Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Iran's Economic Stall

U.S .President Donald Trump speaks to the press after signing a document reinstating sanctions against Iran after announcing the US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear deal, in the Diplomatic Reception Room at the White House in Washington, D.C., on May 8, 2018. Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

"German-Iranian economic relations are lagging their potential."
"The moderately positive development in business with Iran comes with a big question mark [courtesy of U.S. President Trump's decision not to extend a moratorium on sanctions]."
Volker Treier, Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry

"We are working on plans to protect the interests of European companies."
Maja Kocijancic, spokeswoman, European Commission

"[Licenses permitting Boeing and Airbus to sell to Iran] will be revoked."
"The objective is to put and maintain maximum sanctions on Iran."
U.S. Treasury Secretary, Steven Mnuchin 

The deal signed with Iran on ending sanctions when the Republic agreed to suspend their nuclear plans for the duration of the agreement, saw an excited, anticipatory influx of European and American corporations, anxious to invest in Iran, to take advantage of a large market  of 82 million people, with the country's vast oil reserves, for their wares and services. Iran represents an example of an emerging economy, its vast overseas treasury restored and sanctions lifted, enabling it theoretically to get on with expanding its economy.

Unfortunately, what Tehran's Ayatollahs decided to do with the vast windfall was to largely expend it on pursuing its strenuous bid for command of the Middle East, extending its influence and its military stealth operations throughout the region in its shoring up of Shiite-led Arab countries like Iraq, Yemen, Syria and through its terrorist agency Hezbollah, Lebanon.

The 2015 agreement to shut down its nuclear weapons program did end economic sanctions. Enabling Iran to expend treasury on upgrading its ballistic missiles systems. An obvious requirement both to pair with the nuclear warheads it would resume designing and producing, once the agreement reached its end-life, and to not-too-subtly threaten the majority Sunni Arab leadership in the Middle East and beyond.

That Iran continued to invest in the support of terrorist groups like Hezbollah and Hamas, the former to aid the Republican Guard Corps in Syria supporting its murderous tyrant, the latter to continue threatening Israel's existence, to be joined by Hezbollah once the matter of Syria was finally settled, didn't bother Europe one whit. It did disturb President Trump, to the extent that he chose to take the U.S. out of the agreement, leaving Europe dangling and the Ayatollahs livid. The best-laid plans....

European corporate interests are on tenterhooks; their expectations for gain and profit in Iran somewhat entangled with reality. Daimler and PSA Peugeot Citroen, linked with Iranian partners to sell vehicles; Siemens made a deal to deliver locomotives; Total of France's project to explore offshore natural gas; all now in abeyance, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Despite Europe's defiance and pledge to Iran that it was prepared to carry through on their part of the agreement.

Except, except ... with renewed sanctions, and observing the balance of reality where Europe does far more business with America in trade than it ever would with even a surging Iran, and the United States has the clout to interfere with their banking and their business dealings does come as rather a sobering reality. Ideally, could European officials protect their companies by shielding them from U.S. sanctions and still do business in Iran ... but they cannot.

The German manufacturers who did so spectacularly well selling factory machinery, power grid infrastructure and construction equipment to help begin build the Iranian economy into modernity is fading...fading. Iran's is a dysfunctional economy; ownership of its most important industries are now in the hands of the leaders of the Iranian Republican Guard, and corruption is so rife that the leading Ayatollahs are immensely wealthy, while ordinary Iranians suffer privation.

Reality is that exports from the EU to Iran came to 10.8 billion euros; about $12.8 billion, ranking Iran 33rd among the EU's trading partners, behind even Kazakhstan and Serbia. Airbus of France had signed a deal with Iran Air to replace its aging fleet with over 100 jets, including super jumbo A380s. Three jets have been delivered to the present. Iran's weak economy has disrupted plans for Daimler to co-produce Fuso brand trucks with Iran Khodro.

Aspirations never to be fulfilled.

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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Irreconcilably Dedicated to Death and Destruction

"[The rockets represent a] severe, dangerous, and orchestrated act of terror, aimed at Israeli civilians and children."
"[Islamic Jihad] follows the ideology of Iran, is funded by Iran, and in today's attack, used munition made by Iran."
"[The IDF continues to hold Hamas accountable for everything that happens in the Gaza Strip.] Hamas has the ability to escalate or de-escalate the situation."
IDF statement

"[The] indiscriminate firing [by Gaza militants [terrorists] toward communities in southern Israel is unconscionable.]
"Such attacks are unacceptable and undermine the serious efforts by the international community to improve the situation in Gaza. All parties must exercise restraint, avoid escalation and prevent incidents that jeopardize the lives of Palestinians and Israelis."
UN chief Middle East envoy Nickolay Mladenov
"[The Al-Qassam Brigades and the Al-Quds Brigades blamed Israel for starting the latest round of aggression, claiming they had cooperated in launching the attacks because Israel's] crimes could not be tolerated in any way."
"[If Israel continued to attack Gaza then] all resistance options remain open no matter what the cost."
Joint statement
Israeli tanks take up positions along the border with the Gaza strip, on Israel-Gaza Border, Tuesday, May 29, 2018. The Israeli military said three soldiers were wounded by fire from the Gaza Strip on Tuesday. Tensions have soared over the past two months as the Palestinians have held mass protests...   (AP Photo/Ariel Schalit)
Border communities as always, are in the direct line of rocket fire from Gaza. Sderot, always the first to be targeted and hit was both this time around, with one rocket that the defence system hadn't intercepted, landing in a kindergarten playground just shortly before the arrival of the children for their day's activity. Residents of Sderot have all of 15 seconds from the time they hear the attack alert, to find themselves in a shelter and remain there for the duration, until the attacks conclude.

The world's attention has been turned in the last month, to the border between Israel and Gaza, where tens of thousands of Palestinians were encouraged to congregate en masse to demand entry through the border with the view of returning to their 'ancestral' villages and towns. These would most certainly not be the original inhabitants of those towns and villages but their succeeding generations, all of whom to a total of approximately six million from the original approximately 700,000 who fled, are recognized by UNHCR as 'refugees'.

Understandably, their living situation in Gaza is sub-par by any measure. But this is not the responsibility of Israel, since Israel long since withdrew all its settlers and military from Gaza unilaterally, leaving the Strip to Palestinians to govern for themselves. Hamas's violent takeover of Gaza from Fatah and the Palestinian Authority led to the border being closed to free entry and exit in reflection of the Hamas charter outlining its intention to destroy Israel and slaughter Jews.

What nation would allow itself to be readily infiltrated by those dedicated to its destruction?

Hamas has been so single-mindedly absorbed and dedicated to its promise to eradicate Israel from the Middle East that it devised a plan to manipulate the West's reactions to the plight of Palestinians living a constricted life of isolation and privation all of which has been the result of the terrorist group's deliberate actions in provoking Israel by rocket bombardment of its citizens, and habitually using international funding for the purpose of building underground tunnels into Israel for terrorist purposes.

A complete underground city exists beneath Gaza City, where Hamas operatives and leaders are able to shield themselves from the effects of the IDF's return volleys when Hamas targets Israel from populated areas. The greater the number of Palestinian casualties and deaths, the better the public relations accusations against a heartless Israel resonates with the West, swift to condemn the country that is attacked and seeks to protect its people, preferring to sympathize with the Palestinians who allow themselves to be manipulated into threatening Israel's survival.
Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip
Smoke rises following an Israeli air strike in the Gaza Strip, as seen from the Israeli side of the border between Israel and Gaza, May 29, 2018. (photo credit: AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)

Palestinians have been so indoctrinated into a pathology of hatred for Israel and Jews it would take a miracle for them to profess they would far prefer to reach a peace agreement and live alongside Israel in their own sovereign state with no interest in attacking a neighbour state, one that provides them, in fact, with potable water and energy, opening the border crossings to transport trucks that daily bring in medicines, food and fundamental necessities.

When there are shortages of electricity in Gaza, it is because the Palestinian Authority whose relations with Hamas is toxic, seeks to punish Gazans.

The critical shortage of infrastructure and housing in Gaza, is entirely attributable to Hamas's use of building materials and cement in the construction of its costly, invasive and threatening tunnels. The dire necessity to build and operationally maintain sewage treatment plants is ignored, leaving Gaza to dump 100 million liters of raw sewage directly into the Mediterranean on a daily basis. The prevailing current ushers most of the sewage in a northward flow to the beach town of Ashkelon.

Israel's second-largest desalination plant in Ashkelon produces fifteen percent of the country's drinking water from that source which must struggle to clean out the Gaza sewage from its filters in the desalination plant. Gaza itself, drawing water from its underground aquifer is heading for water shortages: "So the aquifer has gotten drained and seawater has seeped into it, and many people are now drinking water that is both salty and polluted with sewage", pointed out Gidon Bromberg, Israeli director of EcoPeace Middle East.

The potential for typhoid and cholera erupting and spreading as a result of the fetid water is yet another crisis situation waiting to happen. "Then you could see two million [Gazans] coming to the border fence with Israel with empty buckets, begging for clean water. We're heading in that direction", promised Bromberg.

The irony here is that should those Gazans plead with the Palestinian Authority to rescue them from their lack of potable water bind, the response could be less than forthcoming, reflecting the disabling hatred between it and Hamas.

Palestinian children play in raw sewage on Gaza's beaches
Children and old people are most at risk of dangerous pathogens on Gaza beaches and water. (Picture: EPA/MOHAMMED SABER)

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One Step Forward, One Step Back

"Sometimes the women who come here ran away from a desperate situation with no luggage whatsoever, so we provide everything."
Sonia Mhamdi, office of the Ministry of Women, Family and Children, Gafsa, Tunisia

"The new law is innovative because before, when the woman was abused and forgave the abuser, he would not be punished by law."
"Now even if the woman forgives him, he will face the law and he will be accountable."
Amor Yahyaoui, general inspector, Ministry of Justice

"The women in the center provided me with legal assistance and also psychological support."
"I know my rights, but I need support to be sure that my children will remain safe in the process and benefit from at least some help."
"[She withdrew her battery complaints] because I didn't want my children to be without their father." 
"[After her husband began beating their oldest child] I just could not take it any more."
Sihem Ben Romdhane, Gafsa, Tunisia 

"Women and men come every day to the court for marriage issues and to ask for child support and women do not hesitate to complain about their violent husbands."
"It's not taboo anymore."
Mohamed Khlefi, Gafsa court public prosecutor
New domestic violence law empowers abused Tunisia women
The Tunisian government is taking substantial measures against anti-women violence. [AFP]
Date of publication: 25 February, 2018

According to 2016 statistics, 60 percent of Tunisian women were exposed to domestic violence, a figure released by the Ministry of Women, Family and children, supported by studies from  NGOs suggesting the actual number of women victimized by family violence to be even higher. Fifty percent of Tunisian women have stated that at least once in their lives they had experienced violent aggression in a public space.

Tunisia has been regarded as representing the most socially advanced of Arab countries for women's rights being upheld. Polygamy was altogether abolished in 1956, the year after independence. Women have long been able to gain custody of their children, along with the right to divorce. Despite which violence in domestic settings victimizes a large proportion of Tunisian women. They are discriminated against within society as they are in most Muslim societies.

Because these are Muslim societies where the Koran instructs men how they may treat women who are recalcitrant and urges men to beat such women with discretion, and at the same time warns that women are not independent of their husbands, must accede to them in all matters, and may not at any time deny their husbands sexual relations, else face due punishment. Multiple wives are not uncommon in Muslim countries.
People on the street
  The view on Avenue Habib Bourguiba of women wearing a variety of styles is a rare sight in the Arab world

In Tunisia, however, a law passed a year ago that outlaws violent acts against women, and recommended that new shelters and other facilities whose purpose is to protect women be opened. Funded by the European Union, seven shelters operate throughout Tunisia, not an excess of havens in a nation where an estimated 60 percent of women are victims of domestic violence. Domestic rape is now outlawed. Moreover a rapist is now barred from the expedient of marrying his victim to minimize his sentence.

Should police fail to receive a woman's abuse complaint with the seriousness it calls for, he could himself face jail time. Under the new legislation, if the victim drops the charges, the investigation must continue. Many women, after lodging an official complaint, withdraw it when they are informed their husband will go to jail, and the abuse simply carries on, the wife loathe to carry through. If a police officer now makes an effort to have a woman change her mind about bringing charges, he will himself be charged.

Any witness of violence against women who fails to report it may be prosecuted, as well. Two years in prison is the punishment for sexual harassment. Domestic-violence-specific courts and judges dedicated to sitting in judgement in cases of domestic violence, along with special police units, led mostly by women all represent new initiatives in an effort to reduce the numbers of women who face violence in their lives.

They won't take inspiration on women's liberation from Wonder Woman, though; it's been banned in Tunisia.
Tunisia's new law could lead to a cultural revolution for Muslim women across the Arab world, human rights organisations hope         Getty

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Monday, May 28, 2018

Game-Playing North Korean Style

"[A] nuclear-to-nuclear showdown [is in the works that will] make the U.S. taste an appalling tragedy it has neither experienced nor even imagined up to now."
"North Korea rejects the] so-called Libya mode of nuclear abandonment, 'complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization', 'total decommissioning of nuclear weapons, missiles and bio-chemical weapons', etc. [and] 'abandoning nuclear weapons first, compensating afterward'."
"[The Trump administration] is trumpeting as if it would offer economic compensation and benefit in case we abandon nuke. But we have never had any expectation of U.S. support in carrying out our economic construction and will not at all make such a deal in future, too."
Pyongyang, North Korea

"[Before the U.S. administration lifted its] maximum pressure [campaign, it expects the North to carry out complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization]."
U.S. National Security adviser John Bolton

"The Clinton administration, even the Bush administration got played in the past. We offered concessions to the North Korean regime in exchange for promises to end their nuclear weapons program only to see them break those promises and abandon them."
"[If Kim] doesn't make a deal [he will end like Gadhafi]."
U.S. Vice-President Mike Pence
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un seen on the front page of the Rodong Sinmun after a surprise second meeting on May 26, 2018.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un seen on the front page of the Rodong Sinmun after a surprise second meeting on May 26, 2018.

It's a stale, old ruse, which despite which its predictability in the end, continues to appeal to those wanting to believe that if only they place their trust in what they have seen lately, that the volatile juvenile delinquent whose rants and raves and muscular threats have been toned down, this time for good as Kim Jong-Un has finally and suddenly matured his vision with the realization that his country will continue to remain one viewed by its neighbours and the greater outside world as an economic failure and a new, conciliatory tactic was called for.

South Korea, anxious as always to appease the little monster, and hoping for an eventual outcome that will lead to reconciliation and reunification is prepared to set aside its skepticism and opt for placating and soothing Kim to convince him that no one and no force is interested in or prepared to challenge  his administration. All that is required is for the North to renounce its nuclear plans and shelve its ballistics-improvement program and the world will be its oyster.

The South is interested in reunification but the North most certainly is not, since Kim has no intention of melding his Northern half with the South at the endangerment of his personal future and his firm dictatorship. It is worrisome to Kim that his family enterprise which has been appeased time and again on the pretense that all is well and whatever pacification demanded of it will be met with perfect compliance, has finally taught his adversaries caution and a view to more balanced reaction and restraint.

So that on trust alone the loosening of sanctions, the handing over of cash and kind will no longer be the norm in transactions between North Korea, the South and the United States. In past negotiations the benefits have been forthcoming before the North's promised stand-downs have come into effect, and they never did since in the short term their demands were met and no need was recognized to honour their end of the bargain.

The front-loaded economic benefits so sought-after by the North to enable it to benefit from 'sacrifices' it promises but will never agree to, are held back this time around. But despite the calm and relaxed atmosphere that Kim permitted to prevail in meetings with his South Korean counterpart, Ban-Ki Moon, and promises that his regime was prepared to completely denuclearize in lock-step with regional denuclearization, the proof of which was the destruction of the North's nuclear test site, the sham collapsed.

The Punggye-ri nuclear test site was already destroyed by the collapse of the mountain where the site had been anything but brilliantly located. As the Guardian newspaper reported: "North Korea's main nuclear test site has partially collapsed under the stress of multiple explosions, possibly rendering it unsafe for further testing", thanks to the earthquakes that resulted from those ill-placed nuclear tests impacting on the geological integrity of the mountain.

In response to the rudely pugnacious and insulting verbal assaults lobbed by North Korean authorities toward its American 'enemies' President Trump had decided to call off the scheduled June 12 meeting between himself and Kim. This was keenly wounding to Kim, wholly given over to the idea that he is influential and important enough to be seen (by him at least) as a co-equal to the president of the United States. Abusing Trump evidently wasn't supposed to result in his deciding to call off the meeting.

But this was the recommendation, in all likelihood by Beijing in advice to Kim. China is in quite a tight spot; its relations with North Korea have undergone some changes under international and UN pressure, but it still underwrites the North to keep it from imploding, to ensure it remains as a buffer, a noxiously irritating one, against Western and obviously United States interests, interfering with China's heavy-handed aggressions in the region itself.

President Trump just about matches Kim Jong-Un for passionate volatility and insulting remarks, but he has the kind of authority, if not morality, that Kim lacks. Trump may be less than suave about his opinions and how he employs his power base, but Kim is a totalitarian tyrant, an oppressor of his people, a threat to world order, and a murderer. In a sense it's a pity that  Trump is once again back-tracking on his decision to abort the meeting declaring it now tentatively back on.

The success seen in tightening sanctions both against North Korea and tightening repercussions against China's support for the North was having its desired impact. Kim's game-playing histrionics and expectations will never abate. That old adage of bullies deserving rough treatment as an educational tool is a reflection of reality.
Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in talk during a meeting at the northern side of the Panmunjom in North Korea. It was their second face-to-face meeting.
Kim Jong Un and Moon Jae-in talk during a meeting at the northern side of the Panmunjom in North Korea. It was their second face-to-face meeting.   CNN

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Saturday, May 26, 2018

Demanding Cheap, Sacrificing Safety

"Improvement don't mean sweatshops no longer exist in Bangladesh. This reporter visited one in Dhaka, three days before the Rana Place anniversary. Fire buckets were filled with trash, emergency water bins were cracked and half empty, no one wore safety masks, most workers -- some in their early teens -- were barefoot, wiring was exposed, bolts of fabric and scraps littered the floors, window panes were broken, and the lone stairwell out of the tenement-like building was obstructed by cartons of finished product destined for Russia."
Dana Thomas: Bangladesh Labor Reforms May be in Peril

"[His girlfriend of three years was pregnant], That's why I joined Rana Plaza, [three days before the complex collapsed]."
"'Help me!' people screamed. 'Save me!' they cried. But nobody was listening."
"The labour law in this country is pro-owner, not pro-worker."
"[When oversight reverts to local governance], all will return to how it was when Rana Plaza happened."
Mahmudul Hassan Hridoy, 32, Dhaka, Bangladesh
A Bangladeshi man holds a photo from the Rana Plaza disaster. Photo: Getty Images
A Bangladeshi man holds a photo from the Rana Plaza disaster. Photo: Getty Images

He was a nursery school teacher, but quit the position because it paid so poorly. Then he became a quality inspector for New Wave Style Ltd. for the increased income it promised, at Rana Plaza. He had worked there for two weeks when the collapse occurred. He was working on the seventh floor of the eight-story retail complex when everything crumbled and collapsed and when he gained consciousness it was with the realization that he was pinned under a concrete pillar, and he was no longer on the seventh floor.

He soon enough understood he was now on the second floor, lying beside a good friend, Faisal. Faisal worked on the second floor, as a sewing machine operator. "I'm not sure how, I guess my floor dropped down to his", he explained. And if he hadn't dropped down to the second floor, he might never have known how Faisal died, his skull crushed "And his brains were spilling out. I can't forget how his head exploded in front of me. Those memories still haunt me", he said.

He now walks with a crutch and dreadful headaches assail him His wife couldn't take the change and left. He founded the Savar Rana Plaza Survivors Association which now has 300 members who meet monthly. Two of the members of the group hanged themselves in 2015 and 2016. Opposite the street of the ruined and overgrown Rana Plaza sits a concrete monument of an enormous pair of sculpted fists holding a hammer and sickle, as a memorial to the victims.

India, Vietnam and Bangladesh are recognized as the least expensive places in the world to produce apparel; between them over 4.4 million workers are employed in 3,000 factories where the minimum hourly wage is 32 cents, which comes out to $68 a month. Name brands of respected clothing purveyors make their way to Bangladesh where $30-billion of "ready-made garments" identify Bangladesh as the world's second largest manufacturing center of clothing after China.

After Rana Plaza, those same international fashion brands created two five-year compliancy agreements in an effort to exonerate themselves from an obviously perceived view that they too were responsible for the tragedy, not only the sweatshops from whom they bought their cheaply-produced wares. Over 200 of them signed the legally binding Accord on Fire and Building Safety. The nonbinding Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety was led by Walmart and signed by 28 others, including Gap, Target and Hudson's Bay.

A study released by the Center for Global Workers' Rights last month revealed the impact of the Accord, proclaiming both to be successes citing that in the five-year period, over 97,000 hazards in 1,600 factories were rectified, providing safer environments for 2.5 million workers. "The Accord has undoubtedly saved lives", Liana Foxvog, director of Organizing and Communications for the International Labor Rights Forum, declared.

Unfortunately, both the accord and the alliance are on the cusp of expiring though advocates urge that a new accord be formed. But in Bangladesh there has occurred union repression, and labor leaders have been imprisoned. The Rana Plaza Donors Trust Fund an endowment underwritten by brands to the value of $30 million, compensated Mr. Hrdoy who used the $600 he received to open a drugstore.

Neither he nor the other workers and their families will forget April 24, 2013, when 1,134 workers died, and 2,500 more were injured, in the world's worst fashion garment industry disaster.

A garment worker protest in Dhaka in 2013, demanding a rise in pay as well as compensation for the victims and those injured in the collapse of the Rana Plaza building. Photograph: AM Ahad/AP

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Friday, May 25, 2018

Justified Military Measure in Existential Threat

"The High Court of Justice unanimously rejected the petitions of the pestering left-wing Zionist organizations against the IDF’s strong and steadfast stance against the enemy in Gaza."
"It is time for you to understand that while you are trying to strengthen our enemy, the IDF is also protecting you."
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman

"The IDF had precise intelligence that the violent riots were masking a plan of mass infiltration into Israel in order to carry out a massacre against Israeli civilians [where Hamas operatives were dressed as civilians, mingling with Palestinian Gazans incited by the Hamas leadership to breach the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip]."
Israeli Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, IDF spokesman

"I have fought in combat zones around the world including Northern Ireland, Bosnia, Macedonia and Iraq. I was also present throughout the conflict in Gaza in 2014."
"Based on my experience and on my observations: the Israel Defense Forces, the IDF, does more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other army in the history of warfare."
British Col. Richard Kemp, former commander, British forces in Afghanistan 

Illustrative: Israeli snipers prepare for massive protests by Palestinians in Gaza and the potential for demonstrators to try to breach the security fence on March 30, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative: Israeli snipers prepare for massive protests by Palestinians in Gaza and the potential for demonstrators to try to breach the security fence on March 30, 2018. (Israel Defense Forces)
"According to her family, she [an eight-month-old Palestinian baby] was killed after inhaling a cloud of Israeli tear gas during Monday's bloody protests on the border. They said her 12-year-old uncle had become confused and accidentally brought the baby to within yards of the barbed wire fence that Israel has vowed to defend", and that's the story that circulated throughout Western media to emphasize how brutal the IDF is, killing an infant.

Quite the protests, when parents bring their infants along to storm a barbed-wire fence. Quite the 12-year-old who is able to carry an 8-month-old child directly toward a fence where proximity is forbidden and ample warning given that any who flouted the intention of the IDF to protect the barrier in the larger interests of protecting nearby Jewish villagers from the obviously malign intentions of Hamas, urging protestors to break down the fence and 'eat the livers' of Jews.

Well, as things turned out, the child had a congenital heart condition, and even the Gazan medical authorities declared the cause of death to have been exposure with her delicate medical history to be the cause of death; in other words the parents of this child deliberately exposed her to the potential of death, which became reality, then declared her a 'martyr' to the cause of 'returning' to their land in Israel. Those intended returnees never themselves left the land they aspire toward; they are children and grandchildren of the original refugees.

Instead of demanding from the terrorist group Hamas that rules their enclave, the responsibility that comes with administering a civilian population with all the infrastructure required the "March of Return" demanded that Israel open the separating fence and admit them and the other six million refugee claimants to overwhelm the Jewish state. Israel erected the blockade -- in response to the bloody coup Hamas accomplished in routing Fatah; their presence in Gaza constricting of the population and their covenant clearly meant to destroy Israel and slaughter Jews -- as a preventive.

Now, the Israeli High Court of Justice, in response to applications from charitable humanitarian groups within Israel itself, to deny the IDF the use of live ammunition in controlling the hordes of Palestinians attempting to breach the border, has ruled against that demand. In recognition of the indisputable fact that Hamas and related terror groups pose a challenge to security forces through the ruse of infiltrating civilian protesters with Hamas operatives, making it difficult for the army to identify terrorists, live fire was justified.

The Israeli High Court, known for its impartial and strictly objective hewing to the law and to justice, unanimously rejected two petitions brought by human rights groups against the IDF rules of engagement, and ruled to permit live fire during clashes with Palestinian protesters on the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip. It is past time for Palestinians to finally realize that peace can only arrive when they are prepared to negotiate fairly and conscientiously with Israel to enable both to live in full security.

Palestinian protesters during clashes with Israeli forces near the Gaza-Israel border in Rafah, Gaza Strip on May 14, 2018. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

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It's a Head-Scratcher

"While in China, if you experience any unusual acute auditory or sensory phenomena accompanied by unusual sounds or piercing noises, do not attempt to locate their source."
"Instead, move to a location where the sounds are not present."
U.S. Consulate, Guangzhou, China

"I know of no acoustic effect that would produce concussion-like symptoms; according to my research, strong effects on humans require loudness levels that would be perceived as very loud noise while exposed."
Jürgen Altmann, physics professor, Technischen Universität Dortmund, Berlin

"If you took any one of these patients and put them into a brain injury clinic and you didn't know their background, you would think that they had a traumatic brain injury from being in a car accident or a blast in the military." 
"It's like a concussion without a concussion."
Dr. Randel Swanson, specialist in brain injury rehabilitation, University of Pennsylvania 
US issues health warning after employee in China suffers 'abnormal sensations of sound and pressure'
"We don't want to see that this individual case would be magnified, complicated or even politicised."
"China has been investigating this matter in a very responsible manner. We haven't found that any organisation or individual has carried out such a sonic influence."
"[The US might with to carry out an] internal [probe into the case]."
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

"The employee was sent to the United States for further evaluation. On May 18, 2018 the Embassy learned that the clinical findings of this evaluation matched mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI)." "The Chinese government has assured us they are also investigating and taking appropriate measures."
Jinnie Lee, U.S. Embassy spokesperson, Beijing
There it is, again. Consular officials once more exposed to some mysterious sound wave likened to a 'sonic attack', that occurred just recently in China, after that same peculiar and inexplicable event occurred earlier, a year back, in Cuba, in some cases seriously affecting both American and Canadian Embassy officials, and their family members. Why nowhere else in the world have these events occurred? Only in Communist nations with undercurrents of hostile attitudes toward the West. Strange indeed!

For some of the diplomats and their family members who experienced the peculiarly strange phenomenon that made them peculiarly ill, their experience and its results still linger. Those affected reported "mental fog" that "slowed" them for months, according to a commissioned report. Some became beset with a sense of nervousness and irritability. Two of those interviewed for the study evidently met criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder. Their job performance capability was reduced substantially.

Three of those affected required hearing aids in response to moderate-to-severe hearing loss that resulted from their exposure to the unknown-in-origin sound. Many others continued to experience pressure or ringing in their ears, while over half required prescribed medication to enable them to sleep or to respond to headaches. 
And among those affected, many were unable to return to work, given symptoms not typical of concussion; pain and ringing in one ear only. Another difference the study noted was that though concussion patients frequently make swift, full recoveries, these patients had their symptoms persist for months on end.
Photo: File photo of the Guangzhou skyline (Getty)
The similarity between the Cuba experience and that now identified in China is striking and puzzling. A government employee in the southern Chinese city of Guangzhou reported "subtle and vague, but abnormal, sensations of sound and pressure", alerting the U.S. State Department of a mild traumatic brain injury brought on by "abnormal" sensations of sound and pressure, resembling those that occurred to American diplomats in Cuba.

"The U.S. government is taking these reports seriously and has informed its official staff in China of this event", stated the US. consulate. As yet, no other cases within or without the diplomatic community have been reported. The U.S. Embassy in Beijing called members of their diplomatic corps from five consulates in China to a meeting for staff to air questions and receive responses. The U.S. is preparing to send a medical team to Guangzhou to conduct medical evaluations for any employees requesting such.

In Cuba, 24 diplomats and their family members had been victimized by "specific attacks" that left them with injuries such as those occurring with brain trauma. When Canadian diplomats experienced similar symptoms, Canada withdrew its officials from Cuba as well. And while investigators suspect the involvement of a "sonic weapon", no proof has arisen other than speculation that this might be the cause of those events.

The "unusual sounds or auditory sensations" reported by the victims have never been identified.
cigdem /

Do ‘Sonic Weapons’ Adequately Explain ‘Health Attacks’ on Diplomats in Cuba?  Inaudible sonic weapons are an unlikely cause of the mysterious symptoms suffered by American and Canadian diplomats in Cuba. Snopes

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Puzzles, Mysteries, Intrigues

"He was killing himself."
"Unfortunately, he was killing everyone else on board. And he did it deliberately."
Larry Vance, veteran aircraft investigator, Canada

"Put bluntly, the MH370 'crash' is undoubtedly a crime of the unlawful killing of 238 innocent people."
"[Clinging to the MH370 accident theory akin to] complicity of a crime."
"The Australian government has also been remiss, they should have put pressure on the Australian Transport Safety Bureau to listen, and act, on professional advice from the aviation community."
Mike Keane, former military pilot
Royal New Zealand Air Force
A Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 searches the Indian Ocean off the coast of Western Australia for debris after the Malaysian airliner vanished. (Kim Christian/AP)

"What they fail to understand is that while you don an oxygen mask and prevent the worst of the hypoxia situation, you are flying an aircraft at 40,000 feet."
"You are taking an aircraft from sea level to [Australia's highest mountain] Mount Kosciuszko in 20 minutes, then you are taking it over the course of a couple of minutes to the height of Mount Everest plus 1,000 feet. You'll get decompression sickness too."
"During the climb-out [on a cargo plane 25 years ago in the U.S.] the flight crew was unable to pressurize the aircraft and the captain elected to proceed with the flight."
"The crew donned their oxygen masks and shortly thereafter the captain became incapacitated from decompression sickness. The first officer took command and they landed the plane."
Peter Foley, spokesperson, Australian Transport Safety Bureau

"Captain Zaharie dipped his wing to see Penang, his hometown. If you look very carefully, you can see it's actually a turn to the left, and then start a long turn to the right. And then [he does] another left turn."
"So I spent a long time thinking about what this could be, what technical reason is there for this, and, after two months, three months thinking about this, I finally got the answer; Someone was looking out the window."
"It might be a long, emotional goodbye. Or a short, emotional goodbye to his hometown."
Simon Hardy, senior pilot and instructor on the Boeing 777
Malaysia Airlines MH370 went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Photograph: Laurent Errera

The investigators with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau are certain that their theory about the mysterious downing of the never-found Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, is correct, that the entire disaster was an unplanned and horribly unfortunate accident. It's neat and final and they have no wish to have it re-opened, scrutinized and open their minds to the clarifying findings of other seasoned experts whose investigation has led to other explanations.

The most certain of which appears to be that the airlines captain of the flight, Zaharie Ahmad Shah's personal life was in shambles and he was depressed, finding the meaning of life eluding him leading to his wish to end it all. And though there are innumerable ways in which that ending could have been accomplished, it seems that this man did not wish to depart life singly, on his own, but planned instead for a spectacular ending that would take the lives of 239 people, none of whom beside himself would have any inkling that this flight would be their last.

A Canadian professional air transport investigative team of which Mr. Vance is a part has written a book detailing their minute examination of all records and evidence and interviews to construct their theory that this was a suicide and a mass murder combined; that one man deciding to end his life decided at the same time to deprive 238 other people who had no share in his feelings or his thoughts of theirs as well. What kind of satisfaction that might serve up to someone launching himself on a death mission will never be known.
The Boeing 777 aircraft took off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, headed for Beijing, China
The Boeing 777 aircraft took off from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, headed for Beijing, China

The man at the controls of Flight MH370 conspired with himself to murder a planeload of passengers and crew. The official theory is that the captain, co-pilot other crew members and passengers were all unconscious and the plane, uncontrolled, simply ran out of fuel, plunging into the Indian Ocean. And then the Australian version of 60 Minutes invited airplane investigators who had launched their own research project to come up with a different version. to appear on the show and discuss the situation.

They posit that the veteran pilot of MH370 depressurized the plane himself, turning off its transponder and while everyone was affected by oxygen deprivation and was unconscious, he was not, and carried out his nefarious plot to ferry the plane and passengers to a watery grave. The question of how it might be possible that a modern aircraft tracked by radar and satellites could disappear is at the crux of the matter. And their theory is that Zaharie simply wanted it to disappear and engineered it to be so.

Peter Foley with the ATSB, spoke to lawmakers in Canberra at a hearing, that he has serious doubts that the pilot could have plotted suicide and murder given the difficulty of flying a depressurized plane. He had, as it happened, led the ATSB's search for MH370 that had failed despite all efforts and grim determination. His disinclination to give the new theory any credit aside, he did concede that the suicide-by-pilot theory was, nonetheless "plausible". The ATSB had been apprised by experts supporting the "controlled ditching" theory.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (similar to the plane pictured) disappeared somewhere over the Indian Ocean March 8, 2014
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 (similar to the plane pictured) disappeared somewhere over the Indian Ocean March 8, 2014

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Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Challenges On Land And At Sea

"...The return of Second Fleet helps re-energize NATO as a maritime force in the Atlantic. While I was supreme allied commander at NATO, the former NATO Atlantic command, or Saclant, had atrophied into a test bed for innovation and training and was a shadow of its former self."
"Alongside the return of Second Fleet, NATO has announced a new Atlantic Command as well, which will be embedded within the larger Second Fleet."
"Both will be based in Norfolk, Virginia, and the efficiencies of combining them will allow far better allied participation in U.S. military efforts in the Atlantic Ocean. Look for British, French, German, Italian, Spanish and other advanced warships from Europe to be calling in U.S. ports and operating extensively with American forces from the Arctic down to the Caribbean and well into the deep Atlantic."
"Both commands will be headed up by a single three-star vice-admiral, with staff officers from across the 29 nations of the NATO alliance."
James Stavridis, retired U.S. Navy admiral, former military commander, NATO
Naval Station Norfolk, Virginia
The Second Fleet will be based at its former home - Norfolk, Virginia   Getty Images

The world is divided as it always has been with regional and international challenges. In the far east, China is throwing its considerable weight around, claiming sole ownership of the South China Sea. U.S. allies in the area like Japan whose internationally recognized waters are now in dispute with China, suffer the indignity of watching while China builds artificial islands in the sea in disputed areas and builds military outposts there, claiming territory not its own but its de facto presence auguring permanent status for its claims.

The Chinese have become great tourists with their evolution from great poverty to a swelling middle class, eager to see the rest of the world and spread good cheer. Arriving in Vietnam as tourists, Chinese were ordered to remove the tee-shirts they were wearing, their printed legends declaring China's ownership of the South China Sea in a bid to make friends and influence people. Abroad, Chinese tourists have gained a reputation of arrogant entitlement, such that official China has cautioned them to tone it all down...

China has taken great interest in emerging territorial claims in the Arctic, claiming special status for itself, no doubt drawn both by opening shipping lanes due to climate change altering the pack ice, and with an eye to the vast undersea resources known to be present in the Arctic. China's outlier partner in the UN Security Council has also laid claims to the Arctic as an Arctic power, challenging Canada to its traditional oceanic Arctic territory. Both countries' assertiveness, influence and power make for uneasy international relations.

When the USSR collapsed, leaving satellite countries finally free to be themselves and the Russian Federation was left bereft of its former world power status built in threat and fear, the world exulted that peace would reign now that the Cold War had ended. The U.S., in view of the taut relations that have resulted between it and Moscow under the leadership of Vladimir Putin, has determined that its fleet in the Atlantic, dissolved in 2011 as a cost-saving measure, would be resurrected to guard the Atlantic approaches to the continental U.S.
The U.S. Navy, reacting to an increasingly active Russian Navy, will reactive the Second Fleet.   U.S. Navy

Close to 300 officers and enlisted men and women are due to be assigned to the Second Fleet for responsibilities linked to training the Atlantic Fleet and real-world operations tracking the presence of possibly hostile vessels on their approach to the U.S. coast. Predating this decision of the United States, Russia had rebuilt and re-equipped its Soviet-era Atlantic fleet with updated technology that included hypersonic cruise missiles and nuclear-powered undersea torpedoes.

Vladimir Putin's recent show-and-tell performance where he revealed in his "weapons video", the Russian military's new weapons was as much a crowing performance as it was a direct threat against American defences.

All of which has urged the U.S. forward to a new commitment to area surveillance and the use of oversea long-dwell drones, manned maritime patrol aircraft (Boeing's new P-8 Poseidon) meant to use undersea monitoring systems to track Russian submarines. These listening posts on the deep seabed are critical for advance notice of what is transpiring with the Russian navy.

At-sea combat training exercises with destroyers, cruisers and aircraft carriers while integrating land-based air both sides of the Atlantic from the U.S. U.K. and Iceland represent critical upgrades to the alliance's vigilance structure.
A frame grab take from Kremlin video footage shows an unmanned submersible with a nuclear engine.
A screen grab shows a new Russian nuclear-powered submarine

All of which is in reflection of the tensions existing between Washington and Moscow with Russian and American forces within shot of one another in Syria. The protocols signed between the U.S. and Russia (the 1972 Incidents at Sea agreements) have fallen into deliberate disuse. A series of close encounters at sea and in the air in the Baltic and Black Seas between the U.S. and Russian fleets highlight the need for response and deterrence, and to influence both sides to update the agreement and respect it in the higher interests of avoiding conflict.

Journalists watch as Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual state-of-the-nation address in Moscow on March 1. He calls the Kinzhal (Dagger) missile an "ideal weapon." (AP Photo)
Journalists watch as Russian President Vladimir Putin gives his annual state-of-the-nation address in Moscow on March 1. He calls the Kinzhal (Dagger) missile an "ideal weapon." (AP Photo)
"[The U.S. has underestimated Russia's ability to mount a response, aiming for a] unilateral military advantage that could eventually allow it to dictate its terms in other areas."
"You [United States] will have to assess that new reality and become convinced that what I said today isn't a bluff. It's not a bluff, trust me."
"I want to tell all those who have fueled the arms race over the last 15 years, sought to win unilateral advantages over Russia, introduced unlawful restrictions and sanctions aimed to contain our country's development: All what you wanted to impede with your policies has now happened. You have failed to contain Russia."
"[The weapon -- an intercontinental hypersonic missile that would fly at 20 times the speed of sound and strike its targets] like a meteorite, like a fireball [is capable of performing sharp manoeuvres on its way to targets, making it] absolutely invulnerable for any missile defence system."
Russian President Vladimir Putin

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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Conscience? Scruples? That's for Losers

"At the beginning I felt bad, but you get used to it."
"It's the way you can have a good time. You sell weapons, you earn money and you have fun."
23-year-old Mexican prison inmate
Weapons seized along US border with Mexico
Weapons seized along US border with Mexico  InSight Crime

"Reporting on crime in Mexico for over a decade, I have witnessed the devastation these weapons cause more times than I can count."
"At a stoplight in the city of Culiacan, I saw the corpses of five police officers whom assailants ambushed and sprayed with more than 400 bullets."
"I've been at crime scenes where the assassins killed their targets while firing hundreds of rounds that mowed down innocent bystanders, including children."
Ioan Grillo, Ciudad Juarez, Mexico
The Second Amendment of the United States Constitution reads: "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."
The United States has a problem with guns. Readily available without too much of a hassle, American citizens can buy all manner of guns, rifles and machine guns of various types. It is one of the most armed nations in the world. And gun violence, understandably is high, despite that gun owners clinging to their entitled right under the Second Amendment of the American Constitution insist that gun ownership is sacrosanct and no one can repeal the law that makes it so.

The powerful lobby of the influential National Rifle Association claims it is gun ownership by legal, lawful gun owners that helps to prevent gun violence, that armed citizens are able to intervene in crisis situations, to lower the elevated violence and take steps with the authority of the arms they possess, to divest an ill-doer of his/her intent to maim and to kill. The situation reads like legally armed citizens versus gun-toting psychopaths.

Alas, guns cannot be kept within American borders; they gravitate outward to infest their northern neighbour as well as the neighbour to the south. Canada has a problem with the illegal entry of American-sourced firearms in the possession of criminals. But Canada's problem is as nothing in comparison to that of Mexico where drugs and violence are paired with guns and unrestrained murder and mayhem.
We're sending guns, crime to Mexico
A cache of seized weapons displayed at a news conference in Phoenix. (Matt York / Associated Press)

The young inmate sentenced to prison in Mexico when a cousin turned him in to authorities, motivated by an argument the two young men had, knew enough to stay far away from U.S. gun shops to acquire the weapons he sold at great profit in Mexico, smuggling AR-15 semiautomatic rifles he would pay $500 for, across the border in his truck, the guns hidden in kitchen appliances. Once in Mexico, he could count on selling the illegal weapons for up to five times what he paid.

He experienced no difficulties whatever in buying whatever he wanted at weekend gun shows in Texas. At those shows purchase of firearms from private sellers is done without a background check, let alone proof of citizenship. Each of those trips and their transactions resulted in  his bringing about a dozen guns back with him to Mexico, to be unloaded at his inflated selling price to those anxious to possess a semiautomatic rifle.

The wealth he amassed assuaged his initial feelings of guilt for his involvement in providing criminal elements, drug traffickers and cartel members with the deadly weapons they use to kill their competitors, any authorities that get in their way, and just incidentally, innocent bystanders. Now in prison for nine years, he can dream about the house he bought, the cars and the motorcycles, with his profits. Presumably they'll still be there when he emerges from prison, a decade older.

Mexico is swimming in guns, brought in across the border from the United States. The United States, on the other hand, is stuffed with illegal drugs that are smuggled across the border from Mexico. Without the guns the drug cartels would be less deadly. Without the drugs addicted American citizens would be less numerous, their overdose deaths less frequent. This is a relationship honed in hell, one of seemingly mutual dependence and hideously mutual carnage.

A new government report details the problems agencies face in fighting weapons trafficking. Here, thousands of guns lie on the ground before being destroyed in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, in 2012.    AFP/AFP/Getty Images

The Mexican Justice Department traced -- over a six-year period -- over 74,500 firearms taken from criminals in Mexico to the United States. The firearms manufactured in the U.S. or imported from other manufacturing countries. Cartel gunmen use those weapons to commit daily murders. A study by the University of San Diego and the Igarape Institute undertaken in 2013 estimated that 253,000 firearms were purchased for trafficking over the southern border between 2010 and 2012.

One single legal firearms shop exists in the whole of Mexico, operating out of a military base in Mexico City. Buyers must first apply for permits given only when six forms of identification are shown, including proof of no criminal record, a letter from an employer, and the patience to wait for the process to play out; months, at the very least.

Contrast that with anyone at all simply walking into a gun show where a semiautomatic rifle is sold without question. The guns are used in mass murders across Mexico perpetrated by criminal death squads. "The biggest reason why some Mexicans are afraid to return to Mexico is because of criminal organizations, mostly drug traffickers", according to the website Political Asylum, U.S.A.

The prospect of falling victim to the .50 calibre sniper rifles which also target Mexican police and military members or when hitmen with Kalashnikovs produced in China and the Czech Republic, sold in the U.S. where cartels operate workshops to convert semiautomatic AR-15s into fully automatic weapons, is the stuff of nightmares to ordinary Mexicans.

A vehicle makes its way along an alley in a Tijuana, Mexico, neighborhood where residents literally live across the fence from the United States, living beside a numbered fence. Photograph: Frederic J Brown/AFP/Getty Images

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Monday, May 21, 2018

Who's The Leader of the Pack?

"The allies are certainly sick of this but don't seem to have an alternative."
"The Europeans are invested down a path of trying to please the president [Donald Trump], not out of belief but more hope against hope that they will convince him."
"[The real question for the Europeans] is not if they stick with the deal [nuclear agreement with Iran] but will they stand up in the American effort to unravel it and take active measures to protect their companies and banks trading in Iran?"
"[That would be] an extremely confrontational stance, and it's not clear that their companies really want that."
Jeremy Shapiro, former official, U.S. State Department; European Council on Foreign Relations

"Can't we defend what our own interests are? Isn't it wiser to temporarily part ways with the Trump administration?"
"Trump and Europe have fundamentally different objectives."
Nathalie Tocci, senior adviser, European Union 

"At some point -- after having pushed the Europeans on NATO, Paris, the Jerusalem embassy move, trade and now Iran -- the Europeans will come to the conclusion that they're better off going their own way."
"And that point is rapidly approaching."
Ivo H. Daalder, former U.S. ambassador to NATO

"Nobody thinks the trans-Atlantic alliance is over. But how do we make it work with a U.S. leadership that doesn't want to play the role of leader?"
"How do we move ahead in a world, not without the U.S., but with an American leadership not willing to play its traditional role?"
Pierre Vimont, former French ambassador to Washington
There could tough talking between Trump and his allies over his decision. Credit: PA

American allies in Europe want the status quo to continue; which is to say the long-acknowledged leader-of-the-pack suddenly, with a change of administration, is no longer interested in leading. It wants to withdraw, not necessarily its influence, but its direct responsibilities in ushering the trans-Atlantic alliance toward its self-satisfied goals in aspirational self-interests. Mostly that represents recognizing the frailties and faults of those nations not within their direct political orbit but holding their collective noses and recognizing trade opportunities to stuff their own coffers with the profits.

So regimes that are truly destructive of the human spirit, controlling and manipulative which gain the disapproval of the partnership members are still acceptable for what they can provide in capitalizing on their natural resources to provide revenues for themselves and profitable investments for those willing to set aside their ethics and forget about moral obligations of democratic societies toward populations stifled by corrupt, domineering dictators and profiteers.

While countries like Iran are using their profits to sustain their terrorist non-state militias, it fails to hinder investment and trade with them on the part of Western European nations who prefer not to 'notice' the deep linkage between their investment and profits and the offside support on their part to the fundamentalist, Sharia-driven warmongering terrorism the Islamic Republic of Iran supports, from Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, drenched in the blood of his Syrian Sunni civilians, to Palestinian Hamas, garroting the aspirations of Gazan Palestinians.

That the despicable quasi-politician-businessman-social pariah Trump appears to have scruples eluding the patrician French and punctilious Germans whose major concerns about the collapse of the Iran nuclear agreement is the potential impact on their corporate interests and investment banks trump all other concerns of which they prefer not to know the details calls into question who among them is the more intelligent and decent of human beings.

Quite dreadful of Mr. Trump to decide to move the American embassy to Jerusalem, a city with which Judaic history and heritage is plump with meaning, despite the contemptible short shrift given it by UNESCO at the bidding of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. Quite horrible of Israel to defend its borders from the incursion of people infused with hatred of Jews, instructed by Hamas to bring along weapons and to infiltrate the Jewish state to help it celebrate the recognition of Jerusalem as its capital; a dreadful misunderstanding, for which Hamas operatives paid the deadly price.

So selfish of Mr. Trump to think in terms of "America First", as though members of the European Union think of themselves as one big happy family sans borders, without a single thought of their aspirational national fortunes before those of their neighbours. Sad that Britain has decided to ditch the family, but true to form remains concerned about the fallout on trade; in that area alone it fits right in with the others it spurns.

Of course the European governments who deplore Trump's unwillingness to absorb more migrants and refugees particularly from countries that breed Islamist terrorists are themselves focused on migration, but challenged by their pledge to fight Islamophobia making them truly conflicted as though they share a fundamental pathology of both inviting and rejecting the random violence that has afflicted their societies and threatens to overturn their culture and reverse their laws and their politics.

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