Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Christie Blatchford and Joseph Goebbels

"Mr. Alizadeh, an Iranian-born 30-year-old who formerly worked in a halal butcher shop and is now on welfare, is charged with terror conspiracy, having terrorist explosive devices and terrorist fundraising."

Christie Blatchford, The Globe and Mail, September 1, 2010

"Eastern Bolshevism is not only a doctrine of terrorism, it is also the practice of terrorism. It strives for its goals with an infernal thoroughness, using every resource at its disposal, regardless of the welfare, prosperity, or peace of the peoples it ruthlessly oppresses."

Joseph Goebbels, February 18, 1943

We are speaking here of the Criminal Code of Canada. There is nothing about "terrorism" that wasn't already in the Criminal Code of Canada, as shown by its definition of "terrorism" at Section 83:



83.01 (1) The following definitions apply in this Part.

« Canadien »
“Canadian” means a Canadian citizen, a permanent resident within the meaning of subsection 2(1) of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act or a body corporate incorporated and continued under the laws of Canada or a province.

« entité »
“entity” means a person, group, trust, partnership or fund or an unincorporated association or organization.

“listed entity”
« entité inscrite »
“listed entity” means an entity on a list established by the Governor in Council under section 83.05.

“terrorist activity”
« activité terroriste »
“terrorist activity” means
(a) an act or omission that is committed in or outside Canada and that, if committed in Canada, is one of the following offences:
(i) the offences referred to in subsection 7(2) that implement the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Seizure of Aircraft, signed at The Hague on December 16, 1970,
(ii) the offences referred to in subsection 7(2) that implement the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation, signed at Montreal on September 23, 1971,
(iii) the offences referred to in subsection 7(3) that implement the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Crimes against Internationally Protected Persons, including Diplomatic Agents, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 14, 1973,
(iv) the offences referred to in subsection 7(3.1) that implement the International Convention against the Taking of Hostages, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 17, 1979,
(v) the offences referred to in subsection 7(3.4) or (3.6) that implement the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material, done at Vienna and New York on March 3, 1980,
(vi) the offences referred to in subsection 7(2) that implement the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts of Violence at Airports Serving International Civil Aviation, supplementary to the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Civil Aviation, signed at Montreal on February 24, 1988,
(vii) the offences referred to in subsection 7(2.1) that implement the Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation, done at Rome on March 10, 1988,
(viii) the offences referred to in subsection 7(2.1) or (2.2) that implement the Protocol for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Fixed Platforms Located on the Continental Shelf, done at Rome on March 10, 1988,
(ix) the offences referred to in subsection 7(3.72) that implement the International Convention for the Suppression of Terrorist Bombings, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 15, 1997, and
(x) the offences referred to in subsection 7(3.73) that implement the International Convention for the Suppression of the Financing of Terrorism, adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations on December 9, 1999, or
(b) an act or omission, in or outside Canada,
(i) that is committed
(A) in whole or in part for a political, religious or ideological purpose, objective or cause, and
(B) in whole or in part with the intention of intimidating the public, or a segment of the public, with regard to its security, including its economic security, or compelling a person, a government or a domestic or an international organization to do or to refrain from doing any act, whether the public or the person, government or organization is inside or outside Canada, and
(ii) that intentionally
(A) causes death or serious bodily harm to a person by the use of violence,
(B) endangers a person’s life,
(C) causes a serious risk to the health or safety of the public or any segment of the public,
(D) causes substantial property damage, whether to public or private property, if causing such damage is likely to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C), or
(E) causes serious interference with or serious disruption of an essential service, facility or system, whether public or private, other than as a result of advocacy, protest, dissent or stoppage of work that is not intended to result in the conduct or harm referred to in any of clauses (A) to (C),
and includes a conspiracy, attempt or threat to commit any such act or omission, or being an accessory after the fact or counselling in relation to any such act or omission, but, for greater certainty, does not include an act or omission that is committed during an armed conflict and that, at the time and in the place of its commission, is in accordance with customary international law or conventional international law applicable to the conflict, or the activities undertaken by military forces of a state in the exercise of their official duties, to the extent that those activities are governed by other rules of international law.

There's nothing in this section, self-evidently, that wasn't already a crime. You'd think Christie, indomitable crime reporter and Canadian Armed Forces cheerleader, would have actually read the Criminal Code of Canada, but it appears not to be the case. Equally, there is no suggestion that Christie has actually read the Air India Commission report, describing the most horrific made-in-Canada terrorist bombing in history and that, as it happened, didn't involve Muslims, but did involve considerable incompetence on the part of the Canadian government, evidence of which the current government tried strenuously to suppress.

Thus, many of us ordinary citizens have considerable doubts about the ability of the government to know "terrorism" when it sees it, or to recognize its own culpability under the Criminal Code of Canada, particularly the obstruction of justice.

The current government, as well as Christie Blatchford, sees terrorists under the bed, and has scant regard for the power of 800 years of Parliamentary democracy.

Or, in the words of Joe Goebbels:

"In his proclamation on January 30, the Führer asked in a grave and compelling way what would have become of Germany and Europe if, on January 30, 1933, a bourgeois or democratic government had taken power instead of the National Socialists. What dangers would have followed, faster than even we could then have suspected, and what powers of defense would we have had to meet them? Ten years of National Socialism have been enough to make plain to the German people the seriousness of the danger posed by Bolshevism from the East. Now one can understand why we spoke so often of the fight against Bolshevism at our Nuremberg party rallies."

Replace "Bolshevism" with "terrorism" and you're pretty much up to date with Christie. The question is now where to hold the Nuermberg-like anti-terrorism rallies. "Ground Zero" in Manhattan? The Sky Dome? Huntsville?

Monday, August 30, 2010

When marketing becomes roadkill

Julia Gillard and Botox

I'm not saying she's a user. I'm just saying there's a particular "mask-like facies" that defies human comprehension, and is absent from Tony Abbott who appears, on the evidence, to be an idiot: "Stop The Boats!" OK, Tony, what are you going to do, torpedo them? There's the old "joke" about winning the Vietnam War: first you put the friendlies in boats and tow them out to sea, then you nuke the country, then you sink the boats.

Nevertheless, Australian parliamentary democracy is the scion of British parliamentary democracy, and even if both are in deep serious, like Canadian parliamentary democracy, the inherent genius of the system continues to make itself felt and is indestructible.

People moan and groan, but should have faith in evolution.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Globe and Mail sinks to new heights of hysteria

I'm not saying that a criminal conspiracy to commit murder with explosives is an OK part of the tapestry of Canadian Multiculturalism. I'm saying it's a crime covered by the Criminal Code of Canada, and was at the time of the Air India bombing in 1985. No special law was required to deal with that crime - "a Canadian atrocity" - but merely an informed police force doing its job and having some idea of reading handwriting on the wall. As I read Justice Major's report, the Air India bombing was a barn door prediction. Likewise, there is nothing about "terrorism" that hasn't been covered by the Criminal Code of Canada for years: "terrorism" is a useless concept.

The person who got this all right is Germaine Tillion. She spoke the truth about North African Berbers, Nazis, the French in Algeria, and survived Ravensbruck concentration camp. What she said, which I think cannot be improved on, is:

"We see the United States as deeply worried about terrorism. But effectively fighting against terrorism does not mean increasing the number of military operations; it means fighting against what causes terrorism. If you introduce kindness and gentleness at the place where terrorism begins, you will eradicate terrorism without pain. It is necessary to examine the most sensitive areas of the earth. You can do nothing to stop the seventeen-year-old kid who has decided to place a bomb somewhere. You can do strictly nothing, and any effort against him will just fly back in your face. Countering violence with violence is the most ineffective response imaginable. Instead, we should target the pain, with the goal to alleviate it. I firmly desire a worldwide dialogue, and I would like to see the United States discharged from the monologue. The period of great wars is over. Science has put in the hands of children extraordinary means of death. The greatest error the United States is currently making is to think that international military operations can stop a seventeen-year-old child from acting. The focus should be placed instead on alleviating the pain in the most sensitive regions of the world, beginning with Jerusalem."

Excerpt from “Déchiffrer le silence”:
A Conversation with Germaine Tillion
by Alison Rice
Research in African Literatures 2004 35(1):162-179

Thursday, August 26, 2010

The Best of America


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Canada's Afghanistan Entrance Strategy

By a stroke of good fortune, Canada's initial reason for being in Afghanistan has been found in a government document, previously undisclosed, consisting of a 7 page Powerpoint presentation. I post it as a public service.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Dieppe at 68

At least at Dieppe we got the guys off the beach in 24 hours. In Afghanistan, it's gonna take years. The stupidity of it all is the same.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Americist Fundamentalists

As I understand Karen Armstrong in "The Battle for God", a perceived threat of annihilation provokes rigid "us and them" thinking which in turn results in - let's not mince words - atrocities. Her concern was Christian, Jewish and Islamic fundamentalism, but I think she's overlooked a powerful new religion - "Americism."

Americism is unrelated to the American Constitution.

Americists believe in The Flag, a totem of goodness and vailidation that transcends words and finds its purest expression in the Superbowl and Playboy. The inherent contradictions in such beliefs are obliterated by self-serving rationalizations, among them being that people are rich because they desrve to be, and that people are poor because they deserve to be. Everybody gets what they desrve, like Roxanne Pulitzer who married into a rich family that - among other sacrifices - liked watching people having sex with dogs. It's the American Dream.

And then of course we have Dick Cheney, who was careful to distinguish between the "rule of law" and the "rule of men", which is precisely the same distinction made by George Orwell who said: "In power politics there are no crimes, because there are no laws." For the aptly named Dick, the American Constitution is a polite fiction, or maybe a rude fiction, a well meaning document that has no relation to reality.

"Eisenhower has much to teach Obama. During his two terms in office, Ike did some things right and more than a few things wrong. Where he most disappointed his admirers, however, was in waiting until the eve of his departure from office before speaking the truth. Here's hoping that Barack Obama won't wait that long."

Andrew Bacevich

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Maybe the Kiwis can find out about our prisoners

All arrests made by New Zealand's elite Special Air Service commandos are handled by a crisis response unit of the Afghan police that has been known to transfer prisoners to the directorate, New Zealand Defence Minister Wayne Mapp confirmed.

When asked if New Zealand might have handed over detainees who later were tortured, Mapp said, "We can't rule that out."

He said the information under review relates "to some years ago."

"It's a concern, which is precisely why I have been seeking reports," he told National Radio.

"New Zealanders want to be able to see, the Defence Force itself wants to be able to see, that we observe all principles of international law," Mapp said.

After the first New Zealand SAS deployment to Afghanistan in 2001, the Defence Force negotiated with the Red Cross to follow up on any prisoners New Zealand forces helped capture.

At the time, some 50 to 70 al-Qaida and Taliban terrorist suspects detained by New Zealand forces were transferred to U.S. and Canadian custody. New Zealand commandos expressed concern then that some of those detainees were not properly registered by their new custodians.
[emphasis added]
Associated Press, August 16, 2010

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Sun-Bronzed ANZACs in Afghanistan

Remember Gallipoli

Burying the dead at Gallipoli
New Zealand government archives

"We are in Afghanistan because we were attacked from Afghanistan..." - Robert Gates

News flash for you, Bob: Logan International Airport is not in Afghanistan.

There’s an odd thing about NATO’s military adventure in Afghanistan: some of the adventurers aren’t even part of NATO, Australia and New Zealand being obvious examples; well OK, maybe the only examples. So how do these two white proto-European nations end up in a military force, ISAF, that is a wholly owned subsidiary of NATO, the existence of which is justified by UN Security Council Resolution 1386 of December 20, 2001, when in fact, no other nation in the south Pacific, Indonesia and China being striking examples, finds it necessary to send troops to prevent the world menace of terrorism? Well, OK, the Security Council called on all members to be part of ISAF, but not all Members of the Security Council actually supported the various resolutions by contributing to ISAF. In fact, it looks like a re-run of the Crusades.

I ask this question because my friend Ali in Australia phoned to ask me the same thing. She asks a perceptive question. She always does.

It’s difficult enough to understand Canada’s participation in this misbegotten, fool’s-errand, pseudo-Crusader catastrophe – but we share the world’s longest previously undefended border with the USA, now of course defended by retinal imprints, thumbscrews, and the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Cheney – but why Australia and New Zealand? What foolish debts do they think they’re repaying by token participation in the Graveyard of The Great Game? Is this the price for removing America’s Cup from the New York Yacht Club?

Australia is now convulsed by a national election precipitated by a palace coup against Kevin Rudd, an Obama-like Renaissance Man who turned out to be all hat and no cattle, and the charismatic Julia Somebody who stuck her stilettos in Kevin’s chest is now fighting for her political life in a poisonous atmosphere of “Stop The Boats.” Canada just ended up with a boatload of alleged Tamils in British Columbia, and we’ve so far managed to avoid a repetition of the Japanese Internment Camps fiasco, or of torpedoing ships of human misery.

And then there’s New Zealand, who has about three people in Afghanistan, one of whom just got killed. And, interestingly enough, New Zealand is now worried about Afghan prisoners it transferred to Canadian custody. You just can't make this stuff up, but why is it going on?

It is, in fact, stupid. If Gates thinks Boston is in Afghanistan, that’s the whole story right there, and if Australia and New Zealand think that they can “stop the boats” by invading Afghanistan, their leaders have a similarly deranged view of geography, and a short attention span about land wars in Asia. On the other hand – the even worse hand - there’s a pretty good argument that ISAF, and therefore the United Nations Security Council, is complicit in war crimes, particularly regarding prisoners at Bagram Air Base. The Security Council didn’t, in its own terms, “authorize” Operation Enduring Freedom, but in Resolution 1623(2005), it called:

"... upon the International Security Assistance Force to continue to work in close consultation with the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and the Special Representative of the Secretary-General as well as with the Operation Enduring Freedom Coalition in the implementation of the force mandate;"

...which means that the Security Council is complicit in whatever OEF has been up to, which means also the ANZACs.
Too big to jail.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Live ROV feeds from Chevron's Orphan Basin deepwater drilling site

Video images from 2600 meters below the North Atlantic surface.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Francisco Ximénez de Cisneros and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

It’s Friday, August 13th, 2010. The Guantánamo war crimes trial of Canadian citizen Omar Khadr is in its second day, his lawyer having collapsed in court at the end of the first day. Today, The Current interviews Cardinal Francisco Ximénez de Cisneros. Nobody – even in Guantánamo - expected the Spanish Inquisition.

Good morning. I’m Anna-Maria Tremonti for The Current, Friday, August 13th, 2010. Today, we have an extended interview, through the magic of radio, with the man who led the Spanish Inquisition, Francisco Ximénez de Cisneros. Then, in our second hour, I have no idea what's happening.

That’s it really. I’m Anna-Maria Tremonti and this is The Current.

AMT: Cardinal Ximénez, good morning.

CXC: Who are you? I think you are a harlot. You are dressed like a harlot.

AMT: Cardinal, you led the Spanish Inquisition in the time of Isabella and Ferdinand, and now you can see the fruits of your labour in the war crmes trials in Cuba.

CXC: I have no idea about that. Obviously, we failed to extinguish the Moors in Spain, despite my best efforts, but the Faith was transported to the New World.

AMT: I understand you lived for a time in a hut that you built yourself in the mountains, and flagellated yourself on a regular basis.

CXC: And your point is...?

AMT: I'm only saying your experience might have influenced your view of the Guantánamo war crimes trials.

CXC: What are war crimes?

To be continued...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Laurie Hawn's book club

So, just to simplify things, the crucial document is EV.DFAIT.0002.0180, released in highly redacted form to Amir Attaran on November 14, 2007, and consisting of 10 pages of what is obviously the "CAMPAIGN AGAINST TERRORISM DETAINEE TRANSFER LOG" which meticulously tells us, all of us Canadian citizens, and the whole reason this blog exists, whether Canadian forces were compliant with their obligations - and therefore our obligations - or in the words of the Supreme Court of Canada - "Canada’s binding international human rights obligations" - in transferring Canadian prisoners of war to the jurisdiction of Afghan "authorities" - or whether in fact Canada has committed "grave breaches" of International Humanitarian Law (a.k.a., "war crimes") as defined by the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act, 2000, at pages 21-22 in the July 11, 2010 consolidated edition by making such transfers.

I hear Ottawa can be pretty nice in the summer.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Afghan Wines

Obviously, from this data, there is no economic reason to produce opium rather than grapes. By curious coincidence, there is a worldwide interest in fine wines, particularly from parts of the world (e.g., northern Alberta) previously underappreciated except as a source of toxic deposits. In this light, Afghanistan comes into its own, as a source of relatively inexpensive grapes and little known wineries.

Kandahar Tastebud Blaster
This tart Cab is slightly acidic on the tongue, and then even more acidic on the remainder of the body. It has a robust yet jarring finish that makes further tasting unnecessary.

Kabul Krud
A sparkling wine in the méthode champenoise tradition, available only at the Hotel Serena from a 45 gallon drum behind sandbags in the reception area.

Jalalabad Jumpstart
A cheeky rosé made from disused military tires and unexploded cluster munitions.

Monday, August 9, 2010

"Cardinal Biggles, read out the charges!"

"In power politics there are no crimes, because there are no laws." - George Orwell

"In civilized democracies, the rule of law must prevail over intelligence objectives. In this case, the sum of the human rights violations suffered by Khadr is both shocking and unjustifiable. Although Khadr may have possessed information of intelligence value, he is still entitled to the safeguards and benefit of the law, and not to arbitrary and illegal detention in a secret detention centre where he was subjected to physical abuse. The United States was the driving force behind Khadr’s fourteen month detention in Pakistan, paying a $500,000 bounty for his apprehension. The United States intelligence agency acted in concert with the ISI to delay consular access by DFAIT to Khadr for three months, contrary to the provisions of the Vienna Convention. The United States, contrary to Canada’s wishes, pressured the ISI to delay Khadr’s repatriation because of its dissatisfaction with Khadr being released without charge, even though there was no admissible evidence upon which to base charges at that time. In my view, given this gross misconduct, there cannot be a clearer case that warrants a stay."

United States of America v. Khadr, 2010 ONSC 4338

NB: Of course, this case concerns Omar Khadr's brother. The reasoning seems completely transferrable.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Trashing Nuremberg

On the 65th Anniversary of the Nuremberg Charter

The Trial of Omar K

Robert H. Jackson, who became the Chief Prosecutor in Nuremberg, said in his address to the Canadian Bar Association in Banff, Alberta, September 1, 1949:

“It is possible that strife and suspicion will lead to new aggressions and that the nations are not yet ready to receive and abide by the Nuremberg law. But those who gave some of the best effort of their lives to this trial are sustained by a confidence that in place of what might have been mere acts of vengeance we wrote a civilized legal precedent and one that will lie close to the foundations of that body of international law that will prevail when the world becomes sufficiently civilized.”

Meanwhile, back in Guantánamo, we have pretty good evidence that the world is not yet "sufficiently civilized" and the Nuremberg Principles will be ignored as legal precedent. A Canadian citizen will be tried before a "Military Commission" that has no standing in international law, after obvious violations of International Humanitarian Law that the United States has signed. In the words of the Supreme Court of Canada:

"The principles of international law and comity of nations, which normally require that Canadian officials operating abroad comply with local law and which might otherwise preclude application of the Charter to Canadian officials acting abroad, do not extend to participation in processes that violate Canada’s binding international human rights obligations. The process in place at Guantanamo Bay at the time Canadian officials interviewed K and passed on the fruits of the interviews to U.S. officials has been found by the U.S. Supreme Court, with the benefit of a full factual record, to violate U.S. domestic law and international human rights obligations to which Canada subscribes."
Maybe it's the Republic that's on trial.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Four Pillars

Defence, Diplomacy, Development, Dishonesty

Gates claimed that the administration's policy in Afghanistan is "really quite clear." But this is how he described it: "We are in Afghanistan because we were attacked from Afghanistan, not because we want to try and build a better society in Afghanistan. But doing things to improve governance, to improve development in Afghanistan, to the degree it contributes to our security mission and to the effectiveness of the Afghan government in the security area, that's what we're going to do."

Robert Gates, quoted in the Washington Post, states clearly that the legal basis for the invasion of Afghanistan was and is perceived self-interest, the "collective right of self defence" of Article 5 of the NATO Charter.

Article 5

"The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

"Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security ."

Anybody who thinks we're in Afghanistan for humanitarian reasons should talk to Bob Gates.