Thursday, August 31, 2017

Kim Jong-Un's Playful Gaming

"The whole reason they developed the ICBM [Intercontinental Ballistic Missile] was to deter American nuclear retaliation because if you can hold an American city or cities at risk the American calculation always changes."
"Are we really willing to risk Los Angeles or Chicago in retaliation for an attack on a U.S. military base in the region? Probably not."
"[It's] really hard for Trump to make these crazy statements ['fire and fury'] and not have them walked back by someone in his administration."
"At some point, the blurriness goes away and we just look incoherent."
Vipin Narang, Associate professor, political science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, nuclear strategy specialist
Kim Jong-un, seated in centre at a desk with a map, is seen surrounded by smiling officials and military personnel in an official photo
North Korean news said Kim Jong-un had ordered further missile launches in the Pacific   KCNA

Incredibly, there are those in the West in places of academic influence who believe Kim Jong-un to be rational, a scheming, immoderate, boasting bully, but in complete command of his personal agency and his stature as the tyrannical ruler of North Korea. That he is intelligent enough not to be suicidal in his constant gambits, his volatile fits of neuroticism, his impulsive ordering of missiles sent skyward to provoke concern in his neighbours and challenge the United States to react.

And while they persist in claiming that this dangerous and absurd prod to lunacy in the administration of a nation's fortunes knows precisely what he is doing and is quite correct in foreseeing the consequences of his actions as limply standing back, hesitating to act for fear that catastrophe will be unleashed on the nations that depend on America to protect them from the potential Kim might commit to, it is the head of the new American administration lacking sense and sensibility.

Triggers that send Kim Jong-un into spiralling fits of psychosis ordering missiles to be shot over neighbouring countries as proof that he has the means and the inclination if prodded further, are ostensibly events that the U.S. could, if it wished, control. Such as cancelling joint war games with South Korea. Or bypassing the temptation to fly U.S. Air Force B-1B bombers out of Guam too near North Korea's airspace. In essence, holding the U.S. responsible for provocative actions, not North Korea.
A missile is seen taking off from a grassy field in a burst of burning fuel and smoke
BBC News - North Korea: 'Japan missile was first step in Pacific operation'

The demonstration flights of the newer ballistic missiles, going from medium-range now to technologically advanced intercontinental represent the reality that Kim could, if he decided to, challenge the U.S. directly through hits on its coastal Pacific cities. Kim, claims these experts, is not paranoid, merely practical, reasoning that if he pushes the envelope just far enough he will create an atmosphere of such uncertainty revolving around his sanity and what he is prepared to do, that he will be safe because he has given his adversary due notice that nothing is beyond his capacity.

Effectively South Korea's capital, Seoul, stands in the most direct line of potential destruction. An event horrendous in theory and more so should it occur. Or Tokyo, already threatened, like Seoul and Guam, on many occasions and with controlled violence already committed as ostensible down payment on the real thing. Issues of responsibilities to allies weigh heavily on the conscience and strategies employed by the most powerful nation on Earth, rendered fairly helpless under the circumstances by the volatile antics of a juvenile mind playing with fire and brimstone.

With a believed arsenal of dozens of nuclear weapons, a cache the North grows steadily year by year, cooperating with its strategic weapons development program to the benefit of a sinister and equally threatening nation like the Islamic Republic of Iran, the game North Korea and Kim take such delight in represents a world threat to peace and stability, one that even China, in the throes of its own uncertainty, acknowledges.


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Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Bringing Peace to Israel, Courtesy Hamas

gaza rockets israel
Rockets fired from Gaza City are launched toward Israel    AFP
"Today, the relationship with Iran is excellent, or very excellent. [The Islamic Republic of Iran represents] the largest backer financially and militarily [to Hamas."
"[Aid provided by Iran is meant for] rebuilding and accumulating [Hamas's military powers geared toward a more extended conflict with Israel."
"Thousands of people work every day to make rockets, [dig] tunnels, and train frogmen. The relationship with Iran is in this context."
Yehiyeh Sinwar, Hamas leader, released from Israeli prison, in prisoner exchange
Yehiyeh Sinwar
The Associated Press -- FILE - In this May 1, 2017 file photo, Yehiyeh Sinwar, a top Hamas official in Gaza attends a news conference in Gaza City. On Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, Sinwar, Hamas’ new leader in the Gaza Strip, said his group has restored relations with Iran after a five-year rift and is using its newfound financial and military aid to gear up for a new round of battle with Israel.

"[Those who plan for the destruction of Israel indulge in a] form of modern anti-Semitism."
"I believe that the horror of the Holocaust should be such that anti-Semitism should now be dead forever."
"I understand the security concerns of Israel and I repeat that the idea or the intention or the will to destroy the state of Israel is something totally unacceptable from my perspective."
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres
Perhaps Mr. Guterres should visit with Qatar and with Iran and explain this to them. If he is sufficiently persuasive, Qatar and Iran could then castigate their terrorist friends in Hamas and Hezbollah and sternly evoke in them the conscience of peace that Islam is reputed to be steeped in. What the world has seen of Islam's faithful particularly of late seems to leave the impression that this is a hateful religion of war.

In very point of fact the sacred screeds of Islam teach the faithful that the world outside Islam is comprised of nations of war, while those faithful to Islam represent countries of peace.

The perplexing thing about this reasoning, however, is that it is mostly Muslim nations and particularly those in the Middle East and North Africa that are riven with conflict and slaughter. And nor does that conflict and slaughter remain only in the Middle East and North Africa for its avid practitioners make every effort at their command to export it to the West as well, to treat the democratic countries of the world, so swift to appease Islam, how to transform themselves from nations of conflict to nations of peace.
gaza rockets israel
Israelis take cover on the side of a road outside the northern Gaza Strip as a siren sounds, warning of incoming rockets     Reuters

For, once jihad has succeeded in prevailing by promoting terror and completely demoralizing those living in fear of terrorists to succumb to Islam's demands, peace will descend. Hamas is busily engaged in bringing peace to Israel. And Iran and Qatar are their enablers. Should Hamas fail in its mission there is always Hezbollah. Either Sunni Hamas or Shia Hezbollah will teach Israel the ultimate lesson of Islam; There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger.

Stubborn Jews refused in the 7th Century and they still refuse.

The funding Hamas receives to restore its weapons cache to a point where it feels confident once again to engage Israel in conflict includes, needless to say, rather an imposition on the Palestinians living in Gaza who will once more become living hostages of their Hamas rulers. As human shields they perform a vital duty to Islam through their personal sacrifice in giving up their lives so that Hamas warriors may continue to face the enemy; not directly of course since the tunnels have many uses and keeping Hamas fighters safe from harm is one of them.

No civilians need apply.
Palestinian summer camp organised by the Islamist movement Hamas
   Hamas organised a military-style graduation ceremony at Fajer Al-Entesar summer camp in Gaza.
Picture: Mohhamed Salem/Reuters

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Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Liberating Mosul

"[The] coalition's goal is always for zero human casualties. We apply rigorous standards to our targeting process."
"Not since World War II has there been an urban assault on a city like Mosul. The only way to liberate the city was to go house by house, and street by street."
"[Iraqi soldiers rescued civilians hoping that security forces reached them] quickly enough before they starved to death or were killed by ISIS while trying to flee."
U.S. Army Col. Ryan Dillon, spokesperson, U.S.-led coalition, Syria, Iraq
Emanuele Satolli   
It was my fourth day embedded with Iraqi Army troops in the al-Zanjili district of western Mosul. In the morning, the soldiers tried to advance without success as Islamic State militants kept heavily resisting. At one point, maybe encouraged by the presence of the soldiers, a few civilians decided to leave their houses and began walking on a road amid the rubble.
Militants opened fire but the soldiers shot back to protect the civilians. There, I saw this woman carrying an exhausted child. She turned back toward where she came from, where the bullets were coming from, and appeared frightened. When I saw the picture again, I felt she was giving a last look at her house, her familiar road, before becoming another of the displaced.

The unfortunate residents of Mosul, trapped in the Old City while ISIL fighters used them as handy shields in the thought that Iraqi forces would withhold the level of their assault knowing the plight of the civilian population, can be forgiven for believing that, given their miserable experience, not as much that could have been done to shelter them from ongoing bombing and the inevitable results was actually contemplated on their behalf, much less prosecuted.

But then, the actions of ISIL in identifying the local population a being of great good use in protecting themselves from the onslaught by appealing to the humanitarian nature of those attempting to dislodge the terrorists and retake the city, represents a tried-and-true tactic in the Middle East, obviously popular with Arab fighters. Take advantage of the close presence of innocent civilians; from within their midst lob off munitions, knowing that those targeted will hesitate to respond in the knowledge that unarmed civilians of all ages will be harmed.

This is precisely the most favourite tactic practised by Hamas in Gaza. When Hamas provocations became too bold and too frequent, and the Israel Defence Forces responded by invading Gaza to stop the constant bombardment of rockets into Israel and the abduction of IDF soldiers, it was from within the crowded civilian population of Gaza City and elsewhere that Hamas shot off their munitions. UN-operated schools, hospitals, apartment blocks, all these locations were used as ammunition depots and weapons-launching areas.

Moreover, Hamas urged Gaza's Palestinians to defy the Israeli strikes, to mount protests on the roofs of buildings, to invite the strikes of the IDF in defiance and to declare themselves willing to die. In response the IDF showered the population with printed warnings, urging them to vacate premises slated to be targeted, and even sent initial lesser bombs as warning before launching the heavier more destructive arms. Warnings of attacks were sent via cellphones to alert civilians to vacate target areas.

But every civilian who died represented another arrow in the quiver of Hamas's righteous indignation at the death of civilians by the IDF, and it was that public relations message that went viral internationally, inspiring protests worldwide against the inhumane attacks by Israeli forces against vulnerable Palestinian populations in Gaza. Now, thousands of civilian Iraqis have met their death as a result of U.S.-supported Iraqi troops fighting ISIL to retake Mosul.

Frightened families huddling in their cellars whom air strikes in support of the Iraqi ground forces killed outright. Workers are now going house to house to recover bodies, digging in rubble, to take away the corpses of entire families, victimized by ISIL, who kept them under guard in the houses the terrorists used to launch their strikes from. But Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi is celebrating victory, despite the "blood and sacrifices", so all is not lost.
Cengiz Yar  
Out of the desert they walked, trudging through the sand and dust kicked up by Iraqi special forces Humvees. Some carried small bags of clothing. Others held sticks with white cloth tied to the end. Mohamed carried the tiny body of his two-month-old daughter wrapped in bloodied linen.

And nor is there an international outcry in condemnation of the direct bombing of houses and other buildings full of cowering, defenceless civilians -- leaving a death toll that cannot by any measure be defended. When Islamic State snipers installed themselves on rooftops to target Iraqi ground forces the result was that artillery fire or airstrikes fell onto those buildings, irrespective of the fact that it was known that their interiors were full of civilians. Survivors attested to this fact.

Civil defence workers have hundreds of prospective locations where bodies are known to be rotting, awaiting recovery and burial. But survivors and relatives of those killed have frequently gone out before the workers to themselves dig frantically in the rubble to attempt to recover the bodies of those they loved. Two refrigerated tractor trailers parked on a lawn close to the main Mosul morgue are full. "Based on our figures, there are not enough refrigerators [to hold recovered corpses] in all of Iraq", commented an Iraqi official.

"They [the Iraqi forces] had no mercy. A sniper would fall with a bullet or a rocket. But to kill one sniper, seven houses were destroyed", said Mohammed Ali Mahmoud, at one of the Mosul morgues, there looking for seventeen members of his extended family who were hit by an airstrike in the Old City.

Felipe Dana—AP  
The two boys were cousins who had escaped after their house had been hit. They kept screaming, almost hysterically, that their parents were still under the rubble. Crying inconsolably, they were begging the soldiers and the medics to go and retrieve their parents but it was too dangerous to go there. I stayed with them for a while, taking pictures, even as more injured civilians kept arriving. Soon after I had to leave but I still wonder what happened to them and their families.

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Sunday, August 27, 2017

Venezuela's Klepto-Dictatorship

"Maduro has made sure to give many rewards to senior military officers in exchange for loyalty."
"While he is completely dependent on them to stay in power, they have much to lose if he is gone."
John Polga-Hecimovich, political scientist, U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Maryland

"Their families, their friends, their acquaintances, everyone is suffering and they begin to ask themselves of it's getting better or worse."
"Everyone has the same voice that talks to them each day, and that is their conscience."
Raul Salazar, retired general, Venezuela

"They would have needed someone inside the unit with the key. There are so many personnel problems within the armed forces, so many problems with morale."
"They speak of resistance, now they think that the model is to use arms."
"We have to reject this, all Venezuelans who believe that the solution must come from the Constitution."
Cliver Alcala, retired Venezuelan general, government critic
Venezuela Political Crisis(4)
A man argues with a Bolivarian National Guards officers outside the Paramacay military base in Valencia.
Juan Carlos Hernandez AP

Read more here:

Unfortunately, Venezuela's president, through manipulating the affairs of the Venezuelan parliament, now effectively controls the constitution and has plans that appear unstoppable to change it to reflect his own imperial dictatorship. And it is that, along with the collapse of the once-prosperous nation's economy, its food and energy and medicine shortages, its massive unemployment rate and dissatisfied citizens for whom protests have brought the military to defend the government, that has some members of the military now actively seeking out a solution.

Where a fugitive army captain, Juan Carlos Caguaripano is calling for Venezuelans to "disavow this murderous regime". He and his supporters, all members of the military and armed, were, he declared in a video, in a state of "legitimate rebellion", demanding a "transitional government and free general elections." A small group of armed men soon afterward launched an assault in the state of Carabobo, on a military base close to Caracas.

The government accuses the rebel captain of having organized the attack where soldiers fought for three hours and still half of the attackers were able to evade capture, rushing away with weapons from the base. It was a base that retired General Alcala had himself headed for years, so he is himself aware of the unease and dissatisfaction from among the personnel serving there. Still, he finds the attacks offensive to his sense of military order, that he continues to defend.

The fugitive soldiers in their rebellion against "the murderous tyranny" of President Maduro have flung grenades at the Supreme Court, as well as attacking the army base. The country's economic crisis where its population is desperate for food and starvation stares right in the face of many of its desperate people, continues to cope with street protests that have turned deadly. It is that role of the military against the legitimate fears and concerns of the population that has led some among them to abjure their president.

The country's tradition of military coups led, in fact, to Hugo Chavez becoming its president in the early 1990s when he was an army lieutenant. His own experience led him to cleanse the military of anyone he thought might challenge him once he was installed as president. He based military promotions on leftist sympathies, not in military performance. And his chosen successor has promoted a former National Guard head known as a drug trafficker, as a trusted supporter, heading the interior ministry.

President Maduro promoted 195 officers to the rank of general in one fell swoop, joining the two thousand in the Venezuelan military with that rank. Their privileges include control of the food supply, to exchange dollars at favourable rates. Of the 23 state governors, eleven are current or retired military officers, and 11 heads of the 30 top ministries are the same. To ensure the continuation of their positions, their stake in preserving the current government is obvious.

The country's ports and portions of the oil and mining industries are also in the control of army generals, all lucrative special conditions to ensure the loyalty of the military. Patronage in the food supply enriches those in the military tasked with overseeing it. The military has been placed in control of factories and of distribution of food, permitting top echelon officers to control the profits obtainable in the black market in food.

It is the midlevel officers who recognize the deepening state of poverty imposed upon the population by the increasing food and medicine shortages. In the tradition of dictators, President Maduro speaks of any who become his opponents as "terrorists".

Anti-government activists stand near a roadblock burning in flames in Valencia.

Read more here:

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Saturday, August 26, 2017

The Instigator and the Fallout

"I can understand the concerns Canadians share about whether this is a short cut, whether this is somehow uncontrolled immigration."
"What I'm very pleased to be able to say ... is that the rules on Canada's immigration system continue to be enforced."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ... August 2017

"A photo op after a meeting will not cut it. The Prime Minister of Canada, in order to help the world's most vulnerable and to salvage the Canadian asylum claim system needs to come up with a credible plan and he needs o explain it to Canadians."
Member of Parliament Michelle Rempel, Conservative immigration critic

"To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ... January 2017

"My Canadian training, I'm a paralegal, means I have to tell them [Salvadorans in the U.S. making enquiries about coming to Canada] that because of our immigration laws, they can't just show up at the border."
"When Mr. Trudeau said  welcome refugees and stuff like that, he didn't say you have to visit our embassies or consulates, you have to get a visa."
"He missed that part."
Angela Ventura, head, Salvadoran community association, Windsor, Ontario

"There are similarities to the policy context [the first wave of asylum seekers in 1985 fleeing civil war when the U.S. granted asylum to only 3 percent] -- people who were not being recognized as refugees in the U.S. but felt that they would be in Canada were coming over the border."
"But the main difference is the Safe Third Country agreement [between Canada and the U.S.] because it changes the way the border works."
Julie Young, post-doctoral fellow, Institute on Globalization and the Human Condition, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario

How it works is that each, considered a country of safe haven, will only contemplate receiving refugee claimants who come to either the U.S. or Canada directly, turning away any who arrive for example in Canada after first claiming haven in the United States, and vice-versa. To get around this impediment, people living in the United States, mostly Haitians and El Salvadorans, have taken to bypassing official border crossings to cross illegally, where there is little option but to accept their claims and begin the process of verification and deliberation.

And the man who boasted that Canada is ready,willing and able to welcome any and all who come to its borders, anxious to disassociate himself from the stance of the new American president who is doing precisely what his predecessors did, effectively attempting to make some headway in clearing out some of the millions of illegals living in the United States, must bear a goodly portion of the responsibility for the chaos that has now been visited on Canada. Justin Trudeau's much-publicized tweet showing off his progressive credentials got wide coverage; he is as needy of approval as the man he is eager to prove he is the direct opposite of.

More than 260,000 El Salvadorans stand to be deported from the United States once the temporary protected status granted them as a result of the civil war that raged there years ago is lifted in March. In the same token, a much lesser number of Haitians for whom temporary status was given in the wake of the 2010 earthquake fear their status will be revoked in January, and they have been arriving in their thousands at illegal border crossings into Canada to declare themselves refugees. Notwithstanding that Canada lifted its own temporary haven status for Haitians a year ago.

Their arrival, some ten thousand in number since the turn of the year, with hundreds arriving daily, has overtaxed Canada's claims system. It will be many months before all the refugee claims can be processed, perhaps even longer. In the meanwhile, communities and provincial agencies are taxed with the burden of housing and caring for these people. The Province of Quebec has initiated the process of disbursing monthly welfare cheques to those who qualify, to enable them to move from the temporary tent cities holding them to rental accommodation.

Those thousands of Haitians, many of whom have lived for many years in the U.S. are leaving in fear of being deported by the Trump administration, although the Obama administration had begun the process of deportation back to Haiti. Many have children born in the United States. Incorrect information went out through the medium of social media informing Haitians they would be welcome in Canada. No one appears to have informed them, however, that there are official channels that must be respected, visas and other paperwork to be obtained.

Many of the asylum seekers now seeking entry to Canada from the United States left Haiti as a result of faltering economic conditions after the devastating earthquake in 2010, not directly after the earthquake had occurred. They weren't eligible to take advantage of the temporary protected status meant for those who left in the direct wake of the disaster; they are among those the U.S. began deporting last November following the six-year moratorium. Temporary doesn't mean 'forever' in any language. But they heard on the grapevine that Canada would welcome them.

For Canada, their arrival is not particularly auspicious; the backlog experienced by Canada's immigration system under normal conditions is bad enough. Now the Immigration and Refugee Board is struggling to accommodate the added pressure loaded over their backlogs. The rush of would-be refugee claimants are mostly Haitians at this point, but all indications point to a swell of much larger numbers representing El Salvadorans in the U.S. rushing the border into Canada as well. And Canada will be hard-pressed to cope.

In the 1980s, fleeing civil war, Canada took in over ten thousand refugees from El Salvador; Canada's acceptance rate at that time was 60 percent, as opposed to the three percent acceptance of the United States in granting asylum to civil-war fleeing Salvadorans. And that was when they showed up at official border points, before the two countries signed the 'safe haven' agreement that has Haitians showing up in droves at illegal crossings.

One thing has to be clarified: if Haitians know enough to bypass official border stations because they will be turned back and not allowed to make their refugee claims under that agreement, knowing that at the illegal crossings they will be taken into custody and their claims processed, how is it that they would not know that all claimants are required to obtain visas beforehand in recognition of legal entry requirements that all countries depend upon to control who and how many people take advantage of their immigration and refugee policies?

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The President and His Generals

"This is the only time in modern presidential history when we've had a small number of people from the uniformed world hold this much influence over the chief executive."
"They are right now playing an extraordinary role."
"To some degree, Trump is playing president, and I think the whole idea of being able to command a group of warriors is deeply satisfying to him in ways that some psychologists would have to assess."
John McLaughlin, former acting director, Central Intelligence Agency

"They [the Generals appointed to posts of elite influence in the White House] are standouts of dependability in the face of rash and impulsive conduct."
"There certainly has been a feeling among many of my colleagues that they are a steadying hand on the rudder and provide a sense of consistency and rationality in an otherwise zigzagging White House."
Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn

"[Trump] came in with virtually no experience in governance and there's no coherent strategic philosophy that he holds."
"There has been a war within the administration and that has yet to be resolved . . . The military has tried to impose some coherency and discipline."
William Cohen, former Secretary of Defence

"I think these guys are more Marshall-like than Patton-like."
"They have distinguished combat records, but they're the sort of career military men who have the intellectual capability and propensity to deal with civilian matters."
R.James Woolsey Jr., former CIA director, undersecretary of the navy

"There might be a temptation to be critical of the president in this context, but I for one am glad they're there -- because they're thoughtful . . . Because they're lawful and because they're rational."
"I feel like the concern about the need to maintain civilian oversight of the military is a totally legitimate one, but that concern should be addressed at a later time. In the meantime, we should be reassured that there are competent professionals there who want to make smart choices."
Senator Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii
General Joe Dunford, Defense Secretary James Mattis, and President Donald Trump
The Atlantic

President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a highly respected wartime leader of the U.S. Armed Services. He had a long and distinguished career in the fighting services of the United States, serving in World War I and at a high echelon of command during World War II. During the post-war years, the man took charge of the Cold War era between the United States and the Soviet Union. In the 1950s he led the United States as its president, level-headed, competent, honourable, no hawk of war was he. Men of war don't tend to seek out conflict, but if at all possible, to avoid it.

So perhaps it's fitting that this new American president, a supreme incompetent, has surrounded himself willingly, even wilfully by well-seasoned warriors of conflict, at the same time men of caution when it comes to taking their nation into war zones. Men whose purpose has become to side-step any possible potential for this new president to launch a new world war. They are the new firefighters geared to suppress wildfires an untutored and impetuously self-confident lout has the potential to bring about.

When the President of the United States and Commander-in-Chief spectacularly failed to call out fascism and racial bigotry resulting in deadly racial violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, five of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stepped into the lapse to denouncing hatred, without equivocation. Theirs has become the collective voice of moderation in this administration. The Pentagon itself is reacting in a calmly cautious manner with respect to the impulsive 'decrees' of policy-changes emanating via Twitter.

They now counsel President Trump discreetly, advising him and allowing him to take up their recommendations and name them his own. White House chief of staff John Kelly, Defense Secretary James Mattis, national security adviser H.R. McMaster, with their personally cultivated relationship with a president who seems to trust few, but appears to trust their judgements. They are viewed by many in Congress as a calming influence for a man who bristles with indignation and the fury of entitled power when he feels himself crossed.

"It should not surprise us. Candidate Trump suggested he would defer to the people he called 'my generals' on a whole host of issues, and they are doing just that", commented Robert Hathaway, a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson Center. And if it might seem to some that the generals have become the force at play and the man who appointed them their puppet, it might be well to recall that one of the most popular presidents of fairly recent memory was Ronald Reagan for whom many others pulled the strings.

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Friday, August 25, 2017

Pulling Its Weight

"There's a great deal of unease in Washington."
"The defense, intelligence agencies and others are concerned that advanced chipmaking capabilities are going to China."
James Lewis, analyst, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington

"Qualcomm has a balancing act."
"Most of the world's PCs are made in China, and most of the world's smartphones, too, so they have to play along."
Willy Shih, Harvard Business School
VCG |Getty Images  As Washington fiddles, China is investing billions in U.S. startups with cutting-edge products that could have military applications

U.S. technology giant Qualcomm is actively assisting the government of China in its development of drones. Oh, it's also involved in helping China with its artificial intelligence program, with mobile technology and with supercomputers. And here we thought that the Chinese advance into these technologies owed to the expertise of Chinese invention...? Qualcomm has been very busy as an enabler for China.

It is involved with Huawei, helping it to make a presence in overseas markets, all in support of aspirational China's "go global" campaign in its development plans to launch multinational brands. Funding, expertise and engineering in aid of Beijing's creation of a program superpowering its technology, all enabled by an American technology giant. Does this make sense? Perhaps not nationalistically, but if the focus is on growing the bottom line, fairly likely so.

Loyalty to national adherence and support of national security not quite as vitally of-the-moment as making an investment that will pay off handsomely in the future in corporate financial gain. Genuflecting to the God of Lucre. And while American companies are known to protect intellectual property and trade secrets, anxious not to give rivals the opportunity to make gains over their own, when it comes to China, it's their way or no way.

And doesn't everyone and his uncle want entry to the giant Chinese marketplace of opportunities? To do that, gaining access equates with sacrifice. Either transfer technology, take part in joint ventures, reduce pricing and give opportunity to players in China, or forego that limitless opportunity affinity corporate interests are so keen on honing. In obeisance to the reality of China's President's aspiration to see that Chinese companies, its military and its government end up dominating artificial intelligence and semiconductors. It's their game or no game at all.

Even while the U.S. Congress considers how it can best restrict China's acquisition of advanced technology through the imposition of tougher rules preventing the purchase of U.S. assets and limiting technology transfers, companies like Qualcomm squelch any possible corporate conscience and proceed full speed ahead. America's security requirements? Forgetabout it. Teaming with China, borders dissolve.

American dependence on its restricted and advanced military, space and defense programs is becoming suddenly and worryingly vulnerable. Advanced Micro Devices and Hewlett Packard Enterprises are also not immune to this new enterprise of working with Chinese companies in the development of server chips, and in so doing willingly creating robust rivals of their own creative products. Intel is involved with China, building high-end mobile chips, competing in that arena with Qualcomm.

Even IBM is prepared to transfer technology to essentially break into the mainframe banking business; there are no sacred cows left other than lucrative undertakings. Qualcomm, as the globe's dominant mobile phone chip maker was fined in 2014 in China for anticompetitive action, and to restore its advantage in China it agreed to lower prices in China, to move some of its manufacturing to Chinese partners and to move to upgrade China's technology capacities.

Qualcomm's president, Derek K. Aberle, met Chen Miner in Guizhou in March. In a government hall, Mr. Aberle pledged in the presence of Chen, a confidant of President Xi Jinping, to "continually cooperate" with the Chinese government.

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Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Sweden's Descent Into Chaos

"I can assure you that the police in Malmo are doing everything we can for suspected perpetrators to be held accountable."
"But we cannot do it on our own [attempt to solve innumerable criminal acts, including murder, without the cooperation of residents]."
Malmo's chief of police, Stefan Sinteus

"There is a lot of violence and drugs and shooting here. It's gangs, and not many of them are Swedish."
"My son has nobody to play with because he doesn't speak Arabic. None of our neighbours talk to me."
"I am not a racist at all but it's like that. We are looking for another option where we can live because all of Malmo will become like this. Swedes are not happy about it."
Josefine Angusson, Rosengard, Sweden

"We hate it because of the murders, and they all seem to be Arabs getting killed."
"When we go on foot patrols there have to always be three of us. I am 21. I don't want to die for this job."
Eddie Hagmann, security guard, Rosengard

"Swedes don't have a problem with Muslims. They have a problem with Arabs. The cultures are just so different. And those differences are worse in Malmo than anywhere else."
Mahmoud, Yugoslavian refugee, Malmo, Sweden
More than 80 per cent of the people living in the Malmo suburb of Rosengard speak Arabic    Matthew Fisher/Postmedia
"Sweden is a very good country but it cannot take in so many refugees. The cost to the people who are already here is too great."
"The radicals who have come are bad for the other Arabs. The Swedes think that when Arabs are together there will be problems. Those who come now don't want to learn the language. They want to live as they did back home."
Abdulhamid Abuqweili, Palestinian-Iraqi, Malmo

"This is a crisis for Sweden. The government asked us to open our hearts to refugees but they don't see the consequences. There are so many of them that they no longer mix in and we have created a whole industry of people who take care of them."
"It is a wonderful thing to help people, but it must be done in the right way."
"It is time for us to close our borders and take care of those who are already here."
"Swedes think the country is overcrowded with Muslims. But it is still generally considered a bad thing to say it, so it is said quietly."
Roger Knast, 56, tire salesman, Malmo, Sweden
A riot erupted in Sweden
POSANNAS•PATRIK HANSEN  Riots in Sweden as police lose control
 With a population of ten million people, in 2015 Sweden took in Syrian, Iraqi and Afghan asylum seekers numbering 163,000. The people of Sweden viewed themselves as responding to a humanitarian need, allowing people from the Middle East, ensnared and embroiled in tribal and sectarian violence to find haven within their country, widely acknowledged for its socialist idealism. The result is that there are areas of the country now hosting majority Arab populations.

And those areas have become hot-spots of violence. Those places that now host 80 percent populations that have migrated from Muslim-majority countries are hostile to authority. Swedish authority. They have become, like France's infamously violent banlieues, areas that become off-limits to non-Muslims, and most particularly those representing the institutions of civilized community such as police, fire-fighters, ambulance personnel.

The result is that tensions are rising in Sweden. Crimes are committed with absolute impunity. And despite the fact that the communities involved are themselves victimized, they are tight-lipped about speaking to police, refusing to cooperate and confusing and frustrating authorities unable to get to the bottom of criminal activities, yet alone solve crimes, including murders, attempted murders, rape and assault.

In 2014 and 2015, violence broke out in the country with bombs and mob riots. The kindness of the average Swede is being challenged by the realities on the ground. Now the general perspective is that refugees are taking undue advantage of the country's generous welfare system. Overcrowded and overtaxed hospitals, schools, housing and workplaces have become a burdensome problem. Reports are published pointing out the unemployment rate in Rosengard to be in excess of 60 percent.

Overlaid on those taxing circumstances is the realization that Islamic extremists have infiltrated the country, with Anders Thornberg, Sweden's top intelligence officer stating that where ten years ago fewer than 200 Islamic extremists were in the country, at the present time that number has become thousands. "We have never seen anything like this before. This is the new normal", he informed Sweden's TT news agency.

The situation has developed to the point that over half the population has a wish for the government to finally cut the refugee numbers it is willing to accept. The state statistician conducted a survey indicating one Swede in five gives full support to the anti-immigration Swedish Democrats, coming up strong behind the ruling Social Democrats in popularity. In response to the growing dissatisfaction and alienation of the voting public the government has stepped up its surveillance and examining of travellers' documents.

One woman who had emigrated to Spain but returned to visit her family in Malmo spoke of her homeland representing "a well-intentioned disaster. There was no plan for how to deal with so many refugees at once who arrived with little or no education or skills. Clearly it would be much better to help them where they were rather than here. But the government was blind to that".

A situation which fairly well describes much of western Europe, in point of fact. With a Europe once again becoming ground central for Islam-inspired anti-Semitism, Arabs and other Muslims bringing their religious-cultural-inspired hatred of Jews along with their other baggage, inciting violence against diaspora Jews whose untold generations of residence in Europe is being threatened once again by the presence of virulent hatred.

A protester chants slogans near a banner reading "Boycott Israel" during an anti-Israel march
A protester chants slogans near a banner reading "Boycott Israel" during an anti-Israel march in Malmo. (photo credit:REUTERS)

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Monday, August 21, 2017

Knowing Your Neighbour

"People are very careful about what they say about people from other categories. They’re really egalitarian, they try to be fair, but when we measure them in more subtle ways, when they’re not conscious of their responses and they’re not able to control them, then we find that racism is still quite prevalent in North America."
"Even though it might happen within the first 100th of a second, we know that downstream that can tell us whether you might hire a person, whether you have positive or negative associations with that person and whether you’re willing to interact with that person."

"Racism is still quite prevalent in Canada."
"Explicit racism and prejudice is decreasing, but if you talk to a lot of minorities – particularly black youth – racism is almost a daily occurrence."
Social Cognition Lab, York University, Toronto, Prof. Kerry Kawakami
Photo by Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The usual minds-eye picture of a racist is that of a bigoted slob, uneducated, anti-social, nursing personal grievances and finding solace in the company of others like themselves who need some other group to focus on to direct their hatred toward, to blame for everything they feel that has gone wrong in their personal lives, their relationships and in society at large. They come from deprived backgrounds with limited exposure to others and limited interest in knowing anything about those they love to hate.

It's a picture that has been studied intensively. One that doesn't quite fit with what reality informs us. That those who invest themselves with irrational claims about other ethnic groups, visible minorities, unique customs reflective of their heritage must of necessity be those of disadvantaged backgrounds are not necessarily and certainly not exclusively those from among whom leading activists both on the right and the left derive. Both are capable of hating and distinguishing themselves righteously from the other. The left is more attuned to character assassination.

The right indulges its passions in the commission of violence, and are not averse to actual assassination. And among them are people who have come from the echelons of the educated middle class, as well as the upper class; people who the naive might suppose would or should be more open and tolerant and accepting because their minds have been opened to educational opportunities. Yet their minds could still be closed to accepting others as equals, preferring to invest them with harmful attributes for whom isolation and violence is prescribed to persuade them they don't belong.

Some of these social misfits have had the privilege of attending outstanding academic institutions, earning the credentials that attest they have succeeded in their field of studies,  yet they have become psychologically tainted with bigotry and cling to its tenets. Richard Spencer, white supremacist, as example, president of the National Policy Institute, took his degree in intellectual history at Duke University. He is married to a woman with a doctorate from University of Toronto.

Racist protesters gather at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
Samuel Corum/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
Alternately, in Germany most neo-Nazis are of the petty criminal class radicalized while in prison. "Contrary to a popular image of white nationalists living exclusively off the grid", explains Eric Ward, senior fellow at the Southern Poverty Law Group, their ranks are comprised of teachers, lawyers, secretaries, soccer mothers and bus drivers. And, as he puts it succinctly "they are our neighbours".

In right-wing circles one element in common brings them together in a paroxysm of pure, unadulterated hatred; they are all anti-Semites. Albeit not exclusively. They have ample room in their hate-chest for others to be included as well. It is simply that virulent anti-Semitism reflects the core of the far-right-wing movement. In the 1960s, scholars in West Germany attempted to discover what the appeal of fascism might possibly be; they hazarded economic uncertainty, the dwindling influence of organized religion, and popular entertainment.

In a sense, the radical right-wing reflect the strategy employed by Islamofascists who integrate themselves superficially into the prevailing culture of leftist ideals to gain support and sympathy for their cause as a 'misunderstood' religious minority with a culture and values all their own, worthwhile and equal to the indigenous ones. It is an appeal of the underdog to the power of the majority and it works in their favour. In the instance of the radical right-wing, they choose to profess a linkage with conservatives who strain against the injustice of having to plead guilty for the sins of the past.

As well as those conservatives who find value in supporting the fundamentals of the past in honouring the traditional vision of marriage as a covenant between opposite sexes. And who decry the emphasis on giving minorities and/or women an increased representation reflecting their minority or gender status over men with superior qualifications, experience and numbers as an unfair advantage, disadvantaging them. The traditions that recognized differences in gender identification did not include the newly diversified gender identities. Their beliefs do not make them right-wing bigots.

Violence in a political grouping often has an earlier manifestation resulting from dysfunctional households where bullying and extreme punishments have taken place, disciplining the young to stern measures and violence. Which they in their mature years extract from the experience of their formative years and incorporate into their ideology of bigoted hatred and campaigns of exclusion. An 86 percent increase in anti-Semitic crimes in the past year has been noted by NPR.

Jews, the canary in the pathology of mass-popularized ethnic and religious recrimination, slander and hatred. First come the accusations, then the name-calling, and finally the physical confrontations, with violence growing out of the latter. The level of commitment to racist hatred has a grasp accommodating enough to include all people of colour and external foreign derivation.

As for the alternate? The left's contribution to blame, victimization and hatred?
Police injured, more than 200 arrested at Trump inauguration protests in DC
"Antifa activists, who operate without any centralized leadership, told CNN that their goal is peace and inclusivity. They often denounce capitalism and government. Since Trump entered the world stage, they've condemned his push to tighten immigration rules and what some view as his tendency toward racism."
"While Antifa members don't fit a single category, they say many are millennials and many live on society's fringes: undocumented immigrants, transgender people, low-wage workers, those who don't conform to the traditional 9-to-5."
"And their methods are often violent. Antifa leaders admit they're willing to physically attack anyone who employs violence against them or who condones racism -- as long as force is used in the name of eradicating hatred."

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Saturday, August 19, 2017

Concern Over Violent Islam Identifies You as a Fascist Racist

"It is evident to everyone that there is a correlation between illegal immigration and terrorism."
"Europe must protect itself, and the security of the people must be guaranteed."
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto
Las Ramblas after a vehicle mounted the pavement and drove towards crowds
Las Ramblas after a vehicle mounted the pavement and drove toward crowds. Sunday Express
There, it is said. And in the saying this man has committed the cardinal sin of 'racial profiling', of using a sloppy brush to paint a religion, the sacred concept of open borders to welcome the afflicted as being tainted with terrorism. In so doing willingly identifying himself as a typical Islamophobe, a philistine, a black-hearted cretin, a racist and a fascist. It is not fashionable to describe the links between Islamofascism, atrocities and the gentle religion beloved of a significant proportion of the global population.

But he is from Eastern Europe and known to be right-wing, and so his statement is explicable, expected, albeit deplored. In response, demonstrations materialized on the very day that Islam holds sacred for prayers in mosques around the world. Where people strenuously defended the place of Islam within Europe. Counter-protesters presented their faction's concern over the "Islamicization of Europe", a concept which once expressed identifies the utterer as a fascist lout.

The generous acceptance of the presence of Muslims throughout Europe by the left, contrasting with concerned citizens labeled fascists for their well-earned doubts over that stifling and threatening presence. The good-hearted contingent decried Islamophobia, waving rainbow flags shouting "Barcelona! Anti-fascist!", sleepwalking their way to a future of totalitarian Islamism capturing Europe, amending history to gift Islam with territory it had lost in centuries past.

France, it appears, is tightening its border with Spain, the country that has become destination central for Moroccan masses on the move. France and Belgium are familiar with Moroccan respect for the nations that have absorbed them. European counter terrorism circles have attuned their antennae to the large presence of Moroccans that have infiltrated Spain, France and Belgium, while government and municipal authorities assure their indigenous populations that all is under control.

Las Ramblas after a vehicle mounted the pavement and drove towards crowds
Las Ramblas after a vehicle mounted the pavement and drove toward crowds. Sunday Express

The fearfully uncontrolled episodes of Islamic jihad striking Barcelona and Cambrils this week must be viewed with circumspection; these things happen, shrug, shrug. But the police are reliably protecting the population, no need for concern. Unwisely, a Catalan police official, speaking to reporters in Barcelona, stated "We cannot rule out further attacks": tch, tch, Major Josep Llufs Trapero.

If there is a hero, it is the Spanish police officer who reacted when her male partner suffered a broken leg and head wound when an Audi with five jihadis within plowed into pedestrians then collided with a police car, turning the Audi onto its roof but leaving the five within intact to confront the police in Cambrils. She, in lightning reaction, shot four of the terrorists dead. "To kill four people, even if you are a professional, is not easy to digest" commented Police Chief Trapero.

Police check a car involved in the attack in Cambrils.
Police check a car involved in the attack in Cambrils. Photograph: Lluis Gene/AFP/Getty Images

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Spain's Turn Once Again in Revolving Terrorist Attacks

"[The killings represent a] savage terrorist attack. [Spaniards] are not just united in mourning, but especially in the firm determination to beat those who want to rob us of our values and our way of life."
"Unfortunately, Spaniards know the absurd and irrational pain that terrorism causes. We have received blows like this in recent years but we also know that terrorists can be beaten."
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy

"London, Brussels, Paris and some other European cities have had the same experience. It's been Barcelona's turn today."
Carles Puigdemont, president, government of Catalonia 
The evening newspaper splash says it all...
Credit AP -- the local evening paper says it all

Migrants in their tens of thousands are crossing from Morocco to Spain. In a 24-hour period a surge of arrivals through the growing sea route to Europe saw close to 600 migrants rescued. People were extracted from 15 overcrowded rafts by the Spanish coast guard in a one-day period; 424 in the Gibraltar Strait, and 169 close to Alboran, an island between Spain and Morocco. The International Organization for Migration has issued a warning that Spain is on track to overtake Greece as the new gateway to Europe.

Over eight thousand migrants have taken the Morocco-Spain route since the beginning of 2017 in comparison with the similar period last year that saw 2,500 taking the route. That situation is juxtaposed with another set of incidents of fairly lethal proportions in jihadist terrorist activities committed by Moroccans in Spain, or rather Catalonia, set to undergo a separation referendum. It would seem that American intelligence alerted their Spanish counterparts to an impending terrorist attack in Catalonia and somehow the alert failed to make its way to Barcelona.

Evidently, and obviously, tension exists between Spain and aspiring sovereign Catalonia. Intelligence shared between foreign and domestic intelligence agencies is not being shared between domestic intelligence agencies. And an obvious cell, the size and extent of which is as yet unknown, of Moroccan jihadis which Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant lays claim to representing them, had planned a series of almost simultaneous attacks in Spain.

Catalonia police, in the aftermath of the Barcelona attack, foiled another one in Cambrils, a city nearby, killing five suicide-belt-equipped terrorists in the process, which took the life of a Spanish civilian in the wrong place at the right time. But they had managed to avoid another tragedy when officers "shot down the perpetrators" to "respond to a terrorist attack". Eight hours earlier, thirteen people were  killed when a driver of a van (himself now dead after a manhunt) deliberately ran down throngs of tourists on a historic street, and injured another hundred, fifteen left in critical condition.

There were two arrests in the hours after Las Ramblas was placed in lockdown as hundreds of police with hand guns and automatic rifles took part in a manhunt, while ordering stores, cafes and public transport to shut down. One Spanish national from the Mediterranean seafront town of Melilla in North Africa was arrested, along with a Moroccan, neither identified as the driver of the van, who would elude capture for days. A gas explosion in Alcanar that killed one man has been linked to the Barcelona attack, and is where other arrests were made.

This is by no means Spain's only lethal brush with Islamic jihad. Thirteen years earlier 192 people were killed in co-ordinated assaults by al-Qaeda-linked suicide bombers on commuter trains in Madrid. Since then, close to 200 jihadists have been detected and arrested. In the search for the perpetrator and his colleagues, another attacker was shot and killed by police after the vehicle he was driving was used to strike two police officers at a blockade on Barcelona's outskirts.

Barcelona attack
Credit EPA   The attack, the latest in a series of vehicle rammings across Europe in recent years, caused panic on the streets of Spain's largest city and drew condemnation from world leaders.

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Defining Refugees as Opposed to Illegal Entrants Bypassing Legal Migration Fundamentals

"We need to make sure, first and foremost, that we are protecting the people we are supposed to be protecting, which are the people who are seeking a refugee status."
"Some of them may not be received as refugees, might not meet the requirements of refugee claimant as stated in Canadian law. So, some of them might be sent back to Haiti and we want to make sure if they are sent back, that they won't be facing problems."
"You have to have personal reasons not to be sent back. I am afraid that a lot of them will be returned because they do not meet the requirements of refugees."
Jean-Sébastien Boudreault, head, Quebec Association of Immigration Lawyers

"We have an open compassionate country, but we have a strong system that we follow."
"Protecting Canadian confidence in the integrity of our system allows us to continue to be open, and that’s exactly what we need to continue to do."
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau
A family from Haiti haul their luggage down Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., earlier this week, where they crossed illegally into Quebec to claim asylum.
A family from Haiti haul their luggage down Roxham Road in Champlain, N.Y., earlier this week, where they crossed illegally into Quebec to claim asylum. (Charles Krupa/Associated Press)
"Yes, we are a society with a compassionate, welcoming tradition that we are proud of, but we are also a society that believes in the rule of law and fairness."
"This [obtaining asylum status] is very demanding, and difficult and success is far from guaranteed."
"It is unfortunate that vulnerable persons have allowed themselves to be convinced that their admission as refugees to Canada and with us in Quebec would be simple, even automatic. It is not the case."
"We must not take away people’s hopes … but we have to give people the real portrait of the situation, especially to people who are still in the United States and might be tempted to try the same thing."
Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard
Fearful of President Trump's stated position that he is prepared to crack down on the presence of illegal and undocumented migrants in the United States, some of those same migrants have decided to take their chances by entering Canada illegally, not at border crossings but bypassing them to declare themselves refugees seeking haven. Many of the illegal border crossers have lived in the U.S. for lengthy periods of time; many are from Africa and many more are Haitians.

Haitians were given special status by American authority to live there in the wake of the 2010 earthquake that devastated the country and its subsequent tsunami. However, that special status may be allowed to expire next year. The obvious second choice for many is to cross the border into Canada where reputedly, they stand a better chance of acceptance, and Quebec is the likeliest place to emerge into, where a large expatriate Haitian community already exists.

These migrants obviously are unaware that Canada which had a similar special status enacted for Haitians, revoked it a year ago. Perhaps they are also unaware that 50 percent of asylum seekers are turned down, mostly because they don't fit the refugee criteria. Canada's refugee system is overtaxed at the present time, with a growing backlog of refugee claimants delaying procedures to the point that Canadian regulations are badly strained. New migrants have food, shelter and medical care demands.

Canada and the U.S. have an agreement that the first country of entry is responsible for those who reach their borders, as representing "safe third countries"; a safe country where individuals may claim refugee status. Entering at official border points the routine would be to refuse entry to these migrants because they have been settled in the U.S. Bypassing the official border crossings by illegal entry ensures they will be taken into custody and their refugee claims processed, while the claimants are put up in quarters set aside for them and looked after.

To gain entry to Canada through the normal immigration process is a lengthy affair. Even so, Canada welcomes close to a quarter-million new immigrants on an annual basis. Each of whom has had to make due application at Canadian missions abroad, follow the paper process and await results which can take up to two years to complete under normal conditions. What these illegal border-crossers are doing is short-circuiting the system, cutting out the formal process to advantage themselves over law-abiding immigration applicants.

The Geneva Refugee Convention which Canada signed on to ensures that refugee protection be claimed by a small grouping of the world's migrants. It deals with victims of political persecution. It does not represent those migrants whose intention is to further their economic conditions, or those planning to avoid valid deportation orders as may occur in the United States. Migrants like the Haitians fleeing environmental-induced discomfort are not represented within the existing refugee framework.

A group of asylum seekers wait to be processed in Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle, Que. As many as 1,200 people were waiting in line Friday to file their refugee claims. (Christinne Muschi/Reuters)

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