Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Separatist/Socialist/Tsarist Coalition on Afghanistan



Prince Mikhail stared sightlessly at his website. Things were beginning to go his way....and yet he was nagged by doubts. Doubts were abstract concepts at Harvard.

His private secretary knocked. "Your new political strategist is here, sir."

"Show him in."

Marvin clanked into the room ostentatiously and wheezed to a halt.

"You probably want to use my enormous brain," he said dolorously.

"Only that part of it that isn't depressed."

"That is still large beyond your wildest imaginings. What would you have me do?"

"I need a means to defeat the Prime Minister of Canada, the Right Honourable Stephen Vader."

There was a pause.

"Ask him to multiply 7 times 6."

The next day, Prince Mikhail rose in the House.

"Will the Prime Minister please tell us, what is the product of 7 multiplied by 6?"

The Prime Minister spoke with complete conviction: "42."

And so, Canada's Afghan involvement was ended. The scores of Canadians killed in Afghanistan were brought back to life, and the hundreds wounded in body and spirit were made whole. Over 10 billion Canadian dollars were returned to the Minister of Finance, and a number of obsolete tanks were sold back to The Netherlands. Canada spoke out against American prisons in Afghanistan, and opened the Department of National Defence "Campaign Against Terrorism Detainee Transfer Log" for public examination.

Pigs flew.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Smoke on the Ottawa

Canada's Afghan disaster and the demise of NATO

Cartoon from the Ottawa Citizen via Sean Bruyea's website.

In a quotation undoubtedly misapochryphalated to George W. Bush: "This isn't rocket surgery." There are so many fires burning in Ottawa it's hard to keep track.

But there's an obvious theme that's impossible to miss unless you're blind to it in the first place: the current Government of Canada can't distinguish between self-interest and the public interest.

They'll have to go.

Monday, September 27, 2010

ISAF Public Affairs - NATO's Pollyanna


So, NATO helicopters invaded Pakistan air space and shot up a bunch of people.

Here's what Pakistan's Foreign Affairs Ministry thinks about it:

PR. NO. 242/2010
Date: 27/09/2010

Pakistan protests against ISAF/NATO aerial engagements

Pakistan has strongly protested to ISAF/NATO on the two incidents of aerial engagements from the Afghanistan side into Pakistani territory by ISAF/NATO helicopters. These incidents are a clear violation and breach of the UN mandate under which ISAF operates. The said mandate “terminates/finishes” at the Afghanistan border. There are no agreed “hot pursuit” rules. Any impression to the contrary is not factually correct. Such violations are unacceptable.

ISAF/NATO has been asked not to participate in any military action that violates the UN mandate and infringes upon Pakistan’s sovereignty. In the absence of immediate corrective measures, Pakistan will be constrained to consider response options.

Pakistan has always emphasized the need for coordinated and joint action against forces inimical to regional and global peace. Pakistan has boldly and at a great cost countered terrorists. Element of trust followed by capacity enhancement of Pakistan’s armed forces was stressed. The demarche has been relayed to NATO Headquarters in Brussels.

Islamabad 27 September 2010

From the United Nations Charter:

Article 2

The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.

The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.

All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.

All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations. [emphasis added]

All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.

The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.

UPDATE: Cross Border Attack Repelled By Air Weapons Team

KABUL, Afghanistan (Sept. 27) - An air weapons team engaged a significant number of insurgents following an attack on a remote Afghan National Security Force outpost in Khost province Saturday. ANSF Combat Outpost Narizah came under attack, receiving direct and indirect fire from the Pakistan side of the border. An air weapons team in the area observed the enemy fire and engaged the enemy in the border area under the right of self defense. The engagement resulted in more than 30 insurgents killed. After the engagement, additional ISAF helicopters arrived to conduct an aerial assessment and received small-arms fire again. The aircraft returned fire resulting in several additional insurgents killed. Initial reports indicate no civilians were injured or killed during the operation. At no time during the engagement did ground forces cross into Pakistan territory.


And still, in 1946, we have the prophetic George Orwell:


In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible. Things like the continuance of British rule in India, the Russian purges and deportations, the dropping of the atom bombs on Japan, can indeed be defended, but only by arguments which are too brutal for most people to face, and which do not square with the professed aims of the political parties. Thus political language has to consist largely of euphemism, question-begging and sheer cloudy vagueness. Defenseless villages are bombarded from the air, the inhabitants driven out into the countryside, the cattle machine-gunned, the huts set on fire with incendiary bullets: this is called pacification. Millions of peasants are robbed of their farms and sent trudging along the roads with no more than they can carry: this is called transfer of population or rectification of frontiers. People are imprisoned for years without trial, or shot in the back of the neck or sent to die of scurvy in Arctic lumber camps: this is called elimination of unreliable elements. Such phraseology is needed if one wants to name things without calling up mental pictures of them. Consider for instance some comfortable English professor defending Russian totalitarianism. He cannot say outright, "I believe in killing off your opponents when you can get good results by doing so." Probably, therefore, he will say something like this:

"While freely conceding that the Soviet regime exhibits certain features which the humanitarian may be inclined to deplore, we must, I think, agree that a certain curtailment of the right to political opposition is an unavoidable concomitant of transitional periods, and that the rigors which the Russian people have been called upon to undergo have been amply justified in the sphere of concrete achievement."


Friday, September 24, 2010

The fabulous beat-up dragged-down American Constitution

WE, the PEOPLE of the UNITED STATES, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.
ARTICLE I. Sect. 1. ALL legislative powers, herein granted, shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.
Sect. 2. The House of Representatives shall be composed of Members chosen every second year by all the people of the several States, and the Electors in each State shall have the qualifications requisite for Electors of the most numerous branch of the State Legislature.
No person shall be a Representative who shall not have attained to the age of twenty-five years, and been seven years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State in which he shall be chosen.
Representatives and direct taxes shall be apportioned among the several States which may be included within this Union, according to the respective numbers, which shall be determined by adding to the whole number of free persons, including those bound to service for a term of years, and excluding Indians not taxed, three fifths of all other persons. The actual enumeration shall be made within three years after the first meeting of the Congress of the United States, and within every subsequent term of ten years, in such manner as they shall by law direct. The number of Representatives shall not exceed one for every thirty thousand, but each State shall have at least one Representative; and until such enumeration shall be made, the State of New-Hampshire shall be entitled to choose three, Massachusetts eight, Rhode-Island and Providence Plantation one, Connecticut five, New-York six, New-Jersey four, Pennsylvania eight, Delaware one, Maryland six, Virginia ten, North-Carolina five, South-Carolina five, and Georgia three.
When vacancies happen in the Representation from any State, the Executive authority thereof shall issue writs of election to fill such vacancies.
The House of Representatives shall choose their Speaker and other officers, and shall have the sole power of impeachment.
Sect. 3. The Senate of the United States shall be composed of two Senators from each State, chosen by the Legislature thereof, for six years; and each Senator shall have one vote.
Immediately after they shall be assembled in consequence of the first election, they shall be divided as equally as may be into three classes. The seats of the Senators of the first class shall be vacated at the expiration of the second year, of the second class at the expiration of the fourth year, and of the third class at the expiration of the sixth year; so that one third may be chosen every second year; and if vacancies happen, by resignation or otherwise, during the recess of the Legislature of any State, the Executive thereof may make temporary appointments until the next meeting of the Legislature, which shall then fill such vacancies.
No person shall be a Senator who shall not have attained to the age of thirty years, and been nine years a citizen of the United States, and who shall not, when elected, be an inhabitant of that State for which he shall be chosen.
The Vice-President of the United States shall be President of the Senate, but shall have no vote, unless they be equally divided. The Senate shall choose their other officers, and also a President pro tempore, in a the absence of the Vice-President, or when he shall exercise the office of President of the United States.
The Senate shall have the sole power to try all impeachments. When sitting for that purpose, they shall by on oath or affirmation. When the President of the United State is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside; and no person shall be convicted without the concurrence of two thirds of the members present.
Judgment, in cases of impeachment, shall not extend further than to removal from office, and disqualification to hold and enjoy any office of honour, trust or profit, under the United States; but the party convicted shall nevertheless be liable and subject to indictment, trial, judgment and punishment, according to law.
Sect. 4. The times, places and manner, of holding elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time, by law, make or alter such regulations, except as to the place of choosing Senators.
The Congress shall assemble at least once in every year, and such meeting shall be on the first Monday in December, unless they shall by law appoint a different day.
Sect. 5. Each House shall be the judge of the elections, returns and qualification, of its own members, and a majority of each shall constitute a quorum to do business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the attendance of absent members, in such manner, and under such penalties, as each House may provide.
Each House may determine the rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.
Each House shall keep a journal of its proceedings, and from time to time publish the same, excepting such parts as may in their judgment require secresy; and the yeas and nays of the members of either House on any question shall, at the desire of one fifth of those present, be entered on the journal.
Neither House, during the session of Congress, shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn for more than three days, nor to any other place than that in which the two Houses shall be sitting.
Sect. 6. The Senators and Representatives shall receive a compensation for their services, to be ascertained by law, and paid out of the treasury of the United States. They shall in all cases, except treason, felony and breach of peace, be privileged from arrest during their attendance at the session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any speech or debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other place.
No Senator or Representative shall, during the time for which he was elected, be appointed to any civil office under the authority of the United States, which shall have been created, or the emoluments whereof shall have been encreased, during such time; and no person holding any officer under the United States shall be a member of either House, during his continuance in office.
Sect. 7. All bills for raising revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with amendments, as on other bills.
Every bill which shall have passed the House of Representatives and the Senates shall, before it become a law, be presented to the President of the United States; if he approve; he shall sign it; but if not, he shall return it, with his objections, to that House in which it shall have originated, who shall enter the objections at large on their journal, and proceed to reconsider it. If after such reconsideration two thirds of that House shall agree to pass the bill, it shall be sent, together with the objections, to the other House, by which it shall likewise be reconsidered, and if approved by two thirds of that House, it shall become a law. But in all such cases the votes of both Houses shall be determined by yeas and nays, and the names of the persons voting for and against the bill shall be entered on the journal of each House respectively. If any bill shall not be returned by the President within ten days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the same shall be a law in like manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their adjournment prevent its return, in which case it shall not be a law.
Every order, resolution or vote, to which the concurrence of the Senate and House of Representatives may be necessary (except on a question of adjournment) shall be presented to the President of the United States; and before the same shall take effect, shall be approved by him, or being disapproved by him, shall be re-passed by two thirds of the Senate and House of Representatives, according to the rules and limitations prescribed in the case of a bill.
Sect. 8. The Congress shall have power To lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises, to pay the debts and provide for the common defence and general welfare of the United States; but all duties; imposts and excises, shall be uniform throughout the United States;
To borrow money on the credit of the United States;
To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian tribes;
To establish an uniform rule of naturalization, and uniform laws on the subject of bankruptcies, throughout the United States;
To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures;
To provide for the punishment of counterfeiting the securities and current coin of the United States;
To establish post-offices and post-roads;
To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
To constitute tribunals inferior to the Supreme Court;
To define and punish piracies and felonies committed on the high seas and offences against the law of nations;
To declare war, grant letters of marque and reprisal, and make rules concerning captures on land and water;
To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years;
To provide and maintain a navy;
To make rules for the government and regulation of the land and naval forces;
To provide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the Union, suppress insurrections, and repel invasions;
To provide for organizing, arming and disciplining the militia, and for governing such part of them as may be employed in the service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively the appointment of the officers, and the authority of training the militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;
To exercise exclusive legislation, in all cases whatsoever, over such district (not exceeding ten miles square) as may, by cession of particular States, and the acceptance of Congress, become the seat of the government of the United States, and to exercise like authority over all places purchased by the consent of the Legislature of the State in which the same shall be, for the erection of forts, magazines, arsenals, dock-yards, and other needful buildings;--and,
To make all laws which shall be necessary and proper for carrying into execution the foregoing powers, and all other powers vested by this Constitution in the government of the United States, or in any department or officer thereof.
Sect. 9. The migration or importation of such persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight; but a tax or duty may be imposed on such importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each person.
The privilege of the writ of habeas corpus shall not be suspended, unless when in cases of rebellion or invasion the public safety may require it.
No bill of attainder, or ex post facto law, shall be passed.
No capitation or other direct tax shall be laid, unless in proportion to the sensus or enumeration herein before directed to be taken.
No tax or duty shall be laid on articles exported from any State. No preference shall be given by any regulation of commerce or revenue to the ports of one State over those of another: Nor shall vessels bound to or from one State, be obliged to enter, clear, or pay duties, in another.
No money shall be drawn from the treasury, but in consequence of appropriations made by law; and a regular statement and account of the receipts and expenditures of all public money shall be published from time to time.
No title of nobility shall be granted by the United States: And no person holding any office of profit or trust under them shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office or title, or any kind whatever from any King, Prince, or foreign State.
Sect. 10. No State shall enter into any treaty, alliance or confederation; grant letters of marque and reprisal; coin money; emit bills of credit; make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts; pass any bill of attainder, ex post facto law, or law impairing the obligation of contracts, or grant any title of nobility.
No State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any imposts or duties on imports or exports, except what may be absolutely necessary for executing its inspection laws; and the new produce of all duties and imposts, laid by any State, on imports or exports, shall be for the use of the treasury of the United States; and all such laws shall be subject to the revision and controul of the Congress. No State shall, without the consent of Congress, lay any duty of tonnage, keep troops or ships of war in time of peace, enter into any agreement or compact with another State, or with a foreign power, or engage in war, unless actually invaded, or in such imminent danger as will not admit of delay.
ARTICLE II. Sec. 1. The executive power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America. He shall hold his office during the term of four years, and, together with the Vice-President, chosen for the same term, be elected as follows.
Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a number of Electors, equal to the whole number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress; but no Senator or Representative, or person holding an office of trust or profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.
The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by ballot for two persons, of whom one at least shall not be an inhabitant of the same state with themselves. And they shall make a list of all the persons voted for, and of the number of votes for each; which list they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the seat of the government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the certificates, and the votes shall then be counted. The person having the greatest number of votes shall be the President, if such number be a majority of the whole number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such majority, and have an equal number of votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately choose by ballot one of them for President; and if no person have a majority, then from the five highest on the list the said House shall in like manner choose a President. But in choosing the President the votes shall be taken by States, the representation from each State having one vote; a quorum for this purpose shall consist of a member or members from two thirds of the States, and a majority of all the States shall be necessary to a choice. In every case, after the choice of the President, the person having the greatest number of votes of the Electors, shall be the Vice-President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal votes, the Senate shall choose from them by ballot the Vice-President.
The Congress may determine the time of choosing the Electors, and the day on which they shall give their votes; which day shall be the same throughout the United States.
No person, except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that office, who shall not have attained to the age of thirty-five years, and been fourteen years a resident within the United States.
In case of the removal of the President from office, or of his death, resignation, or inability to discharge the powers and duties of the said office, the same shall devolve on the Vice-President; and the Congress may by law provide for the case of removal, death, resignation, or inability, both of the President and Vice-President, declaring what officer shall then act as President, and such officer shall act accordingly, until the disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.
The President shall, at stated times, receive for his services a compensation, which shall neither be increased nor diminished during the period for which he shall have been elected, and he shall not receive within that period any other emolument from the United States, or any of them.
Before he enter on the execution of his office, he shall take the following oath or affirmation:

"I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States; and will, to the best of my ability, preserve, protect and defend, the Constitution of the United States."
Sect. 2. The President shall be Commander in Chief of the army and navy of the United States, and of the militia of the several states, when called into the actual service of the United States; he may require the opinion, in writing, of the principal officer in each of the executive departments, upon any subject relating to the duties of their respective offices, and he shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offences against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.
He shall have power, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate, to make treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the advice and consent of the Senate shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers, and Consuls, Judges of the Supreme Court, and all other offices of the United States, whose appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by law. But the Congress may by law vest the appointment of such inferior officers as they think proper in the President alone, in the courts of law, or in the heads of departments.
The President shall have power to fill up all vacancies that may happen during the recess of the Senate, by granting commissions, which shall expire at the end of their next session.
Sect. 3. He shall from time to time give to the Congress information of the state of the Union, and recommend to their consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient; he may, on extraordinary occasions, convene both Houses, or either of them, and in case of disagreement between them, with respect to the time of adjournment, he may adjourn them to such time as he shall think proper; he shall receive Ambassadors and other public Ministers; he shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed, and shall commission all the officers of the United States.
Sect. 4. The President, Vice-President, and all civil officers of the United States, shall be removed from office, on impeachment for and conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors.
ARTICLE III. Sect. 1. The judicial power of the United States shall be vested in one Supreme Court, and in such Inferior Courts as the Congress may from time to time ordain and establish. The Judges, both of the supreme and Inferior Courts, shall hold their offices during good behaviour; and shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation, which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office.
Sect. 2. The judicial power shall extend to all cases in law and equity, arising under this Constitution, the laws of the United States, and treaties made, or which shall be made, under their authority; to all cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers, and Consuls; to all cases of admiralty and maritime jurisdiction; to controversies to which the United States shall be a party; to controversies between two or more States, between a State and citizen of another State, between citizens of different States, between citizens of the same State claiming lands under grants of different States, and between a State, or the citizens thereof, and foreign States, citizens or subjects.
In all cases affecting Ambassadors, other public Ministers and consuls, and those in which a State shall be party, the Supreme Court shall have original jurisdiction. In all the other cases before mentioned, the Supreme Court shall have appellate jurisdiction, both as to law and fact, with such exceptions and under such regulations as the Congress shall make.
The trial of all crimes, except in cases of impeachment, shall be by jury; and such trial shall be held in the State where the said crimes shall have been committed; but when not committed within any State, the trial shall be at such place or places as the Congress may by law have directed.
Sect. 3. Treason, against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on consession in open court.
The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason, but no attainder of treason shall work corruption of blood, or forfeiture, except during the life of the person attainted.
ARTICLE IV. Sect. 1. Full faith and credit shall be given in each State to the public acts, records and judicial proceedings, of every other State. And the Congress may by general laws prescribe the manner in which such acts, records and proceedings, shall be proved, and the effect thereof.
Sect. 2. The citizens of each State shall be entitled to all privileges and immunities of citizens in the several states.
A person, charged in any State with treason, felony, or other crime, who shall flee from justice, and be found in another State, shall, on demand of the executive authority of the State form which he fled, be delivered up, to be removed to the State having jurisdiction of the crime.
No person, held to service or labour in one State, under the laws thereof, escaping into another, shall, in consequence of any law or regulation therein, be discharged from such service or labour; but shall be delivered up, on claim of the party to whom such service or labour may be due.
Sect. 3. New States may be admitted by the Congress into this Union; but no new State shall be formed to erected within the jurisdiction of any other State; nor any State be formed by the junction of two or more States, or parts of States, without the consent of the Legislatures of the States concerned, as well as of the Congress.
The Congress shall have power to dispose of an make all needful rules and regulations, respecting the territory or other property belonging to the United States; and nothing in this Constitution shall be so construed, as to prejudice any claims of the United States, or of any particular State.
Sect. 4. The United States shall guarantee, to every State in this Union, a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and, on application of the Legislature, or of the Executive, (when the Legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.
ARTICLE V. The Congress, whenever two thirds of both Houses shall deem it necessary, shall propose amendments to this Constitution; or, on the application of the Legislatures of two thirds of the several States, shall call a Convention, for proposing amendments; which, in either case, shall be valid, to all intents and purposes, as part of this Constitution, when ratified by the Legislature of three fourths of the several States, or by conventions in three fourths thereof, as the one or the other mode of ratification may be proposed by the Congress: Provided, that no amendment which may be made prior to the year one thousand eight hundred and eight shall in any manner affect the first and fourth clauses, in the ninth section of the first article; and that no State, without its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate.
ARTICLE VI. All debts contracted, and engagements entered into, before the adoption of this Constitution, shall be as valid against the United States under this Constitution, as under the Confederation.
This Constitution, and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land; and the Judges in every State, shall be bound thereby; any thing in the constitution or laws of any State to the contrary notwithstanding.
The Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial officers, both of the United States and of the several States, shall be bound by oath or affirmation to support this Constitution; but no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office, or public trust, under the United States.
ARTICLE VII. The ratification of the Conventions of Nine States shall be sufficient for the establishment of this constitution, between the States so ratifying the same.
Done in Convention, by the unanimous consent of the States present, the seventeenth day of September, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, and of the Independence of the United States of America the twelfth. In witness whereof, we have hereunto subscribed our names.
GEORGE WASHINGTON, President, (and Deputy from Virginia. New-Hampshire. John Langdon, Nicholas Gilman. Massachusetts. Nathaniel Gorham, Rufus King. Connecticut. William Samuel Johnson, Roger Sherman. New-York. Alexander Hamilton. New-Jersey. William Livingston, David Brearley, William Paterson, Jonathan Dayton. Pennsylvania. Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Mifflin, Robert Morris, George Clymer, Thomas Fitzsimons, Jared Ingersoll, James Wilson, Gouverneur Morris. Delaware. George Read, Gunning Bedford, jun. John Dickenson, Richard Bassett, Jacob Broom. Maryland. James McHenry, Daniel of St. Tho. Jenifer, Daniel Carrol. Virginia. John Blair, James Madison, jun. North-Carolina. William Blount, Richard Dobbs Spaight, Hugh Williamson. South-Carolina. John Rutledge, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, Charles Pinckney, Pierce Butler. Georgia. William Few, Abraham Baldwin.
Attest,..........WILLIAM JACKSON, Secretary.
IN CONVENTION, Monday, September 17th, 1787.
PRESENT,
The States of New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Mr. Hamilton from New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina, and Georgia.
Resolved, THAT the preceding Constitution be laid before the United States in Congress assembled, and that it is the opinion of this Convention, that it should afterwards be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, under the recommendation of its Legislature, for their assent and ratification; and that each Convention assenting to and ratifying the same, should give notice thereof to the United States in Congress assembled.
Resolved, That it is the opinion of this Convention, That as soon as the Conventions of Nine States shall have ratified this Constitution, the United States in Congress assembled should fix a day on which Electors should be appointed by the States which shall have ratified the same, and a day on which the Electors should assemble to vote for the President, and the time and place for commencing proceedings under this Constitution: That after such publication the Electors should be appointed, and the Senators and Representatives elected: That the Electors should meet on the day fixed for the election of the President, and should transmit their votes, certified, signed, sealed and directed, as the Constitution requires, to the Secretary of the United States in congress assembled: That the Senators and Representatives should convene at the time and place assigned: That the Senators should appoint a President of the Senate, for the sole purpose of receiving, opening and counting the votes for President; and that, after he shall be chose, the Congress, together with the President, should without delay proceed to execute this Constitution.
By the unanimous order of the Convention, GEORGE WASHINGTON, President. ..........WILLIAM JACKSON, Sec'ry.
In Convention, Sept 17, 1787.
SIR,
WE have now the honour to submit to the consideration of the United States in Congress in Congress assembled, that Constitution which has appeared to us the most adviseable.
The friends of our country have long seen and desired, that the power of making war, peace and treaties, that of levying money and regulating commerce, and the correspondent executive and judicial authorities, should be fully and effectually vested in the general government of the Union; but the impropriety of delegating such extensive trust to one body of men is evident.--Hence results the necessity of a different organization.
It is obviously impracticable, in the federal government of these States, to secure all rights of independent sovereignty to each, and yet provide for the interest and safety of all. Individuals entering into society must give up a share of liberty to preserve the rest. The magnitude of the sacrifice must depend as well on situation and circumstance, as on the object to be obtained. It is at all times difficult to draw with precision the line between those rights which must be surrendered, and those which may be reserved, and on the present occasion this difficulty was increased by a difference among the several states as to their situation, extent, habits and particular interests.
In all our deliberations on this subject, we kept steadily in our view that which appears to us the greatest interest of every true American, the consolidation of our Union, in which are involved our prosperity, felicity, safety, perhaps our national existence. This important consideration, seriously and deeply impressed on our minds, led each State in the Convention to be less rigid on points of inferior magnitude, than might have been otherwise expected; and thus the constitution, which we now present, is the result of a spirit of amity, and of that mutual deference and concession which the peculiarity of our political situation rendered indispensible.
That it will meet the full and entire approbation of every State is not perhaps to be expected, but each will doubtless consider, that had her interests been alone consulted, the consequences might have been particularly disagreeable or injurious to others; that it is liable to as few exceptions as could reasonably have been expected, we hope and believe; that it may promote the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all, and secure her freedom and happiness, is our most ardent wish.
With great respect, we have the honour to be, Sir, your Excellency's most obedient and humble Servants, GEORGE WASHINGTON, President.
By unanimous Order of the Convention.
His Excellency the President of Congress.
UNITED STATES in Congress Assembled. Friday, September 28, 1787.
Present, New-Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New-York, New-Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Virginia, North-Carolina, South-Carolina and Georgia, and from Maryland Mr. Ross. Congress having received the report of the Convention lately assembled in Philadelphia,
Resolved, unanimously, That the said report, with the resolutions and letter accompanying the same, be transmitted to the several Legislatures, in order to be submitted to a Convention of Delegates, chosen in each State by the People thereof, in conformity to the resolves of the Convention made and provided in that case. CHARLES THOMSON, Sec'ry.
State of Rhode-Island and Providence Plantations.
In GENERAL ASSEMBLY, October Session, 1787.
IT is Voted and Resolved, That the Report of the Convention, lately held at Philadelphia, proposing a new Constitution for the United States of America, be printed as soon as may be: That the following Number of Copies be sent to the several Town-Clerks in the State, to be distributed among the Inhabitants, that the Freemen may have an Opportunity of forming their Sentiments of the said proposed Constitution,to wit: For Newport 10, Portsmouth 25, Middletown 15, New-Shoreham 15, Jamestown 16, Tiverton 40, Little-Compton 36, Providence 10, Smithfield 75, Scituate 55, Foster 55, Glocester 60, Cumberland 40, Cranston 50, Johnston 30, North-Providence 20, Westerly 31, North-Kingstown 50, South-Kingstown 100, Charlestown 25, Richmond 25, Exeter 31, Hopkinton 30, Bristol 20, Warren 10, Barrington 10, Warwick 56, East-Greenwich 25, West-Greenwich 22, and Coventry 30.
A true Copy: Witness, HENRY WARD, Sec'ry.
PROVIDENCE: Printed by JOHN CARTER.
http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?ammem/bdsdcc:@field(DOCID+@lit(bdsdccc0801)) -->
The Library of Congress

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Former Nuremberg prosecutor chides U.S., China, Russia"


Benjamin Ferencz, Harvard '43, whatever


"Congress also passed an act that year preventing U.S. service members from providing military aid to countries that had ratified the Rome Statute..."

Well, that would include Canada. Ask me about the F-35.

Sunday 13 June '10

CNN

Kampala, Uganda (CNN) -- One of the attorneys who prosecuted Nazi war criminals at the end of World War II cautioned the United States, Russia and China on Wednesday over their opposition to the final inclusion of "crimes of aggression" in the mandate for the International Criminal Court.

"Crimes of aggression" were initially included in the court's Rome Statute of 1998, but unlike the other three crimes put under the tribunal's jurisdiction -- genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes -- crimes of aggression were not defined and jurisdictional conditions were not set.

A review conference, which began May 31 in Kampala and continues through Friday, hopes to accept a proposal that will finally give the court what it needs to try cases of crimes against aggression. But the United States, Russia and China have balked.

"A country should not commit crimes for its own benefit thinking no one will question it," said Benjamin Ferencz, a former chief prosecutor during the 1946 Nuremberg Tribunal that brought top Nazi war officials to justice.

"This is the time all nations in the world should come in full support of the crime of aggression to be part of crimes tried by ICC so that we put to past impunity and open a new chapter to accountability," he said.

As for those opposed, Ferencz said, "the court of opinion will judge them harshly."

Ferencz, 91, accused "the big nations" of delaying inclusion of crimes of aggressions in 1998 "because they felt they would dodge it, make it die out completely."

"They set up conditions that they felt would never be met," he added. "They wanted the crime of aggression defined and wanted to be sure that the U.N. Security Council will run the show when the ICC was implementing it."

The proposal under consideration in Kampala defines crimes of aggression as "the planning, preparation, initiation or execution, by a person in a position effectively to exercise control over or to direct the political or military action of a State, of an act of aggression." The trigger for the action is that it violates the U.N. Charters.

But three proposals are under consideration regarding when and how an investigation might proceed. Two proposals require the U.N. Security Council to determine whether an act of aggression has been committed, but one of those allows an investigation to proceed without the Security Council determination for six months.

The third proposal would give the authority to trigger an investigation to the tribunal's pre-trial Chamber, the U.N. General Assembly or the International Court of Justice.

The five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council -- China, Russia and the United States along with France and the United Kingdom -- have veto power on the 15-member council.

The 33 African states that form the biggest single continental block among the 111 states who have signed onto the Rome Statute last week issued a joint statement in Kampala opposing the suggestion to make the U.N. Security Council the arbiter of crimes of aggression.

Individual countries and the Security Council may refer cases from the other three crimes under the court's jurisdiction to the prosecutor, or, under certain circumstances, the prosecutor may begin an investigation unsolicited.

"The trick behind all this is that the big countries are still in the cold war," Ferencz said. "No big nation trusts the other on how it will be handled in case it becomes party to the Rome Statute and when is fully implemented."

Ferencz's comments came just a day after lawyers representing Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir accused ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo of politicizing the court's operations by focusing on Africa. Al-Bashir was indicted in March on three counts of genocide, five of crimes against humanity and two of murder, most connected with the Darfur region of Sudan.

Al-Bashir's attorneys urged Moreno-Ocampo to indict former U.S .President George W. Bush and his close ally former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for lying to the world of existence of weapons of mass destruction to support their invasion of Iraq in 2002.

U.S. State Department legal adviser Harold H. Koh, attending the Kampala conference, urged attendees to deliberate slowly.

"Surely finishing the unfinished business of Rome does not mean rushing to a premature conclusion of institution- transforming amendments on which there is not yet genuine consensus," Koh told the conference.

"Instead, finishing the work of Rome means building a stronger court with a renewed commitment to pursuing meaningful solutions by genuine consensus that can advance the cause of human rights and international justice," he said.

Koh argued against finalizing the Rome Statute's sections on crimes of aggression, saying not enough agreement yet existed to move forward.

"Although we respect the considerable effort that has gone into (drafting the amendment), we believe that without agreed-upon understandings, the current draft definition remains flawed," he said.

Among the items that lacked "agreed-upon understandings," he said, were the meaning of the definition of crimes of aggression and the concern about potential prosecutions of "mere acts of aggression, as opposed to the 'wars of aggression' that were prosecuted in Nuremberg and Tokyo."

China is not a party to the Rome Statute. The United States and Russia signed the document but have not ratified it, and the U.S. Congress in 2002 nullified the U.S. signature on the document. Israel and Sudan also "unsigned" the statute. Congress also passed an act that year preventing U.S. service members from providing military aid to countries that had ratified the Rome Statute and giving the president permission to authorize military force to free any U.S. soldier, sailor, airman or marine who is being held by the International Criminal Court.

That same year, the United States threatened blanket vetos of the renewal of the U.N. peacekeeping mission unless the ICC granted its troops immunity from prosecution. As a compromise, the Security Council passed a resolution granting immunity for a year to U.N. nations who were not parties to the court and renewed that resolution in 2003.

But the council dropped the exemption in 2004 when photographs of U.S. troops abusing Iraqi prisoners at Abu Ghraib surfaced.

Ferencz, who served in the U.S. Army during World War II, said such maneuverings might delay but would not stop prosecutions.

"The world is changing very fast and perpetrators of atrocities will be held to account even after a century," he warned.

"No one should use his military prowess to terrorize the rest of the world thinking no one will hold him accountable."

But the former prosecutor was optimistic that the holdouts would see reason.

"I hope that President Obama, after accepting the Nobel Peace Prize, will also support the ICC on crimes of aggression and that Russia and China will not find it acceptable to commit the old mistakes to stop the process," he said.

Source link.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Elephant in a China Shop

International law in intellectual drawing rooms


You know, the final word on war crimes goes to Benjamin Halevy, an Israeli judge who famously said:

"The distinguishing mark of a manifestly illegal order is that above such an order should fly, like a black flag, a warning saying: 'Prohibited!'"

I've tried to find the original transcript, but failed, relying instead on one of my heroes, particularly in all things Israeli, Uri Avnery.

You can find any number of well-qualified, influential eggheads – well-known for being well-known – who are/have been discussing liberal intervention in the affairs of other nations, “responsibility to protect” (the previously fashionable R2P), bombing Iran, Tony Blair’s memoirs, Obama’s Dilemma, on and on ad nauseam. Here we have John Rentoul of the Independent:

"This is not a book likely to change many minds, although I suspect that there are rather more people in Britain who take the view now regarded as right off the political scale: that Blair was quite a good Prime Minister. The chapter on Iraq is tightly argued in some detail, which may persuade those with open minds to recognise that the decision to join the US invasion was a reasonable, if not very successful, one, rather than a conspiracy against life, the universe and everything decent."


And now we have Richard Handler, "The Ideas Guy," at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, collective national resource of evangelical common sense:


"Before he became Liberal leader, Michael Ignatieff wrote The Lesser Evil: Political Ethics in an Age of Terror. This was a book full of intelligent moral agony — which does not translate well into sound bites, as Mr. Ignatieff has learned during his time as leader.

"Decisions can be excruciating to make, with multiple factors. Instead of choosing a "best" option, time and time again we may have to pick a "lesser evil."
"


Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/09/21/f-vp-handler.html#ixzz10E6uekQt

What’s missing from all this verbiage is international law, and in particular, international criminal law. You wouldn’t think this would be hard to miss, what with World War 2, the London Charter, the Nuremberg Tribunal, the codification by the UN of the Nuremberg Principles, the adoption of the United Nations Charter, the Statute of Rome, the establishing of the International Criminal Court, and a conviction in Canada under the Crimes Against Humanity and War Crimes Act.

It’s an elephant that's very hard to miss. Unless of course, you don’t want to see it.

Monday, September 20, 2010

TAR SAND TRAP I - TAR SAND TRAP II

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation

"Two criminal investigations launched by military police into the actions of Canadian special forces soldiers in Afghanistan probed the alleged improper killing of Afghans, CBC News has learned.

"Military sources said that the first investigation, called Sand Trap 1, resulted in no charges being laid against any Canadian soldiers. But the second investigation, called Sand Trap 2, seems to suggest another nation may have been involved in the alleged improper killing being investigated."


Meanwhile, back at the Washington Post, American soldiers serving in Aghanistan are being investigated for truly Vietnam style atrocities.

It's not a stretch to imagine that, like these kids in the "Stryker Brigade", some Canadian soldiers in the "highly secretive" (what does that mean in a parliamentary democracy?) "Joint Task Force-2" took their orders from an unethical and possibly criminal American commander who had no time or interest in the Geneva Conventions. (What happened to Joint Task Force 1?)

However, just like the American in the Washington Post report, a Canadian soldier blew the whistle. It takes guts, just like Richard Colvin.

All of which leads to the question of NATO complicity in war crimes, and therefore the the complicity of the United Nations Security Council. That's the best reason I've heard for Canada's promiscuous solicitation of a seat on the Security Council: like the Americans, we want to cover our ass.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The American South Asia Company

Corporations With Armies

Flag of the British East India Company

Ryan Inzana from The Nation







Blackwater's Black Ops
Jeremy Scahill
September 15, 2010
This article appeared in the October 4, 2010 edition of The Nation.

"Over the past several years, entities closely linked to the private security firm Blackwater have provided intelligence, training and security services to US and foreign governments as well as several multinational corporations, including Monsanto, Chevron, the Walt Disney Company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and banking giants Deutsche Bank and Barclays, according to documents obtained by The Nation. Blackwater's work for corporations and government agencies was contracted using two companies owned by Blackwater's owner and founder, Erik Prince: Total Intelligence Solutions and the Terrorism Research Center (TRC). Prince is listed as the chairman of both companies in internal company documents, which show how the web of companies functions as a highly coordinated operation. Officials from Total Intelligence, TRC and Blackwater (which now calls itself Xe Services) did not respond to numerous requests for comment for this article." Link to full article.

I heard from a Canadian guy, who was in a position to know because he'd done it, that Canadian Forces are trained in certain capacities by Blackwater in its various entities. I suppose Canadian Forces have to be instructed in many branches of technology by industry (the tanks mouldering in the Afghan desert being one), but what does Blackwater know that the Canadian Forces don't? It can't be the elementary business, as Rick Hiller momorably put it, of killing people. We already know that.

Well, this is part of a long tradition, like the British East India Company:

"The status of the Company was further enhanced by the restoration of monarchy in England. By a series of five acts around 1670, King Charles II provisioned it with the rights to autonomous territorial acquisitions, to mint money, to command fortresses and troops and form alliances, to make war and peace, and to exercise both civil and criminal jurisdiction over the acquired areas.[13] In 1711, the Company established a trading post in Canton (Guangzhou), China, to trade tea for silver."

I was surprised to find it still exists and has a website, although I don't think it has its own army.


Flag of the Hudson's Bay Company


Closer to home, the Hudson's Bay Company ran its own court system in its territories, but didn't have its own standing army: perhaps alcohol and tuberculosis were sufficient.

It seems that the confusion of public and private interest has a long history, particularly when money and violence are involved, and that continued confusion is actively encouraged by people who have a lot to gain and nothing to lose.

Friday, September 17, 2010

House of Commons Night in Canada Wrap-Up, 2010




RON MACLEAN
Well it's been a long season, but it's finally over. I'm Ron Maclean here with Don Cherry for our wrap-up of the 2009-2010 season on House of Commons Night in Canada. Grapes, what's your take?

DON CHERRY
Is it over?

RON MACLEAN
I think so. Parliament is about to resume sitting after the summer recess.

DON CHERRY
You know, when I was a kid, you knew it was hockey season when the lakes froze. Now it's all hockey all the time.

RON MACLEAN
Yes, but what does that have to do with the House of Commons?

DON CHERRY
You tell me! Only today we have somebody talking about Question Period in the House of Commons, saying if there weren't any fights, nobody would watch! No hits, no hockey, no House of Commons!

RON MACLEAN
Yeah, but a lot of people would say it's not just about the audience numbers, it's about what they're watching. After all, a lot of people in Rome showed up to watch gladiators killing each other.

DON CHERRY
I think you're making some kind of point, but I don't know what it is.

RON MACLEAN
If there's a bench clearing brawl in the House of Commons, what use is that to the Government of Canada?

DON CHERRY
It's a very healthy outlet for aggression and frustration that otherwise would result in people buying long guns and killing each other.

RON MACLEAN
So you're in favour of the Gun Registry?

DON CHERRY
All I'm saying is that visors are for sissies.

RON MACLEAN
So how do you see the new season in the House of Commons?

DON CHERRY
Like I said, the last season isn't over, and the whole Afghan prisoner thing hasn't gone away. It's not a matter of playing late in the spring, it's getting to be where we're playing all year long, when we should be at the lake drinking beer.

RON MACLEAN
But the Prime Minister went to the lake and drank beer this summer.

DON CHERRY
I want proof.

RON MACLEAN
So that's me and Don until next season on House of Commons Night in Canada, which will be next week.

DON CHERRY
I'm still watching reruns of Crosby's goal. I still haven't seen it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

"Perception can be reality"




And Kory Teneycke is perceived by many - me too - as being, in reality, a Goebbels-like pathological liar who wouldn't recognize truth if George Orwell beat him over the head with a used copy of 1984. As an anonymous member of my family says: "There are too many arts graduates in the world," and that includes those in marketing and the Sandra Buckler shool of "communications". I'm just glad these people aren't in charge of aerodynamics for the Twin Otter, although I'm starting to think they might be in charge of everything for the "F-35", the World's Worst Aircraft.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

AIDS, SARS, H1N1, NATO


The New Plague

I know the argument: people like me can speak freely because soldiers are willing to risk their lives and die to defend our democracy. You can find this argument almost anywhere. My Uncle Wilfred got part of his head shot off defending Hill 70, Lens, in 1917 for the same reason.

You could equally argue that the purpose of NATO is now to perpetuate itself, its hundreds of thousands of careers and supporting fantastically expensive industrial base, and that its feudal structure has bred a lack of dissent and honest thought that has corrupted the United States, Britain, and Canada, to name a few, and threatens ancient rights like habeas corpus without really a murmur being raised by citizens who are afraid to be labelled unpatriotic.

Yeah, well, NATO is full of shit. The "Corporate Communications Section, Public Diplomacy Office" in Brussels would make Joseph Goebbels proud. The F-35 is, according to some understated Australians, a 21st century Spruce Goose that has no purpose other than to perpetuate the crazy logic that makes people believe it's necessary, and so perpetuate the tottering pyramid that is antique NATO military power built with money borrowed from China.

The person people should pay attention to is Germaine Tillion, hero of the French Resistance and graduate of the Ravensbrück concentration camp:

"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 Conversationwith Germaine Tillion
by Alison Rice
Research in African Literatures 2004 35(1):162-179

Monday, September 13, 2010

The NeoCrusaders

The Crusades were expeditions undertaken, in fulfilment of a solemn vow, to deliver the Holy Places from Mohammedan tyranny.

The origin of the word may be traced to the cross made of cloth and worn as a badge on the outer garment of those who took part in these enterprises. Medieval writers use the terms crux (pro cruce transmarina, Charter of 1284, cited by Du Cange s.v. crux), croisement (Joinville), croiserie (Monstrelet), etc. Since the Middle Ages the meaning of the word crusade has been extended to include all wars undertaken in pursuance of a vow, and directed against infidels, i.e. against Mohammedans, pagans, heretics, or those under the ban of excommunication. The wars waged by the Spaniards against the Moors constituted a continual crusade from the eleventh to the sixteenth century; in the north of Europe crusades were organized against the Prussians and Lithuanians; the extermination of the Albigensian heresy was due to a crusade, and, in the thirteenth century the popes preached crusades against John Lackland and Frederick II. But modern literature has abused the word by applying it to all wars of a religious character, as, for instance, the expedition of Heraclius against the Persians in the seventh century and the conquest of Saxony by Charlemagne.

The idea of the crusade corresponds to a political conception which was realized in Christendom only from the eleventh to the fifteenth century; this supposes a union of all peoples and sovereigns under the direction of the popes. All crusades were announced by preaching. After pronouncing a solemn vow, each warrior received a cross from the hands of the pope or his legates, and was thenceforth considered a soldier of the Church. Crusaders were also granted indulgences and temporal privileges, such as exemption from civil jurisdiction, inviolability of persons or lands, etc. Of all these wars undertaken in the name of Christendom, the most important were the Eastern Crusades, which are the only ones treated in this article.


The Catholic Encyclopedia

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dear Globe and Mail


I see that CTV is no longer an owner of the Globe and Mail, and control has reverted to the Thomson family. I think that's a good thing.

In recent memory the Globe - the editorial board more than the reporters and columnists - parroted a corporatespeak view of Iraq and Afghanistan that was long on public relations and short on reality. I can't fathom why any Canadian with half a brain would have thought Iraq or Afghanistan was a good idea, meaning the invasion of same by white Christian English-speaking mercenaries.

And now, the ink-stained wretches meet the road. We'll soon see whether the Globe and Mail is a fearless, independent press, or whether it's become a lick-spittle New York Times.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Burning Bibles in Calgary


As a fitting memorial to the 9/11 disaster, Bibles will be ceremoniously burned (King James versions only) at the Saddledome. That should fix everything.

This was an election principally driven not by politicians, minders or party tacticians but working journalists.


David Marr brought Rudd down (with an opening sentence some lawyers argue was treason), Phillip Adams partly resurrected him with his broadcast confessional, Bryce Corbett (of the Women's Weekly) by raising her private life did great harm to Gillard from which Mark Latham, another journalist, bizarrely rescued her with a handshake; and then came Laurie Oakes, who all but finished off Gillard with the shocking news that negotiations preceded Rudd's exit and Cabinets often robustly disagree, and Kerry O'Brien who with his weekly skewering inquisitions reduced both candidates to gibbering wrecks.

No move by any campaign strategist or mining giant was as decisive as these journalists' interventions which were in their way as history-changing as Woodward and Bernstein.

And they changed history almost inadvertently, for none, I believe, were ideologically driven, merely sniffing blood. They raised some ordinary questions of ordinary behaviour and pretended they were important, beating them up, as they were trained to do, into livid, suppurating scandals.

They told some big lies too, perhaps out of ignorance, perhaps not. They called Rudd's ending unique: never before was a first, elected leader thus brought down, shock horror, lord, lord, the days that I have seen. Yet Gorton was brought down after his first win at an election and so was Menzies; and Whitlam after only thirty-five months in office was brought down too, by a secretive and unelected though scarcely faceless man. Curtin won a single election and was likewise foreshortened, and the party leaders Snedden, Hayden, Peacock, Howard and Latham evicted after one lost election, Downer, Crean, Nelson and Turnbull without even one. Yet we were told Rudd's fate was unique, and we believed this baseless fabrication and grew angry at the shock and the horror of it, the way we do. What fools these mortals be.

Another thing was the number of days these worthless, intrusive, distracting, trivial headlines chewed up. Rudd's interventions cost eight days; 'the new Julia' three; the Women's Weekly two; Mark Latham's brusque body language two; the debate format three; Abbott's unsleeping marathon two; leaving only 15 days out of 35 for debating policy difference.

We were told Abbott's choice not to sit on a stage but to stand upright in an auditorium was 'game-changing'. Why? It proved nothing; it meant nothing. We were told he would get little sleep for one whole night and this was somehow significant. Why? It meant nothing, nothing at all except that he was ambitious and physically disciplined, and we knew that already.

Subjects as big as the fate of the earth however were sidelined, and hair tinting, airbrushing, marriage - plans and old lovers contrastingly emphasised. The need for us to continue offering young Australian corpses to poll-cheating Karzais' unending bloodbath went unexamined (why?), but the fact that Gillard's former leader approached her on a street-walk was said to have 'crossed the line'. What line? That you cannot ask a candidate for office a question in a public place? What line?

Five young diggers died in a spurious cause while the election raged and this was fine. Mark Latham adopted a bullying tone and this was a national scandal.

Worst, I think, was what might be called the campaign's 'theological correctness'. Mary MacKillop must be praised though the Prime Minister, an atheist, by definition despised her religion. The Prime Minister, a defender of jobs, hailed free trade as irreducibly necessary, though it killed jobs right and left, as Bob Katter with poignant dingo yelps and chest-beatings correctly noted. The war must go on though next to no Australian soldier or civilian, not one, thought it should. It was theologically correct to say it should, and, lo, it will. The surplus must return, though thousands will suicide for want of income because it does. Taxes must not go up, though interest rates are always free to. Why? Please explain.

The Unexamined Idiotic Premise (UIP) was everywhere apparent in this lump-witted campaign. That Rudd, who had without mercy ended the careers of Beazley, Howard, Nelson, Debus, McMullan, Kerr, McKew and Garrett, himself deserved mercy and a new career, though they do not. Why? That Rudd deserved a high ministerial position after vilely maltreating the highest office of all. Why?

Most amazing was the UIP that assassins get honeymoons - believed by Gillard even as late as our conversation in the Penrith Panthers on August 20. "Had to go with the honeymoon," she said to me and Rhys Muldoon.

Assassins get honeymoons. Really? John Wilkes Booth was dead within five days, Lee Harvey Oswald within three. Brutus was deeply unpopular an hour after Caesar's death, hunted down and killed within a year. Keating was deeply unpopular immediately after he topped Hawke and his polls deep-sixed though they recovered later. Peacock was so unpopular after he topped Howard that he lost an unlosable election. Yet fools thought Gillard would get an automatic honeymoon after an uncontested ballot brought on at a day's notice and a felled Prime Minister outlining through tears his 800 achievements in a courtyard. A honeymoon period? Really?

And she will get none this time either. She has become through a bungled campaign, the worst since 1966 (when Arthur Calwell running against the Birthday Ballot and the Vietnam War lost 22 seats), that very strange thing, a powerless, genderless Prime Minister without influence or friends who is promising to 'open the curtains and let in the sunlight' after a lifetime of secrecy, flannel and backroom intrigue. So secretive that she wouldn't tell Rudd his fate, or the nation who her Finance, Defence or Foreign Ministers would be (why not?) or if she planned to marry Tim or when she would occupy The Lodge (why not?), or how she differed in significant policy from the man who had lost his way and why, if he had lost his way, she wanted the wandering drongo back, and why Cabinet discussions would 'go with me to my grave', she is now on a promise to let the sunlight in and be frank and open about everything. She is just So-o-o-o 2007' as a female friend just said to me and dizzyingly unsuited to the modern age.

The independents, by discussing things of real concern (like how the rural half live and what we do with our water) and restoring the old Athenian practise of thoughtful public discussion of things on the public mind have shown how wrong, how crashingly wrong has been the prevailing technique of whatever-it-takes and winning-the-24-hour-news-cycle and parroting-the-focus-group and dumbing-down-our-future-expectations and returning-to-surplus-by-2013-whatever-the-cost-to-our-civilisation, and she is the old-fashioned epitome of all that is wrong with media-tortured politics (as Faulkner, Debus, Turnbull, Tanner, Swan, Brown, Stott Despoja, Xenophon, Wilkie, McKew and, oh yes, Beazley, Hawke and Whitlam never were) and she really shouldn't be there.

Still, there she is. And so it goes. The veteran of 11 (count them) significant campaign mistakes that cost Labor its majority and its policy agenda and its earthly power and its humanist reputation, and so it goes.

Smiling still, in denial still, in spin-mode still, laughing prettily still and telling us not to worry, I'm 50-years-old and on a steep learning curve but not to worry, don't you worry about that, planning no significant change in ministry or policy and political manners (and what bad political manners she has, budgie-smugglers and mincing poodles, I mean, really) and walking breezily at the head of a lemming-throng over a crumbling cliff as she always does. And so it goes.

See how she goes.

And so it goes.

Bob Ellis' next book, Suddenly, Last Winter, is out this November.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

We've got them surrounded



NATO: Taliban outnumbered around Kandahar
By Slobodan Lekic - The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Sep 8, 2010 12:43:51 EDT

"BRUSSELS — The NATO-led coalition has overwhelming numerical superiority over the Taliban around the key southern Afghan city of Kandahar and expects to clear the area of insurgents by November’s end, a top commander said Tuesday."

OK....let's think about this, people. Afghanistan has a population of about 30 million. NATO/ISAF/UNAMA - call it what you will but none of it Muslim - adds up to 500,000 if you squint at it in the right light. In the countries that surround Afghanistan, we have:

Pakistan: population 174 million, % Muslim 95

Iran: population 66 million, % Muslim 98

Turkmenistan: population 5 million, % Muslim 89

Tajikistan population: 7 Million, % Muslim 95

Uzbekistan population 27 million, % Muslim 90

China population 1,300 million, % Muslim 1-2


So, the vast majority of this population is Muslim. If you do the arithmetic - it's not mathematics - we have a minimum of 273 million Muslims surrounding Afghanistan, not counting the 30 million Muslims in Afghanistan. Since we have a NATO force in Kandahar of, say, 100,000 max in the middle of a Muslim sea of 300 million, that means we've got them surrounded. You know, I'm not so sure what kind of coffee they're smoking down at the NATO Public Information Office, Media Operations Center, NATO Headquarters, Blvd Leopold III 1110 Brussels, Belgium, but it's giving off a powerful aroma of MACV.


Lady Elizabeth Butler's painting 'The Remnant of an Army' depicts Dr William Brydon, sole survivor of the British retreat from Kabul in 1842.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

"William Blair survives internal attempts to oust him, but complainants likely to be shuffled out"



Now I'm looking forward to his memoirs.

The Crisis in Afghanistan


Posted by Joe Klein Sunday, September 5, 2010 at 11:41 am

With my month-long September road trip looming, I'm having to face the reality that I won't be able to keep up with some of the issues I've been focusing upon--especially the overseas issues, and most especially Afghanistan, which seems to be falling apart. The latest crisis, the run on the Kabul Bank, has brought the rot at the heart of the Karzai government to the fore. I'm told that some leading members of the Obama Administration are reaching a breaking point, finally convinced that the current Afghan government is irredeemable. This is at variance with leading members of the military, especially the new Centcom commander Jim Mattes--who just took his first trip to the country as Commander--and David Petraeus, who always sees the glass three-quarters full.

It seems entirely possible that a real clash between the Administration and the military is looming--far more serious than the phony and minor disputes overblown by the neoconservative war-lovers in the past. The military will probably exercise its option to add 3,000 more troops, a little-known codicil in last December's action plan--and lobby hard to delay or scuttle the Administration's next review, which is scheduled for December. General Petraeus has already said publicly, on several occasions, that the December review isn't a big deal. He's wrong. It is a very big deal, I'm told, and getting bigger with each new Afghan disappointment. (The situation is further aggravated by the utter chaos in Pakistan, in the wake of the flooding and the civilian government's entirely inadequate response to that crisis.)

Here's what to watch for now: The Administration wants to keep Afghanistan on the back burner for the next two months, until after the election. The military is playing a different hand. It will try, via a surreptitious media strategy, to get the President to delay any policy review, to give a new vote of confidence to a failing and deeply flawed, in my view, war strategy. Bob Woodward's new book, an account of the Administration's Afghanistan decision-making process, could well strengthen the military's hand; some administration officials fear that the book will characterize the process as messy and chaotic. (Woodward wrote a similar book about Bill Clinton's messy, chaotic budget-making process in 1993, a process that emerged, over time, as a major economic and political triumph). In short, there will be an effort to portray the President as an indecisive, non-military wimp. There will be an effort to get him to back off his July 2011 date for the beginning of the transition to Afghan "control." There may even be a request for more troops. All this will happen in the midst of a political campaign that may well prove devastating for Democrats. This is a test of strength that Obama can't afford to lose. A major review of Afghan strategy is necessary--in fact, it's needed right now. A major change in strategy, given the outrageous incompetence and corruption of the Karzai government. It is time to downgrade the importance of Afghanistan, and focus on trying to meliorate the real problem in the region--the enduring emnity between Pakistan and India.



Read more: http://swampland.blogs.time.com/2010/09/05/the-crisis-in-afghanistan/#ixzz0yht70EyO

Friday, September 3, 2010

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

War Pathological Tony Crime Blair Liar

I'm playing with Google now. Not to mention the idolatrous Globe and Mail.

Here's Principle VI of the Nuremberg Principles:

Principle Vl

The crimes hereinafter set out are punishable as crimes under; international law:
Crimes against peace:
Planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances;
Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of any of the acts mentioned under (i).


And here we have Article 2 of the United Nations Charter:

Article 2

The Organization and its Members, in pursuit of the Purposes stated in Article 1, shall act in accordance with the following Principles.

The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its Members.

All Members, in order to ensure to all of them the rights and benefits resulting from membership, shall fulfill in good faith the obligations assumed by them in accordance with the present Charter.

All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered.

All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations. [emphasis added]

All Members shall give the United Nations every assistance in any action it takes in accordance with the present Charter, and shall refrain from giving assistance to any state against which the United Nations is taking preventive or enforcement action.

The Organization shall ensure that states which are not Members of the United Nations act in accordance with these Principles so far as may be necessary for the maintenance of international peace and security.

Nothing contained in the present Charter shall authorize the United Nations to intervene in matters which are essentially within the domestic jurisdiction of any state or shall require the Members to submit such matters to settlement under the present Charter; but this principle shall not prejudice the application of enforcement measures under Chapter Vll.

It's a no-brainer. How Tony feels about his role in the Iraq Invasion is about as interesting as Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel's feelings about his orders regarding Russian prisoners of war, just to pick an example at random. In other words, not.