Friday, November 30, 2012

They hung Keitel didn't they? (part 2)

"To say they are rewriting the rulebook implies that there isn't already a rulebook" said Jameel Jaffer, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union's Center for Democracy. "But what they are already doing is rejecting a rulebook – of international law – that has been in place since [the second world war]."
The Guardian, November 25, 2012 

Common Article 3, Geneva Conventions 1949

Art. 3. In the case of armed conflict not of an international character occurring in the territory of one of the High Contracting Parties, each Party to the conflict shall be bound to apply, as a minimum, the followingprovisions: 
(1) Persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention, or any other cause, shall in all circumstances be treated humanely, without any adverse distinction founded on race, colour, religion or faith, sex, birth or wealth, or any other similar criteria.
To this end the following acts are and shall remain prohibited at any time and in any place whatsoever with respect to the above-mentioned persons:(a) violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture;(b) taking of hostages;(c) outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment;(d) the passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgment pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all the judicial guarantees which are recognized as indispensable by civilized peoples.
(2) The wounded and sick shall be collected and cared for. 
An impartial humanitarian body, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross, may offer its services to the Parties to the conflict.
The Parties to the conflict should further endeavour to bring into force, by means of special agreements, all or part of the other provisions of the present Convention.
The application of the preceding provisions shall not affect the legal status of the Parties to the conflict.
Commentary, Common Article 3
Sentences and executions without previous trial are by definition open to error. "Summary justice" may be effective on account of [p.40] the fear it arouses, but it adds too many innocent victims to all the other innocent victims of the conflict. All civilized nations surround the administration of justice with safeguards aimed at eliminating the possibility of judicial errors. The Convention has rightly proclaimed that it is essential to do this even in time of war. We must be very clear about one point; it is only "summary" justice which it is intended to prohibit. No sort of immunity is given to anyone under this provision. There is nothing in it to prevent a person presumed to be guilty from being arrested and so placed in a position where he can do no further harm; and it leaves intact the right of the State to prosecute, sentence and punish according to the law.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

World becoming isolated from Canadian reality

New York, November 29, 2012 - Associated Press

"I'm very disappointed," said a disappointed John Baird. "Canada is disappointed."

Despite Baird going out of his way to reveal Canada's position on the Middle East peace process to the UN General Assembly, he felt frustrated that the message didn't seem to be getting through.

"They don't get it," he said.  "The world is in danger of losing touch with Canadian foreign policy."

If that were to happen, a Canadian solution to the Iranian crisis would be even more remote.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The only difference between Obama and Morsi... Obama's getting away with it.

Egyptian protesters attend an opposition rally in Tahrir Square in Cairo, Egypt, Tuesday, Nov. 27, 2012. More than 100,000 people flocked to Cairo's central Tahrir square on Tuesday, chanting against Egypt's Islamist president in a powerful show of strength by the opposition demanding Mohammed Morsi revoke edicts granting himself near autocratic powers.(AP Photo/Khalil Hamra)

.....or maybe not.

Monday, November 19, 2012


April 4, 1984.  Last night to the flicks.  All war films.  One very good one of a ship full of refugees being bombed somewhere in the Mediterranean.  Audience much amused by shots of a great huge fat man trying to swim away with a helicopter after him, first you saw him wallowing along in the water like a porpoise, then you saw him through the helicopters gunsights, then he was full of holes and the sea round him turned pink and he sank as suddenly as though the holes had let in the water. then you saw a lifeboat full of children with a helicopter hovering over it. There was a middleaged woman might have been a jewess sitting up in the bow with a little boy about three years old in her arms.  little boy screaming with fright and hiding his head between her breasts as if he was trying to burrow right into her and the woman putting her arms round him and comforting him although she was blue with fright herself, all the time covering him up as much as possible as if she thought her arms could keep the bullets off him. then the helicopter planted a 20 kilo bomb in among them terrific flash and the boat went all to matchwood. then there was a wonderful shot of a child’s arm going up up up right up into the air a helicopter with a camera in its nose must have followed it up and there was a lot of applause from the party seats but a woman down in the prole part of the house suddenly started kicking up a fuss and shouting they didn’t oughter of showed it not in front of kids they didn’t it aint right not in front of kids it aint until the police turned her turned her out I don’t suppose anything happened to her nobody cares what the proles say typical prole reaction they never -
George Orwell

Friday, November 16, 2012

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Susan Rice for Secretary of State


Yes, of course.  Susan Rice as Secretary of State.  That leaves open the post of Ambassador to the United Nations which will go to - let me guess - Anne-Marie Slaughter!  Perfect.  The one-two punch of R2P, conveniently sabotaging the Security Council when that organization fails to be consistent with American mythology, particularly the American "shining-city-on-the-hill, leader-of-the-free-world" mythology.  

Let's talk about Security Council Resolution 1970 on Libya that was passed by an unprecedented vote of 15-0, authorizing sanctions, and a referral of Libya's leaders to the International Criminal Court, as well as various economic sanctions.  It was unprecedented and would have set the precedent of the ICC being a standard of international justice agreed to by the US, China, and Russia.  Robert H. Jackson would rise up from his grave - Holy Nuremberg!
Robert H. Jackson, a former Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, also the Canadian Bar Association in 1949, in his address entitled Nuremberg In Retrospect: Legal Answer To International Lawlessness"...I do think that we have forever laid to rest in the minds of statesmen the vicious assumptions that all war must be regarded as legal and just, and that while the law imposes personal responsibility for starting a street riot, it imposes none for inciting and launching a world war." 

Instead of recognizing this precedent, the weasel Susan Rice then promoted Resolution 1973 that authorized a "no-fly zone" that had 5 significant abstentions including Germany, and then went on to a NATO crusader mission to blow the shit out of Libya, and more particularly, Ghadaffi however you want to spell it.  We are living with the result, the most advertised of which is single digit casualties in Benghazi, - but of course American casualties - and the least advertised being disruption of north Africa extending into Mali, as well as the loss of thousands of armaments - a connection that seems to elude almost all of the American and European MSM - not to mention the total anarchy that has followed in Libya that is struggling without the financial support afforded to the NATO military that was blowing the shit out of it. David Cameron is still pimping for BAE in the Middle East.  His shirt was open the other day, perhaps he'd just finished trashing a restaurant.

Now, Susan Rice and her clueless friends - whose shared expertise appears to have been acquired by talking to each other - are wondering why the Security Council is not big on regime change in Syria, while simultaneously fucking up what had been non-violent and courageous resistance in Syria by supplying various "rebel" groups with weapons, thus turning Syria into a civil war that doesn't look to be ending any time soon, and inadvertently arming its own self described "enemies" - Islamists, whatever Americans mean by that term, it's not obvious - and wanting more military involvement as a result, even if it means bypassing the UN.

Then, to add insult to injury, NATO seems in a hurry to "recognize" the rebels, whoever they are including "Islamists", as the legitimate voice of Syria, having denied the same recognition to Palestinians for 60 years.

You'd think somebody would notice all this.  The good news is that many Americans have - Bradley Manning being an obvious example - and my "thoughts and prayers" for their Constitution are in my heart at this time.  

Fresh hell in Brussels

Excerpt from The War Diary of ISAF's Media Operations Centre NATO Headquarters Blvd Leopold III 1110 Brussels, Belgium Tuesday, Novermber 13, 2012 9:30 AM Au Repos de la Montagne Montagne de Saint-Job 39 Coffee en route to work. Oh, God.  It's four days to the weekend, and now this.  What will we do about Commander's Corner?!  "General Allen paints self into corner" -  the headlines write themselves.  My cell is having a grand mal.  There is a crash emergency meeting in Bar Le 31, Hotel Metropole, to work out our crisis response.  It reminded me of Friday, June 13, 2008, when the Taliban busted open Sarpoza Central Prison in Kandahar without anybody knowing about it, even though they had chartered buses to remove the occupants.  This was worse:  not only a crisis under our noses but probably other anatomy as well.  11:00  Bar Le 31.  The Chief was remarkably coherent for this time of day, although I questioned the location of such a confidential meeting in a hotel lobby.  I was told nobody in their right mind would expect us to have it there.  We heard that there are some 20,000-30,000 possibly incriminating pages shared by the Commander and some woman in Florida who has been described as the "Emily Post of targeted killing."  My curiosity was aroused, and fortunately the Chief shared this information with us as well, by posting it all on the MOC supersecret website that Wikileaks can only dream about.  The question was how to deal with this mass of information to formulate a consistent message that could be condensed into 7 talking points or less.  12:00 We all downloaded the information onto out laptops and adjourned for a working lunch.  15:00 Each breakout group had been tasked to author one talking point.  Unfortunately there was considerable overlap.  The good news was that there were fewer talking points.  These were:
  • Neither American National Security nor NATO security has been compromised.
  • The ISAF Mission is on track to a successful handover in 2014.
  • General Allen apologizes to anybody who was offended by anything but emphasizes he has nothing to apologize for.
16:00 The bar opened.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

The beach at Puys

Marie-Josée Lafond 2009

Canadians dead on Blue Beach, Puys, Dieppe - August 1942

 German Federal Archives

On the Left Flank: Berneval and Puys

The situation on the left flank proved to be a disaster even before the first landing. An hour before the scheduled landing time, the ships carrying the No 3 British Commando encountered a German convoy with an armed escort. Fierce fighting followed that disorganized the manoeuvres of the landing crafts and only seven out of 23 reached the Berneval beach. The firing alerted the Germans who met the Commandos with strong opposition. Only one craft escaped the attention of the enemy and 17 men and three officers from No 3 Commando managed to land without being seen. Edging their way through a gully, an unbelievably bold movement, they got near their target, a German artillery position on the hill above Berneval. Unable to destroy it, they took shots at it with such intensity that for an hour and a half, the Germans were unable to take aim at the Allied ships.

The Royal Regiment of Canada, plus three Black Watch platoons and one artillery detachment, experienced unbelievable bad luck on the Puys beach. Their task was to neutralize machine-gun and artillery batteries protecting the Dieppe beach. Problems started during the crossing of the Channel and the barges arrived in disorganized waves, the first ones already twenty minutes behind schedule. By then, the darkness and smoke screens that should have concealed their arrival had been lifted and German defences were on high alert. As soon as they reached the shore, the men found themselves pinned against the seawall and unable to advance otherwise than in full view of the enemy. Since no ship could get close without being targeted and probably sunk, the survivors of the Royals and Black Watch were forced to surrender. Of the 556 men and officers of the Royal Regiment of Canada who sailed for Dieppe, over 200 lost their lives in action and 264 were captured, among them several wounded.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Monday, November 5, 2012

Truth and Truthiness

by Jane Austen

The Romney family had long lived at Edsel Manor in Belmont, Massachusetts, on the northern outskirts of Boston.  They were of old and respectable Mormon stock, and their standing within the surrounding gated communities was very high, as indeed it was in Boston, where young Willard (lovingly called Mitt by his sisters) was once Governor.  The Romney children were fond of summer vacations with their parents, at their rustic cottage in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, although the family Edsel scarcely had room enough for all the children and the dog.

As a young man, Willard attended Brigham Young University in Utah, where families often sent their young men for development of a certain sort of character, in later years referred to uncharitably as "entitlement." As he was maturing to manhood, he found America was at war in southeast Asia, and Willard had to choose between a Mormon mission to civilize savage Parisiens on the one hand, or to serve his country in Vietnam on the other.  It was indeed a difficult decision, but Willard, strengthened by his experience in Utah, found it within himself to sacrifice his military career in Vietnamese swamps to a higher purpose in  the cafes of Paris, a course he was never in later years to regret.  It was perhaps no coincidence that the French had themselves recently abandoned Vietnam in defeat, owing to lack of moral fiber.

On return from France (having acquired a flawless Parisien accent), Willard completed his education at a local college, Harvard, where he became a Doctor of Laws and a Surgeon of Business.  Then, using his own two hands, hard work, and the talent God had so wisely given him, and without any opportunity not equally provided to a farm boy from Mississippi, Willard became rich.

One thing was bothering him however:  some words like "gay" were losing their old meanings and  were, in this instance, being appropriated by the perverse, immoral, and mentally ill to mean "homosexuality."  Fortunately, just when things were blackest, he found a way to fight back.  He discovered that the word "truth" had been appropriated by the reality-based community to mean the way the way the world actually was, as determined by some form of objective measurement or open-minded inquiry.  An answer to this Orwellian distortion of the English language had been unearthed by an obscure philologist named Stephen Colbert, who taught that "truthiness" was the truth that God meant it to be, at least the God of the Judaeo-Christian tradition, of which the Mormons were perhaps a part.  Unlike the Muslims however.  In another life, Willard thought, he would be a Mormon Missionary in, say, Istanbul, but this he would leave to his sons, or more probably, other people's sons.

With this clarity of mind, and armed with the Sword of Truthiness and the Shield of Ignorance, he decided to become President of the United States.  The rest will be history.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Copycat Proroguer

The Proroguer Omnibus goes to Toronto

I was sitting in the Library Bar of the Royal York in Toronto waiting for a contact I knew only as “Her”.  I had been innocently plying my trade as a constitutional lawyer in Ottawa, although looking enviously south to a land where constitutional lawyers became famous politicians – by trying to destroy the American Constitution – or famous journalists  – by trying to destroy the constitutional lawyers trying  to destroy the American Constitution.  My sympathies were with the journalists but at least both were getting paid.  

Meanwhile back in Ottawa I was hoping for an intermittent gig on CBC Radio explaining the unwritten constitution to people who didn't care, and the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to people who preferred a strong, stable tryanny.  It was strictly minimum wage.  I was bummed.

Then, there had been a mysterious call from Haiti.  It was an offer to retain my services for an important client who could not be identified on the phone, on account of Jeffrey Delisle having blown the cover of CSIS, ASIS, NZIS, MI6, the CIA, and Rogers Cable, and nothing was secure.  I asked about the job and was told " the Privy Council job in London.”   More could not be said on the phone.  All expenses would be covered lavishly however, and I would be intimately involved in Canadian Constitutional law at a crucial moment.

It was an offer I couldn't refuse.  After a luxurious overnight bus trip to Toronto, I settled into a booth in a dim corner of the bar, carrying a copy of an October 2008  Report on Business, as instructed.  Moments later, a black woman wearing a black sealskin coat and very black sunglasses appeared at my side.  “Mind if I sit down?” she asked, using the agreed recognition code.  “Only if Obama has the hots for you,” I replied, and she slumped gratefully into a seat.  “Screech?” I asked.  “I’d love to, but it would only attract attention. “ “I mean the drink.” “Jack Daniels.”  I was moving up.

“I hope this isn’t another Privy Council trip.”  “No, it’s like that, but not the same people.  We think we’ve got a copycat proroguer.”

“Do you have a suspect?”

She looked carefully around and lowered her voice, “Dalton.”


“No, he’s straight.”

“I meant Dalton Camp.”

“He’s dead.”

The stakes were getting higher.  “Who then?”

She excused herself to go the ladies'.  She returned, handed me a blank piece of paper, and left.  I held the paper over a candle and writing slowly appeared;  “McGuinty.  We will be in touch.  Your room here has been booked under the name 'Tim Horton.'"

The paper burst into flame, setting off the smoke alarms and causing evacuation of the entire hotel.  In the interests of security I ate the ashes. It was more interesting than a guest slot on “The House.”  I retired to my room and ordered up a 24 of Canadian to kill the taste of ashes in my mouth.  It didn't work.

…to be continued.