a black family, they would have been accused of racism.

As it is the Cambridge police have now been obliquely accused by the President of the United States, of racism. It proved to be just too tempting not to give one of those impromptu little lectures on police profiling and undue harassment of blacks. Not that there is no truth in the content of the lecture, just that the context was out of place. When the President said: "Now, I don't know, not having been there and not seeing all the facts, [!] what role race played in that, but I think it is fair to say, number one, any of us would be pretty angry..." he should have stopped right there.

Or perhaps stopped at the division in the sentence between 'facts' and 'what role'. The fact is, it is irritating to be accused of wrong-doing when one is just going about one's business. But breaking into a house at an odd hour would cause suspicion, wouldn't it? Proving the house is one's own by providing the adequate documentation should suffice, but when confronting a public servant whose job it is to defend the public weal with angry contempt in the process, it is asking for trouble.

Respect is reciprocal. Think about it: wouldn't it actually be reassuring to know that the police are alert to the possibility that some thug up to no good might have targeted your possessions. And when alerted to what appeared to be precisely that were on duty to ensure that this did not actually proceed? And how could a police officer take on trust, without adequate identification that one is who they claim to be, under those circumstances?

That it has been revealed that the arresting officer, St.James Crowley, was well schooled in race relations and the delicacy of proper and respectful relations between the public and the police, to the extent that he himself teaches a similar course, only adds to the absurdity of the entire event. It would appear that it was Professor Henry Louis Gates whose response to a perfectly logical sequence of events precipitated his misfortune.

President Obama made an understandable error in judgement in pronouncing on his opinion, according to his understanding of the situation as he imagined, not experienced it. President Obama has sought to defuse the situation which has truly been blown out of reasonable proportions.

What he has said since his initial response should be taken on trust demonstrating in good measure the metier of the man's humanity.

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Unsuitable for Integration

No society should compel itself, out of misplaced humanitarian concerns, to accept within its population a culturally-tainted group of refugee-seekers whose ingrained and deep-seated animosities toward others, including 50% of humanity, renders them unsuitable for integration into the host society. The host society in this instance - Canada - being one that values equality between the sexes, and offers opportunities to all its population, equally, guaranteeing rights and freedoms under the Canadian Charter (of Rights and Freedoms).

It is not merely that society encumbers itself with the need to welcome, support and expend public funds to assist immigrants in their struggle to settle into a new land, learn a new language, engage in needful activities leading toward full employment and personal independence. It is the much larger picture of people bringing with them traditions whose values are clearly inimical to those of the host country. Where, instead of integrating into the general population, clusters of immigrants sequester themselves socially and cling to old customs.

Customs that have encouraged and legitimized antagonistic attitudes toward other ethnic or religious groups. Traditions that have been absorbed and become an integral part of some ethnic and religious cultures that express themselves clearly in virulent misogyny and homophobia. Ultimately, a resistance to accepting the values and the traditions of the host country. And where immigrant clusters seek in fact, to exert influence on the host country to accept and to honour the customs and traditions of their original heritage.

Western countries, with an influx of Muslim immigrants whose tribal way of life with its victim mentality and exploitation of women, have faced the horrors of 'honour killings', where a woman is accused of dishonouring tradition, custom and family and upon whom the ultimate discipline is imposed. That of a male family member stalking and murdering the offending woman. Women who have seen the freedom offered other females and insisting on having those freedoms themselves.

The recent tragedy of three young Montreal sisters and their 50-year-old female caregiver having been found dead, trapped in a vehicle in the Rideau Canal appears to be a case in point. Where the public had been led to think, mostly because of the explanations given by the girls' father and mother, that this was an unfortunate accident, while the investigating authorities themselves never appeared to subscribe to the theory of 'accident'. The police involved considered the incident troublesomely suspicious.

Now three people have been arrested en route to exit from the country, and charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder; a first-degree capital charge. The three are the girls' mother and father and their older brother. Whom police believe were the real drivers of the vehicle, not the oldest daughter as her mother and father testified. The police announcement to the public spoke obliquely of the right to life and freedom of young people in Canada.

The narrative implicit in the announcement was that of an Afghan family arriving in Canada two years earlier, settling in Montreal, and the seven children of the family being confronted with Canadian values and freedoms, in conflict with and upsetting the traditions of their cultural upbringing. That in some manner not yet divulged, some or all of the three girls and their 50-year-old death-mate had offended tradition and family honour.

Out of this sprang an unspeakable horror imposed upon a Canadian background. How is this emotionally assimilable, that a mother, let alone a father, would be actively complicit in the deaths of their daughters?

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The Pain Of The Polls

Over-exposure, that's what the problem is. There was a time when Americans couldn't see enough, hear enough, read enough about the new human African-American phenomenon. This distinguished, highly intelligent and immensely motivated man who turned his attention to politics at the very highest executive level of his country compelled and electrified Americans. He promised to unite Americans in their common zeal to achieve a civil balance between themselves, and he told them it could be done, and with his help they could do it.

Every word he spoke elevated the debate. His calm demeanor and electric-charged personality, his charming smile and resolute manner gave confidence where it had been sapped out of the public from sad and weary years of war, economic decline, a widening gap between the wealthy and the poor, and a soaring deficit which the prosecution of an unpopular war kept front and centre. Barack Obama's charmed existence, his transcendent presence and soothing encouragement vitalized an election campaign that became his.

c.2009 Washington Post

Seems destined that all good things come to an end. He's the same person he was before the election, with all those excellent qualities, and those who embraced his vision and his persona before, still do; he remains their shining hero on the hill. But his omnipresence also palls just a wee bit. His easy assurances, his admonishments to the detractors of his programs and the confidence he instills in his supporters remain the President's greatest assets. But balance and a little bit of a step back from morning, noon and night addresses to the nation might be in order.

Say, a once-a-week address to the American people? Might that not suffice? Hasn't the President much, much else to do than continually stand front and centre and expound and promise and explain and declaim? Moderation goes an awfully long way; over-exposure has a tendency to pall on people, bore them, irritate them to the point where they gasp for relief. It would be a bit of a relief for President Obama, too, give him more of that precious element he has so little of; time, to do other, important things.

We don't want him necessarily brooding, or engaging in too much solitary introspection, mind. He must remain engaged and in the game. No indulging in wondering about a fickle public that suddenly begins to doubt, to ask questions, to express uneasiness with the economy, the massively growing debt, the inequity in bailing out banks and financial agencies, while unemployment is steadily and alarmingly growing. There is simply just so much one individual can accomplish, against the travails impacting internationally.

But it must be troubling to acquaint oneself with the fact that confidence in one's plans is slowly seeping away, that the public - the very electorate that hailed his victory as the historically-first Black President of the United States of America in whom a huge balance of the population had earnestly, joyously placed their trust - is entertaining doubts. He is, after all, only human. Extraordinary, capable, reliable, determined, but human, withal.

It is certainly compelling and humbling at one and the same time that President Obama stands four-square and tall against the adversities that assail his country and his administration. He unflinchingly faces and attempts to counter them to the best of his considerable ability. He does make the occasional mistake, and he will have to face that too, but as that tired old saying goes, his heart is in the right place.

America badly needs a universal health care plan. That a majority of the population remains insecure and uncertain about its implementation, cost and needfulness is surprising. The $1-trillion cost for implementation to reform the health-care system does not appear to enthuse the public. It may, however, that huge percentage (47-million Americans) without any kind of health care, and it may those who are steadily losing employment and with it their invaluable health coverage.

But polls are placing the public's trust in President Obama's ability to wrestle with the strugglingly uncertain financial situation - the growing unemployment rate, lack of consumer confidence, fears of a growing deficit and monumental debt, and the country's dedication to handling two overseas wars, alongside the international 'war on terror' - elements that have eaten deeply into this president's popularity ratings.

To paraphrase the humble little inscription on U.S. currency, Americans will simply have to tell themselves over and over again: "In Obama We Trust".

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

We Regret To Advise You...

Another calamitous financial event impacting on peoples' trust and their economic futures. A man whose ingratiating kindness, empathy for others, and long-term success in persuading people that their finances are in good hands with him, has betrayed that trust, and left hundreds of people, including members of his own extended family, penniless. Shock and disbelief does not begin to describe the kind of emotions that these bilked individuals are experiencing.

Little wonder that the Montreal-area financial advisor/investor has claimed, through his lawyer, to have received threatening telephone calls. As though those who have threatened him are to blame for his having secreted his presence away from an irate public who trusted him with their retirement funds. Some of whom now say they have been forced to visit food banks, others who say they can longer afford adult diapers. Some of those who trusted this man entrusted hundreds of thousands of their hard-won dollars with him.

They have no hope of ever recovering those funds. They may, however, see him again, their trusted family friend and financial advisor, in court. Montreal police don't seem to be in a great hurry to arrest him. Authorities whom distressed investors have turned to for information and some relief from their conundrum have been unable to address the issue, advising them to turn to other agencies, who themselves offer a metaphorical shoulder-shrug.

And then, almost two weeks after news of this financial misadventure, the family of Earl Jones, investment adviser, issued a statement. Claiming to have been "in the dark about his business activities". Their statement has done little to placate the outrage and fear being expressed by Earl Jones's financial victims. The fact that the family of the 57-year-old Earl Jones - who quite clearly appears to have absconded with between $50- to $100-million of funds entrusted to his care - has hired a public relations firm, speaks volumes about authentic regret.

We are devastated by what has happened to all who put their trust in Earl Jones as a financial adviser but also as a friend, neighbour and community leader. We want to express our profound regret for the pain and suffering that he has caused and state our own sense of deception. Over the past days since becoming aware of the situation we too have experienced a wide range of emotions, from anger to despair and disillusionment. The Earl Jones we knew was a loving husband, a devoted father and grandfather, and a respected member of the community. The Earl Jones who has been revealed in recent days is a man we can scarcely believe exists. Earl's daughter and her husband are also financially exposed and now fear that they will never recover their funds. The family was in the dark about his business activities but will of course co-operate fully with the authorities. We are anxious for Earl to come forward and provide an explanation. Once again, we wish to express our heartfelt regret to those who have been hurt by Earl Jones. At the same time we hope that you will recognize the sense of shock, grief, shame and outrage that we are experiencing, and we plead that our family's privacy be respected in this very difficult situation.

While, if the family is truly innocent of background knowledge of their husband and father's criminal activity, and are themselves reeling under the shock of the disclosure, surely the decent thing to do might have been to spontaneously - without the paid assistance of a public relations professional, utter some comforting words of support to those victimized by Earl Jones. Pleading for respect of their privacy in their very difficult situation, might not play very well with the victims of Earl Jones's Ponzi scheme. A woman married for 42 years to this man, yet unaware of his sinister enterprise?

The man very well may fear for his physical safety. And so he should. People who have done much less in betraying the trust of hundreds of people, in directly being responsible for their impoverishment and the shock of lessening the quality of their lives, have also been fearful for their safety. This was a man whom everyone who knew him claimed to be charming, friendly, who insinuated himself into the personal lives of those whose financial affairs he took over. Who had, in the final analysis, very little compunction in leaving them in penury.

The Autorite des marches financiers of Quebec, in responding to the alarmed concerns of investor complaints, sought to freeze Mr. Jones's bank accounts. Only to discover them to be virtually devoid of contents. The police are cautiously investigating Mr. Jones's files to determine whether a forensic audit reveals criminal activities. Upon which establishment charges may be laid. Mr. Jones appears to be agreeable to making himself available for police interviews in their investigation.

Innocent until proven guilty. That $50- to $100-million that has mysteriously disappeared? Amnesia, perhaps. A mental breakdown, perhaps. And if so, can he be held accountable?

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

In The Way Of Progress

National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Phil Fontaine is packing it in, his term up; moving aside for another edgy First Nations politician with the smarts and the experience and the determination to represent Canada's aboriginals. He's been a fairly good representative. He has had good relations with government and their agencies, while defending the needs of First Nations and swallowing his aggravated disappointments.

On the other hand the Assembly of First Nations appear all too often to have their singular agendas dedicated to themselves, their power and celebrity status, and there are times that their devotion to the struggle for attainment of better conditions for their people has seemed to take second place. They have not been sterling administrators, somewhat reflective of too many native band councils whose main agenda is self-availment.

There are 633 chiefs whose votes could be cast in the search for a replacement for Phil Fontaine, but disaffection within the community of First Nations appears to ensure that one-third of that number will simply not bother; somewhat like the general Canadian electorate. "I think there are a number of chiefs who are so disillusioned that they won't even go to Calgary", one observed.

There exists an estimated 750,000 aboriginal Canadians whose interests the National Assembly defends. And there are five candidates running for office, some of whom appear to have really excellent qualities as prospective candidates for Grand Chief. The man seen as first-choice is progressive in outlook and conciliatory in nature, with a master's degree in education; chief interests being education, social justice; poverty, and violence against women.

Another is known for being confrontational. While another seems to represent the old-boy system whose experience is his main asset, but whose future relationship with government at any level would be problematical at best. Another elder with experience is taking a page out of Barack Obama's campaign by using Facebook to further his agenda: "The alleviation of poverty by building bridges to government but more important, industry, is the way out of the mess we're in."

And fourth has a business administration degree, promoting leveraging private-and public-sector partnerships to help First Nations move toward economic self-sufficiency. "The AFN has to be more responsive, more relevant and respectful of [the] diversity across Canada." And finally, another who is an economist who wants to move aboriginals toward self-determination and self-government, to spur economic growth and help eliminate poverty.

Three possibilities, two also-rans. But it is time that someone genuinely responsive to the needs of First Nations and capable of mustering inner strengths and resources to unify and instill confidence and determination has an opportunity to look to the best interests of aboriginals, and in the process relieve the country of its shame in its neglect of aboriginal needs.

While they're at it, if they're halfway successful to spurring aboriginals themselves to look to their own needs and do it intelligently and responsibly, the problem will have gone a long way to being solved.

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Who Wudda Thunk It?

The playboy husband of the late, much-mourned former prime minister of Pakistan, current President Asif Ali Zardari has astonished his detractors by presenting himself as a new man. Truly a remarkable transformation for one whose name was synonymous with corruption. None other than Mr. Tenpercent; his extortionate habit while in office in various government posts under then-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto earning him contempt, and after her assassination a surprising victory heading the Pakistan Peoples' Party.

Yet here is the successor to the much-derided and -detested General Musharraf, behaving in a responsibly statesmanlike manner, making peaceful overtures to India, to Afghanistan and adhering to the sensible support given him by the new American administration. Despite the white-hot anger of his own military and secret service, President Zardari took immediate responsibility for the Mumbai attacks, backtracking only marginally, when it became politically expedient.

It is President Zardari who has gone much, much further than General Musharraf's attempts to finally stamp 'paid' to the heritage of incandescent hatred between Pakistan and India. Where previous administrations all encouraged violent covert action by Islamist groups against India in Kashmir, President Zardari has backtracked, authentically searching for peace between the two nuclear-armed countries.

The man has given encouragement and support to Afghan President Hamid Karzai in their common battle against Islamist terrorists - a battle newly engaged by Pakistan, and long fought by Afghanistan. It was Pakistan which was responsible in large part for inciting Islamist extremists to take over and control Afghanistan. Pakistan had its eyes on expanding its territory into Afghanistan, in a hegemonistic move that never lived to see success.

The current president of Pakistan leaves no doubt that he sincerely searches for amicability between his near neighbours. He well knows the insidious presence of Taliban-supporting elements in the country's military and secret service. He is well acquainted with their methodology and intent, and knows very well that he is now himself in their cross-hairs.
The optical system of a telescopic gun sight is carefully focused, awaiting opportunity.

He has acknowledged his country's errors in having fostered Islamist terror groups. "Let us be truthful to ourselves and make a candid admission of the realities ... The terrorists of today were the heroes of yesteryears, until 9/11 occurred and they began to haunt us as well." It is no longer government policy to encourage, to arm, and to point the direction in which terror groups should engage. But this is a large, cumbersome and powerful instrument to disengage.

And this suddenly courageous man, anxious to do the right thing for his country, his geographical placement and the world at large, appears to be doing his utmost to achieve a consensus over domestic and foreign policies. His nemesis: the country's military-industrial complex. Suddenly he has cut his administration loose from supporting the Taliban, and by extension, al-Qaeda, bringing to the fore a reality, hitherto merely given lip-service.

Pakistan has much to atone for, not the least of which has been the proliferation of nuclear secrets to unstable and dangerous governments. A.Q. Khan is still held in high esteem in the country, no longer facing house arrest, free to crow about his accomplishments as a conscienceless scientist. But in its own self-interest it realizes its own fragility in facing its very own existential threat as a democratic country.

The alternative is an utter, chaotic upturning of all that the country has attempted to achieve. It has finally understood it can no longer give free reign to the hitherto-ungovernable, fiercely tribal region along its Afghan border and the South Waziristan tribal district where its troops are now battling the fundamentalist Islamic militias it must now defeat, achieving sovereign control of all of Pakistan.

To the alarmed chagrin, perhaps, of those within the Pakistani military and secret service who once protected them.

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Monday, July 20, 2009

World News - July 2009

Five major hospitals in Brazil's crime-ridden city of Rio de Janeiro are to be bullet-proofed because of frequent gunfights involving drug gangs, the state news agency, Agencia Brasil reported Saturday. The federal hospitals, all located in risky zones, will have concrete walls built around them and steel shutters installed over the windows, some of which will also be reinforced to stop bullets.
What is this? The wild, wilder, wildest West? Isn't Brazil challenging advanced world economies as a South American financial tiger-in-the-making? What's with the third-world criminal status?
Chinese police shot dead 12 "mobsters" during unrest in Urumqi on July 5, state media reported Saturday, quoting a local official saying the action was taken to prevent further bloodshed. Three died on the spot and nine after unsuccessful treatment, the official Xinhua news agency reported. The report did not give details of the ethnicity of the deceased or those involved in the unrest, but blame for the violence in the Xinjiang regional capital that day was previously pinned on ethnic minority Uighurs.
Oh those splittist monsters. Never, ever the innocent Han Chinese who wish only to establish a state of even-handed opportunity to all of China's inhabitants. The evil Uighurs threaten to secede, and this is a criminal offence of the highest order hence the designation of miserable mobsters.
Fourteen United Nations peacekeepers were injured in south Lebanon on Saturday (18July) when protesters tried to stop an investigation into an arms cache that exploded in a Hezbollah stronghold last week, a spokeswoman said. Ammunition stored in an abandoned house in the village of Khirbet Selm, 20 kilometres from the Israeli border, exploded on Tuesday. The UN had launched an investigation into the cause of the blast in co-ordination with the Lebanese army, and around 100 people gathered on Saturday and tried to stop it by throwing stones at the troops.
Hel-lo!? These are terrorists and their fervidly conscienceless supporters. This is akin to faulting al-Qaeda for not recognizing the civil niceties of the Geneva Convention. As for the Palestinians, they are consummate rock-throwers; political 'refugees' so utterly consumed with hatred and tribal vengeance a mere peacekeeping unit is no match.
Ousted Honduran President Manuel Zelaya agreed Saturday to give his enemies a share of power if he is allowed to return to office, but they rejected any deal that puts him back in the presidency. Zelaya, who was toppled in a military coup on June 28 and is in exile in Nicaragua, backed the proposal for a government of national reconciliation put forward by the mediator trying to negotiate a deal between Zelaya and interim president Roberto Micheletti, the former speaker of Congress. Also Saturday, Zelaya again vowed he would soon return to Honduras despite warnings he would be arrested.
And then the scenario following his arrest would be a signal for his supporters to come out in full array, challenging the country's government, its Supreme Court, its Congress, its respectable elected officials and its military. Civil disobedience in this instance leading to civil war, and a good time by all in pursuing their ends.
The bombings at the Jakarta JW Marriott and Ritz Carlton hotels that killed nine people, including two suspected attackers, are probably linked with the mastermind of the 2002 Bali blasts, an Indonesian official said. The attacks days earlier bear the hallmark of tactics and explosive devices used by Malaysian terrorist Noordin Mohammad Top, said Ansyaad Mbai, who coordinates Indonesian counter-terrorism efforts. Top and Azahari Husein were the alleged masterminds of the Bali attacks that killed 202. Indonesian police killed Azahari in 2005, while Top escaped during the raid. Top, the chief ideologue of the most violent wing of the Jemaah Islamiyah terror network, was probably looking for the right moment to strike, such as the presidential election and a planned trip by the Manchester United Football Club, said Mbai.
Jemaah Islamiyah is out to demonstrate, indelibly, that the thugs of the Manchester United are no match in their sports zeal for the peerless energy and aggravated hostility of Islamists' religious ardour.
Henry Allingham, the world's oldest man and oldest First World War veteran, who put his longevity down to "cigarettes, whisky and wild, wild women", died Saturday at the age of 113. The Queen and British Prime Minister Gordon Brown led the tributes to Allingham, who symbolized the stoicism of the last generation of servicemen who saw the horrors of the Great War. The veteran spoke of his experiences in the 1914 - 1918 conflict in order to remember fallen comrades shorn of the chance to live as long as he did, and hoped there would be "no more wars".
Clearly, God was not listening, hasn't his ear attuned, is not all that engaged with the puny, petty affairs of humankind, sitting high and complacently on His throne.
United States
This marks the 40th anniversary of Apollo 11's Lunar Module Columbia Moon landing when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin touched down at the Sea of Tranquility 40 years ago Monday, 20 July to spend 3-1/2 hours walking on the Moon. To the present time, a dozen men have walked on the moon, in splendid lunar isolation in a series of 'one small steps' for humankind.
The event has not, other than with technically-advanced materials-creation, changed human life forever, as the famed astronomer and science fiction writer Fred Hoyle claimed it would.
A British student who converted to Islam was jailed for a minimum of ten years yesterday for plotting a suicide attack with home-made explosives last year. Andrew Ibrahim, 20, also known as Isa Ibrahim, was found guilty of plotting to blow himself up with intent to endanger life or cause serious injury in April 2008 in Bristol, southwest England. The son of a hospital consultant was arrested in a Bristol suburb, where police found two home-made vests, ball bearings, pellets for an air gun, nails and screws, wired circuitry and batteries. In a refrigerator, police found a quantity of the high explosive HMTD, used in the 2005 London bombings. Prosecutors alleged that Ibrahim, a drug addict who had been expelled from a number of schools, was planning to mount an attack on a shopping centre in Bristol.
What a way for an enterprising free-wheeler to end up, miserably incarcerated so he can live out his fantasies in a jail cell. He blew it, poor slob, and will never now be venerated as a living martyr - or a deservedly dead one - by the international coterie of vicious jihad.
Chechnya leader Ramzan Kadyrov is suing the head of the Russian rights group Memorial after he accused the Caucasus strongman over the murder of activist Natalya Estemirova, his lawyer said yesterday. "I have prepared and will file to court a complaint on protecting the honour, worthiness and professional reputation of the president of the Chechen Republic, Ramzan Kadyrov", lawyer Andrei Krasnenkov told Interfax. Memorial's head Oleg Orlov had accused the pro-Kremlin Chechen leader of being responsible for the murder of Ms. Estemirova, saying he was guilty irrespective of who ordered the killing. Mr. Kadyrov is suing for defamation, and Mr. Krasnenkov said he was sure that the case would be won "as the statements by Orlov carried a clearly expressed slanderous character". Ms. Estemirova, 50, was found dead Wednesday afternoon with gunshot wounds to the head and chest. She was seen being bundled into a car outside her home in the Chechen capital Grozny.
A neat balance of judging the value of a reputation already deep in a hellish chasm, against that of a well-lived and courageous life elevated in repute beyond anything Mr. Kadyrov can declare inside or outside a court of law.
In apparent defiance of Iran's supreme leader, a powerful cleric declared the Islamic Republic in crisis after a disputed election, and tens of thousands of protesters used Friday prayers to stage the biggest show of dissent for weeks. Clashes erupted in central Tehran between police and followers of opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, who still contests official results that showed hardline President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had been re-elected by wide margin. "Police fired teargas and beat supporters of Mousavi in Keshavarz Boulevard, a witness said, adding that protesters were carrying hundreds of green banners - Mr. Mousavi's campaign colour - and chanting "Ahmadinejad, resign, resign."
Well good luck there, protesters, and keep up the good work. Pity that regardless of who heads the country, under the savagely fanatic ayatollahs, nothing much will change. Iranians, rise up! and do more than protest; have yourselves a much-needed revolution toward the evolution of your humanity.
There is a genuine risk Islamist terrorists may get their hands on Pakistan's nuclear weapons or nuclear material for a dirty bomb, according to a British security expert. "Knowledge that such a transfer has occurred may not become evident until the aftermath of a nuclear 9/11 in Pakistan or elsewhere in the world", says Dr. Shaun Gregory, director of the Pakistan Security Unit at the University of Bradford in Britain. "The challenge to Pakistan's nuclear weapons from Pakistani Taliban groups and from al-Qaeda constitutes a real and present danger, he writes in an article to be published in the Combating Terrorism Center's magazine Sentinel at the U.S. Military Academy West Point.
Saying it can't be so, won't make it so. The threat is real and the world simply is not ready to face the finality of the End of Days. Thanks so much for your concern.
A 77-year-old Pakenham woman is mourning the loss last week of four cement figurines she hand painted and placed on her veranda every spring. Donna Pierce noticed that Snow White and the Three Dwarfs were missing while sitting out on her veranda, and called Lanark County OPP. Snow White stands 40 centimetres tall, has blond pigtails and wears a blue dress with an apron filled with multicoloured flowers. One dwarf is multi-coloured and pushes a wheelbarrow, the second has a bag marked "seeds" draped over his shoulder, and the third carries a pickaxe. Anyone with any information about the theft is asked to call Lanark county OPP at 613-267-2626 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIPS (8477).

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Hell In A Nuclear Laboratory

The world can point an accusatory finger of damnation at Pakistan for the proliferation of nuclear weaponry. A country that has never been economically secure, with a vast population of marginally-productive people, many of whom live close to malnourishment, it was maladaptive to pursuing the political advantages of achieving a nuclear breakthrough with the intention of building a nuclear arsenal, when it should have been attempting to feed its masses.

The country was so signally fixated on its hatred of India and its determination to match India's nuclear success that it abandoned responsibility.

Incapable of adequately governing its entire territory, it sought instead to build its malevolent intention toward India through the encouragement of tribal fanatics for whom India became a common goal for military defeat. Out of this sordid history of human hatred and an unwillingness to see others as like oneself, was born a trajectory of nuclear-knowledge distributed among failing states, countries whose leaders were corrupt, tyrannical, human-rights-abusing fascists.

Pakistan, so long conflicted between wanting to become an advanced social, technological and political nation, yet irresolute in its determination to achieve that state because of its all-consuming antagonism toward India, nourished a veritable viper to its bosom, one which has now threatened its very existence. The Islamist jihadists, the hard-core Taliban and al-Qaeda affiliates sheltering in Pakistan simply decided to take over the country.

Pakistan attempted to forestall that hostility and intent by forging casual agreements not to intervene in the rugged and alien territories it had no control over, run by tribal chieftains loyal to Islam, but with no loyalty to the country itself. From among whom, nevertheless, agreements could always be achieved to attack India and Indian interests.

In the final analysis, Pakistan outdid itself, creating its own impending disaster because of its inability or unwillingness to confront the religious radicals that infiltrated its military and secret service.

The result of which was the Taliban reaching down from their hill territories toward a geography close to the country's capital and beyond. In their initial success in swarming down upon and overcoming the weak resistance of police and government militias, the Taliban came too close for comfort to Pakistan's weapons depots and nuclear installations.

In the course of which one terrorist commander boasted they would use Pakistan's nuclear weapons against the United States whose influence in the country and the world of Islam infuriated them beyond endurance to a white-hot rage of jihad unleashed.

And at present, while Pakistan's armed forces are besieging the Taliban and reclaiming the cities, towns and villages and the mountain redoubts that the Taliban had taken, al-Qaeda's Ayman al-Zawahiri insists that "American crusaders" are planning to "manipulate Pakistan's destiny", by obtaining control of the country's nuclear systems, and taking possession of their weapons.

The good story is that Pakistan has instituted extremely effective safety mechanisms in protection of their nuclear infrastructure and weaponry.

The bad news is that no amount of sophisticated safety protocols and technical equipment and human intelligence is a guarantee that they will not be breached at some time by some agents skilled enough and determined enough to break codes and resistance and obtain the advantage they seek.

There are no assurances that such threats can be effectively and finally neutralized. There always remains the potential and the prospect for equipment and for devices to fall into dangerous hands. In Pakistan that possibility is more real than anywhere else on Earth.

Other nuclear-possessing countries carefully store and protect their dread weapons of mass destruction beyond the reach of viciously militant fanatics of any stripe. Most other nuclear countries aren't coping with the immediacy of violent insurrection on their own territory.

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Friday, July 17, 2009

A Case Study In Parallels

The Tamil population of Sri Lanka has long hoped for and agitated for a sovereign state of their own. Long persecuted by the majority Sinhalese population of the country, they have chafed under a rule and a religion that is not their own, that has no intention of defending their rights, and that views them as second-class citizens. Their discriminated-against authenticity led to the rise of a violence-prone 'liberation' group, the Tamil Tigers.

And most Tamils were in support of the activities of the Tamil Tigers, viewing them as their potential liberators from Sinhalese rule, leading to a potential state of their own. There were, in fact, legitimate, legal and diplomatically-political Tamil leaders who sought to persuade the government of Sri Lanka, over time, that the needs of Tamils should no longer be overlooked. And who had it in their long-range plans to steadily work toward sovereignty.

The Tamil Tigers brutally murdered them, just as they murdered thousands of Sri Lankan Sinhalese in their violent and determined march toward the creation of a separate state for Tamils. Yet most Tamils still viewed the Tigers as their champions, regardless of the terrorists' use of suicide bombers, of their unregenerate dedication to blood-letting, and despite their extortionate protocol of demanding financial support from Tamils.

In the end, the government of Sri Lanka, through a long-drawn-out war of attrition punctuated by various truces, broken one after the other by the resurgent Tigers, decided it was now or never, they would enter 'Tiger territory' and battle the insurgents to insensibility. In the process of which, the Sri Lankan government and its army sacrificed tens of thousands of Tamil Sri-Lankan civilian lives.

The Tigers themselves used the Tamil civilians as living shields, and took their adolescent children to train them as fighters, wreaking their own version of havoc, hardship and fear among those whom they claimed to represent. Hundreds of thousands of Tamils were trapped in the conflict zone, and 20,000 died in bombed bunkers and open spaces which the army claimed would be protected.

The Tamil Tigers were finally defeated, their leader killed, the rag-tag remnant displaced in total disarray. The government of Sri Lanka maintains "welfare villages" for the displaced Tamil civilians where inadequate food and medical help for the severely wounded prevails, and the onset of disease claims hundreds of victims daily from among the refugees.

The UN Human Rights Council exonerated the government of Sri Lanka from any excesses or perceived wrong-doing, and in fact praised the government for its success in finally routing the Tamil Tigers.

In the Middle East, Palestinian interests are represented by two disparate and mutually antagonistic groups; the secular-based PLO through Fatah, and the Islamist group Hamas. Each is dedicated to the destruction of the State of Israel which was established on lands formerly claimed by the Palestinians through a UN-mandated partition; one portion of the land to Jews the others to Arabs. The establishment of a Jewish state on formerly Arab land viewed as vile anathema in Muslim societies.

Fatah, who has long represented the interests of the Palestinians, has earned a reputation for unscrupulous self-availment, its leaders becoming wealthy by siphoning off funding given by the international community for the sustaining of Palestinians and infrastructure-building in the support of a civil society. In suing for what they claim to be rightfully theirs, Fatah, its member-militias, and Hamas, latterly political, have all wrought huge damage to Israeli infrastructure, and conducted bloody carnage through attacks on its citizenry.

Violent, aggressive acts of mass murder, corruption, political one-upsmanship have marked the legendary actions of the leaders of the Palestinians and their militias dedicated to the destruction of Israel and the concomitant recapturing of all the territory that they insist must be returned to Palestinians. Truces have been announced, a protective wall has been built around Israel, the Gaza strip has been abandoned, but nothing has availed toward peace.

One peace treaty after another has been launched under the auspices of interested Western sources, and one after the other has failed. Israel has been compelled to agree to many difficult concessions, and the Palestinians appear to accept these concessions and promise some of their own, most notably a cessation of violence and the instigation of further violence, during the course of which peace talks collapse.

In response to ongoing rocket attacks from Gaza across the border into Israeli communities year after year without cease, and the additional provocations of the seizing of members of Israel's military, the attempts to abduct even more, the IDF is finally given orders by the government to invade Gaza to route the Hamas terrorists who have been threatening even greater incursions and rocket attacks.

During the course of which counter-attack, one thousand Palestinians are said to have been killed. Israel claims that a large percentage of that number represents Hamas militias. Those very militias who also used Gazan Palestinians as living shields, who thought nothing of firing off missiles from among crowded urban populations, and who placed weapons depots in schools, mosques and villages.

The United Nations has now launched an enquiry into the Gaza conflict. The UN Human Rights Council initially tabled a resolution finding Israel guilty of "massive violations" of human rights. It is now in the process of conducting an investigation whose purpose is to prove its unequivocal denunciation of Israel as a human-rights violator.

Powerful enmities selectively chosen and launched in a massive display of breathtaking hypocrisy.

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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Positive Plans for the Future

It's antagonistic to the kind imagination to submit to the reality that the world can and does breed people so devoid of humanity that they seek to destroy the lives of others. Psychopaths whose only thought is for their own status, their desires and their progress on the road to life's fulfilment. Combine emotional immaturity with a distinct lack of empathy for the fortunes of others and you have a social monster.

In her defence, psychiatrist Dr. Julian Gojer claims that the murderer by diktat of 14-year-old Stefanie Rengel in January 2008 presents no future harm to society. Predicated, he qualified, on whether or not she pairs up with another male figure in future upon whom she could prevail to do her bidding, and murder someone else whom she feels has been disrespectful to her reputation.

"Gentle and intensive rehabilitation" and a youth-sensitive sentence that would place her in a youth facility should be the result of the dual convictions for murder, according to Dr. Gojer. She, along with her accomplice, a love-sick (sex-ardent and hormone-addled) young man who finally succumbed to the murderous insistence of his lover, have been found guilty of first-degree murder.

Without her shrill insistence that Stefanie Rengel be killed - her boyfriend who executed the murder, stabbing the young girl outside her home six times, leaving her to die in the snow, alone - the chilling murder would never have occurred. Sex was the generous reward for the convicted girl's paramour, when he completed the task set him.

Her psychiatrist, in her defence, has informed that she has "positive plans for the future and does not endorse ongoing thoughts of wanting to harm anyone". In direct contradiction of the testimony given by another psychiatrist who had extensively interviewed and studied the character and personality of this psychopath, who read her as a severely flawed psyche.

Who, if another situation presented itself where she felt herself to be slighted, she would revert to the same vicious behaviour, striking out and insisting on violent physical harm to be visited to her presumed detractor. The prosecution's professional witness characterized the convicted murderer as having compassion only for herself, with no remorse expressed for her young victim.

One can only imagine the anguish of the mother who raised this child. And wonder if it comes anywhere near matching that of the mother, brother and father of Stefanie Rengel, the young girl who was targeted for murder because an older girl felt the younger one had 'disrespected' her - in the parlance of youth culture.

Now the young murderer's lawyer and her consulting psychiatrist feel that lenience is the order of the day. She knew not what she demanded. Yet even while Stefanie Rengel's body lay cold, stiff and as-yet undiscovered in the snowy street where she died, that murder was celebrated by rancid sex between the two murderers.

The convicted, satisfied by an order well executed, put the event away and out of mind, going on to resume the normalcy of existence. For which no penalty need be paid.

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In Defence Of Defence

Democratic Congress in the United States is furious at what they term the wholesale deception that was perpetrated by the Bush administration, orchestrated by former Vice-President Dick Cheney, that gave orders to the CIA to develop a mission of targeted assassinations of al-Qaeda operatives, with specific instructions that the under-cover, extremely covert operation not be revealed to Congress.

Well, what might they expect from a Republican administration, one that had been handed an internal disaster of huge proportions, and a black eye as well, for which they were accountable through intelligence neglect, courtesy of fanatical jihad?

This was an emergency response to a situation that galvanized the world in outrage at the monumental catastrophe mounted against United States citizens, which gained world-wide sympathy for the shocking trauma suffered by the country as a whole, with its sudden realization of exactly how vulnerable they had become.

The executive branch galvanized its security and intelligence arms to action, in the very real fear that the 9/11 attack represented the first salvo, and more, far more, was to come.

What price safety of a nation? The CIA operatives who cultivate secrecy and are trained to act as modern-day dark knights with a mission to dispatch all those who present a grave and present danger to the nation have been accused of masterminding and executing professional assassinations in the past.

How might this situation be seen as deserving less of a response than previous historical situations presenting as dangers to American interests? Congress was made aware, in 2001, when then-President Bush authorized the targeted killing of al-Qaeda agents.

The recent manufactured outrage manifested by the Democrats revolves around the $1-million spent on a secret 8-year intelligence operation in the development of 'hit squads' whose mission it would be to kill al-Qaeda leaders. An operatopm that was in the planning stages and which was taken seriously, but which never progressed to execution.

The program remained in existence on paper, while it never resulted in operational status, and was closed by the new CIA Director, Leon Panetta. Why the uproar? Why now does the House Intelligence Committee demand that the CIA provide documents about the program?

Ah, to launch a full-fledged investigation, to crucify the Republicans and their CIA henchmen (scapegoat George Tenet), to prove how superior the Democrats are morally to the previous administration.

Targeted assassinations?

What are the unmanned aerial vehicles, the drones (UAVs) being increasingly utilized in Pakistan and Afghanistan, other than robotic assassins. This is a Democrat-majority government in the United States, heavily reliant on a growing fleet of drones whose purpose it is to target and to bomb and to successfully eliminate Taliban and al-Qaeda leaders wherever and whenever they can be isolated.

Thus far al-Qaeda operatives, spokespeople, weapons experts, chemical and biological experts, commanders and logisticians have been dispatched through the medium of the drones, seen as "high-value" targets. The Obama administration, in fact, has stepped up the use of the Predators. What is this but the superiority of unfathomable depths of hypocrisy?

Oh. Right. The CIA's failure to brief Congress was in violation of U.S. law.

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Canada's National Heritage

Canada, a vast piece of Earth's geography second only to that of Russia, has been privileged by location and nature with a wide network of fresh-water lakes, the envy of the world. Canada's great boreal forest that encompasses a green area extending from Newfoundland to the Yukon is greater in volume than those other famous forests and jungles of the World, inclusive of the Congo Basin, the Amazon and the Russian Taiga.

The great boreal forests of Canada store greater amounts of wetland- and lake-freshwater than exists anywhere else on Earth. The boreal absorbs more carbon in its vast acreage of trees, bogs, soil and peatlands than elsewhere on this planet. Within it are supported billions of migratory songbirds, huge caribou herds, millions of waterfowl and shorebirds, and populations of predatory animals like wolves, grizzly and polar bears, wolverines and lynx.

Canada's vast ocean shorelines and ocean-sovereign extensions from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic have been recognized, like the immense boreal forests, as being needful of federal and provincial protection through legislation enacted to ensure these geographic and oceanic areas are granted heritage protection status. And the current federal government, along with its provincial counterparts have responded to that need.

The ecological value to the country, to its people, the recognition of its responsibilities to ensure these areas are not degraded through misuse, spoilation and encroachment, has been signalled by most recent actions of all levels of government in the work they and environmental groups which spur the governments to action engage in to protect endangered species and their sometimes-fragile habitat.

Climate change, increased population, strains expressed on natural resources by increasing energy demands all conspire to present as challenges to the preservation of Canada's natural resources, those that cannot be extracted, but their beauty and utility protected. National park-protection designations are ongoing. The challenge is to preserve these world-class natural resources from pillage-for-profit.

And thanks to the dedication of citizen groups, environmentalists, First Nations, biologists and social scientists, and groups such as the David Suzuki foundation, all of whom act as moral spurs to government action, Canada is in fairly good shape to face the future proud, but not complacent, that it protects its natural heritage.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Contrasts of Reality Opposed to Humbug

In both the House and Senate, White House negotiators pressed for the broadest possible legislative language, including authorization to engage in wide-ranging activities on U.S. territory.
The language of the proposed resolution authorized the President "to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons." A sweeping mandate. Minutes before the vote, the White House officials had pressed for even more - after "use all necessary and appropriate force", they wanted to insert "In the United States", to, essentially, grant war powers to anything a president deigned to do within the United States. Senators shot that down. That would be without precedent. A resolution passed in the Senate by a vote of 98 to 0 and in the House by a vote of 420 to 1.
The One Percent Doctrine - Ron Suskind
Embarrassing the powerful Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi by claiming that she had prior knowledge of the extent to which the CIA was committed to extracting information from 'war on terror' detainees was not at all polite. Ms. Pelosi denied, denied, denied that she had been briefed by the CIA in September 2002. Suggestions that she had been briefed that waterboarding was taking place, and that she had no reaction quite annoyed Ms. Pelosi.
Understandably. When one fulminates righteously it is never taken lightly when one's nose is rubbed in the stink of prevarication.
According to reports of several attendees at these briefings, administration officials explained that the system would be used to hunt known or probable terrorists, their supporters, and their financiers. It could also handle broadly wrought searches, like massive keyword searches for those who were speaking about terrorist operations and - as was already underway - all calls between the United States and Afghanistan. Some concern was voiced by congressional Democrats about civil liberties, but informed questions were difficult to pose: the program was so secret that they couldn't even consult their staffs. The One Percent Doctrine - Ron Suskind

Congressional oversight of covert activities is a principle that distinguishes the United States from other countries. It is an ideal that is central to the checks and balances - the counteracting ambitions, as Madison and others had attested - that prevent abuses of power. In this case, and scores of others, those fighting the "war on terror" decided it was an unaffordable luxury. The One Percent Doctrine - Ron Suskind
"Enhanced interrogation methods" were neither implied nor directly reported, as far as she and her Democratic colleagues are concerned, and they're sticking by their story. "We were kept in the dark. That's something that should never, ever happen again", fulminated Dianne Feinstein, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Her committee was informed of the illegal plans of the CIA to assassinate key al-Qaeda members in late June, she said. Dick Cheney, true to his 'one percent doctrine', deliberately ordered that Congress not be briefed.
Experts on Osama bin Laden often advise, "Listen to what he says. It's all there. He says what he means." In this one case, that was also true of the Vice President. So much is in that one statement, so much more, in its way, than the bold, blood-quickening calls to bring "infinite justice" to our enemies abroad - and, yes, maybe hiding among us - evildoers who would soon taste the fury of might sharpened by right. Not that those calls to arms weren't effective. They were; just maybe not suited for the challenge America now faced. The real action, Cheney said, would not happen with armies assembled and banners waving. It would happen in the shadows. The One Percent Doctrine - Ron Suskind
In a conference, House Speaker Pelosi elucidated: "they don't come in to consult. They come in to notify. They come in to notify. And you can't -- you can't change what you're doing unless you can act as a committee or as a class. You can't change what they're doing." Denying that she had abrogated her rights and responsibilities, she was merely a helpless pawn. Now that she is Speaker of the House she has clout and she can, in hindsight, thunder against the CIA and the Republicans who ordered them to act.
Washington, day by day, had already become the bustling capital of a twilight struggle - the so-called "war on terror", a term that was settling unevenly into the global vernacular. Close facsimiles had been floated for a week or so after the attacks and before President Bush used it, just so, in his landmark speech of September 20, 2001, declaring before a joint session of Congress that "Our 'war on terror' begins with al Qaeda, but it does not end there. It will not end until every terrorist group of global reach has been found, stopped and defeated." The One Percent Solution - Ron Suskind
What actually has changed in U.S. policy? What is the big mystery here? Did the United States act differently in focusing on the trauma visited upon it directly in its homeland than it has done in innumerable occasions in the past, in its covert, often violent, nation-disrupting way? America's weight in the world owes much to the weight it throws around. It has been responsible for many unfortunate decisions causing great upheaval throughout the world. It views itself as the great liberator, the universal emancipator. Its people are wedded to their vision of their nation as the conscience of the world. And often enough it does present in that vein.
There is a long history of American companies, often large, notable companies, working in secret concert with the U.S. government. Western Union, in fact, had been at the front of that procession. A company Western Union bought in the 1860s called the American Telegraph Company banned messages in cipher during the Civil War at the behest of the War Department. during World War II, all U.S. telegraph companies forwarded copes of international cables to the federal government. the program "Operation Shamrock" continued after the war and was unknown to Congress and top intelligence officials. The One Percent Doctrine - Ron Suskind
"The CIA briefed me only once on some enhanced interrogation techniques, in September 2002, in my capacity as Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee. I was informed then that Department of Justice opinions had concluded that the use of enhanced interrogation techniques was legal. The only mention of waterboarding at that briefing was that it was not being employed", Nancy Pelosi informed an MSNBC interviewer on May 15.

It is simply too inconvenient to be embroiled in responsibility for the actions and reactions of a Republican-led government whose executive branch was heavily reliant on a handful of people whose view of how government should work, in isolation and secrecy undermined the concept of true democratic rectitude and justice. And that's life, and that's human nature unbound.
Something had to give - and it did. Little by little. The dilemma of (George) Tenet's role was diabolical. Intelligence was the oxygen of the "war on terror", with CIA carrying burdens of collection, analysis, and operations beyond the capabilities of a seasoned, coordinated intelligence authority ten times its size. The agency, meanwhile, was neither seasoned in the complexities of fighting both terrorism and weapons proliferation, nor particularly well coordinated. The One Percent Doctrine - Ron Suskind
The writer Ron Suskind, formerly senior national affairs reporter for The Wall Street Journal, and a Pulitzer Prize winner for feature writing, conducted extensive, exhaustive interviews with willing and as he puts it "former officials with the CIA, the FBI, the White House and also with the NSC, the State, Defense, and Treasury Departments and assorted others. A significant number, as well are still inside the government. This latter group includes a few officials at various departments who were granted unofficial permission to try to answer my questions." For obvious reasons of political diplomacy, their names are omitted.
The torture at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay; the construction of the great terrorist-catching machine, with its communications head and financial body; the self-interested use of classified materials to carry forward political ends; the very concealment of the true nature of what's been happening since 9/11 in favour of a sanitized, "need to know" version - are all means that, whatever their advertised value, strike at the nation's character. The One Percent Doctrine - Ron Suskind
But the simple fact is, all the material, the information, the direct quotes, the informed conjectures, and description of actual events were published, by this reputable author, three years ago. during which time all the data contained in The One Percent Doctrine were available to the curious, those who wished to be informed, and of course those in office in the United States who might wish to avail themselves of information hitherto unknown to them, they now profess.

Where is their credibility?
Deuteronomy 16:20 reads: "Justice, Justice, This you must pursue." Justice - an overused word these days - is not mentioned twice, however, for added emphasis. Here Hebrew scholars agree - and they don't agree on much - that it's once for the ends, and once for the means. The One Percent Doctrine - Ron Suskind

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