Tuesday, November 29, 2011

We the Government of the United States...

... in Order to form a more despotic Executive, circumvent Justice, impose domestic Tranquility, commandeer the economy for the Military-Industrial-Congressional Complex, ignore the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and fuck Posterity, do establish this Constitution for the United States of America as quaint.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Ritorno della donnola

The Gazebos, Season 3, Episode 14

(further excerpt from Cabinet minutes)

  • The Government of Canada has returned in triumph from its Pacific Tour.
  • The Government of Canada has returned in triumph from its Pacific Tour.
  • The Government of Canada has returned in triumph from its Pacific Tour.
  • Unfortunately, Obama rammed Keystone XL up my ass.
  • The Government of Canada has returned in triumph from its Pacific Tour.
  • Stop repeating my sentences!
  • The Government of Canada has returned in triumph from its Pacific Tour.
  • What did I just say?
  • "Stop repeating my sentences!"
  • Before that...
  • Somebody rammed a pipeline up your ass.
  • The Government of Canada has returned in triumph from its Pacific Tour.
  • Obama fucked me over, even though he's committed to the destruction of international humanitarian law like we are.
  • He just wants to get re-elected.
  • The Government of Canada has returned in triumph from its Pacific Tour.
  • Enough already! You didn't do so good in the Middle East!
  • The Government of Canada is committed to reducing crime.
  • The Government of Canada is reduced to committing crime.
  • There are days I wonder whether it's all worth it....
...to be continued

"Reneging on Justice at Guantánamo"

I can't believe it! The New York Times comes through, belatedly, limply, half-heartedly....

And now...Omar Khadr.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Crazy about Islamists

"But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought. A bad usage can spread by tradition and imitation even among people who should and do know better."

George Orwell, Politics and the English Language

ANALYSIS| Fear of Islamists drove Egyptian military's recent power grab
Experts on region weigh in on military council's move to extend rule, influence constitution
By Kazi Stastna, CBC News Posted: Nov 22, 2011 8:57 AM ET Last Updated: Nov 22, 2011 3:31 PM ET

None of the experts says what "Islamists" are, or why anybody should fear them. Is a Muslim an Islamist? Are all Muslims "Islamists?" Are all "Islamists" Muslims?

The CBC quotes all these experts (who happen to be American academics) but then states baldly, out of the blue, with no attribution:

"The establishment of a set of founding principles that all parties would agree on, and that could not be altered by those drafting the constitution, had been discussed for months in Egypt. The idea was endorsed by secularists such as Mohamed ElBaradei, who had wanted a constitution established prior to elections, for fear the Islamists would have too much of a hand in drafting it after the vote."

So who are "the Islamists?" I looked up the Oxford English Dictionary on the subject. The usage of "Islamist" seems clearly in the 19th century to mean a person whose faith is Islam, but in the 1993 and 2007 "draft entries" there seems to my ear to have crept in unpleasant political overtones. Maybe that's just me, but I'd like to hear a discussion on this from people who don't make their living as American academics. George Orwell is definitely not an American academic but he said: "Many political words are similarly abused. The word Fascism has now no meaning except in so far as it signifies 'something not desirable.'" Perhaps the word "Islamist" is being similarly abused, consciously or not.

Who exactly is the "The Muslim Brotherhood?" Is that like A Band of Brothers, or the Blues Brothers? So as I understand Karen Armstrong, "The Battle for God,"the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt set out to fill a void left by a corrupt colonial and subsequently a military neo-colonial administration that looked after their own interests rather than those of the population, not unlike Mubarak et al. And then:

"By the end of Novermber 1954, over one thousand Brothers had been arrested and brought to trial. Innumberable others, however, many of whom had been guilty of nothing more inflammatory than distributing leaflets, never appeared in court, were subjected to mental and phyical torture, and languished in Nasser's prisons and concentration camps for the next fifteen years. Hudabybi was sentenced to life imprisonment, but six other leaders of the Society were executed. Nasser seemed to have broken the Brotherhood, and to have stopped the only progressive Islamic movement in Egypt in its tracks. Secularism appeared to be victorious, especially after Nasser became the hero of the Arab world two years later after the Suez Crisis, in which he not only successfully defied the West but inflicted a crushing humiliation on the British. But his triumph over the Brotherhood proved in the end to the a Pyrrhic victory. The Brothers who spent the rest of Nasser's life in the camps had experienced the onslaught of secularism at its most aggressive. We shall see that it was in the camps that some of the Brothers abandoned Banna's reformist vision and created a new and potentially violent Sunni fundamentalism."

"I and the public know
What all schoolchildren learn,
Those to whom evil is done
Do evil in return"

W.H. Auden
September 1, 1939

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kafka's Karibbean

So, Omar Khadr can't return to Canada, after pleading guilty to charges that didn't exist before he was apprehended in Afghanistan and transferred to Guantanamo, where Military Commissions were subsequently magicked into existence outside any known jurisdiction including that of the Americans who apprehended and transferred him, the pleading having occurred on October 25, 2010, which was before the National Defense Authorization Act, 2011 was passed on January 7, 2011 (some two months later) and which apparently requires - after the plea bargaining and everything, in military courts that have only a tenuous existence and in fact no existence at all outside the Devil's Island of Guantanamo's oubliette - a "certification" that Canada can handle the transfer of Khadr to our own prison system, soon to be grossly engorged for no reason that can be stated in plain English (or French.)

I'll pay money to see this: The American Congress goes up against 800 years of Anglo-Saxon jurisprudence and Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Section 11) although in this particular case unfortunately and feebly represented by Canada's Attorney-General, Rob Nicholson, who might well be illiterate in both official languages:

"Proceedings in criminal and penal matters

"11. Any person charged with an offence has the right
(a) to be informed without unreasonable delay of the specific offence;
(b) to be tried within a reasonable time;
(c) not to be compelled to be a witness in proceedings against that person in respect of the offence;
(d) to be presumed innocent until proven guilty according to law in a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal;
(e) not to be denied reasonable bail without just cause;
(f) except in the case of an offence under military law tried before a military tribunal, to the benefit of trial by jury where the maximum punishment for the offence is imprisonment for five years or a more severe punishment;
(g) not to be found guilty on account of any act or omission unless, at the time of the act or omission, it constituted an offence under Canadian or international law or was criminal according to the general principles of law recognized by the community of nations;
(h) if finally acquitted of the offence, not to be tried for it again and, if finally found guilty and punished for the offence, not to be tried or punished for it again; and
(i) if found guilty of the offence and if the punishment for the offence has been varied between the time of commission and the time of sentencing, to the benefit of the lesser punishment."

And if that wasn't enough, there is the American Constitution prohibiting ex post facto convictions.

Article 1 - The Legislative Branch
Section 9 - Limits on Congress

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.

As they say in the theatre, you can't make this shit up. There was a time I'd look up all the links for this, but why should any of us bother in the face of gross misconduct by the United States and its Canadian vassal state?

Here's Justice Christopher Speyer's view of the (slightly) less appalling treatment of Abdullah Khadr, Omar's brother.

IV. The Clearest of Cases
[150] I recognize that the collection of reliable intelligence is of the highest importance in protecting and securing a nation from the dangers of terrorism. It must also be recognized that there will always be a tension, especially in troubled times, in the balancing of intelligence and security issues with cherished democratic values, such as the rule of law and protection from human rights violations. 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.

That paragraph is right up there with Winston Churchill's defence of the Mosleys:

Prime Minister to Home Secretary 21 Nov 43

I expect you will be questioned ab out the release of the Mosleys. No doubt the pith of your case is health and humanity. You might however consider whether you should not unfold as a background the great principle of habeas corpus and trial by jury, which are the supreme protection invented by the British people for ordinary individuals againstg the State. The power of the Executive to cast a man into prison without formulating any charge known to the law, and whether particularly to deny him judgement by his peers for an indefinite period, is in the highest degree odious, and is the foundation of all totalitarian Governements whether Nazi or Communist. It is only when extreme danger to the State can be pleaded that this power may be temporarily assumed by the Executive, and even so its working must be interpreted with the unmost vigilance by a Free Paliament. As the danger passses, persons so imprisoned, against whom there is no charge which courts and juries would accept, should be released, as you have been steadily doing, until hardly any are left. Extraordinary powers assumed by the Exective with consent of Parliament in emergencies should be yielded up when as the emengency declines. Nothing can be more abhorrent to democracy than to imprison a man or keep him in prison becaue he is unpopular. This is really the test of civilizaion.

from Closing the Ring, pg. 679

Admittedly, the Mosleys were from Churchill's own class, Lady Mosley being one of the Mitfords and everything - decent, white, God-fearing Christians as opposed to heathen Mohammedans (one realizes, without having to be told twice, who were even then intent on obliterating Western Civilization) - but what he says about the Mosleys could equally well be said about the Khadrs - any of them. And if the Khadrs don't deserve the rule of Canadian law, neither do the Bacons.

Che fine ha fatto Il Donnola?

(excerpt from Cabinet minutes)

  • The Government of Canada is committed to reducing crime.
  • We intend to enact and enforce mandatory sentencing for drug crime.
  • We believe all Canadians will support our initative, based on our mandate.
  • The Government of Canada is committed to reducing crime.
  • Are we also against embezzlement, perjury, and obstruction of justice?
  • The Government of Canada is committed to reducing crime.
  • I stand by the statements I made in the House and in Committee.
  • The Government of Canada is committed to reducing crime.
  • I just had my ass kicked around the Middle East.
  • The Government of Canada is reducing crime by standing up to UAE criminals.
  • What the fuck am I supposed to tell the House about the G8 audit?
  • The Government of Canada is committed to reducing crime.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

By the way, where is Omar Suleiman and what is he doing now?

"Even if we disagree with some of their actions, it can be resolved through discussions and not through pressuring and threatening the military. Egypt, in some cases, is no more than masses and crowds."

Omar Suleiman, El-Ahram, Friday, November 18, 2011

OK, so unarmed demonstrators in Tahrir Square are "threatening the military." The Egyptian military must have a low threshold for being threatened, or maybe they're used to being bullies and cowards. That would would seem consistent with this excerpt from the Iacobucci Inquiry:

“One of his inquisitors may have been Egypt’s top spy. ‘Mr. El Maati thought that he recognized his interrogator from the news and that he might be Omar Soleiman, the head of Egyptian intelligence,’ the Iacobucci report says, using an alternate spelling of the Egyptian vice president’s name.“Unlike other interrogations, that session in the spring of 2003 did not involve violence. ‘A man in plain clothes sat across the desk from Mr. El Maati, asking him questions … the interrogator had a pile of papers in front of him and wrote down the answers Mr. El Maati gave.’“At the time, the Canadian prisoner had a sense that others were watching through a one-way window. The Iacobucci findings revealed that Western intelligence agencies – including the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service – were closely monitoring what the Egyptians were doing, even passing along questions."

[I had to quote myself because the Government of Canada wants to charge me $28 to read the results of a public inquiry conducted in private with public money about the complicity of Canadian intelligence services in the abuse of international humanitarian law, and furthermore my source for the original quote at the Globe and Mail has been hidden behind a paywall. I'm working on it. Weirdly, previous references to the entire Iacobucci report on reputable websites like that of the Toronto Star lead to irrelevant pornography, arguably more socially acceptable than whatever went on with Canadian citizens in Egyptian prisons.]

...later the same day....

[OK, I think I've got it. This has been so weirdly difficult in an age of open government and transparency that I'm starting to worry, like Uri Avnery, that I'm living in the Weimar Republic.]

And from the Australians:

"In Egypt, where torture seems to be a Government sport, Habib was interrogated by the country’s Intelligence Director, General Omar Suleiman, whose is ranked second in power to President Hosni Mubarak. Back in 2001, Suleiman took a personal interest in anyone suspected of links with Al Qaeda. As Habib had visited Afghanistan shortly before 9/11, he was under suspicion. Suleiman slapped Habib’s face so hard, the blindfold was dislodged, revealing the torturer’s identity. According to his memoir, Habib was repeatedly zapped with high-voltage electricity, immersed in water up to his nostrils, beaten, his fingers were broken and he was hung from metal hooks. "He was again interrogated by Omar Suleiman. To loosen Habib’s tongue, Suleiman ordered a guard to murder a gruesomely shackled Turkistan prisoner in front of Habib – and he did, with a vicious karate kick. Suleiman is expected to be the next President of Egypt."

Of course, Omar Suleiman has a long history of acting in the public interest, with the support of American Non Governmental Organizations like the CIA. Ah, bring back the good old days of stability, order, and lousy, corrupt, tyrannical government.

Friday, November 18, 2011

BBC response to IAEA Iran report "deeply stupid"

IAEA nuclear report

strengthens case

against Iran

You know, it's a funny thing, but it's a lot easier to find blathering commentary about the IAEA Iran report than it is to find the actual report. It's like the Penn State hysteria that occupies endless air time as opposed to the succinct Grand Jury report that in 25 or fewer pages discredits anybody who doesn't take the raping of children seriously, at Penn State or anywhere.

Similarly, in Canada we have the acidic report of the Oliphant Inquiry that is damn near impossible to find although there is endless emollient Conservative propaganda talking about it without saying anything.

And so, now, we have Sy Hersh, a fabulously irritated incorruptible reporter, discussing the IAEA report on Iran that sent the BBC into paroxysms of flatulent anxiety.

November 18, 2011
Posted by Seymour M. Hersh

"Joseph Cirincione, the president of the Ploughshare Fund, a disarmament group, who serves on Hillary Clinton’s International Security Advisory Board, said, “I was briefed on most of this stuff several years ago at the I.A.E.A. headquarters in Vienna. There’s little new in the report. Most of this information is well known to experts who follow the issue.” Cirincione noted that “post-2003, the report only cites computer modelling and a few other experiments.” (A senior I.A.E.A. official similarly told me, “I was underwhelmed by the information.”)"

And, as a matter of fact, I did read the IAEA Iran report for myself, and I found it unconvincing even though I'm a civilian, the report being short on actual evidence and long on unpersuasive argument that anything in Iran has actually changed since 2003. Except perhaps that the IAEA itself has been corrupted after the departure of ElBaradei, and that the new guy from Japan has done nothing constructive about Fukushima, a much greater threat to world safety than is Iran.

Has anybody considered actually talking to the Iranians?

Watching Syrian violence while thinking

Canada's Middle East policy

"Canada is watching violence in Syria but stepping in would require more thought and possibly a UN resolution, Defence Minister Peter MacKay says." [emphasis added]

Given the disastrous success of UN Security Council Resolution 1973, the chances of getting any new resolution through the Security Council for further military intervention would seem to be zero. As for "more thought" - Mackay?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The standard of intercourse in Canada's House of Commons

So it’s me Ron MacLean here with Don Cherry on House of Commons Night in Canada. Tonight we’re talking about respect in the game of parliamentary democracy, and whether it’s in decline. Grapes, I know you’ve got strong feelings about respect, what’s your take?

Yeah, well there’s a difference between respect and playing patty cake. I’m big on respect, like you said, but that doesn’t mean parliamentary democracy isn’t a contact sport - because it is. And in any contact sport feelings are gonna run high, and there’s a certain amount of yapping that goes on as a result, but it’s all part of the game. There are limits, though.

Such as?

Well, racist insults, like we heard about in the preseason in London, and unfortunately, have a long history. Calling names isn’t respect, like “chicken Swede.”

What about the F-bomb?

Are we back to the F-35, for some reason?

No, no. The F-word, like Pat Martin used about the Conservatives’ use of Closure.

I’m having trouble keeping up. I know Pat Martin’s a hot-head, but he told the Conservatives to fuck off in the House? The Speaker would never let him get away with that kind of stuff, I don’t care how far gone people think the Commons is.

No, he was on Twitter.

He was where?

Pat Martin was on Twitter and tweeted: “This is a fucking disgrace...closure again. And on the Budget! There's not a democracy in the world that would tolerate this jackboot shit.”

I feel like I’m missing a channel or something. Pat Martin didn’t say that in the House, did he?

No, but he said it in a very public way, and the press were all over it.

You know, like you say, I’m all for respect, and I know Martin talks before he thinks, but I’m with him on this one. The fact he uses language that’s, ah...direct...doesn’t detract from the truth of what he says. Avoiding debate using closure again and again, that’s what shows no respect for your opponents or the game of parliamentary democracy. It’s like proroguing Parliament to avoid responsibility.

But it’s not any way to talk if you’re setting an example for kids who are going to become Canadian citizens, and you want to give them role models for parliamentary behaviour...

Yeah, well, sure. But if I have to choose between bad language with honest commitment to Parliament, and smarmy PR language with contempt for Parliament, I’m on the side of bad language. Anyway, it’s not like people haven’t heard this kind of talk. I seem to recall the same sort of thing during the Men’s Olympic Gold Medal Game in 2010, when Ryan Getzlaf was having a discussion with Jack Johnson about a late hit on Corey Perry.

I don’t recall that conversation...

Yeah, well it’s on the official game tape at the end of the first period if I remember correctly, and Getzlaf was suggesting to Jack Johnson appropriate respect had not been shown for the rules of the game, and I haven't heard anybody say Getzlaf set a bad example for kids....

It doesn’t sound like what Martin was saying.

I think you’ll find the similarities are striking.

So what do you think of the standard of debate in Canada’s House of Commons?

Well, I’m certainly cheesed off with what goes on in Question Period, I’ll tell you that, especially after watching the example of the British House of Commons like we were talking about in the summer. The Speaker there forces Ministers to answer the questions. Here, somebody asks a question and the Minister recites the talking points of the day that have nothing to do with whatever the question was about. That’s not parliamentary democracy - it’s got a stink of totalitarian hockey-bag about it. The Conservative Ministers are too chicken to stick their necks out and answer questions honestly.

Your command of the language never ceases to amaze me, but something you're saying sounds familiar...

Some necks. Some chickens.

OK, I know you’re giving me a hint, but let me think about it a minute...

It was from a speech in the House of Commons.

Are you sure you got it right?

I’ll look it up for you.

Thanks! We’ll pick it up there next time on House of Commons Night in Canada.

You know, I think I’m missing out on this Twitter thing.

You are! Pat Martin told some other guy to eat his shorts.

Martin’s shorts, or the other guy’s?


Ya gotta love it....

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The shores of Darwin


"The turning point in the war came with the Battle of Derna (April–May 1805). Ex-consul William Eaton, who went by the rank of general, and US Marine First Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon led a mixed force of eight United States Marines and 500 Greeks from the island of Crete, Arab, and Berber mercenaries on a march across the desert from Alexandria, Egypt to assault and to capture the Tripolitan city of Derna. This was the first time in history that the United States flag was raised in victory on foreign soil. This action was memorialized in a line from the Marines' Hymn — "the shores of Tripoli."

The First Barbary War

Eight Marines and 500 mercs: Blackwater foreseen.

"MacGuire and the plotters had made a fatal mistake in their choice of a leader, however. "With incredible ineptitude," states Jules Archer in The Plot to Seize the White House, "they had selected the wrong man." The plot, and the men behind it, represented everything Smedley Butler now despised. Over the years his youthful passion for battles abroad had given way to an equally fierce desire to fight hypocrisy at home. He had come to believe that war was a product of corporate greed, that his men had fought for no higher ideal than profit. On August 21, 1931 - a full two years before MacGuire first approached him - Butler had stunned an audience at an American Legion convention in Connecticut when he had said:"

I spent 33 years...being a high-class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for capitalism...

I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909-1912. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1916. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City [Bank] boys to collect revenue in. I helped in the rape of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street...

I helped see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested....I had...a swell racket. I was rewarded with honours, medals, promotions...I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate a racket in three cities. The Marines operated on three continents.

Joel Bakan
The Corporation
Penguin Canada, 2004
pages 92-93

"Far more troublesome was the role of the Department of State. Knowing that the war could come to an end, sooner or later, the Department of State should have prepared a plan that had the concurrence of the War Department and the approval of the White House. By not having developed a plan, it was forced to acquiesce to the course of action proposed by the War Department. In other words, it subordinated itself to the wishes of the War Department in carrying out foreign policy.

"In subsequent years this condition has been allowed to grow in an alarming manner. Military people can always rationalize almost any problem's becoming military and thus susceptible to a military solution. They dislike interference on the part of the State Department when that Department sees serious political consequences stemming from the use of military force. I have discussed problems of this nature in the Pentagon, and with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, on many occasions. I remember quite vividly a senior office in the Pentagon referring to State Department officers who were raising questions about the political aspects of Alaskan statehood. The General referred, rather derisively I thought, to State Department people as "those field marshals in striped pants." Actually, it was the generals who were were wearing the striped pants. The State Department acquiescence in the policies of the War Department was a most alarming portent of what was to come. The State Department translated this into a foreign policy described as "brinkmanship." Obviously this was not a policy. It was a slogan.

"It was not long thereafter that the State Department acquiesced in the Pentagon's desire to intervene in south-east Asia. As a general who opposed the Southeast Asian involvement from the outset, I found this deeply disturbing. Surely there must have been, among the more thoughtful people, some who saw the ultimate consequences, from a political if not military point of view of our venture. Ultimately, this proved to be one of the greatest foreign policy and military disasters in our nation's history.

"But the abandonment of foreign policy initiative to the War Department at the time of Berlin, and afterward, is profound in its implications. There have been outstanding State Department people who have opposed such policies, such as George Ball and Averell Harriman, among others. And there have been State Department junior officers who have given up their careers because they believed that they could not continue to serve with the policies of the Department. This has resulted in considerable paralysis and ineffectiveness that has troubled every President in recent years. President John F. Kennedy was very much concerned about this, and in my last conversation with him on October 21, 1963, when we were discussing a forthcoming visit of General de Gaulle, he tilted his head toward the State Department and said to me, "But first I must straighten out that State Department." Earlier, in the summer of 1961, President Kennedy is reported to have remarked to High Sidey of Time, "The State Department is a bowl of jelly." The condition of the Department, whether it began with World War II, or much earlier, as believed by many, is one that must be corrected as a matter of highest priority."

James M. Gavin
On to Berlin
"A fighting general's true story of airborne combat in World War II"
Viking Press, 1978, pg. 355-357

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

This is R2P, is it?

ICRC photo


From UN Security Council Resolution 1973

Protection of civilians
4. Authorizes Member States that have notified the Secretary-General, acting nationally or through regional organizations or arrangements, and acting in cooperation with the Secretary-General, to take all necessary measures, notwithstanding paragraph 9 of resolution 1970 (2011), to protect civilians and civilian populated areas under threat of attack in the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, including Benghazi, while excluding a foreign occupation force of any form on any part of Libyan territory, and requests the Member States concerned to inform the Secretary-General immediately of the measures they take pursuant to the authorization conferred by this paragraph which shall be immediately reported to the Security Council;

Dunno. R2P needs work. Maybe Resolution 1970 - passed unanimously - could have worked just as well, without the expense, dishonour, and destruction of any collective Security Council action for the foreseeable future...

Maybe the war games should be conducted in public.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Homeless in America

ABC Australia

Let's buy the F-35 simulators...

The corruption of the International Atomic Energy Agency
and the public relations campaign to attack Iran.

So, assuming the F-35 madness is going to continue, given that the F-22 isn't operational, one solution is for Canada to buy the simulator, which we can use to attack Iran's simulation of a nuclear warhead. There are powerful reasons for this approach:

1. the work will remain in Canada at CAE;
2. this will be much cheaper than buying the actual aircraft;
3. there is no prospect of the F-35 entering operational service;
4. if the F-35 entered operational service, nobody knows what it would do;
5. by the time the putative F-35 enters service, it could be flown from the simulator;
6. and anyway we could simulate an attack on Iran which would be very informative because...
7. somebody might ask what China would do in the event of a crazed attack on Qom. Also, Russia.

Bring back elBaradei!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

"Vengeance is mine"

{12:19} Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. {12:20} Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. {12:21} Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.

The Bible, King James version, Romans 12:19-21

OK, it's the New Testament. So what? Here's the United Nations Charter, Article 2, on a similar subject:

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.

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 nforcement measures under Chapter Vll.

[emphasis added]

Canada as a nation might not have signed up for the New or Old Testaments, but we sure has hell have signed up for the UN Charter.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Move the Wheat Board to Kandahar

It's a win/win situation.

It's a "no-brainer" as Canada's Prime Minister, Steve ("The Weasel") Harper said about the Keystone XL pipeline, a project now mothballed into oblivion. But even Steve could get the inevitable logic of the Wheat Board gambit:

1. He wants to get rid of the Wheat Board and its monopoly.
2. He wants a graceful exit from Afghanistan.
3. He doesn't want any more Canadians killed with the attendant repatriation ceremonies and other horrible reminders of how his government is trying to brush off the veterans it has created, all for an ambiguous and self-evidently losing cause.

So here's the solution. Move the entire Wheat Board Headquarters from Winnipeg to Kandahar and put it in charge of opium production and marketing. In fact I suggested this some time ago but of course it went nowhere - it's tough being a wing-nut ahead of your time - but now it's even more obviously a no-brainer. I'm not even sure the Wheat Board needs its own army in Kandahar but why not? Everybody else has one. Maybe they could contract Afghan farm security and opium delivery to Abdul Raziq, notable Afghan security consultant spoken of approvingly by Nelofer Pazira ("The Dark Knight") but slightly less so by Matt Aikins ("Our Man in Kandahar") who flat out implicated Razzy in murder. But all of that is small beer next to stable prices for agricultural products that will lift Afghanistan out of poverty while it remorselessly sells social fabric-destroying heroin to NATO countries creating a huge criminal network through prohibition while also creating hideous consequences for the acolytes of Milton Friedman and his delusional ideology, the consequences being seen as an act of God rather than evidence for deficiencies in the ideology.

Anyway, it's one thing for guys like Raziq to manipulate NATO; it'll be another if he goes up against the Wheat Board.

Somebody should repeal the Nobel Prize in Economics.

Poppies and Oz

November 11, 2011

The Age, Melbourne

"They carried the sleeping girl to a pretty spot beside the river, far enough from the poppy field to prevent her breathing any more of the poison of the flowers, and here they laid her gently on the soft grass and waited for the fresh breeze to waken her."

- Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

This following article, published on the ABC Australia website, clearly states the argument for NATO and its allies leaving Afghanistan. The comment thread contains the various arguments for NATO and its allies remaining in Afghanistan.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Blessed relief in a time of trouble.

OK, so I know it has its limitations, and the International Olympic Committee is an authoritarian organization of cheesy aesthetics, but it's hockey like it's supposed to be.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Supreme Court of Canada passes up chance to explain "rule of law"

It was probably a non-starter anyway. But they could have reduced the Ontario Court of Appeal decision to talking points for the Attorney-General:
  • Canada has laws.
  • Pakistan has laws but they don't matter.
  • The United States has laws but they don't matter either.
  • Canada can't ignore its own laws.
  • Canada can't ignore its own laws, even if Americans don't know why.
  • Canada can't ignore its own laws, even if Conservatives don't know why.
  • Canada can't ignore its own laws, even if Conservatives have a majority.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

"Hats off, gentlemen, a genius."

Brendan Shanahan and the NHL