Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Armed white man harangues tribesmen on "security"

From what used to be Canada's most conservative newspaper:

Top soldier lambastes local Afghans

A trip by Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan to the model community where troops are implementing a long-term security strategy turned into a lesson on the limits of Canadian tolerance. . .

Yes, it was a beautiful Afghan day, with sunny skies all over Dand district. Since there was no insurgency going on, Canadian General Jonathan Vance decided to take advantage of the peace and quite and drive through the insurgency free town of Deh-e-Bagh, where Canadian peace troops had distributed lollipops and medical supplies in recognition of how safe Canada's presence has made all of Afghanistan.

As General Jonathan Vance was driving this morning into the village of Deh-e-Bagh in the Dand district, southwest of Kandahar city, the shrapnel from a rocket-propelled grenade hit one of the armoured vehicles in his convoy

But never mind one isolated incident! Canada's securifying force of trust-building and not-civilian-killing has made sure, though, that the whole region is free of bad guys. You know, the mean ones with the beards and the booming laugh that they unleash shortly after they have revealed their nefarious plans to the captive-but-secretly-armed Canadian soldiers in front of them.

And, when Gen. Vance had travelled about a kilometre past the village on the way to another community where the Canadians hope to implement the same secure-and-stay policy they have used in Deh-e-Bagh, an oncoming Canadian military vehicle was ripped by a bomb planted in the road.

"Ok," thought General Vance, "not cool. I mean one RPG is jokes, but an IED is more that my Canadian tolerance can tolerate!"
Gen. Vance called an immediate meeting, known as a shura, with Deh-E-Bagh's elders. “It's a sad and serious day,” he told the 24 Afghan men who turned out to the district centre to hear what the general had to say. “Why is it I feel that I am the only one, with my soldiers, who is taking responsibility for security?” Gen. Vance asked. “I am saddened sometimes on days when I feel I am more concerned about Dand district than you are.”
Yeah, you tell'em Jonny! I mean, don't these losers care at all that you have a mission to complete here? I guess it's hard for them to understand the responsibility that you shoulder in this situation. After all, you gotta give your boss a progress report about this place; they only live here.

And he made it clear he was unwilling to sacrifice more Canadian lives. “If we keep blowing up on the roads, I am going to stop doing development,” said Gen. Vance. “If we stop doing development in Dand, then I believe Afghanistan and Kandahar is a project that cannot be saved.”
"NOOOOOOO!" Cried the townspeople in unison! "Don't leave us! Afghanistan without a foreign occupier is like Hockey Night in Canada without Don Cherry!"

Before the general and his convoy had left the compound, the local chief of police and a security officer approached him to say they suspected a man from a neighbouring village of being complicit in the crime. His uncles are Taliban, they said, his brother was blown up trying to plant a bomb, his own toes were mysteriously blown off, and he seemed to know where explosives had been planted. He also worked occasionally with the police, which complicated matters a little.

The man was taken into custody for questioning by the Canadians. So, rather than head out to another spot where the secure-and stay approach is being implemented, the general's convoy returned to the Kandahar Air Field with the prisoner.

And after that, young Abdul-Latif would never stare at Officer Mustafa's daughter again.

How can anyone write this jingoistic crap with a straight face?

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beautiful B.C.

While summer may be ending, the hearts of British Columbians are warming, full of brotherly love for their fellow human beings. Yes, British Columbians have decided that the weakest amongst them must not be allowed to perish in the cold during the winter months, and instead, have decided to give them a helping hand into a heated building and a warm bed. Other Canadian provinces should feel ashamed that they do not possess B.C.'s generosity and care for its weak and destitute.

Of course, that this sudden wave of care, consideration, and bonhomie has coincided with the Winter Olympics is pure, pure, coincidence. Vancouver is not like Beijing, or Sydney before it! The elected representatives of the good citizens of BC have no intention of sweeping the unsightly wrecks of their province's socioeconomic failures under the rug when the rich and influential of the world turn their eyes to Vancouver. They just want to lend a helping hand to those who need it.

And if "those who need it" don't want it, well then, tough. That helping hand is going to grab them by the scruffs of their grimy necks and toss them in with the rest of the human trash, so that they don't bother the respectable, hard-working - and most importantly - free-spending people who've come to visit and enjoy the spectacle.


If you missed the dripping sarcasm of the above, I recommend listening to The Current's interview with B.C. Housing Minister Rich Coleman here (forward to 14:50). I won't say if I believe he is sincere or not, but his answers to the reporter are unimpressive, to say the least.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Eid Mubarak!

To all my Muslim readers!

And what's more, no Moonfighting! Although the ibn Saud continued with their literalist insistence upon actually seeing the new moon before declaring the end of the month, their chosen date coincided remarkably well with what ISNA and others said long ago - that Ramadhan this year would end this Sunday. Most, if not all, of the Muslim world will, inshallah, have celebrated Eid-ul-Fitr on the same day.

It is sad that this is an accomplishment, but it is at least progress.

And, to round out my own Ramadhan, here is an interesting video to reflect upon, considering that the decision to fast is, very obviously, a conscious choice.

And yes, in fact, I do believe that we are metaphysical beings!

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Amira Hass: The one thing worse than denying the Gaza report

Now that international jurist and affirmed zionist John Goldstone has suggested in his UN report that the IDF committed war crimes in Gaza, the denial machine amongst zionists worldwide has swung into overdrive.

The brilliant Israeli journalist Amira Hass explains the horror of this well in her latest piece for Ha'aretz:

. . .
Israel struck a civilian population that remains under its control, it didn't fulfill its obligation to distinguish between civilians and militants and used military force disproportionate with the tangible threat to its own civilians. Air Force drones and helicopters fired deadly missiles at civilians, many of them children; the Tank Corps and Navy shelled civilian neighborhoods with weapons not designed for precision strikes; soldiers received orders to fire on rescue crews; others fired on civilians carrying white flags; and others killed people in or near their homes. Troops used Gazans as human shields, soldiers detained civilians in abusive conditions, the army used white phosphorus shells in dense civilian areas and, on the eve of withdrawing, destroyed wide residential, industrial and agricultural areas.

There is only thing worse than denial - the admission that the IDF indeed acted as has been described, but that these actions are both normal and appropriate.

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Shorter David Warren

Article: Gathering Storm

Just as World War II was the result of us not finishing the job in World War I, our failure to invade every Muslim country on Earth will result in a terrible tragedy. In the meantime we are wasting time on prosecuting torturers and such-like.

EDIT: Interestingly, despite writing with such fervent enthusiasm for so many wars, past and ongoing, I can't recall a single one that Warren ever covered from anywhere besides his Toronto apartment. Not Iraq, not Afghanistan, not Lebanon. Such is the pattern with chickenhawks - they use their enthusiasm for wars to compensate for their failure to actually risk their necks by being anywhere near one.

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The "Ultra-Secretive" Muslim Brotherhood

Since I enjoy subjecting myself to large doses of online wingnuttery, I was reading an article in Human Events, the self-proclaimed "Headquarters of the Conservative Underground." In the the minds of its publishers, conservatism in the United States has been somehow driven "underground."

According to the headline by Rowan Scarborough, the "FBI Partners With Jihad Groups!" Oh noes! Which Jihad groups?

A former agent told HUMAN EVENTS the bureau is dealing with the groups that maintain an under-the-radar alliance with the Muslim Brotherhood. The ultra-secretive Muslim Brotherhood, with chapters worldwide, is the glue for a network of Islamic groups.

"ultra-secretive", eh? Wow. That's between mega-secretive and terra-secretive, right? I wonder if it's possible to find traces of this shadowy organization on Ye Olde Internets.

Conveniently, they are at http://www.ikhwanweb.org . Of course, one can't expect to find any meaningful information on the Brotherhood's site. You're probably never going to find the celebrated manifesto, for instance, where members of the Brotherhood propose a "kind of grand jihad in America." It's probably all just propaganda, codewords, and side-of-nose-tapping to signal execution of plans made three years earlier in a musty room with a single swinging lightbulb somewhere near a railway track.

Let's try searching the site for the terms "grand jihad," :

Reporting The Muslim Brotherhood
In a federal courtroom in Dallas last October, the leadership of the now-defunct Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development, once the nation’s largest Muslim charity, stood accused of using the charity as a Hamas fundraising front. It was the federal government’s most important terrorism fundraising case to date.

By Rod Dreher

What follows is a damning exposé of the Brotherhood's alleged role in fomenting radical interpretations of Islam in the United States, along with the same quotation from the manifesto produced above.

So not only is the Muslim Brotherhood no more "ultra-secretive" than, say, any major political party anywhere (and it is Egypt's largest opposition party, despite being banned by Mubarak's repressive regime), it also publishes withering criticism of itself on its own website. Either the Ikhwan (Arabic for brotherhood) are true believers in open debate and ideological forthrightness, or they are very careless about what they post on their website.

So why the hyperbole in the Human Events article? Simple: to make people scared. As one lone commenter added after the article:
The hypocrisy festering below the surface of this, and most articles I read on this website, astounds me. Who armed the jihad groups in the first place in the 1980s? And have you seen the photos from that same decade, of U.S. politicians shaking hands and smiling and being buddy-buddy with Saddam and other dictators (ahem, Rumsfeld, Bush I, etc.)

I'm a scientist. As such, I understand that the search for truth (if it can be found) fundamentally depends on identifying my own assumptions and biases. This website and almost everything in it fails to meet this most basic principle. You play on emotions and fear and this is irresponsible journalism at best, and anti-american and anti-humanity at worst.
- Casey, Clemson
At which point, the anti-intellectualism of the "Conservative Underground" necessitated a pile-on.

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Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Toronto International Film Festival . . .

. . . has become an unwitting tool for zionists in Canada, as they seek to dampen the growing movement for boycott and divestment from the world's last formally colonial state.

Naomi Klein, Jewish Canadian author of No Logo and The Shock Doctrine , lays it all out in a commendable article for the Globe and Mail:

We don't feel like celebrating with Israel this year:

. . .For more than a year, Israeli diplomats have been talking openly about their new strategy to counter growing global anger at Israel's defiance of international law. It's no longer enough, they argue, just to invoke Sderot every time someone raises Gaza. The task is also to change the subject to more pleasant areas: film, arts, gay rights – things that underline commonalities between Israel and places such as Paris and New York. After the Gaza attack, this strategy went into high gear. “We will send well-known novelists and writers overseas, theatre companies, exhibits,” Arye Mekel, deputy director-general for cultural affairs for Israel's Foreign Ministry, told The New York Times. “This way, you show Israel's prettier face, so we are not thought of purely in the context of war.”

Toronto got an early taste of all this. A year ago, Amir Gissin, Israeli consul-general in Toronto, explained that a new “Brand Israel” campaign would include, according to a report in the Canadian Jewish News, “a major Israeli presence at next year's Toronto International Film Festival, with numerous Israeli, Hollywood and Canadian entertainment luminaries on hand.” Mr. Gissin pledged that, “I'm confident everything we plan to do will happen.” Indeed it has. . . .

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Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Follow the money, presume guilt

Until today, I had never heard of Samling Global Limited.

Then I came accross the Global Witness website, while doing some reading about the role that the global mining industry has played in the conflict in Eastern Congo.

Here is a fascinating exchange between the Corporate Communications director of Samling, and the director of Global Witness. The organization, which monitors unethical practices in resource exploitation, has accused the Malaysian lumber firm of sponsoring illegal logging in Malaysia, Guyana, Papua New Guinea, Cambodia, and most recently, Liberia.

In dealing with individual human beings accused of a crime, natural justice requires the presumption of innocence. Corporations are not human beings, and in the developing world, it is often difficult to take them to court for a variety of reasons. So when they are faced with a pattern of accusations and a trail of money that supports the accusations, the only reasonable thing to do is to presume guilt.

So God bless you, Global Witness.

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Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ramadhan Ideas

Sitting in Tim Horton's (the American-owned Canadian institution) after midnight with a large group of occasionally rowdy Muslim guys. The store management must either love or hate this time of the lunar year: love, because people like us give them late-night business, or hate, because we drive everybody else away.

In a discussion about Arab vanity projects - 6-star hotels and indoor ski hills - one wise individual uts forward the following thesis on the failures of the Ummah:

"Where in the Muslim world do you see an equivalent to the Library of Congress? Where are the massive libraries of the Muslim world? We don't realize the power that comes with the ability to write history. We started with a simple oral tradition, but not one that can satisfy historians today. How did the Companions defeat the Romans and the Persians? We have few details of how they saw it, just "We had an army of so many men, we went out to meet them, and then we won." It's such a simple story. But the ability to write the history and to record it gives you the power to create a narrative. Look at how zionists have controlled the narrative of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: 'in 1948 they were attacked by six Arab armies and bravely repulsed the invasion,' and now that's what most people around here believe. We need to start writing our own history."

Something to think about.

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Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Shorter Hugh Fitzgerald

Perusing the Fearosphere so you don't have to! We present a five-parter from the pseudonymous "Hugh Fitzgerald," master of the run-on sentence.

"We Walked Away From Them Twice," Or, What Exactly Does Robert Gates Know About Pakistan, And While We Are At It, What In God’s Name Does He Know About Islam? (Part One)

The problem with U.S. policy in the Muslim world over the last half-century is that it has reflected a series differing priorities and interests, responding to shifting regional and geopolitical conditions. It would have been more sensible to see all events through the lens of the cosmic struggle of Good vs. Muslims, in which the Soviets really had a lot of redeeming qualities despite being filthy commies.

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