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, October 31, 2014

Smile, Now

"With all due respect to Harper and to everybody else, I don't think they've been in power for 34 straight years."
"To be ... the leader of a nation, and we're not just a band, we are a nation, and to lead it for 34 years, is something totally unheard of, I don't care in what political field you're in."
Dean Martin, Shuswap First Nation spokesperson, chief executive officer of Kinbasket Development Corp.
shuswapnation.orgChief Paul Sam

Well, if one is to equate the B.C. Shuswap First Nation with Burkino Faso, then there too is a 30-year political dynasty. Only in Burkino Faso the citizenry has erupted in defiance at the continued rule of a dictator who thought he could go on forever. Now, evidently, it's the turn of the Shuswap First Nation councillors to do the same, and it seems that Barbara Cote and Tim Eugene, candidates for next month's election plan to do the very same -- without burning any parliament buildings.

The thing of it is, the entitlements that the leading family have accustomed themselves to without the knowledge and consent of the band itself do seem somewhat out of whack. Shuswap First Nation Chief Paul Sam, now 80, has a tax-free salary averaging $264,000 over the past four years. Altogether, with his ex-wife, one of their sons and a grandson, the family took in over $4.1-million over the past four years.

There are 267 members of this band. Of whom 87 live on the reserve. The chief's son, Dean Martin, has had an average annual salary of $536,00 over that same time frame, in running a band corporation operating various businesses on and near the reserve. Shuswap members are not quite happy about the situation. "We had no idea. We are absolutely disgusted" said Barbara Cote, a band councillor earning $57,700 annually; not bad at all for a councillor of a band with 87 people living on the reserve.

The office of Aboriginal Affairs Minister Bernard Valcourt had this statement: "Our government expects First Nation band councils to use taxpayer dollars responsibly and for the benefit of all community members." Evidently some community members have been without water and electricity in the winter months, but the band council was unable to give them any assistance.

The two contenders for the election emphasize their interest in reforming council's affairs in the area of disclosure and a greater fund distribution to cover education and culture programs, child care and home renovation. How novel. Christy Clark, the premier of British Columbia earns a salary of $193,532 in comparison.

Prime Minister Harper earns $327,400, an amount that Chief Paul Sam and his wife Alice Sam were able to match handily in some years of their long administration. But according to the band media relations spokesman Gord Martin and Dean Martin, their parents' hard work and longevity justify salaries higher than that of a prime minister.

As for Dean Martin, in 2010-11 he had a take-home pay of $765,651. Unfortunately that fell to $431,549 for 2012-13. Federal Aboriginal Affairs and Health departments ponied up $900,000  in 2013-14 for the band. Another son, Randy, yet another councillor, had earned $301,241 in 2011-12. Sadly, during a trip to Las Vegas in 2012, he died.

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Doing Violence to Reality

"Fatah celebrated the attempted murder of Rabbi Yehuda Glick, yesterday in Jerusalem, and glorified the shooter. Rabbi Yehuda Glick is the Chairman of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation that works through educational activities to increase awareness of the central place the Temple Mount in Jewish heritage and works to promote civil rights for Jews to pray on the Temple Mount."
"Fatah referred to him as an "extremist Zionist," called the attempt on his life "the assassination of the despicable Glick," and honored the terrorist who was subsequently killed by Israel as a "heroic Martyr."  
"PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas' advisor on NGOs and Fatah Central Committee member Sultan Abu Al-Einein shared a poster published by Fatah's Jerusalem branch praising the terrorist and referring to him as the "heroic Martyr" on the way "to his wedding":
 "Fatah's Jerusalem branch accompanies its heroic Martyr to his wedding, Mutaz Ibrahim Khalil Hijazi, who carried out the assassination attempt of Zionist rabbi Yehuda Glick."

"This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation. Harming the places sacred to Muslims and Christians is a red line. The state of Palestine will take all legal measures to hold Israel accountable and to stop these ongoing attacks."
Nabil Abu Redeineh, spokesman for Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas

"We must first of all lower the flames. No side should take the law into its own hands. We must be level-headed and act with determination and responsibility, and so we shall."
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

The man who was shot by 32-year-old Islamic Jihad member Muataz Hejazi, was not, as the Palestinian propaganda machine and the Western press slavishly copying them, describe as a right-wing radical, intent on taking full possession of the site where The Noble Sanctuary sits atop the Temple Mount; the former the third-most-sacred place in the Islamic canon, the latter Judaism's most sacred relic of its heritage, twice destroyed in antiquity, the third time defiled by Islam taking possession of it.

Muslims pray at Temple Mount
Muslims pray at Temple Mount. (photo credit:REUTERS)

It is a site historically respected by the three 'Abrahamic' religions; Judaism, Christianity and Islam. When Jordan took it upon itself to administer east Jerusalem, Jews were not permitted to go anywhere near their most sacred religious site. The reality of Christianity in the Muslim world today is one of violent persecution, and for Mr. Abbass's spokesman to invoke the name of Christianity as being in danger of Israeli provocations is beyond absurd, since it is only in Israel within the entire Middle East that Christians are safe.

Nowhere else in the world does the absurdity present itself that a nation whose religion is paramount in their history and their present, is unable to approach their most sacred religious site in fear of an violent uprising by a proportion of its citizens all of whom, supported by the entire Islamic ummah refuse to recognize the nation's majority and founders the right to worship at their own shrine of antiquity. The courtesy of administering the affairs of the Islamic portion of the Temple Mount was deferred by Israel to the Islamic Wafq.

Israel could very well instead have taken possession of the entire Temple Mount area, leaving only the Al-Aqsa mosque intact. Muslims routinely desecrate the holy sites of other religions, including those sites holy to Muslim sects that the mainstream consider to represent impure Islam. Palestinians feel so entitled to monopolizing what they call The Noble Sanctuary that they refuse to allow Jews to approach their own apportioned Temple Mount, let alone to pray upon it.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper praying at the Western Wall. Photo: Screenshot / Twitter.
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper praying at the Western Wall. Photo: Screenshot / Twitter.

The violent assassination attempt on 48-year-old Yehuda Glick whom the press label a 'right-wing rabbi' was occasioned by his presuming it to be his right as a Jewish Israeli to call for the right of Jews to approach and pray at their sacred site without violence emanating from nearby Palestinians enabled by Israeli security to pray at their third-most-sacred site. He was not advocating for Jews to have monopolistic access, but for Jews to be able to share with Muslims and Christians the right to pray to their god at the site.

He is known, in fact, to have prayed alongside Muslims, citing passages from the Koran, and being accepted by those with whom he prayed. His brother is a celebrated physician who lives in the West Bank and services the Arab Palestinian residents of nearby villages as their sole medical provider. Israel was forced, for obvious security reasons, to shut access to the entire site in the wake of the death of the man who attempted to kill Rabbi Glick, when he shot at investigating officers. Riots ensued and threaten to continue spurred on by the PA.

As a simple matter of public order it made good sense to shut down the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary until such time as the matter cooled down, which it may or may not do, considering that an overheated atmosphere of aggressive denials have been taking place over the past month, incited by Mahmoud Abbas urging Palestinians to 'defend' the Noble Sanctuary from the evil plans of the Israelis. So much for peace and good fellowship.

The Western press, lending an obliging ear and script to the Palestinian propaganda of sole ownership of the disputed site, speaks of  'ultranationalist Jewish activists and groups' often led by Rabbi Glick... and it boggles the mind to come to grips with the equation of Jews wishing to pray at their own sacred site being labelled ultranationalist for that reason, when no one seems willing to question why and how it remains acceptable for Arab Palestinians to riot when Jews approach the site that is their own by heritage and geography.

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Sadistical Sexual Predation

"[Mr. Suleiman, 32, was living] a purposeless life surfing the Internet [while on welfare and scheming to prey on young women]."
"[Mr. Suleiman targeted vulnerable women to] satisfy (his) own gratification."
"Any member of the public could have been victimized by you."
Justice Maria Linhares de Sousa
Magabi Lashury Suleiman, 32, was convicted of sexually assaulting women who accepted rides from him, thinking he was a cabbie.    Ottawa Police Service

At a just-concluded trial that worked its way through the justice system in Ottawa, a Ugandan refugee, Magabi Suleiman, 32, was sentenced to prison for nine years. A one-time drug trafficker, he was found guilty of sexual assault and theft. Some of his victims would not file an impact statement because, in the judge's words, it was "too painful to reopen that chapter of their lives." Mr. Suleiman, it seems, earned his nine years of incarceration in a federal penal institution.

"We were always on pins and needles, and we were always scared. Jian had created this environment of tyranny, no one was standing up to him, everyone enabled his behaviour."
"Arif's comment [Jian Ghomeshi's executive producer at CBC] to me was, 'He's never going to change, you're a malleable person, let's talk about how you can make this a less toxic work environment for you'."
"No one was going to talk to Jian, he was too big. The show was a f--king juggernaut at that point. His face and name were inextricably linked with the brand of Q [his successful music/culture/interview show]."
"He did this [search out Twitter or Facebook postings by attractive women and contact them] every single night. He was soliciting non-stop. It was his playground."
27-year-old journalism school student working at CBC, 2007

"I was aware that I, as a woman who had had a drink or two, shared a joint [with Jian], had gone to his house willingly and had a sexual past, would be eviscerated. Cultural frameworks on this are powerful. Equally important, however, was that it also didn't feel like it was worth my effort."
Toronto lawyer Reva Seth, Huffington Post

"If you are a victim of a sexual assault it doesn't mean you have to go to court. There are four levels of [potential choice] response."
"Our job is to present all of the evidence and if the evidence points us in the direction that the offence was committed, [we'll pursue charges]." 
Sgt. Trish Ferguson, Ottawa Police sexual assault unit

Victims of sexual assault have the choice to do nothing. Their second option would be to report the crime, not pursuing charges, just ensuring police are aware so they can wait out to detect possible patterns, or disseminate public warnings if required. The third possible option is to report the assault and have police pay the attacker a visit, the while posting a warning in their system. Lastly is the fully committed option of reporting the attack and pursuing charges.

For police to pursue charges they require the full cooperation of the victim. And that courageous victim who plans to see what they have put into motion right to the end must also be prepared to face the certainty of a very discomfiting court experience, which some may describe as being akin to having the original assault repeated, but this time in public.  And so, that answers the oft-repeated question: "Why wouldn't women whom Jian Ghomeshi assaulted go directly to police?"

Lawyer Reva Seth answered that question herself, mulling it over from the perspective of a victim of a violent encounter and someone attuned to the law and women's experiences in such cases. "I hadn't been raped. I had no interest in seeing him again or engaging the police in my life. I just wanted to continue on with my life as it was. And even if I had wanted to do something, as a lawyer, I was well aware that the scenario was just a 'he said/she said' situation."

Add to that the fact that Jian Ghomeshi is a celebrity, a public figure of some renown and admiration, one who commands a large fan base, with the funding available to him through the avails of his most generous salary over the past years to mount the kind of defence that most people, like the Ugandan refugee in Ottawa who preyed on vulnerable women, just like Mr. Ghomeshi is alleged to have done, would be incapable of mounting.

Shame, fear, and wishing to keep what happened private would restrain a lot of women not possessed, like Kucy DeCoutere, a well-known actress who did come forward, with the self-possession and determination to act. If for no other reason than to finally put a stop to the relentless feral predation of a sexual sadist whose psychopathic tendencies led him to enjoy and to impose violent sex on women.

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Gatestone Institute

The relevant UN Resolution, as well as the Congressional sanctions bill, says the acceptable level of enrichment is none at all. The administration is, in fact, negotiating a level. This track means the total erasure of all international sanctions.
All of the steps Iran took are reversible. Iran's "expressed desires" should not be the driver of U.S. policy.
The Coach-in Chief, President Obama, appears to believe the West and Iran are on the same team looking for a negotiated tie. The Iranians, however, are looking for nuclear weapons.
In the run up to November's P5+1 talks, Iran has already won the battles that count; remember, this is the bazaar. After last year's unsatisfactory interim agreement, this author wrote:
A deal that is not a capitulation requires two conditions: the parties must equally value the process; and there has to be a compatible endgame. The West invested the process with much more value than did Iran, providing the mullahs with instant leverage, but most important, there was no agreed-upon end game.
The P5+1 wanted to negotiate the terms of Iran's nuclear surrender; Iran was negotiating the conditions under which it will operate its nuclear program.
We are familiar with the rules of buying a rug in the souk. The goals are compatible -- he wants to sell, you want to buy. If you want the rug more than he wants the deal, you will overpay; if he wants the deal more than you want the rug, you win. But either way, money and rug will change hands. Alternatively, if you want to buy a rug and he wants to sell a camel, no matter how ardently you bargain there will be no deal. Unless you change your mind and take the camel.
The White House took the camel.
A speech by Wendy Sherman, the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, to a P5+1 symposium in Washington, made that clear:
"The President has pledged to ensure that Iran will not acquire a nuclear weapon.... Specifically, Iran [took a number of steps, including having] agreed not to make further advances at the Arak heavy water reactor; and opened the door to unprecedented daily access for international inspectors to the facilities at Natanz and Fordow."
Maybe. But all of the steps Iran took are reversible, IAEA inspectors were denied access to a suspected military site at Parchin, and the issue of warhead delivery systems has not been addressed. If they cheat, it is worth noting that its friend in proliferation, North Korea, appears to have miniaturized a nuclear weapon to fit on a mobile missile. Want to risk it? In Wendy Sherman's words:
"[O]ur group has proposed to Iran a number of ideas that are equitable, enforceable, and consistent with Tehran's expressed desire for a viable civilian nuclear program and that take into account that country's scientific knowhow and economic needs."
Iran's legitimate civilian needs could be met through legal purchases of enriched uranium. Iran's "expressed desires" should not be the driver of U.S. policy.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during talks in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2014. (Image source: U.S. State Department)

According to Sherman:
"Iran's Supreme Leader has repeatedly said that his government has neither the aspiration nor the intention of building a nuclear weapon; indeed, he has said that such a project would be forbidden under Islam. So our proposals are consistent with Iran's own publicly-stated position."
"Iran's leaders would very much hope that the world would conclude that the status quo -- at least on this pivotal subject -- should be acceptable, but obviously, it is not."
Iran's goal was to establish the principle of its "right" to enrich uranium. Although the relevant UN Resolution says the acceptable level of enrichment is none at all -- as does the relevant and lopsidedly approved Congressional sanctions bill -- the administration granted Iran's principle and is, in fact, negotiating a level.
Sherman continued,
"The temptation to link the nuclear question to other topics is understandable. However ... we are concentrating on one job and one job only, and that is ensuring that Iran does not acquire a nuclear weapon."
This single-track negotiation has allowed Iran to proceed without American objection along the path to a variety of other important Iranian ends, including:
Additional repression at home, which is crucial to the longevity of the regime. Twenty-six-year old Reyhaneh Jabbari was the 967th person to be executed since the "moderate" Hassan Rouhani became Iran's president in August 2013. She was convicted of killing the man she accused of raping her, but with no investigation of her claim. The pace of executions has been accelerating: 381 by the end of 2013, 586 so far this year, including Miss Jabbari.

The victims are often hung from cranes in public with an audience that includes children.
There is a new campaign of throwing acid in the faces of women not considered "modest" by roving gangs, and probably instigated by the Basiji paramilitary police. (Check photos on the Internet if you dare, but be warned.) Writer and professor emerita Phyllis Chesler wrote recently that the Women's Freedom Forum of Iran told her laws have been passed to protect the acid throwers, and the regime has been "intimidating the families of the victims and hospital nurses and staff. Reporters are also prevented from going to hospitals to see the victims."

There are also reports of increasing pressure on non-Muslim communities in Iran. The attacks are much like those of ISIS -- but with no condemnation from the White House.

Support for Syrian murderer Bashar Assad: With the U.S. diverting attention to ISIS and demanding that "moderate Syrian rebels" (yes, quotation marks indicate skepticism about whether "moderates" exist and if they do, that we know who they are) shut down their attacks or postpone desired attacks against the Syrian government, which has been repressing, bombing, gassing, and starving their compatriots. Instead, says the U.S., turn on Sunni "radicals," who are at least cousins of the Sunni "moderates," and kill them first -- removing one threat from Damascus.

More support for Assad -- and Iran: The U.S. air campaign is the decision of the President, who said we are there at the "invitation of the Iraqi government." That creates two problems: the Iraqi government, even the new one, is Shiite-dominated and beholden to Iran; and it makes the U.S. Air Force an agent of those two bodies against their most serious adversaries.
If Iran and the Baghdad government are so worried about ISIS (and they are), why not let THEM do something about it? Why is the U.S. trying (not very successfully) to create a Sunni coalition to fight a Sunni organization? America's tepid air support and failure to provide American or allied "boots on the ground" have already bred resentment among Iraqi Sunnis, who are considering how to create some stability with ISIS rather than fighting what they see as a losing battle. (See U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan for similar problems with the Afghan National Security Force.)

Perhaps most important: The total erasure of all international sanctions. There have been justified complaints about European countries running to do business with Iran, even during the sanctions period; Germany may be the prime offender here. But the U.S. has jumped in bed with them—first releasing billions in frozen Iranian assets and now permitting U.S. companies to sign new contracts with the Islamic Republic. A week ago, Boeing, a major U.S. defense contractor, announced that it had signed its first new contract with Iran since 1979.

The game is not over at halftime. No matter how great the score disparity, if the team behind -- in this case the P5+1 -- makes adjustments and sticks to its goals, victory is still possible. It is not likely in this instance because the Coach-in-Chief, President Obama, appears to believe the West and Iran are on the same team looking for a negotiated tie.
The Iranians, however, are looking for nuclear weapons.

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Gatestone Institute

Until Jerusalem is the capital of a Palestinian state and Israel is pushed back to its pre-1967 borders, it will be "halal" for Erdogan to blame Israel for global warming, the Ebola virus, starvation in Africa and every other misfortune the world faces.
On the press freedoms index 2014 of Reporters without Borders, Turkey ranks an embarrassing 154th, a score worse than Burundi, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Libya, Uganda and Kyrgyzstan, among others. Once again, Erdogan corrupted facts and figures in order to bash Israel.
Holy struggle against Israel is a prerequisite for Erdogan's pro-Hamas Islamism, and the cold war and Erdogan's explosive rhetoric around it have yielded a treasure-trove of votes in a country that champions anti-Semitism.
"The Jewish lobby has lost much of its mythical power. Our prime minister's rhetoric and actions have largely caused this. The way he [Erdogan] walked out of the Davos meeting [in 2009] has substantially tarnished Israel's regional charisma. Despite all that, Israel has been unable to harm Turkey." This quote was from former senior diplomat and member of parliament Volkan Bozkir, of Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party [AKP], in an interview with the daily Hurriyet on March 18, 2013. In Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu's mini-cabinet reshuffle last month, Bozkir became Turkey's European Union Minister and chief negotiator with the club for Turkish membership.

Turkey's then Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan at a 2009 a panel in Davos, Switzerland, tells Israel's then President Shimon Peres, "when it comes to killing, you know well how to kill."

Since Turkey downgraded its diplomatic relations with Israel four years ago, the Jewish state has tried, in vain, to normalize ties. Efforts have included a 2013 move by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to phone then Prime Minister (now President) Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for the Mavi Marmara incident of 2010. Since the Israeli raid on the Turkish flotilla that aimed to break the "illegal siege" of Gaza, Turkey has repeatedly said that normalization would never come before: a) Israel apologized for Mavi Marmara, b) Israel compensated for the families of the nine Turks killed aboard the vessel, and c) Israel altogether removed the blockade on Gaza. News of a potential breakthrough has never been absent on newspaper pages in both countries.

Most recently, Verda Ozer, a columnist with Hurriyet, quoted a "top official in Ankara" telling her: "We are ready for normalization with Israel." She wrote in her column on Oct. 25:
My question was this: Is Turkey considering normalizing its relations with Israel and Egypt, which are the only countries offering stability in the region other than Iran? The official continued: "There is only the compensation issue remaining. After this is solved, we could send back our ambassador and relations would be normalized."
Is normalization possible? Theoretically, it is. In reality, it is a near impossibility.
Since Netanyahu's apology, Turkey, both governmentally and publicly, has reached peak after peak in exhibiting anti-Semitism unseen before. A year-and-a-half after Netanyahu's initiative to apologize for the Mavi Marmara, Erdogan ordered the Turkish Ambassador to Washington, DC, Serdar Kilic, to write on his behalf to the American Jewish Congress to express his willingness to return a 2004 "Profile of Courage Award" the New York-based organization had awarded him. Shortly before that, the organization had said that Erdogan had become the world's "most virulent anti-Israeli leader" and demanded that he return the award. During Operation Protective Edge in July 2014, Erdogan commented that "Israel had surpassed Hitler in barbarism."

Erdogan (and Davutoglu, for that matter) has both pragmatic and emotional reasons to challenge Israel publicly, and to maintain Turkey's "cold war" with Israel. Emotional, because a holy struggle against Israel is a prerequisite for his pro-Hamas Islamism. And pragmatic, because the cold war and his explosive rhetoric around it have yielded a treasure-trove of votes in a country that champions anti-Semitism. The critical parliamentary elections scheduled for June 2015 will most likely be another setting for his new verbal assaults on Israel.

In a speech last week, Erdogan defended Turkey's press freedom record by claiming that 16 journalists were killed during Israel's military offensive against Gaza, Operation Protective Edge, this summer.

"Unfortunately, some politicians in Turkey and some international media outlets are harshly criticizing Turkey, saying there is no press freedom in the country," he said. "But the 16 journalists who were killed by Israel during the Gaza attacks have never been brought up." That was Erdogan's account of press freedoms in Turkey and Israel. As always, reality is different from fabrication.

According to the Committee to Protect Journalists [CPJ], 16 journalists have been killed in Israel since 1992, but NOT during Operation Protective Edge. And the CPJ's database puts the number of journalists killed in Turkey since 1992 at 20!

On Freedom House's press freedoms index, Turkey belongs to the "not free" group of countries, ranking 134th globally, and sharing the same score as South Sudan, Libya, Ecuador and Armenia. Israel belongs to the "free" group of countries, ranking 62nd and scoring better than EU member states Italy (64), Hungary (71), Bulgaria (78) and Greece (92).

On the 2014 press freedoms index of the Reporters Without Borders, Turkey ranks an embarrassing 154th, a score worse than Iraq, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Burundi, Jordan, Chad, Libya, Tunisia, Afghanistan, Angola, Mali, South Sudan, Uganda and Kyrgyzstan. On the same index, Israel ranks 96th.

Once again, Erdogan corrupted facts and figures in order to bash Israel -- while his diplomats are speaking of "Turkey's readiness to normalize its ties with Israel." In reality, with or without the normalization of diplomatic relations between Ankara and Jerusalem, the Turks have never hidden their broader goals in the Arab-Israeli dispute: that Jerusalem should be the capital of a Palestinian state; and that Israel should be pushed back to its pre-1967 borders. Until then, it will be 'halal' [permitted in Islam] for Erdogan to blame Israel for global warming, the Ebola virus, starvation in Africa and every other misfortune the world faces.
Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a Turkish columnist for the Hürriyet Daily and a Fellow at the Middle East Forum.

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UN Watch BriefingLatest from the United Nations  Vol. 512  |  October 31, 2014         
Iranian victims react to UN's review of Tehran's human rights record
Iranian victims and activists who attended today's UN review of Iran in Geneva today reacted sharply to the presentation of chief Iranian delegate Mohammad Larijani, who blamed the West and its "media blitz" for Iran's execution on Saturday of 26-year-old Reyhaneh Jabbari, and insisted she had a fair trial.
Iran was praised glowingly by many delegations, including from Syria, Yemen, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Belarus, Vietnam, and Palestine. Click here for quotes.
> Click here for reactions on video of the Iranians listed below
> Selected quotes below

"I was Reyhaneh Jabbari's lawyer. Mr. Larijani's statement is completely false. It is not true that she had a fair trial. Because the deceased in this case belonged to the intelligence services, the court treated the case differently, and gave undue weight to the prosecution. Key evidence in the case, and basic legal principles, were ignored." 
                         — Mohammad Mostafaei, Iranian human rights lawyer who was forced to flee the country after being persecuted by the authorities for his defense of individuals facing the death penalty. Mr. Mostafei was the first lawyer of Reyhaneh Jabbari, a 26-year-old woman who was just executed by Iran on Saturday for allegedly killing the man who was trying to rape her. Mr. Mostafaei is the founder and director of Norway's Universal Tolerance Organization. In 2011, he was awarded PEN's Ossietzky Prize.
"Listening to Iran's delegates today, I felt they were competing with themselves as to who would tell the biggest lie. Seeing the Iranian representatives, I felt like I did at my own trial, when they said you have to thank God a million times this is not the 1980s, or you would have been executed. When I was in prison they always said to me, whoever stands up against the 12th imam will be put up against the wall and shot. What these representatives are saying is to justify that mentality." 
                     —Sepideh Pooraghaiee,Iranian journalist and human rights activist who was jailed for 110 days in Tehran's notorious Evin Prison. Ms.  Pooraghaiee recently fled Iran, finding asylum in France, after she was threatened by the government for reporting on its crackdown against peaceful protesters. "I was in danger because I know the truth," she says. "And it was bad for them."

"Iran's statements sound like a work of fiction. When Iran says there is no torture in the country, as I was sitting in the room, it was as though I did not exist." 
— Marina Nemat, Iranian dissident, former prisoner of conscience and best-selling author, now living in Canada, who was jailed as a political prisoner in Tehran when she was only 16 years old. During her incarceration for two years in the infamous Evin Prison, she was interrogated, tortured, faced execution, and was raped by a prison guard who she was coerced to marry.

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Misunderstanding?

Imagine, owing $73,9094.26 in fines representing traffic violations and provincial offences. Doesn't sound very civil, not the least. Nor does it sound as though someone responsible for so many offences against civil society should be free to continue his ordinary life as though nothing was amiss in the chronicles of citizen-behaviour in the heart of a democracy that does have certain disciplinary rules to maintain public order.

On the other hand, it seems from what has been reported there are three others on a list of those owing the City of Ottawa fines for similar violations who precede him. Because of the series of traffic violations it would appear that his driving license was suspended. At least that much done to protect public safety. And what a record, actually! His name is Abdunnur H-Luqman, and he was charged in 2010 with obstructing a police officer, and with common assault that same year as well.

He operated "Your Muslim moving company", listed in a Muslim business directory up until July 2013. The business was named Luqrative Moves, based in Ottawa, but operating as well between Toronto and Montreal. His most recent address appears to be within a community-housing complex and his business appears to have failed, contact numbers no longer in effective service.

Just incidentally, apart from being on the Ottawa police watchlist, he is also known to the RCMP as someone whose actions and activities require special vigilance. Why that might be is that he has been monitored by the RCMP's Integrated National Security Enforcement Team as well as the surveillance unit of the Ontario Provincial Police for some time.

INSET's mandate is that of tracking and disrupting criminal behaviour of known terrorist groups or individuals deemed to pose a potential threat to national security. And this man, Luqman Abdunnur, 39, is on a very special list. The national force happened to be monitoring people and Mr. Abdunnur was one of those people. He was targeted for a traffic stop on Saturday by two Ottawa police officers.

Mr. Abdunnur became "combative" at the stop when police asked him to exit his vehicle and place his hands on the trunk. When he began pacing and chanting the officers making the stop felt some concern, as did OPP officers nearby witnessing the interaction as part of their surveillance activities. As he began to race away from the police a Taser was used, without success, in the attempt to subdue him.
He responded by punching a police officer in the face, which led a member of the OPP surveillance unit to exit his unmarked black police SUV and draw his weapon. Firing a single gunshot that didn't hit the fleeing suspect, the Taser was used again, and it took effect. Mr. Abdunnur now faces charges of assaulting police, obstructing a peace officer, resisting a peace officer and driving under suspension.

However, similar to his forgetfulness in paying those fines, he failed to show up in court since the charges haven't yet been laid. Goodness gracious, why not?

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Boundless Boyish Charm

"The incident that changed everything was on a Sunday night. Oddly, I actually remember exactly what I was wearing and the purse I had with me. The evening started out fine. We had a drink, we smoked some pot and we hung out chatting. A while later we started kissing. Suddenly, it was like he became a different person. He was super angry, almost frenzied and disassociated."
"I distinctly remember the jarring sense of suddenly being abruptly shaken out of my reverie. I remember thinking "what the fuck is going on here? What's wrong with him?" Jian had his hands around my throat, had pulled down my pants and was aggressively and violently penetrating me with his fingers. When it was over, I got up and it was clear I was really angry. My sexual interactions until then had always been consensual, enjoyable and fun."
Yesterday I went into the CBC building and for the first time in the six years that I've been back in Canada, I didn't feel the pang of stress at the thought of running into Jian. Or see the giant image of his smiling face looming above me."
Toronto-based lawyer, Huffington Post blog

"He did not ask if I was into it. It was never a question."
"[He] threw me in front of him on the ground and started closed-fist pounding me on the head repeatedly until my ears were ringing."
"And I'm on the floor and then I'm in tears. And then he said 'you need to go'."
Lucy DeCoutere, Canadian actress, Trailer Park Boys

"Who is going to risk being potentially sued for defamation by a party who has already assembled a team of lawyers and PR agents and showed a readiness to take on even the comparatively powerful CBC for $55-million? Given that they have already been painted by Ghomeshi's version of events as being into BDSM kink -- something they may not even be, or may not want known to friends and family -- how quickly will any accusers come forward publicly now and risk being joined to this outsized action?"
"Since Ghomeshi's strategy must have far more to do with his reputation and re-employability than any potential reinstatement ... his interest lies in doing his best to ensure both that his narrative prevails and that those with a different tale to tell don't tell it. This multi-million-dollar action, however frivolous legally might just accomplish both."
Howard Levitt, Employment lawyer

"He was smitten with me, and I was taken by his charm -- he's a very charismatic man, no question."
"And I said no, because I didn't know you. ... He reached over and grabbed my hair very hard and pulled my head back."
"...It's too difficult to prove [to the police]. It's embarrassing."
As It Happens interview

As for Mr. Ghomeshi, it never happened, none of it. Certainly not as the events were being described by the now-eight women who have come forward courageously speaking of their encounters with the man who charmed so many listeners on his "Q" CBC radio program that reached incredibly popular heights, making him a celebrity at age 47, a Canadian original.

And he unquestionably is that, a Canadian original. He enjoys "rough sex", he admits, but only participates in "sexual practices that are mutually agreed upon, consensual, and exciting for both partners". His interpretive idea of exciting, however, is somewhat different in character than the excitement that the women who were his partnersvictims claim, it would seem.

Poor Jian Ghomeshi, the Toronto Star must really have it in for him. But his fans will no doubt rally and come to his defence. After all, what has he really done that is so amiss? Didn't Fifty Shades of Grey, the 2011 bestseller that broke book sales into the stratosphere and became the top topic of conversation for the public to outline bondage, discipline, sadism, masochism to great acclaim break the ice?

And in citing his little escapades that gave so much pleasure to himself and to the willing and eager women he shared them with, comparing them to that fabulous novelistic accounting, isn't there some measure of public acceptance? After all, sex involves just about everyone, every living creature and some like it hot. He does. Many others do, too. It may not be respectful of the 'other', but who'se to say?

On the other hand, the infliction of pain on a sex partner isn't really many people's idea of nice and decent behaviour. Now being compounded by the implied threat of being sued for millions if those who were treated to such special symbols of regard as objects of unusual desire seek what they in their naivete may believe to represent justice...?

They were, after all, informed directly from the source that after the fact, they needed to go, depart the scene, behave as though nothing had ever happened. And they disobeyed that strict order.

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'Foreign Agents' Destabilizing Iranian Society

"My entire body was burning, but when I took some of my clothes off to cool down passersby didn't think of helping me, instead they kept telling me off for forgetting the dress code."
Iranian woman, victim of acid attack

"The acid throwing on our women, which is undoubtedly a horrific crime, is an act very much similar to the killing of Neda Agha Soltan whose murderer is walking on British streets freely and with impunity."
Javad Larijani, human rights secretary, Iran ministry of justice

"People should be in no doubt that the government is doing everything to arrest those responsible for these crimes. The most severe punishment awaits them."
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani
Iranian women, hiding their faces not to be identified, shout slogans during a protest in front of the judiciary building in Isfahan. Photo / AFP
Iranian women, hiding their faces not to be identified, shout slogans during a protest in front of the judiciary building in Isfahan. Photo / AFP
"The surge in executions shows that President Rouhani has failed to deliver on campaign promises to improve the human rights situation in his country, a year after taking office."
"Unfortunately, a preponderance of reports communicated to me this past year indicate that the situation for individuals in Iran who advocate for the advancement of human rights, or those that document, report, or protest against human rights violations is grave and continues to deteriorate.    Interviews continue to impart that a majority of human rights defenders, including those that defend the rights of women, religious and ethnic minorities, as well as those that work to advance protections for the environment, workers and children continue to be subjected to harassment, arrest, interrogation, and torture and are frequently charged with vaguely-defined national security crimes, which is seemingly meant to erode the frontline of human rights defense in the country."
Ahmad Shaheed, UN special investigator on human rights

Ameneh Bahrami was blinded in both eyes in an acid attack by her suitor for turning down his marriage proposal. She spared him at the last minute from being blinded by acid as punishment for his crime. (Photo: © Reuters)
Ameneh Bahrami was blinded in both eyes in an acid attack by her suitor for turning down his marriage proposal. She spared him at the last minute from being blinded by acid as punishment for his crime. (Photo: © Reuters)

It is not only in Iran, but other Muslim countries as well where women have been targeted by acid attacks. And acid attacks are not uncommon in India with its ancient misogynistic culture of male entitlement. In India in particular, young men seem to feel entitled to disfigure women and girls who spurn their advances. Young beautiful women are in particular danger of being attacked in this manner if they anger a man whose attentions they have no interest in.
In a picture taken on December 6, 2012, Indian acid attack survivor Sonali Mukherjee (R) walks with her father Chandi Das Mukherjee at a Sikh Temple in New Delhi. (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)
But In Iran, the attacks are directly related to incitement from mosques, particularly in the ancient city of Isfahan where thousands mounted an angry demonstration last week even while smaller protests took place in Tehran. Clerics in Isfahan took to their pulpits to incite against the wickedness of women affecting "bad hijab", translated as a lax adherence to the formal dress code. "Immodest dress" charges have led to acid attacks.

When the protests took place, authorities responded by taking into custodial detention Arya Jafari, a photojournalist documenting the protests, along with two reporters, Zahra Mohammadi, head of Isna news agency's office in Isfahan, and Sanam Farsi, its social affairs editor. In the event, four men were arrested in relation to the acid attacks, with their names and the charges against them held from public view.

The administration charges that the acid attacks have nothing to do with Iran other than Iran is the chosen locale for evildoers from abroad to perform these horrendous acts of violence against Iranian women.

The allusion to the 26-year-old university student, Neda Agha, whose face became a symbol in the West of Iranian dissent against a corrupt election campaign in 2009 that re-elected the infamous President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when she was shot to death as an onlooker, during its popular 'green' demonstrations, reveals the country's refusal to take responsibility for its human-rights abuse record.

Just as Muslims throughout the Middle East and Europe contend that the 9/11 attacks were the secret work of collusion between the George W. Bush administration and Zionist Israel, to defame Islam, Iran persists in maintaining the killing of the young university student was the work of British agents intent on defaming the Islamic Republic of Iran. The people on the streets haven't been deterred; their 'garbage' radar is firmly fixed to the truth station.

When the UN rapporteur on human rights, Ahmad Shaheed, declared himself appalled by the hanging Saturday of Reyhaneh Jabbari, 26, who was convicted of murder in her self-defence against an intelligence officer who had raped her, his report was labelled "biased and at the service of arrogant world powers", by Iran's ministry of justice human rights secretary.

Under claims that Mr. Shaheed's reports were based on information provided by Iranian opposition groups (some members of whom have long been imprisoned and were indeed interviewed by Mr. Shaheed and for their pains were later tortured in an attempt to extract from them information of just what they informed the human rights investigator of, later denying that the torture they inflicted on the prisoners represented 'reprisals'), Amoli Larijani, head of Iranian judiciary, damned the report.

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French-Language-Culture Disgruntlement

"Over the years, it was just a series of them violating our rights again and again. So we had to do something or stay home. If I do that, my right to be served in French is dead. We decided we were going to fight this."
"The law says you can be served in the language of your choice. All I'm asking is for them to conform to the law. I wish people understood that [his battle not just one of money]."
"There needs to be financial compensation. Otherwise ... it's not going to change for 200 years."
Michel Thibodeau, language complainant, Ottawa, Ontario

Michel Thibodeau
Michel Thibodeau is pictured in Ottawa in a July 14, 2011 file photo. (ANDRE FORGET/QMI AGENCY)
Granted, Canada has declared itself an officially bilingual nation, in recognition of the two 'founding' communities, English and French. And since official bilingualism is a fact, Canadians have never stopped paying to enforce that fact. From the expenses involved in the dual publication of everything that is ever printed at the federal level; translation and printing expenses are enormous; to the favouring of those with French-language backgrounds in federal civil service employment.

There is an office of language commissioner who receives complaints when those who wish to be served in French find themselves culturally put-out or handicapped by some failing in the system, and the language commissioner is happy to oblige his office by setting off on a lecture-and-hector campaign to bring shame and censure on any government department that has failed in its duty to provide dual-language capabilities to any and all circumstances.

Is is nothing less than astonishing the number of French Canadians who distinguish themselves all too often by a knee-jerk reaction given to grievance and bad temper. Wishing to be catered to as an entitled right, regardless of the circumstances. Because it is their entitled right under they law they carry the cudgel of a grudge against the English-majority establishment, and voice their disgruntlement loud and clear on all occasions they deem merit it, and they are many.

Michael and Lynda Thibodeau have been a vociferously-pride-and-culture-injured thorn in the side of Air Canada for years. They complain that the national carrier has time and again violated their French-language rights, and have the experience of three international flights to bolster their claim where their French-spoken requests for the beverage of their choice produced an untoward result from a unilingual airline server.
Air Canada planes are pictured at shown at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport on May 18, 2014. (MATTHEW SHERWOOD FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
This obviously constitutes an untenable, intolerable, insulting situation that no self-respecting French-speaker with perfect English diction can be expected to just tuck under their belt of tolerance for the occasional episode not meeting their expectations. That they are perfectly comfortable speaking English is not the issue for them, but rather that they have the right by law to be served in the language of their choice, and they chose French.

The Official Languages Act guarantees them that right of choice. A social absurdity it may be, but it is also a cultural disgrace in the opinion of Official Languages commissioner Graham Fraser. Whose own audit of the airline's bilingual services saw it coming up short in a dozen areas. "Language issues continue to be a work in progress for Air Canada", he stated. Well thank heavens, it's not a safety issue at fault here; on the other hand failing in bilingual services seems to weigh as heavily in some circles.

The Supreme Court of Canada was even asked to weigh in and they did, ruling that though Air Canada erred when its server could not engage them in French when they ordered a 7Up and insulted them horrendously by bringing them the incorrect beverage, the carrier would not be required to pay the thousands of dollars the couple sued them for.

The $12,000 they had been awarded by the Federal Court of Canada in 2011 was therefore overturned even though the Federal Court of Appeal had earlier reduced the award to $3,000. The Supreme Court dismissed the appeal of the Thibodeaus' of that reduced award, as it did the original.

Life is so unfair. Mr. Thibodeau who works as an IT specialist for the federal government had suffered the unspeakable and for that he launched a suit in Federal Court for $525,000.

In 2000 on a flight from Montreal to Ottawa, he was refused service in French by a unilingual English flight attendant, when he ordered a 7Up. His reaction might have been viewed as excessive since he was escorted off the plane once the plane landed, by police. "That started the whole thing for me", he said.

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Temple Mount: Jewish religious freedoms are a right, not a provocation

The shooting of Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick will galvanize those pressing for an end to the prohibition on Jewish prayers there. Liberals everywhere should be supporting them.

Oct. 30, 2014 | 3:15 PM

Jewish visitor near Temple Mount
A Jewish visitor walks protected by Israeli security forces near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, Photo by AFP

The apparent assassination attempt of prominent Temple Mount activist Yehuda Glick on Wednesday has brought tensions in Jerusalem to a boil. If the motive of the attack was to weaken Jewish demands for access to the holy site, it is likely to achieve the opposite effect, galvanizing those pressing for an end to the prohibition on Jewish prayers there.

Arab MK Taleb Abu Arar has exclaimed that the Temple Mount “should be closed to Jews all the time because they have no business there.” Unfortunately, this message has been consistent with mainstream Arab rhetoric calling Jewish visits to the Temple Mount “provocations” and inciting a religious conflict. Yet, despite the aggressive language and the threat of confrontation, Jews should be entitled to freely worship at their holy sites in Jerusalem. This is a basic human right and not a provocation.

Opponents argue that Jewish visits to the Temple Mount exploit this holy site for political purposes. Yet, on Monday, Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah ascended to the Al-Aqsa Mosque and declared “there will not be a Palestinian state without East Jerusalem as its capital.” It is hard to find a more political statement than Hamdallah’s at this sacred site, yet no Palestinians condemned Hamdallah for exploiting Al-Aqsa.

Accompanying Hamdallah on Monday, Palestinian Intelligence Chief Majed Faraj toured the Nobel Sanctuary. It is certainly within their right to pray at one of Islam’s sacred mosques; but, can one imagine the global outcry if the Israeli Mossad head publicly prayed at the Temple Mount? The fact that Faraj and Hamdallah’s visit passed quietly in the Jewish community accentuates the double standard that exists for Jewish visits at the holy site.

Writing this week in Al-Monitor, Daoud Kuttab described a group of women at Al-Aqsa Mosque who “keep an eye on Jewish extremists attempting to pray.” Kuttab titles his article “Al-Aqsa’s Women Resist.” Yet, since when do liberals from any religion rejoice at one group preventing the other from praying? Why is stopping Jews from praying at the site of their revered Temples considered “resistance?”

The Temple Mount in Jerusalem is deemed Judaism’s holiest spot, the place where, according to tradition, the two ancient once stood. The same location also contains the Al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock and is considered Islam’s third most sacred shrine.

The tensions around Jewish visits to the Temple Mount have reached the highest levels of the Palestinian leadership. In a fiery speech this month, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas exclaimed, “It is not enough to say the settlers came, but they must be barred from entering the compound by any means. This is our Aqsa, and they have no right to enter it and desecrate it.” Abbas’ call to prevent Jewish entry “by any means” is an assertion that, in the Israeli-Palestinian context, naturally includes the use of violence. Abbas also assumes that Jews who are visiting the Temple Mount must be settlers, and not Israelis from Beit Shemesh (pre-1967 Israel) or American Jews. Does Abbas have any proof that all Jews interested in connecting with the Temple Mount are settlers or is this simply an additional way to slander this group?

When describing the Al-Aqsa/Temple Mount controversy, Reuters Jerusalem Bureau Chief Luke Baker wrote definitively that Jewish visits to the Temple Mount are “forbidden by the Torah.” Reuters’ absolutist stance on a contentious issue of Jewish law was sure to have surprised many. Although some Rabbis oppose Jewish visits, others note that the great Jewish sage Maimonides himself visited the Temple Mount nearly 900 years ago and respected Rabbi Moshe Feinstein ruled that Jews are permitted to ascent to this holy spot. Just as Muslims justifiably find it offensive when Jews lecture them on Jerusalem’s lesser status compared to Mecca and Medina, many Jews are resentful when non-Jews attempt to dictate to them religious law, especially on a complex dispute.
One key element in a final peace deal between Israelis and Palestinians is freedom of worship for all. The 2001 Clinton Parameters state that in Jerusalem, “what is holy to both requires a special care to meet the needs of all” with “mutual respect for the religious beliefs and holy shrines for Jews, Muslims, and Christians.”

Israeli security officials have long pushed to limit Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. This may be a wise decision in order to reduce tensions at a challenging period. Instead of the international community consistently attacking Israel for its Temple Mount policy, diplomats should appreciate that Israel continues to prevent its Jewish citizens from praying at their holiest site. This is quite a concession to make for the sake of maintaining calm.

Some Palestinians have been prone to labeling Jewish visitors to the Temple Mount as “extremists.” The Israeli government, for its part, has further poisoned the atmosphere with the Palestinisides with frequent settlement announcements in the last month. With increased tensions in the region, there is no reason to artificially create an additional crisis over Jewish prayer when none should exist.

Aaron Magid is a graduate student at Harvard University specializing in Middle Eastern Studies. He has written articles on Middle Eastern politics for The New Republic, Al-Monitor and Haaretz. He tweets at @AaronMagid.

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Jerusalem holy site closure 'declaration of war' - Abbas

BBC News online -- 30 October 2014
Israeli security forces stand behind a security perimeter outside the Menachem Begin Heritage Centre (29 October 2014) The shooting comes amid heightened tensions between Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem
A spokesman for Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas has described the closure of a disputed Jerusalem holy site as a "declaration of war".

The move came amid tension after the shooting of a Jewish activist. Israel's PM called for calm, saying Mr Abbas was responsible for escalating tensions.

Yehuda Glick, a campaigner for greater Jewish prayer rights at the Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif, was wounded.

Israeli police later killed a Palestinian suspected of shooting him.
The man, named as 32-year-old Moataz Hejazi, was shot after opening fire when police surrounded his home.

Rabbi Glick is a well-known US-born campaigner for the right of Jews to pray at the site, which they are currently prohibited from doing. The compound is known to Jews as the Temple Mount, and to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif.

It is the holiest site in Judaism, and also contains the al-Aqsa Mosque - the third holiest site in Islam.
In other developments
  • Sweden became the first major Western European country to officially recognise Palestine as a state. Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said she hoped more countries would follow Sweden's lead - Israel's Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quoted as saying it was a "deplorable" decision
  • The UN Human Rights Committee has called on Israel to halt settlement-building in the West Bank and investigate alleged violations committed by its forces in military operations in Gaza in 2008-09, 2012 and 2014
Palestinians in clashes with police as they try to arrest shooting suspect - 30 October Palestinians clashed with police as they tried to arrest the shooting suspect
Yehuda Glick attends a conference at the Menachem Begin Heritage Centre in Jerusalem (29 October 2014) Rabbi Glick was photographed attending a conference shortly before the shooting

Palestinians hold the Israeli government responsible for a "dangerous act", Mr Abbas was quoted as saying by Nabil Abu Rudeina, in remarks carried by AFP news agency.

"This dangerous Israeli escalation is a declaration of war on the Palestinian people and its sacred places and on the Arab and Islamic nation," Mr Rudeina added.

"The state of Palestine will take all legal measures to hold Israel accountable and to stop these ongoing attacks."

Map of compound
Jerusalem's holiest site
  • Known as the Temple Mount to Jews and al-Haram al-Sharif to Muslims, it comprises the al-Aqsa Mosque and the Dome of the Rock, and is next to the Western Wall
  • The Western Wall, from the time of the Jewish Biblical temples, is the holiest site where Jews can pray; the Dome of the Rock, where according to Jewish tradition the Ark of the Covenant rested in the first temple, is the holiest site in Judaism
  • The al-Aqsa Mosque is the third holiest site in Islam; the Dome of the Rock is revered by Muslims because of its connections to the Prophet Mohammed
  • Christians also venerate the site because of its Biblical links to Jesus
  • A Muslim committee has managed the compound since the time of the Crusades, while Israel, which has occupied East Jerusalem since 1967, controls access
  • Israel maintains a ban on prayer by non-Muslims at the compound as a security measure
  • Rabbi Yehuda Glick campaigns for allowing Jews to pray at the site
But Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for calm and suggested Mr Abbas was responsible for the increasing tension.

"We're facing a wave of incitement by radical Islamic elements as well as by the Palestinian Authority chairman... who said that Jews must absolutely be prevented from going on to the Temple Mount," he said, quoted by Haaretz newspaper.

Mr Netanyahu added that reinforcements for the security forces would be brought into Jerusalem to keep order.

The shooting of Rabbi Glick is the latest in a series of incidents which have led to an escalation of tensions in Jerusalem.

Some districts of East Jerusalem have seen nightly clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces since the conflict in Gaza.

Last week a Jewish baby and Ecuadorian woman were killed when a Palestinian attacker drove his car into a group of pedestrians at a tram stop in Jerusalem.

Police said Rabbi Glick's suspected attacker, Moataz Hejazi, had served time in jail in Israel and was released in 2012, adding that he belonged to the Islamic Jihad militant group.

The police anti-terrorist unit along with the Israeli internal security service Shin Bet had received information that Mr Glick's attacker was located in the Abu Tor neighbourhood, Israeli officials said.
Police say they were fired at after surrounding the house and shot back, hitting the suspect.

Rabbi Glick has had surgery for gunshot wounds to his chest and abdomen.
He had just attended a conference where delegates discussed Jewish claims to the compound, one of the most contentious areas of the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Israel argues that it protects freedom of worship at the site but Palestinians claim it is unilaterally taking steps to allow larger numbers of Jewish visitors.

The site is administered by an Islamic body called the Waqf, while Israeli police are in charge of security.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Lend Me Your Ears, Do

"Hello, I'm John Cantile, and today we are in the city of Kobani on the Syrian-Turkish border. That is, in fact, Turkey right behind me."
"Now the battle for Kobani is coming to an end."
"Some of us who tried to escape were waterboarded by our captors, as Muslim prisoners are waterboarded by their American captors."
"[ISIS] are just mopping up now, street to street, and building to building. You can occasionally hear sporadic gunfire in the background as a result of those operations."
"But contrary to what the Western media would have you believe, it is not an all-out battle here now. It is nearly over. As you can hear, it is very quiet, just the occasional gunfire."
"Two hundred thousand inhabitants of the city have been displaced because of the fighting that came here. You can see the refugee camps over my right shoulder over there in Turkey, where the inhabitants now are."
"Urban warfare is as about as nasty and tough as it gets, and it's something of a specialty of the mujahedeen."
British journalist John Cantlie, ISIS hostage, Kobani, Syria

The latest propaganda video presented the hostage John Cantlie as a war reporter / The Associated Press

Well, he's right where the action is. Just where enterprising and dauntless journalists wedded to their profession always hope to be. But when conflicts are so brutal and so close that so often proves to be extremely difficult. On the other hand, while such journalists take chances in approaching as close to the combat zone as they can to ensure they're in receipt of accurate information to pass on as news, few imagine they might do so while serving as hostages, with their lives in very immediate danger.

Casual, professional, fluid in addressing the situation in Kobani, as the only Western journalist present. He has a coup, a real news scoop, and he's delivering it in a rather unusual, unorthodox manner, under the conniving order to perform, by the very mujahadeen who are attacking a large Kurdish city, causing hundreds of thousands of desperately fearful people to flee their homes, murdering those whom they come across, taking women and girls as sex slaves, and enjoying the opportunity to mutilate and behead their Kurdish opponents.

Well, yes, of course he's also a captive of ISIS, held for whatever usefulness he can be to their cause. Since he's useless as a hostage for whom they can extract ransom from the government of which he is a citizen, the ever-resourceful Islamic State has decided his professional expertise can also be regarded as an asset at their disposal. So, Mr. Cantlie is accommodatingly doing all he can to aid their propaganda cause and just incidentally, in the process of helpfulness, extend his life-span.

Another in a series of videos has been revealed, featuring this inveterate journalist. Not yet decapitated as an object lesson delivered to the U.S. and Britain that their interference in the affairs of the Middle East and Islamist sectarianism is not appreciated. The skilled leaders of Islamic Jihad are using their comfort with and knowledge of social media and 'public relations' to effect. It's one thing to have footage of jihadists boasting of their conquest.

Quite another to feature the solidly reputable and respectable visage of a Western journalists describing the situation as it really is, according to ISIS, not as it is reported by those not on the scene. And so, Mr. Cantlie speaks of what he sees around him; nothing but large numbers of fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham. The photojournalist has been two years in captivity. It is, without a shadow of doubt, a sobering experience.

One that leads the captive to be amenable to opportunities to be useful. It would certainly beat shuddering in the bleak darkness of an underground cubbyhole subsisting on a half-teacup of beans or rice and foetid water. Taken out not necessarily for exercise from time to time, or evacuation, but for bruising reminders that he is at the mercy of torture-loving jihadists who have nothing but raging contempt for what he represents; the hated West.

In an earlier video he had stated: "Now I know what you're thinking. You're thinking he's only doing this because he's a prisoner. He's got a gun at his head, and he's being forced to do this. Right? Well, it's true, I am a prisoner. That I cannot deny But, seeing as I've been abandoned by my government and my fate now lies in the hands of the Islamic State, I have nothing to lose." True, true.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. But he must surely know that those captured and held by jihadists who insist for the good of their health, they must surrender to Islam; that having gone the conversion route, it has not aided them one iota. One by one, praying to Allah, taking comfort in thumbing the pages of the Koran, they have been slaughtered, beheaded, degraded, spirited on to their maker.
Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images

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