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, January 31, 2014

Israeli Intel Chief: New Al Qaeda bases in Turkey provide easy jihadist access to Europe

DEBKAfile Special Report January 31, 2014, 10:23 AM (IST)
Al Qaeda convoy in Iraq's Anbar amid Mid East spread
Al Qaeda convoy in Iraq's Anbar amid Mid East spread
Al Qaeda has set up its first bases in a NATO member-country. Wednesday, Jan. 29, the day Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan sat down in Tehran with President Hassan Rouhani, Israel’s military intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Avivi Kochavi revealed that Al Qaeda adherents fighting in Syria had established their first training facilities in Turkey. “From there, these terrorists have acquired easy access to Europe if they wish,” he commented, clearly thinking of al Qaeda’s reach into Israel as well.

Kochavi showed his audience a map illustrating the proliferation of Al Qaeda’s bases across the Middle East. The news was that the jihadists were now being trained at three Turkish facilities: Karaman, a town of 150,000 in central Anatolia, a short drive from Istanbul; Osmaniye, a particularly sensitive spot not far from the big US-Turkish base of Adana and the pipeline network carrying oil from Iraq and central Asia to Turkey’s Mediterranean port of Ceyhan; and the third location near Sanlilurfa-Urfa, a town of half a million in the southwest.

The intelligence chief did not say how the logistics of the three facilities were managed or where the arms and instructors came from. He remarked that week after week, Al Qaeda fighters pour into Syria from all corners of the earth, “but they don’t stay,” he said. Some certainly cross over in to Turkey; others, according to debkafile’s counter terror sources, head into Iraq to fight the Shiite government there.

The strong impression gained from Kochavi’s briefing was that Turkey is not just home to three al Qaeda training facilities and bases, but that its borders are left open for them to cross in from neighboring countries.

Al Qaeda has established itself in Turkey in locations roughly equivalent in area to the land grabbed by the al Qaeda-linked Ansar Bayt Al-Magdis terrorist coalition in Egyptian Sinai.

According to our intelligence sources, the Israeli general was uncharacteristically loquacious with five objectives in mind:

1. To point up the Turkish prime minister agenda in Tehran for linking the two non-Arab Muslim nations in a new strategic alliance for regional domination.

2. As a reminder that Iran too has a history of quietly admitting al Qaeda terrorists and giving them a safe springboard for attacks around the Middle East – especially against Saudi Arabia and Gulf emirates, on which Tehran had subversive designs. Neither of the two new allies, Turkey and Iran, would have any qualms about using al Qaeda terrorism to promote their agendas.

3.  The need to alert European members of NATO to the creep of a terrorist menace closer than ever before to Western national borders, a movement facilitated by a fellow member.

4. To bring to the Obama administration’s full attention the fallout from its détente with Iran and the ayatollahs' hidden designs for the Middle East. Tehran’s affinity for terrorist methods and partners underlies all its actions.

5. The Israeli general brought out his big guns additionally in an effort to stem the mass-pilgrimage of prominent Middle East figures to Tehran which has been taking place since the signing of the interim nuclear accord in November. Even the Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas sent a messenger to the Iranian capital to test the prospects of an understanding between Tehran and Ramallah.

The messenger, Fatah party high-up Jibril Rajoub, was received by Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zerif Wednesday. After the meeting, the Palestinian came out with an extraordinary comment:  “Our cards are shown and we are speaking frankly, we aren’t trying to cheat or manipulate anyone.”

This sounded suspiciously as though the Iranians did not entirely trust the Palestinian messenger.
Two days later, Rajib went on record to demand a role for Iran in the Israel-Palestinian negotiations led by US Secretary of State John Kerry.

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Charitable Bullying

"[Soda Stream] is not only committed to the environment but to building a bridge to peace between Israel and Palestine, supporting neighbours working alongside each other, receiving equal pay, equal benefits and equal rights."
Scarlett Johansson, American Actor
SodaStream unveils Scarlett Johansson as its first-ever Global Brand Ambassador at the Gramercy Park Hotel on January 10, 2014 in New York City.(AFP Photo / Mike Coppola)
SodaStream unveils Scarlett Johansson as its first-ever Global Brand Ambassador at the Gramercy Park Hotel on January 10, 2014 in New York City.(AFP Photo / Mike Coppola)

Oxfam doesn't agree. It, along with the European Union, and the Liberal-left in unions, academia, and anywhere that Israel is held to a standard according to high-minded values that no other nation on Earth obeys, insists that Israel must conform to their vision of how it should manage its affairs, not how Israel believes it views its priorities and needs.

The Palestinians may do as they wish, whatever they wish, however they might decide to express themselves. If violence is the order of their day, then so be it, for no one, it appears, has expectations that they must accord their behaviour in reflection of what any outside sources views normally as civil and responsible. They march to a different drummer, one of institutionalized victimhood in never-ending refugee-ism.

They have a mantra that repeats they have been the hapless victim of a grave injustice. That they were offered equal opportunity to the Jewish contingent in the area in 1948, and their judgement ordered them to angrily reject partition of Palestine, while Israel grasped at the nation-building opportunity is simply what one might expect of Arab Palestinians. The Jewish Palestinians reacted with joy, their counterparts with venomous denial.

After countless efforts at conciliation, and countless rebuffs, and a final collective Arab nation attack in 1967, Israel was reunited at long last with its sacred heritage in East Jerusalem. As an ancient people who managed against all odds to survive every effort of a hostile world to destroy them, Jews have a right and an obligation to themselves and posterity to cling to what is rightfully theirs.

What makes East Jerusalem a candidate for a future Palestinian state capital, as a people who entered the territory a century ago, while Jews remained living there for three millennia?

SodaStream, representing yet another successful Israeli enterprise, has 25 factories in operation around the world. There is one located in the West Bank, close to a settlement in an area captured by Israel during the 1967 war. But the worldwide Boycott-Divestment movement embarked upon by sympathizers of the Palestinian 'cause', orchestrated by a compassion-savvy manipulating PA, seeks to sanction and bring to ruin any company existing in the West Bank.

How hoping to disrupt and even destroy the Israeli economy can be of use to the Palestinians when those companies generally employ Palestinian labour where no other employment is available to them is beyond imagination. The 500 Palestinians who work at the Ma'ale Adumim factory receive similar wages to the Jewish and Arab Israelis who work at that factory. On site at the factory is a synagogue and a mosque.

All workers at the factory share a dining hall, as well as other common areas adding to the quality of the working experience there. Palestinian workers employed by SodaStream receive three times the working wage of typical West Bank employment, if they can find those jobs. Closing the factory would obviously impact negatively on those Palestinians who work there.

That, aside from the leverage that the Israel-condemning Liberal-left is attempting to exert on Israel to force it to see the situation from their perspective, not from Israel's. That coercion is inclusive of the general insistence that it is Israel that must accede to Palestinian demands before both will agree to a peace process resulting in two side-by-side states. With no one questioning the Palestinian commitment to consummating a peace agreement.

That commitment appears elusive. From all indications, including interior propaganda inclusive of school curricula for Palestinian children, television programs using cartoons to instruct Palestinian children that Israel is their enemy and it will become their duty as mature Palestinians to continue to reject any manner of acceptance of a Jewish presence in what they must consider Palestinian land, the insistence of 'right of return', and the outright refusal to permit 'even one Jew' to pollute with their presence the new state, speaks volumes about Palestinian commitment to peace.

Charitable organizations such as Oxfam like the recipients of their charity to be properly grateful, and no doubt they are. Acquiring the altruistic usefulness of public celebrities to advance their message sometimes comes up hard against the reality that some of those who agree to work on their behalf as goodwill ambassadors cannot find it in themselves to agree with their political intervention intent on bullying a nation at risk of terrorist attacks from the very factions that Oxfam considers victims.

And people looking in from afar can decide for themselves whether they would prefer to offer their charitable dollars to organizations doing good who focus on doing just that, and not using their global reach to victimize another victim of world opprobrium.

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Dissension In the Ranks

"Justin Trudeau has no authority or authorization to determine my status in the chamber. I determine that."
Liberal Senator George Furey

"Mr. Trudeau removed me from the Liberal caucus. He didn't remove me from the Liberal party."
Senator Terry Mercer, former Liberal party president
Thursday, January 30, 2014Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday, January 30, 2014
"We have to look at the whole issue of how public funds are expended in the Senate -- completely; opposition, government, the whole thing. This is uncharted."
Conservative Senator Marjory LeBreton
Certainly seems as though Justin Trudeau, dauntless leader of the Liberal Party of Canada has stirred up a senior Liberal hornet's nest; Liberals appointed to the Senate by previous Liberal leaders, including his father Pierre Trudeau, to sit as distinguished elder statesmen to exercise the wisdom of political experience in vetting government legislation, are clearly not enchanted by this move to disown them and set them aside from caucus.

They are what they are, they insist. Justin Trudeau, lump it. Cut loose from the Liberal party, refused the normalcy in political heritage of taking full part in the proceedings of the party they have worked all their lives to advance, the opposite is also true. If they are to consider themselves independent from the Liberal party of Members of Parliament who have been elected to office, they can no longer be bullied into submission.

Justin Trudeau listened a little too avidly and uncritically to his clever advisers who may be light on political history in Canada and political processes in the House of Commons, and the relationship between the elected House and the appointed Senate. And he wants to distinguish himself from the current government's politics, although on every issue of note apart from the environment (and even there, given his support of Alberta oil he's teetering on the edge) he agrees with Mr. Harper.

On the Senate he wants no part of the final report sticking to him.

Liberal senators roused themselves sufficiently out of brain-addled shock to hold a closed-door meeting on the Hill, a day following their unceremonious boot from the Liberal party. Their conclusion: affirming their decision to remain sitting to be recognized as the Senate Liberal caucus. That Mr. Trudeau instructed them to ditch the Liberal for Independent notwithstanding, their decision is their decision.

Senator James Cowan, asked about Mr. Trudeau's decision and his stern admonition that Liberal Senators were to henceforth consider themselves Independent Senators, responded: "You'll have to ask him about that. I am a Liberal senator and I remain a Liberal senator." As to numbers resistant to insisting on the status quo, there may be three among them prepared to sit as independents.

And then, the issue of funding allotted to the Senate opposition has come up. How can they be considered the official opposition if they are no longer aligned to a political party? The $200,000 in funding that was anticipated to top off their usual funding total is now in question. And that really does rankle. Ask a Liberal senator.

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Project Anarchy

"The work that our people are doing out there -- two years of effort of police officers and civilian members associated with this project -- bear(s) fruition. It's a great sense of satisfaction."
"Yet they know there are others out there who will pick up the void created by these arrests. The demand is there for it."
"It is a pre-emptive strike to stop any violence from coming through the family to our communities ... violence that we were predicting would come to our capital."
Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau
Ottawa Police Chief Charles Bordeleau during a press conference at Ottawa police headquarters in Ottawa, On. Thursday Jan 30, 2014. A joint forces police operation has resulted in charges laid against nine individuals as well as the seizure of guns and drugs in Ottawa. Tony Caldwell/Ottawa Sun/QMI Agency

This story revolves around a family of immigrants who most certainly have made a name for themselves in Canada. Canada has no end of immigrants who have made good, established ventures, businesses, become known for philanthropic projects as outstanding members of their ethnic communities, and they are heralded as true Canadian immigration success stories. Canada admits over a quarter-million immigrants to the country annually.

In that huge contingent of new arrivals it is hardly surprising that among them there should arise some whose enterprise and work ethic marks them as exceptional. Their personal efforts add to the country's wealth and diversity. They represent cause for celebration and for admiration, and gratitude for their efforts. Not everything, of course, is capable of contributing to their own well-being and that of the country in such a manner.

And then, because we speak of such a huge number and diversity of people, there are those who distinguish themselves in less celebrated ways, and whose activities, furtive and criminal, cause no end of problems that authorities must come to grips with. In this instance, it is the chief of police of the country's capital, Ottawa, who speaks of the responsibility and execution of a plan to apprehend criminal activity, avoiding violence that would impact the community.

Several days earlier a pre-dawn police raid by 135 heavily armed Ottawa, RCMP and OPP officers discovered 24.5 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of $12.5-million, ten vehicles, four guns, thousands in cash, resulting in 75 criminal charges and the arrest of Hisham "Terry" Alkhalil, along with five associates. A new, $1.2-million home that Mr. Alkhalil was preparing to move into has been expropriated as avails of criminal activity.

Handguns, military-grade assault rifles, knives and other weapons are placed on display for the press when such a raid and similar arrests are made. And they are never-ending. One cell of criminal activity is stilled, the malefactors arrested, placed on trial, committed to prison, and another pops up to take its place. In this particular raid, however, the concern was that vicious violence might result without swift action, after a two-year integrated investigation.

The Alkhali family arrived in Canada from Saudi Arabia in 1990 when they made a refugee claim and made their new home in Surrey, British Columbia. It is believed that the family was originally from Iran. Three of the Alkhalil brothers left British Columbia ten years ago after two of their siblings were shot and killed. Hisham Alkhalil and Nabil settled in Ottawa, and their brother Rabih moved to Montreal.

Now, Hisham Alkhalil faces two Project Anarchy charges: conspiracy to traffic cocaine and conspiracy to possess proceeds of crime valued at over $5,000. In 2012 brother Rabih "Robbie Alkhalil was responsible for the execution of a rival gang leader in the lobby of the Sheraton Wall Centre in Vancouver. He is in prison in Greece while Canada is working on his extradition on first-degree murder charges.
Robby Alkhalil, arrested for murder
Ribih Alkhalil, The Vancouver Sun
The Alkhalils are well known to have worked with organized crime syndicates across Canada and abroad. Violence of an extremely serious nature appears attracted to the clan. It has taken the lives of some of their members, and some of the remaining members reciprocate these killings, taking the lives of others challenging their drug-trafficking territory.  The disruption caused to this drug cell operated by Hisham Alkhalil is geared to disrupt local cocaine distribution, and "have a major impact on drug trafficking in our community" said, Chief Bordeleau.

Meanwhile, back in British Columbia, those members of the family remaining there have aligned themselves with Hells Angers and other gangs; a coalition they call the Wolf Pack has resulted from their willingness to consort with others like themselves. Gangland killings will without doubt take the lives of others of the Alkhalil family, just as they will continue to be involved in the killings of those they view as enemies.

They represent precisely the kind of wretched immigrants who become predators within society. The pity is that in a country like Canada, they cannot be plucked out of the country and returned whence they came. In the meanwhile, we can hope that Hisha Alkhalil and his colleagues, some of whom are being sought and not yet arrested, can be put away in detention where the public can be assured of a distance between these criminals and the social sphere.

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Friends, Neighbours and Countrymen...

The environmental lobby anxiously awaits President Obama's decision on the Keystone XL pipeline. The level of their anxiety is met by that teasing the aspirational plans of Canada, concerned to move its oil expeditiously to American coastal oil refineries. The environmental studies, as required by law and by lobbyists certain that their version of climate degradation caused by manmade energy usage will carry the day eventually, have given the green light, and the result of the most current of those studies has now been published.
 108128 600 Obama polls and gas prices cartoons
The U.S. State department has released its latest environmental impact statement with the message that neither approval nor denial of the pipeline meant to carry 830,000 barrels of oil daily from Alberta to the Gulf Coast would have any impact on oil companies' extraction of bitumen from the Alberta oil sands. Irrespective of the fact that the oil will produce more planet-warming carbon to pollute the environment, its extraction will proceed.

During his re-election, Mr. Obama stated his intention was to protect the environment; he would approve the pipeline only if it could be seen not to "significantly exacerbate" carbon pollution.  Critical to his decision would be the pipeline's net effects. As such the newly released findings should clear the way for the project to be passed. The environmental lobby will be beyond furious if their champion does agree that the pipeline project should proceed.

Since the oil is being extracted and moved to refineries in any event, it simply makes good sense that the oil be transferred via pipeline, a proven, more efficienht, infinitely safer method than by rail. That dirty and troublesome oil is being extracted in the United States in the Bakken oil fields doesn't raise the ire of the environmental lobby in anything to the same degree that dirty oil from a foreign country does. American funding by default of fanatical Islam through accessing Gulf oil seems no issue at all.

About 400,000 carloads of crude oil was shipped by rail last year to America's refineries, up from 9,500 in 2008. "Thanks to the pipeline shortage, more than ten percent of U.S. oil supplies now go by rail", according to an editorial in The New York Times. "While the safety record of railroads has improved in recent years, the surge in oil transportation has meant a spike in spill rates." The U.S. oil boom with new discoveries and new extraction methods has swamped current rail technology.

Old tankers are being used for the transport of that oil, and although they will be replaced by newer, safer tankers eventually, the transition will be years in the making. Small town America is seeing mile-long trains loaded with oil from the new oilfields in Colorado, Wyoming and North Dakota threaten their safety and security as train derailments become increasingly more frequeht and potentially dangerous. Reflecting what is happening in Canada.

The type of oil, furthermore, produced in the U.S. Midwest is more volatile than other types, it produces more intense, larger explosions. And it was just that type of Bakken oil that exploded last summer in Lac-Megantic, Quebec, catastrophically killing 47 people, and burning much of the downtown area, transforming the lives of the residents of that old rail town in ways they could never have imagined, and never want to see repeated.

Thousands of well-paid jobs are being given to Americans, along with added energy security, coming up against a country struggling to put the miserable years of recession behind them. Rail shipments of oil will simply continue to multiply, and with that, ongoing and growing issues of public safety, with 100-car tanker trains rumbling through towns unaccustomed to flirting with potential danger. Hapless and helpless to insist their safety should come first, when the entire economy runs on oil production.

Environmentalists decry the shipping of oil by tanker car. They despise the very thought of a pipeline running through the country carrying the detested fuel that they claim with good enough reason, is helping to alter the climate we all fundamentally depend upon. Wind and solar energy originally seemed so promising, yet the area where it was most strenuously promoted, Europe, is cutting back on its alternate energy systems. And nuclear, the most efficient method of all, is viewed as a horror.

It's time that President Obama face the inevitable, that as commander in chief of all that occurs in America, he must make a decision. A decision that will benefit his country. Anything that is of benefit to the United States invariably touches on American relations with the rest of the world. In this particular instance, it is Canada waiting on tenterhooks of suspense. This is no way to treat a friend.

143329 600 Keystone XL Pipeline cartoons

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Thursday, January 30, 2014

When All Else Fails

The abject fawning press and their Liberal-left academic counterparts are all agush in admiration for the bold new move by Justin Trudeau, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. A man with an abysmal
absence of practical new ideas shy of agreeing to all the sensible positions of the Conservative government in advancing the best interests of the country. No matter, ideas and useful strategies to improve government and giving added value to Canadians can take second place to making the news; lavish coverage trumps substance every time.
"There are no more Liberal senators."
"As of this morning, only elected Members of the House of Commons will serve as members of the Liberal Caucus. The 32 formerly Liberal Senators are now independent of the national Liberal Caucus. They are no longer part of our parliamentary team."
Let me be clear, the only way to be a part of the Liberal caucus is to be put there by the voters of Canada"
Justin Trudeau, 29 January 2014
“This is not a party he has inherited. It is a party he has control of. It shows very much that this is Justin Trudeau’s party,” a former Liberal official says of changes the party's leader has made..
Sean Kilpatrick/The Canadian Press     “This is not a party he has inherited. It is a party he has control of. It shows very much that this is Justin Trudeau’s party,” a former Liberal official
"We are the Senate Liberal caucus and I will remain the leader of the Opposition and we will remain the official Opposition in the senate. I'm not a former Liberal senator. I'm a Liberal."
Senator James Cowan

"I gather the change announced by the leader today is that unelected Liberal senators will become unelected senators who happen to be Liberal."
Prime Minister Stephen Harper
This is the new, decisive leader of the Liberal Party of Canada. He has a plan. He will reform the Senate of Canada single-handedly by removing politics from the Senate, enabling senators to sit independent of political party to give their autonomous opinions on legislation vital to Canada, without the interfering nuisance of the leader of the political party to which they are aligned instructing them on how they must view legislation they must judge on merit alone.

The Liberal senators, most of the 32 that elevate the character of the chamber they sit within, appear for the most part, confused, not the least bit thankful to be released from the bondage of political partisanship. They may be life-long Liberals who have been staunch party supporters who have done all in their power to further the aims of the Liberal party, but henceforth they are, while in the Senate, non-aligned and independent; go ye forth and do as ye may. And lump it.

This Liberal leader who decries the top-down methodology of the Conservative leadership who treat ordinary backbenchers as of no account whatsoever, rarely deigning to seek consensus, has decided that he does, after all, admire that method. Which led him to make the decision without any kind of courtesy involved in consulting with loyal senators, and springing a rather earth-shattering (in their confused estimation) ouster on them; leaving them as it were, dangling, partyless.

"These gals and guys in the Senate are partisan. That's what motivates them. They're not about to lose that stripe just because they've been unleashed", commented Donald Savoie, political professor at the University of Moncton. The senators themselves have reacted, in a stunned fashion, stating their determination to continue sitting, identified by their party membership; they are Liberals, full stop.

They will now sit outside the Liberal caucus. But dammit, they are the official Opposition in the Senate. As Independent Senator Anne Cools put it, the 32 Liberal senators are Independent in the nomenclature imposed upon them by the conceit of their leader anxious to promote himself as someone who thinks outside the stifling box of convention: "They're continuing business as usual. Obviously, nothing has changed."

There are a lot of spoilers in the Senate, Liberal senators shocked out of their complacent self-satisfaction who are swallowing hard and proclaiming their loyalty to party and leader. Poor attendance in the House, and where's Trudeau during Question Period? The man has important things to do. Struggling manfully to devise policy issues. And he just lobbed a bomb at the Senate.

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Vigilance, Prevention

"There are as many, and arguably more, attempts to steal Canadian secrets today -- economic, military, political -- than at any time in our national history. [Canada is seen as a] "highly attractive target for hostile intelligence agencies"; [counterespionage units were operating "in a higher risk environment than ever before."
"In the age of thumb drives, a warehouse of documents can be stolen in the blink of an eye and then carried away in one's pocket."
Michel Coulombe, director, Canadian Security Intelligence Service
A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa, Tuesday, May 14, 2013. Espionage may be worse than it has ever been, with spies also showing interest in Canada’s aerospace and oil sectors, says the top intelligence officer at CSIS.
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick     A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa, Tuesday, May 14, 2013. Espionage may be worse than it has ever been, with spies also showing interest in Canada’s aerospace and oil sectors, says the top intelligence officer at CSIS.
"A number of foreign intelligence services continue to gather political, economic and military information in Canada through clandestine means."
"There is significant concern that extremism in Syria will result in a new generation of battle-hardened extremists who may seek to return to their home countries or export terrorism abroad."
"Is it not better to have violent extremists leave Canada rather than stay? The answer is that no country can become an unwitting exporter of terrorism without suffering damage to its international image and relations ... A Canadian who travels to commit terrorism is still very much a Canadian 'problem'."
CSIS report, 2011 to 2013

Foreign spies, we are informed in the newly-released CSIS report, are indulging in more espionage activities within and against Canada than ever before. Their interests in Canada's nuclear, aerospace and oil and gas sectors motivate them to pursue all avenues available through surreptitious cyberspying as they can manage. And it is the job of CSIS to discover where the breaches happen to be, and to confront and shut them down in the interests of protecting Canada.

Jeffrey Delisle, the Canadian naval officer who managed to initiate himself as a Canadian spy willing to offer Russian agents secret data for profit, was a case in point of vigilance arresting a situation which had already got well out of hand. And, as Mr. Coulombe noted, those trusted to help maintain and protect Canada's vital interests sometimes succumb to investing in their personal interests and in so doing aiding the interests of a foreign competitor; a task readily accomplished with the advent of advanced technology spiriting away voluminous data in the magic of a thumb drive.

A month ago the RCMP arrested an Ontario-based employee of Lloyd's shipping firm for attempting to pass sensitive data relating to Royal Canadian Navy vessels to the Chinese embassy in Ottawa. Canada's advanced possession of biotechnology data, aerospace, chemicals, communications, information technology, mining and metallurgy, nuclear energy and oil and gas industries were especially made note of in the report for the interest they provoked in foreign surveillance.

Damage incurred by "covert exploitation" of these sectors represented the loss of jobs, tax revenues and competitive advantage, in the case of industrial espionage. Strategic investments by state-owned enterprises represented another national security concern.

CSIS's focus on al-Qaeda, according to the report, and the radicalization of Canadians drawn to its virulently Islamist martyrdom ideology was also framed in the report, the first since 2012. The Internet as a communication device enticing to those for whom radical Islam becomes a mesmerizing leit motif in their life-values has succeeded in galvanizing young Muslim Canadians to leave the calm of Canada for the violence of jihad as newly-minted mujahedeen.

Though no disclosure is made relating to the numbers of Canadians believed to have taken the challenge to leave Canada for the experience of fighting jihad in the Middle East and North Africa, the numbers are worrying, as much as the prospect of those returning from the missions, trained in weapons use and the manufacture of bombs, to treat Canada to exposure through experience of their newly-gained expertise as mujahedeen.

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Securing High Value Data

"This is deadly for privacy, because invariably we're talking about defending public safety and security."
"Without privacy you cannot have freedom. What freedom means is you're free. Your stuff's not captured for potential use down the road, and linking back to you, and finding out what you were doing when and who you are connected to."
Ann Cavoukian, Ontario information and privacy commissioner
Canada's secret spy agency may have inadvertently spied on Canadians. Or maybe not. The records aren't complete enough to tell the agency's watchdog says.
Fotolia    Canada's secret spy agency may have inadvertently spied on Canadians. Or maybe not. The records aren't complete enough to tell the agency's watchdog says.
Privacy, isn't that a quaint notion? At a time when people of all ages, occupations and interests are linked in to perfect strangers, offering information from the personal to the intimately private in public fora such as Twitter, and on social networking sites like Facebook and Linked In and any number of other such sites, we're still talking about privacy? People divulge extremely personal information and think little about the consequences of so doing.

If a privacy commissioner dedicated to maintaining privacy on behalf of the faceless public is so invested in her job and what it entails, perhaps she should turn her attention not to the federal security/intelligence agencies that have been formed and tasked to protect the public sphere, but to all those feckless individuals who simply cannot resist the appeal of casting a wide net to promote their unique individuality.

To protect the public's 'right to privacy', Ms. Cavoukian recommends an independent watchdog who would report directly to Parliament whose job would be to prevent privacy breaches embarked upon by the Communications Security Establishment Canada, the country's foreign spy agency. Which undertakes intercepts of phone and email transactions world wide. Much like the much-maligned American National Security Agency. Another protective intermediary between the public and those delegated to protect the public.

Most people, given the choice, and away from the hysteria of civil libertarians and those ascribing hostile and mendacious attributes inherent in those whose job it is to protect us, would willingly submit to those 'breaches' of privacy as a minor invasion with no threat to anyone, if to do otherwise would result in a terror cell gaining ground within the country, planning a deviously violent assault on government, its institutions and its citizens.

The argument advanced by Ms. Cavoukian that data could be assessed for security significance in the encryption stage (homomorphic encryption) while respecting individuals' right to privacy, built into the analytical tools, sounds harmless enough. As long as it doesn't have the unwanted effect of complicating and even restraining the intelligence agency from its primary purpose.

The solution to what upsets Ms. Cavoukian on behalf of the public however, does sound complicated and time-consuming.

Sometimes, in secret intelligence work time is of the essence, so how would that impact on the process? At the present time CSEC is overseen by an independent commissioner tasked to prevent the agency from spying on Canadians absent specific legal approval. There are exceptions when the minister of defence gives data-collection permission, as has been done over the last decades roughly on 80 occasions.

Employees of the Communications Security Establishment Canada agency will be moving into this state-of-the-art facility in Ottawa in 2014. It will contain the largest repository of Top Secret information in Canada. Employees of the Communications Security Establishment Canada agency will be moving into this state-of-the-art facility in Ottawa in 2014. It will contain the largest repository of Top Secret information in Canada. Photo: Postmedia News / Files
The commissioner, points out Ms. Cavoukian "is not an independent oversight agency. He reports to the minister of national defence, who is part of the government. He doesn't report to Parliament, which consists of all political parties. He reports directly to the head of the agency that he might be criticizing." Um, that didn't stop the Conservative-government-appointed Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, from holding heels to the fire of his indignation.

As for "unauthorized surveillance", responds government, it remains "incidental" and rare. "The complexity of the global information infrastructure is such that it is not possible for CSEC to know ahead of time if a foreign target will communicate with a Canadian or person in Canada, or convey information about a Canadian."

On this topic, the government and its security agencies have an obligation that transcends individual privacy. And it behooves us to trust and give it the benefit of the doubt.

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Erdogan’s Autocratic Rule, Terror-Ties Spark Criticism

Thu, January 30, 2014
Turkish demonstrator holds signs with photo of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan during a protest against ruling AK Party (AKP) government over a corruption probe in Ankara January 11, 2014. The words on the sign read,
Turkish demonstrator holds signs with photo of Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan during a protest against ruling AK Party (AKP) government over a corruption probe in Ankara January 11, 2014. The words on the sign read, "Strong Thief," a play on the AKP's slogan "Strong Willpower"
The Turkish government continues to cleanse the judiciary and security services of opponents as new questions about its links to terrorists arise.

The Islamist government of Turkey has been embroiled in a major political crisis since December 17 when dozens of allies of Prime Minister Erdogan were arrested on corruption charges. Erdogan responded by canning the prosecutors and police chiefs responsible. He blamed foreign governments and  a U.S.-based Turkish cleric named Fethullah Gulen.

In January, the Turkish government fired 96 judges and prosecutors and fired or reassigned 2,000 police officers and prosecutors, including 470 in the capital city of Ankara. Erdogan said that the actions were taken to stop a “coup” and “the judiciary should not go beyond its mission and mandate.”

New attention is also being given to Erdogan’s links to Islamist terrorists.
Erdogan is particularly close to the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH) that was involved in the Mavi Marmara incident in 2010 where its operatives attacked Israeli soldiers boarding a vessel that tried to violate the blockade on the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip. The blockade’s purpose is to stop Hamas from arming, but Erdogan does not consider Hamas to be a terrorist group. The U.S. State department does list  Hamas as a Foreign Terrorist Organization.

The IHH is labeled a terrorist organization by Germany, the Netherlands and Israel. There is bipartisan support in the U.S. Congress for doing the same because of its extensive links to Hamas and Al-Qaeda.

On January 1, the Turkish police intercepted a truck allegedly owned by IHH that was shipping weapons to Syria. The involved police and counter-terrorism officers were reassigned and the prosecutor accused the Turkish government of obstruction for stopping a search of the truck.

On January 14, the Turkish security services arrested 23 suspected terrorists in raids on the IHH. A senior Al-Qaeda operative was among those detained. The Deputy Prime Minister immediately condemned the raids and sided with IHH over his own country’s authorities. Again, two police officers were fired, as were bodyguards for eight involved prosecutors.

Erdogan’s links to a Saudi terrorism-financier named Yasir al-Qadi are getting scrutinized by some Turkish commentators. The U.N. required that member states freeze his assets in 2001 because it was convinced of the evidence against him. As with the IHH, the Erdogan government says its friend is innocent.

The Turkish government also has an abysmal record on press freedom. The Committee to Protect Journalists says that more journalists were imprisoned in Turkey than in any other country in the last two years. In addition, over 70 reporters lost their jobs after reporting on anti-government protests that erupted last summer.

“We need to underline that the Turkish press is no longer doing investigative reporting,” says Ertugrul Ozkok, who held the position of editor-in-chief of the Hurriyet newspaper for 20 years.
The upside of the Turkish government’s aggressive behavior is that Erdogan and his once-popular AKP Party, whose success was admired by Islamists globally, is now in deep political trouble. It has provided an opportunity for moderate Muslims to have their voices heard.

The Hurriyet Daily News, one of the most influential Turkish media outlets, carried a remarkable interview with the aforementioned former editor-in-chief, Erutgrul Ozkok.

He describes himself as having been a strong supporter of Erdogan and says he still agrees with him 70% of the time. Ozkok says Erdogan “betrayed us who thought he had changed” from his more radical past. He was unafraid to criticize Islamists and to disparage Erdogan for heading “towards fascism.” In the U.S., even using the word “Islamist” opens you up to scorn from powerful Muslim-American groups like CAIR.

Ozkok explained that Erdogan’s trouble should not be seen as a political battle limited to Turkey. He said this is just one theater in an ideological struggle across the Muslim world.

“[Either] outdated Islamists who cannot reconcile with democracy are going to prevail; or those democrats whose religion is Muslim will prevail,” he said.

Erdogan’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is an example of how he views democracy, the writer explains. To him, democracy is “only the ballot box.”

The fundamental problem with Erdogan is Islamism. The corruption, the support for terrorist groups, the secret deals with Iran, the crackdown on political opposition, the increasing hostility to the West —Islamism is a critical factor in all of it.

Ozkok is right. This isn’t about Turkish politics or the authoritarian impulses of one Middle Eastern leader. It is about an ideological struggle that many leaders still fail to recognize.

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Egypt's El-Sisi Boldly Calls For Islamic Reformation

Egypt's El-Sisi Boldly Calls For Islamic Reformation

Wed, January 22, 2014
Egyptian women express their support for General El-Sisi after voting for the new non-Islamist constitution. (Photo: © Reuters)
Egyptian women express their support for General El-Sisi after voting for the new non-Islamist constitution. (Photo: © Reuters)

General El-Sisi, the commander of the Egyptian Armed Forces and current head of state, is essentially calling for a reformation in Islam. His bold declaration comes as the Egyptian people approved a constitution in a vote that the Muslim Brotherhood boycotted.

The speech, which went unnoticed in the Western media, took place at the Armed Forces’ Department of Moral Affairs. In the speech, El-Sisi said:

“Religious discourse is the greatest battle and challenge facing the Egyptian people, pointing to the need for a new vision and a modern, comprehensive understanding of the religion of Islam—rather than relying on a discourse that has not changed for 800 years.”

Notice what El-Sisi did not say. He did not say Zionism or Western oppression is the greatest threat to Egypt, nor did he point to a specific group like Al-Qaeda or the Muslim Brotherhood. He accurately framed the struggle as an ideological one within Islam.

When he refers to the “discourse that has not changed for 800 years,” he’s referring to when the most qualified Islamic scholars of that time ruled that all questions about interpretation had been settled. The “gates” of ijtihad, the independent interpretation of Islam, ended by the year 1258. He wants the “gates” reopened, allowing for the critical examination that an Islamic reformation needs.

Elsewhere in the speech, Sisi “called on all who follow the true Islam to improve the image of this religion in front of the world, after Islam has been for decades convicted of violence and destruction around the world, due to the crimes falsely committed in the name of Islam.”

This is another important declaration. He attributes Islamic extremism to this lack of discourse. He doesn’t blame it on a Jewish conspiracy to defame Islam or describe it as an overreaction to non-Muslim aggression.

He is also pre-empting the Islamists’ inevitable attack that he is an apostate by stating that Muslims are advancing Islam by having this discourse and turning away from violence. He takes away the argument from extremists that they are the model of a devout Muslim.

The next question is whether El-Sisi has the standing in Muslim opinion to be listened to. For now, the answer is yes. The Egyptian military that he leads has a 70% favorability rating, while the Muslim Brotherhood’s rating is at 34%. He is almost certain to run for president and, at this stage, is likely to win.

When the military toppled President Morsi and El-Sisi announced the suspension of the Islamist-written constitution, he was joined by the Grand Sheikh of Al-Azhar University, an institution that is basically the equivalent of the Vatican for Sunni Islam. To date, Al-Azhar has not broken with El-Sisi or condemned his remarks.

Other influential Egyptians may endorse El-Sisi’s view. In January 2011, former Egyptian Islamist Tawfik Hamid reported that 25 Islamic scholars, including teachers from Al-Azhar, said that ijtihad needed to be resumed. The 10 points they listed for renewed examination included the separation of mosque and state, women’s rights, relations with non-Muslims and jihad.

Calls for reform and ijtihad can be heard beneath the visible surface of the Muslim world. In my own experience, I’ve heard many average Muslims endorse reformation but their views are not reflected in the national leadership.

Some of these reformist Muslims want to reopen the “gates” of ijtihad, while others say they never considered them closed to begin with. For example, Tunisian professor Dr. Muhamd El-Haddad, argues, “Daily life has evolved radically since the last millennium, but there has been no accompanying development in mainstream Muslim legal theory.”

Professor Ziauddin Sadar of London wrote in 2002 that that Islamic doctrine is “frozen in time” and there are three doctrinal pillars that need reform: “The elevation of the Shari’ah to the level of the Divine, with the consequent removal of agency from the believers, and the equation of Islam with the State.”

Those that argue that the “gates” were never closed include Malcolm Jardine, who wrote a thoroughly-researched essay on the topic. In 2006, the U.S.-based Nawawi Foundation published a study by Dr. Umar Faruq Abd-Allah with the premise that Islam “never had a doorkeeper to close it in the first place.”

General El-Sisi and the overall backlash against the Islamists may spark what the world needs most: An Islamic reformation. It is not enough to topple Islamists. Their ideological underpinning must be debated and defeated. The determinations of scholars from 800 years can no longer be treated as eternal truth, but for what they really are—opinions influenced by the times in which they were made.

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'Jews, Out of France!'

by Ari Soffer 'Jews, Out of France!' -- ArutzSheva 7, 30 January 2014

It is nothing short of chilling.

A video, taken on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, shows masses of French protesters marching down a Paris thoroughfare chanting openly anti-Semitic slogans and calling on Jews to get out of France.

Chants include "Jews, France is not yours!" "Jews out of France" and "The story of the gas chambers is bull***!" At one point, in a show of raw, seething hatred, the crowd simply spits out the word "Jew, Jew, Jew!" 

Many of the marchers can be seen giving the "quenelle" inverted Nazi salute popularized by anti-Semitic comedian Dieudonne. The gesture is seen as a way for anti-Semites to give a Nazi salute without incurring the wrath of authorities - although one demonstrator can be seen giving a full-on Nazi salute as well.

It was part of a "Day of Anger" called by anti-government activists in protest of a variety of "anti-establishment" causes. French police estimated that around 17,000 people had attended the march, and said that 250 had been arrested. Police told AFP news agency that 19 police officers were injured in clashes with demonstrators, one seriously.

Despite claims by Dieudonne and some of his supporters that it is simply an innocent "up yours" or "anti-establishment" gesture, it has been adopted by a vast range of anti-Semites, from the far-right to Muslim extremists, many of whom post online pictures of themselves making the salute in front of sensitive sites such as Holocaust memorials, synagogues, and even the school in Toulouse at which an Islamist gunman murdered a rabbi and three Jewish children.

Dieudonne himself has a long history of anti-Semitic comments and shows, including a recent video in which he implies the Jewish victims of the Holocaust may themselves be to blame for their own genocide.

Apart from the quenelle gestures, the marchers can clearly be heard singing a song mocking the Holocaust composed by Dieudonne, entitled "Shoananas". The song is yet another masterful attempt by Dieudonne to trivialize and legitimize anti-Semitism; it is a play on the Hebrew word for the Holocaust (Shoah) and the French word for pineapple (ananas).

The footage provides the most alarming evidence yet that the popularization of anti-Semitism by the bigoted French comic is reaching terrifying heights, and raises serious concerns for the country's Jewish community.

France's Jewish community - the third largest in the world (after Israel and the US) - is seeing an unprecedented exodus, and the continuing tide of anti-Semitism has triggered preparations in Israel for a major influx of olim (immigrants to Israel) from the country.

A recent poll by the EU's Fundamental Rights Agency recorded that 40% of French Jews fear publicly identifying as Jews, and that 75% of European Jews feel that anti-Semitism is on the rise.

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'Mahmoud Abbas: Number One Anti-Semite'

by Yoni Kempinski, Tova Dvorin 'Abbas: Anti-Semitic Leader #1' -- ArutzSheva 7, 30 January 2014

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz spoke at a Institute for National Security Studies (INSS) ceremony Wednesday, where he reflected on the US-Israel relationship, the intentions of Palestinian Authority (PA) Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, and the waning possibility of reaching a peace deal. 

Steinitz sharply criticized statements made by Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon earlier this month, who called US Secretary of State John Kerry "obsessive" and "messianic" in his quest for peace in the Middle East.  

"There is room for criticism and disagreements - but not hurling personal insults," Steinitz opined. "If it happened - and it does happen that things which are said in a closed room leak to the media - something this serious requires a clear, immediate, and serious apology."

"There's no point and no reason to throw insults about those who are our friends and greatest allies," he added. 

Nevertheless, regarding peace talks between Israel and the PA, Steinitz remained pessimistic. 

"I want to tell the truth: Gentlemen, there is no peace process, there is a political process," the minister stated. "It is important, it has a certain chance [for success], but unfortunately, we do not even see faint signs that the Palestinian leadership has peaceful and genuine intentions."

"You have to admit that Abbas does not support violence [outright] like his predecessor Arafat, but the level of anti-Semitic and anti-Israel incitement has reached new heights," he continued. "The subtext of what Palestinian children receive in Abbas's schools and through children's [TV] programs is very clear: we [the PA] have to destroy Israel sooner or later, and destroy the Jews sooner or later."

On numerous occasions, including earlier this month, senior PA officials have explicitly said that any US-brokered deal would be just "the first stage" in Israel's destruction.

Turning to the ideological underpinnings of rampant anti-Semitism - including the glorification of Nazism - within the Palestinian Authority, Steinitz maintained that the fault lies in Abbas's background and ideology. "Abbas did not finance and encourage terrorist actions against us," he stated, "but ideologically, he was a Holocaust denier in his youth, he denies the very existence of the Jewish people and the right to a Jewish state."

"After Ahmadinejad's decline, there is no doubt that Abbas is entitled to the title of the number one anti-Semitic leader in the world," he continued. "Abbas's messages are utter double-talk - empty messages in English and anti-Israel and anti-Semitic propaganda to Palestinian children."

"We see in the wake of negotiations that there has been escalation in the sharpness and intensity of messages of incitement in the PA," he added.  

"We will not accept Abbas's version of peace," Steinitz continued. "The minimum requirement is a recognition of the Jewish state, to recognize Israel's right to exist [. . .] we recognized the Palestinian people, Abbas must recognize our right to a Jewish and democratic state."

"These are serious words, but we have to look reality in the face," Steinitz continued. "The reality is that in the entire world, there is no leader who incites on posts to his website and on his TV channel against the Jews, as a religion. No other leader gets so close to treating the Jews as in pre-Holocaust Europe as Abbas does."

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Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Apartheid Israel

So strange. Israel is contemptuously named an Apartheid state. Within Israel live a multitude of Jews from all over the world, bringing to the country their varied cultures under the umbrella of Judaism; Jews from Ethiopia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Algeria, Tunisia, France, United Kingdom, India, Canada, Australia, countries too countless to name, but all adding to the majority population of Jews in a Jewish state.

On the other hand, there are over a million Arabs living in Israel as citizens of the state. There are Kurds and Druze, Christians from Greece and Macedonia and elsewhere in the world, making their homes in Israel and enjoying the full privileges of citizenship and all that it entails. Not all are loyal to Israel, though they value their status there as citizens. There are Arab-Israeli members of the Knesset who actively work against the interests of the state that gives them the authority to represent their people.

If this is not a pluralistic, accepting, democratic-liberal society, then what other society is there that practices the level of inclusiveness and fairness in justice that Israel does? It has been forced to adopt a separation barrier between its border and that of the neighbouring Palestinians, a situation brought to bear by the ongoing violently brutal onslaughts of suicide bombers taking the lives of ordinary Israeli citizens in vengeance slaughter for its existence.

The statelet-governing Hamas in Gaza has dedicated itself to the elimination of the State of Israel, and the freeing of the land from its presence, to reconsecrate it as land dedicated to Islamic rule. Under Hamas, various jihadi militias have been enabled to lob thousands of rockets from Gaza into Israel. This, after Israel's then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon decided to leave Gaza, withdrawing all settlers and IDF military.

Leaving one of the Palestinian Territories to the able administration of the Palestinians themselves turned out to be a rather interesting lesson in the mindset of intransigence. No Jews exist in Gaza, just as Jews were expelled from other countries of the Middle East where they had become Arabized over thousands of years living as Jews in Arab countries like Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Tunisia, among others.

This is Apartheid, that the Palestinian Authority has stated categorically that it will admit no Jews to live within the borders of a new state.
"Nothing shows the Palestinian Authority's unwillingness to reach an accord with Israel than their extreme and reckless reaction to an unofficial report. An accord will only be reached when the Palestinians recognize the Jewish state and when the essential interests to the security of Israeli citizens are guaranteed."
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu
Arab countries celebrate their Judenrein status. Israel goes about its business as a country that has absorbed world Jewry, allowing them the comfort of returning to their heritage, in the knowledge that if they are wanted nowhere else, their home is in Israel. At the same time, Israel extends humanitarian aid to its neighbours, as well as accepting that those who are most strenuous in their vehemence against Israel, accept favours from Israel nonetheless.

Ismail Haniyeh, the leader of Hamas whose viperous hatred for Israel dedicates him to its destruction, has three sisters, Kholidia, Laila and Sabah who are citizens of Israel, living in the Bedouin town of Tel Sheva in Southern Israel. There's that, and there's the fact that in 2012 Israeli authorities granted permission to Haniyeh's sister Suhila Abd el-Salam Ahmed Haniyeh to travel with her critically ill husband for emergency heart treatment in Israel.

After that successful treatment at the Rabin Medical Center in Petah Tikva, Israel, they returned to their home in Gaza. No doubt relieved to exit the Apartheid regime which saved the husband's life, eager to return to their safe and secure home in Gaza where all is lightness and loving kindness.

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Affront, Threaten, Sue

Now there's some news. The National Council of Canadian Muslims -- formerly CAIR-CAN (Council on American Islamic Relations (Canada) is demanding an apology from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his spokesman Jason MacDonald for slander. A notice of libel has been filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice accusing Jason MacDonald of a malicious comment, injurious to the reputation of the National Council of Canadian Muslims.

What led to this unfortunate humiliation for the Muslim group was their demand that the PMO rescind its invitation to Rabbi Daniek Korobkin to join the entourage accompanying the Prime Minister on his recent trip to the Middle East, to visit Israel, the Palestinian Authority and Jordan. Rabbi Korobkin's sin was to have introduced Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer two distinguished opponents of violent Islam(ism) at a public Toronto meeting last September.

Mr. MacDonald had summarily dismissed the demand. Not necessarily saying that the government does not seek advice from any single-interest group on how it should comport itself and what its choices and values should represent, but by saying "We will not take seriously criticism from an organization with documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas". Hamas, as it is well enough known is on a Canadian terror list.

Which hasn't stopped fundamentalist Islamists in Canada from flying the Hamas flag, showing posters of its leader, and making common cause with its goal, primarily the destruction of the State of Israel, along with its day-to-day activities, overseeing the lobbing of rockets into Israel from Gaza.
Mr. MacDonald's statement was so outrageously unacceptable that the National Council of Canadian Muslims took deserved umbrage. And the notice of libel is the result. As a preliminary measure.

"Rather than responding to our legitimate concerns, the PMO's director of communications attacked us and attempted to smear our name by claiming NCCM had 'documented ties to a terrorist organization such as Hamas'", grieved Ihsaan Gardee, executive director of the council, during a press conference. "Nothing could be further from the truth. NCCM will not let the PMO's false statement stand."

There was a response from the Prime Minister's Office, a rather brief and to-the-point one: "As this matter may be the subject of litigation we have no further comment." For as Nader Hassan, lawyer for the council has warned, further legal action is possible. "Whether we go through with the lawsuit is going to depend on a number of factors, namely the quality, timing and content of the public apology and retraction", he intoned.

"The defamatory words were stated maliciously in order to discredit and insult an organization that did nothing other than exercise its constitutional right to freedom of expression to criticize a decision made by the prime minister" said the libel notice. "Mr. MacDonald simply made up that statement in an effort to discredit NCCM and deflect its criticism of Mr. Harper."

As that excellent journalist Robert Sibley pointed out in an Ottawa Citizen blog, David Harris, director of the International and Terrorist Intelligence Program at INSIGNIS Strategic Research, testified in 2011 before the Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology that CAIR-CAN, as the NCCM was known in its earlier incarnation as the Canadian franchise of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations was funded by Saudi sources.

CAIR was named by the U.S. Justice Department as an unindicted co-conspirator connected to the "largest terror-funding trial in U.S. history, the Holy Land Foundation criminal prosecution." Further, CAIR-CAN leader Sheema Khan swore an affidavit in 2003 for the Ontario Supreme Court that "states categorically that CAIR-CAN is under the direction and control of the American CAIR organization."

A Quebec-based investigative group writes on their website that CAIR was established by three leaders of the Islamic Association of Palestine: Nihad Awad, Omar Ahmad and Rafeeq Jaber. The IAP was a front group for Hamas in the United States in the 80s and 90s.  A video archived by the Investigative Project on Terrorism has Nihad Awad expressing support for Hamas at Barry University in 1994. An American judge presiding the case Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development v.Ashcroft in 2002 reached the conclusion that the "Islamic Association for Palestine has acted in support of Hamas."

In his book Chasing a Mirage, Tarek Fatah points out that CAIR has been handsomely funded by Saudi Arabia, by the United Arab Emirates and by Dubai. A 2006 website of the government of the UAE stated that the "Deputy Ruler of Dubai UAE Minister of Finance and Industry has endorsed a proposal to build property in the United States to serve as an endowment for the Council on American-Islamic Relations."

NCCM is an unsavoury group of Islamists doing the bidding of the Muslim Brotherhood, its breakaway little cousin Hamas and Gulf State oil sheikdoms. They have infiltrated Canadian society, and some of its government agencies. Their agenda is to cast suspicion on Israel and any who support it, certainly inclusive of the current Conservative government.

The arrogance in which they felt entitled to 'advise' the PMO, and their subsequent threats to be carried out unless an abject apology reaches them, speaks volumes about their misplaced sense of their influence within Canada.

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The Middle East, Its Gifts

Never a geography of stability, the Middle East is collapsing in upon itself in utter dysfunction as Islam generates a new era of fanatically violent jihadists intent on establishing a worldwide Islamist rule, returning to the concept of the medieval-era Caliphate. Where Islam is to rule supreme, imposing Sharia law upon all those shuddering under the weight of its demands of submission.

Tribalism, clan loyalties, sectarian hatred and a treasure-house of weapons have led to a vitriolic ideology of the supreme sacrifice to be sought by the faithful to pure Islam; martyrdom. The death cult of the martyrs eager to elevate Islam to its rightful status on the world stage is convulsing the Middle East as one country after another struggles to contain the appetite of violent jihad among its young men, idle but for the promise of bloody conquest.

But there are also other concerns that impinge on the Middle East, besides the self-defeating hatreds between Shia and Sunni, the shared hatred of Israel as a Western-Jewish presence on Islamic-consecrated land, and the hatred of the despised American infidels that have embroiled the African Maghreb as well. Oil plenitude has led to water scarcity.

Ethiopia is damming up the Blue Nile, acutely diminishing its flow to Egypt. The Euphrates and the Tigris rivers are drying up, impacting Syria and Iraq. Yemen's focus on irrigation for its narcotic qat harvest has left it limited water supplies, threatening Sana'a's future in the region with irreparable drought conditions. Saudi Arabia is depleting its aquifers through its wheat-growing attempts.

The geography now suffers from increasing electricity blackouts. The birth rate always celebrated as being among the highest in the world, is undergoing a collapse. Iran has seen the steepest decline in birth rates, from 6.6 births per woman in 1977 to 1.6 in 2012, creating in the country an "apocalyptic panic" that one analyst claims fuels Tehran's aggressive streak.

Repressive governments, archaic social-cultural mores, the denigration of women, curriculum-poor schools, and leaders governing with disdain for those whose lives they control, all represent a formula for despair and ruin. Polygamy, genital mutilation, honour killing and burqas relegate women to life in the most oppressive area of the world. Foreign workers are brought in to do work that oil-rich citizens disdain, and they are inhumanely exploited without compassion.

Toronto Star

Biases within the prevailing cultures and their Islamic overlay focusing on religion, sect, ethnic grouping, tribal antipathies, skin colour, nationality, gender, sexual orientation, age, citizenship, and the scourge of slavery mark out the social conscience of the area. The governments of the states in the Middle East expend vast amounts of treasury not on the well-being of their people, but on advanced weaponry.

Of that weaponry, nuclear weapons are considered the cream that many aspire to acquire for themselves. Tanks, ships and planes are all very well, but there is nothing like nuclear weapons to inspire respect in the Middle East. Even al-Qaeda plots to somehow manage its search for weapons of mass destruction, an enabling device to the achievement of their domination goal.

And as those who live miserable lives deprived of freedom and justice seek to leave and migrate to the world of the West where freedoms denied them in the Middle East are a way of life in Europe and North America, they bring along with them the culture, the religion, the social values that led them to leave their places of birth in desperation to achieve quality of life elsewhere.

In the process, settling into their new freedoms, imposing upon the societies which they join, the burdens of accepting the very issues, values, priorities and suspicions leading to conflict that infiltrate their societies, subtly overtaking the indigenous culture, values and system of justice, kindly enabled through a sense of obligation to the less fortunate.

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