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‘Is she a victim or a suspect?’ The tale of the Dutch ‘Princess’ who fell in love with her jihadi ‘Robin Hood’

 

 Yilmaz3.jpg

Born in Holland, with dual Turkish nationality, Omar Yilmaz had served with the Dutch army. But about four years ago he failed to be selected for the special forces. And, with the civil war in Syria gathering pace, he grew increasingly disillusioned with the West and moved there – driven, perhaps, by his Turkish family connections.

Harriet Alexander, The Telegraph

She was a blonde, blue eyed Catholic girl whose family was a pillar of the community in the Dutch city of Maastricht. He was a smiling, bicycle-riding Dutch former soldier – a man considered such an asset to his country that he was encouraged to try out for its elite special forces.

And yet the marriage of Sterlina Petalo and Omar Yilmaz was, for their families, anything but a cause for celebration.

Yilmaz, 26, was one of the most high-profile Europeans to become a jihadist, travelling to Syria to live in the self-declared Islamic State and fight on behalf of the extremists. He gloried in the teenage fantasy of war – posting a series of Instagram photographs of himself pouting at the camera on a motorcycle, amid bombed-out buildings in his combat fatigues, AK47 slung nonchalantly over his shoulder. Ms. Petalo was a recent convert to Islam, who fell in love with Yilmaz after seeing him on television, picturing him as a Robin Hood figure.

Last week their story took a remarkable twist when it was revealed that 19-year-old Ms. Petalo had returned to her home town – after her mother travelled to the Turkish-Syrian border to bring her home from the jihadist-held city of Raqqa.

She rang me and said, ‘Take me home.’ But she could not leave Raqqa without help

“Sometimes you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do,” said her mother, Monique Verbert. “She rang me and said, ’Take me home.’ But she could not leave Raqqa without help.”

The pair arrived back in Holland on Wednesday, said Annemarie Kemp, from the public prosecutor’s office. Clad in a niqqab, with only her eyes showing, the teenager – who has changed her name to Aicha – was photographed being driven through the town on her way to custody.

“Upon her arrival, Aicha was detained at once on suspicion of crimes threatening state security,” said Ms. Kemp

Last night, Ms. Petalo was being held in a police cell after the prosecutor, Roger Bos, ruled on Friday that she should be detained for questioning for three more days.

Ms. Verbert, 49, an administrator for BP, argued that her daughter’s flight to Syria was little more than teenage infatuation. A court will decide whether to press charges.

But the mother’s mission to bring her teenage daughter home has captivated the Dutch public and shed light on how young Europeans are being lured to join what they see as a righteous fight for Islam.

Twitter/Isrfl YlmazSterlina Petalo fell in love with Omar Yilmaz after seeing him on television, picturing him as a Robin Hood figure.

The story began early this year when Ms. Petalo saw Yilmaz on television.

Born in Holland, with dual Turkish nationality, he had served with the Dutch army – photographs on social media show a photogenic, chisel-jawed recruit standing tall in his beret. But about four years ago he failed to be selected for the special forces. And, with the civil war in Syria gathering pace, he grew increasingly disillusioned with the West and moved there – driven, perhaps, by his Turkish family connections. His uncle owns a shop in Turkey – which was later raided by the authorities.

“It’s extremely easy to get here,” Yilmaz, who like many Dutch speaks flawless English, told Sky News in a Skype interview from Syria earlier this year. “People go on holiday, they end up in Syria.”

Speaking from Idlib province in northern Syria, he described how part of his job was using his military expertise to train recruits from Britain, some of whom were teenagers as young as 16.

“We see this jihad in Syria as something holy. I’m helping in my own way,” he said.

Last month he told CBS News: “I would fight anybody. Even if it was my own father that was bombing these people, I would fight him and kill him myself. So I felt the need as a person, as a human, and, of course, as a Muslim. Because it was the Muslims that were getting crushed in Syria, that I had to stand up and do stuff.”

His words struck a chord with the teenager at home in Maastricht – the quiet, affluent Dutch city where the euro was born, and where cyclists zip through the cobbled streets.

Ms. Petalo had previously sought solace in the Bible, but then turned to the Koran.

“Suddenly she was standing in front of me in a niqqab – that was a shock,” her mother told the Dutch television program EenVandaag. “I thought, ’Girl, what are you doing?’ That went too far for me.”

Ms. Verbert had separated from her husband, Joseph “Jappie” Petalo, a tile factory worker well known for organizing local carnival celebrations, about five years previously. The couple had two daughters – Sterlina, named after her paternal aunt, who ran a nail bar in the town, and Esmerelda, 26.

As Ms. Petalo’s commitment grew, so too did her attachment to Yilmaz, by then enjoying semi-celebrity thanks to his good looks and numerous postings online.

“She was showing me photos of him, saying, ’Isn’t it good what he’s doing?’” her mother recalled. “She saw him as a sort of Robin Hood.”

Friends of the teenager grew concerned, and reported her to the authorities – which reacted by taking away her passport. But that could not stop her.

About 130 Dutch jihadists have gone to fight in Syria, with 30 already having returned and 14 others killed in the fighting, according to the latest statistics from the Dutch intelligence services.

And in February, Miss Petalo fled – using her ID card to cross Europe by train, rather than flying.

When she arrived in Raqqa, the heartland of the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham, she telephoned her mother. Then she broke off contact.

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2014 in News

 

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Zionist Author Admits ISIS is Israeli Secret Intelligence Service

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2014 in Poilitics

 

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This Student Says He’s Too Smart For 1st Grade. Then This Happens

This Student Says He's Too Smart For 1st Grade. Then This Happens

This Student Says He's Too Smart For 1st Grade. Then This Happens
This Student Says He's Too Smart For 1st Grade. Then This Happens
This Student Says He's Too Smart For 1st Grade. Then This Happens
This Student Says He's Too Smart For 1st Grade. Then This HappensSource: Why Don’t You Try This?

 
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Posted by on November 23, 2014 in Free Writting

 

Ontario students among best in computer literacy, study shows

Study taken by 60,000 Grade 8 schools in 20 countries

The Canadian Press

Ontario students scored an average of 547 out of 600 in overall computer literacy, significantly above the international average of 500.

Ontario students scored an average of 547 out of 600 in overall computer literacy, significantly above the international average of 500. (CBC)

A new international test shows Ontario students are among the most computer literate even though the province’s schools generally put less priority on facilitating the use of technology than other participating countries.

The International Computer and Information Literacy Study was administered last year to some 60,000 Grade 8 students in 20 countries.

The study looks at students’ ability to collect, manage, produce and exchange information using a computer, as well as teachers’ and principals’ attitude and confidence regarding technology in the school setting.

It is believed to be the first international test of its kind.

Ontario students scored an average of 547 out of 600 in overall computer literacy, significantly above the international average of 500.

The province is in a statistical tie for the top spot with Australia and the Czech Republic.

Students had to perform basic tasks such as copying or saving a document, creating and modifying information and using multiple applications at once. They also had to answer a questionnaire, as did teachers, principals and technology co-ordinators.

The CEO of the Education Quality and Accountability Office, which helped arrange Ontario’s participation in the test, said the results show the province’s efforts to integrate technology into the classroom have paid off.

“Because we’ve done that over the years, I think that our students are in fact more comfortable with its use in the learning
process,” Bruce Rodrigues said.

“The reason that’s important is that as we move into looking at some of the global competencies in innovation… students will need to be able to be nimble with the use of computers to compete in the global economy.”

Girls scored higher in overall computer literacy than boys, but boys reported being more confident performing advanced tasks such as creating a computer program or building a website.

Ontario teachers confident teaching tech

Ontario teachers reported a higher level of confidence in using technology for their work than their counterparts in other
participating jurisdictions, and schools in the province had equal or superior access to resources compared with the international average.

However, while principals reported that most Ontario schools made facilitating the use of technology a priority, they still put less emphasis on it than the international average in almost every area measured.

More Ontario schools complained that outdated and insufficient equipment was hindering their use of technology than in other jurisdictions. They also reported more difficulty developing expertise or obtaining technical support.

In Canada, only Ontario and Newfoundland and Labrador participated, but the results for Newfoundland and Labrador were not available.

 

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2014 in News

 

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Obama immigration overhaul to refocus enforcement on ‘felons, not families’

 

U.S. president announces new measures during a prime-time address

The Associated Press

 U.S. immigration reform

Spurning furious Republicans, U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled expansive executive actions on immigration Thursday night to spare from deportation nearly five million people in the U.S. illegally and to refocus enforcement efforts on “felons, not families.”

The moves, affecting mostly parents and young people, marked the most sweeping changes to the nation’s fractured immigration laws in nearly three decades and set off a fierce fight with Republicans over the limits of presidential powers.

In a televised address to the nation, Obama defended the legality of his actions and challenged Republican lawmakers to focus their energy not on blocking his actions, but on approving long-stalled legislation to take its place.

The administration is also setting new enforcement priorities that could make it easier for many more people in the U.S. illegally to stay in the country.

“There are actions I have the legal authority to take as president — the same kinds of actions taken by Democratic and Republican presidents before me — that will help make our immigration system more fair and more just,” Obama said.

Obama said deportations of criminals are up 80 per cent and that the government will keep focusing enforcement resources on actual threats to the U.S.

“Felons, not families. Criminals, not children. Gang members, not a mom who’s working hard to provide for her kids. We’ll prioritize, just like law enforcement does every day.

The president said that tracking down, rounding up and deporting millions of people isn’t realistic. Obama offered temporary residence for those who have been in the U.S. for more than five years, or have children who are American citizens or legal residents.

“If you register, pass a criminal background check, and you’re willing to pay your fair share of taxes — you’ll be able to apply to stay in this country temporarily, without fear of deportation. You can come out of the shadows and get right with the law.”

Obama insisted that his actions did not amount to amnesty.

 “Amnesty is the immigration system we have today — millions of people who live here without paying their taxes or playing by the rules, while politicians use the issue to scare people and whip up votes at election time,” he said 

Fate of millions still unresolved

However, the plan would leave the fate of millions more unresolved. With more than 11 million immigrants living in the country illegally, Obama’s actions would not offer specific protections to more than half.

Obama Immigration

President Barack Obama unveiled expansive executive actions on immigration Thursday night to spare nearly five million people in the U.S. illegally from deportation. (Jim Bourg/Associated Press)

But the vehement reactions of Republicans, who will have control of Congress come January, made clear that Obama was courting a serious partisan confrontation.

House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, who has refused to have his Republican members vote on broad immigration legislation passed by the Senate last year, said Obama’s decision to go it alone”cemented his legacy of lawlessness and squandered what little credibility he had left.”

Actions could be reversed by new president

None of those affected by Obama’s actions would have a direct path to citizenship, and his actions could be reversed by a new president after he leaves office. Moreover, officials said the eligible immigrants would not be entitled to federal benefits — including health-care tax credits — under Obama’s plan.

Some immigrant advocates worried that even though Obama’s actions would make millions eligible for work permits, not all would participate out of fear that Republicans or a new president would reverse the executive orders.

“If the reaction to this is that the Republicans are going to do everything they can to tear this apart, to make it unworkable, the big interesting question will be, will our folks sign up knowing that there is this cloud hanging over it,” said Janet Murguia, president and CEO of the National Council of La Raza.

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 21, 2014 in News

 

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Today is National Child Day!

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While children are our priority every day, today is a special time to promote the well-being of children in Canada.

UNICEF Canada celebrates National Child Day with “Bring your MP to School Day”. Members of Parliament visit schools from coast to coast to hear from our kids – Canada’s youngest citizens – about what matters to them. “ It’s my job to get into classrooms and listen to youth; it’s part of two-way accountability,” said one MP.


Young people discussed diverse and hard-hitting issues with their MPs, ranging from domestic concerns such as the quality of life of Canadian aboriginal peoples, to international worries about how Canada is helping people around the world. Students proved they are up-to-date on current affairs, asking pointed questions about security on Parliament Hill, the rise of cyberbullying, and efforts to protect the environment.

Engaging with children and youth – a quarter of the Canadian population – helps inform decisions that affect this vulnerable but non-voting population and advances the civic education of Canada’s youngest citizens.

Canada is a big country, but no child is too far to be heard.

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2014 in News

 

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Russians spy on UK families via their webcams: Hackers use your computer to watch you at home then post photos online

Families are unwittingly broadcasting their everyday lives across the internet via hacked home security cameras.

Footage from cameras linked into household computer networks is being streamed live on rogue websites, warn privacy watchdogs. 

This allows anyone to spy on families in their own homes in real time.

A Russian site seen by the Mail shows scenes from hundreds of cameras covering living rooms, bedrooms, gardens and driveways of homes across Britain. 

Hackers on a Russian site are streaming live videos from hundreds of cameras in living rooms, bedrooms, driveways and even a stable without the owners knowing 

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2014 in Human Rights

 

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When You Don’t Exist

 

Regardless of their status in a country, both regular and irregular migrants have human rights, including the right to freedom from slavery and servitude, freedom from arbitrary detention, freedom from exploitation and forced labour, the right to freedom of assembly, the right to education for their children, equal access to courts and rights at work.

Amnesty’s research shows that both irregular and regular migrants face serious human rights violations.

Watch Video: When you don’t exist: Amnesty International’s campaign for the human rights of migrants, refugees and asylum-seekers in Europe and at its borders.

 

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2014 in Human Rights

 

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Marriage fraud: Stories from victims

Citizenship and Immigration Canada  

While many Canadians marry people from other countries, sometimes marriage is a scam to jump the immigration line. Learn about the consequences of marriage fraud and hear the stories of victims in this 7-minute video.

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2014 in Human Rights

 

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No jail time for man involved in massive marriage fraud scheme

Michael Nguyen, Reuters

generic gavel 
MONTREAL — A judge has refused to jail a Montreal-based businessman who set up nearly two dozen fake marriages to help foreigners obtain Canadian citizenship.Instead, Amadou Niang was fined and given a suspended sentence for his part in a fraud ring that produced 315 bogus nuptials. Niang was facing a five-year prison term and a possible fine of up to $100,000.

Niang, 57, claimed that he was helping North African immigrants in Canada to speed up their resident status.

Niang was accused of arranging 20 fake marriages between 2007 and 2009, and of falsely presenting himself as an immigration consultant, which is an illegal act.

Judge Jean-Pierre Boyer said Niang’s actions harmed the integrity of the Canadian immigration system. Boyer fined Niang $42,000 and sentenced him to two years less a day, to be served in the community. The judge also permitted Niang to continue to travel to his native Senegal, where he has business.

About 40 people were arrested as part of the fraud ring in a police operation labelled “Conjugal.” Sentences ranged from conditional sentences to unconditional discharges.

Also sentenced was Maimouna Barry, a 28-year-old accused of being in a false marriage and of being a witness to two additional false marriages. Barry was given a six-month suspended sentence. The judge said that her case also did not merit jail time.

 

 
 
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Posted by on November 18, 2014 in News

 

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The two faces of a human rights activist

 

Arena / By Evelyn Groenink

Dutch-resident Nigerian ‘Comrade’ Sunny Ofehe, portrayed last June 2014 in the ZAM Chronicle, stands accused of fraud and human traffic. The Dutch daily newspaper Trouw of 30 October, reporting on the current court case against Ofehe in the Netherlands, calls him a suspect ‘with two faces’.

In development aid and some NGO circles in the Netherlands, Ofehe is known as a human rights activist who has dedicated his life to fighting for the people of the polluted Niger Delta and against oil company Shell, which he holds mainly responsible for the ills in that region. (The ZAM Chronicle has presented a much more complex and nuanced report on the Niger Delta by Nigerian investigative journalist Nnamdi Onyeuma.)

In the ZAM Chronicle interview by Christina Mansson, ‘Comrade’ Sunny was also asked about the mysterious kidnapping of himself and a number of Dutch nationals by Niger Delta militants during a visit to the region in the previous month. He then responded that the kidnapping, for which 45, 000 Euros were forked out in ransom, might have been prompted by ‘someone in our own midst’. But his fans stayed true. “We are not deterred, nor shaking (sic) by rumours. The path Comrade Sunny Ofehe has chosen is driven by motivation, commitment, and genuine burning desire for change”, said a friend on his ‘I was present at Comrade Sunny Ofehe’s Court Session’ Facebook group of 112 members.

The Dutch prosecution authority now says it has evidence that, over the years Ofehe has received more than 350,000 Euros in ‘unexplained amounts’ via several bank accounts and money transfers. It also accuses him of forgery. This accusation concerns pay slips and an employment contract which he submitted for the establishment of his Foundation ‘Hope for Niger Delta Campaign’. The prosecution says these papers were fraudulent because Ofehe was not formally employed and received welfare unemployment pay outs at the time.

The human traffic accusation concerns an Amsterdam airport pick-up and hosting address allegedly provided by Ofehe for a Nigerian woman on her way to sex industry work in Italy.

 

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2014 in Health

 

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Caricature : Fighting terrorism by arresting everybody

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Posted by on November 16, 2014 in Caricature

 

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Ottawa police arrest man who lauds terrorists

 

Postmedia News

Ottawa police arrest man who lauds terrorists
 

Ottawa police pulled over 39-year-old luqman abdunnur near this midtown intersection.

Photograph by: Jean Levac, Postmedia News , Postmedia News

An Ottawa man who was shot at and Tasered after being stopped in his car as part of a national security investigation had threatened a local imam, said terrorist groups were heroes, and called Parliament Hill shooter Michael Zehaf-Bibeau a martyr, the presidents of two local mosques say.

Ottawa police pulled over 39-year-old Luqman Abdunnur in Ottawa’s south end on Oct. 25 as part of an RCMP’s anti-terrorism unit’s investigation.

At the time, Abdunnur was being watched by the Ontario Provincial Police’s surveillance unit, which were assisting the investigation.

The “soft” traffic stop took a turn when Ottawa police allege Abdunnur became combative, uttered a Muslim prayer, refused to show police his hands, tried to flee and punched a police officer. Ottawa police twice deployed a Taser, hitting the man once to eventually subdue him. A member of the OPP’s surveillance team fired his gun at, but did not hit, the fleeing man.

Abdulhakim Moalimishak, president of the As-Salaam mosque, says his Sunni congregation reported Abdunnur to local police after a series of disruptions at the mosque. Abdunnur was not a member of the congregation but had been to the mosque a few times in recent months.

“Those couple of times he engaged in some provocations, but really the main incident is when he threatened our imam and decided to espouse these extremist views and he did it right in the middle of Friday sermon where no one talks,” Moalimishak said.

Abdunnur had previously gone up to the front of the mosque and called the congregation and administration evil, he says.

While the imam was giving a sermon, Abdunnur would sometimes create a small disturbance. Mosque leaders thought the incidents were minor and dealt with them internally – until one Friday sermon weeks ago, when Moalimishak says Abdunnur threatened the imam during service and said al-Qaida and al-Shabaab, a Somalian rebel group, were “heroes.” Abdunnur told the congregation he wouldn’t let the imam continue to denounce the actions of these groups, Moalimishak said.

Abdunnur had to be physically restrained. “He wanted to make public his anger and these desires to undermine our institution,” Moalimishak said.

Officials at the mosque called Ottawa police immediately.

It’s not known when the RCMP’s Integrated National Security Enforcement Team began investigating Abdunnur, but the Ottawa traffic stop occurred just three days after 32-year-old Michael Zehaf-Bibeau killed Cpl. Nathan Cirillo at the National War Memorial before himself being killed in a shootout on Parliament Hill on Oct. 22.

 

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2014 in News

 

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Franck Gervais, Remembrance Day ‘sergeant,’ now receiving threats

Man who represented himself as a decorated soldier now under investigation by Ottawa police

CBC News

The wife of a man who claimed to be a decorated soldier during a Remembrance Day ceremony in Ottawa says she and her husband feel trapped and have been receiving death threats since CBC News wrote about him on Wednesday.

  • Remembrance Day ‘sergeant’ Franck Gervais not in the military, DND says
Franck Gervais wife woman doorstep interview Nov 13 2014

Franck Gervais’s wife told CBC Thursday that they’ve been receiving threats and feel trapped after the story came to light Wednesday. (CBC)

Speaking in French on the doorstep of her home in west Quebec Thursday, the woman told CBC News repeatedly that she couldn’t comment on Franck Gervais’s uniform or why he was wearing it at the National War Memorial in Ottawa on Tuesday.

Asked if a reporter could speak to Gervais directly, his wife said he wasn’t speaking to CBC at the moment.

Ottawa police announced Thursday that they’ve launched an official investigation into Gervais, following “multiple complaints” from the public.

The Department of National Defence on Wednesday confirmed that Gervais, who represented himself as a decorated soldier on Tuesday, is not a member of the Canadian Forces.

‘I’m shocked,’ says Gervais’s boss

Martin Savard Potvin Construction GM Franck Gervais boss Nov 13 2014

Martin Savard, the general manager of Potvin Construction, said Gervais started working there 12 years ago and told employees he used to be in the military. (CBC)

Gervais has worked at Potvin Construction for 12 years, most recently building wooden staircases, said the company’s general manager, Martin Savard, on Thursday. He said Gervais had told fellow employees he used to be in the military.

“He basically told us that he used to be a member of the military,” Savard said.

Savard said he was shocked when he arrived at work Thursday morning and discovered through colleagues that Gervais was in the news.

“I’m shocked, definitely shocked,” Savard said. “It’s not something you expect, either from your own employee or from anybody. I mean, you have to pay respect with people who went to war and earned those medals. So definitely, Potvin Construction does not agree with that type of behaviour.

“We’re not sure what our obligations are, so we’re going to look into it and take the proper action.”

Veterans complained

A number of veterans and current soldiers complained after seeing Gervais being interviewed on CBC’s special live broadcast of the Remembrance Day ceremony.

Franck Gervais

The Department of National Defence says it can find no indication that Franck Gervais, who spoke with CBC on Remembrance Day wearing a uniform and medals, is a member of the military. (CBC)

Section 419 of the Criminal Code of Canada makes it illegal to falsely impersonate a member of the Canadian Forces by wearing a uniform and displaying badges, medals, ribbons, chevrons and other decorations they did not earn in service performed in war.

“Such activities are a disservice to the proud men and women of the Canadian Armed Forces, who earn the right to wear their uniforms through their hard work and the sacrifices they make for our country,” a spokesperson for the Defence Department said in a statement Wednesday.

No charges have been laid against Gervais.

Gervais was interviewed while wearing an army dress uniform with sergeant’s chevrons and the cap badge of the Royal Canadian Regiment. He was sporting the maroon beret reserved for soldiers who are active-duty paratroopers, as well as an active paratrooper’s jump wings on his chest.

One piece of insignia Gervais wore that immediately caught the eye of many soldiers was his Patrol Pathfinder badge. That is only worn by paratroopers who pass a gruelling course intended to recreate the experience of being dropped behind enemy lines — a course with a failure rate of up to 90 per cent.

But what has most irked soldiers and veterans were his five medals, particularly the Medal of Bravery, one of the highest decorations in the Canadian Forces, which has been awarded to a select few soldiers in recent years for bravery in hazardous circumstances.

 
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Posted by on November 14, 2014 in News

 

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Ottawa Reacts to Discrimination on Remembrance Day

“Peace cannot be kept by force :it can only achieve by understanding”

Albert Einctein

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2014 in Human Rights

 

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Poppy hijab sparks controversy in U.K.

 

The colourful head scarf was created by the Islamic Society of Britain and the think-tank British Future as a way to honour fallen Muslim soldiers.

The poppy hijab immediately sold out online.

By: Isabel Teotonio Living reporter, 

The little red flower donned by many on their lapel to commemorate Remembrance Day is generating controversy in the United Kingdom, where the so-called poppy hijab for Muslim women was recently launched.

The colourful head scarf was created by the Islamic Society of Britain and the think-tank British Future as another way to honour fallen soldiers.

“Thousands of British Muslims already wear a poppy . . . This is just another way for them to show they remember those who gave their lives for their country,” said society president Sughra Ahmed in a media statement.

“It’s also a way for ordinary Muslim citizens to take some attention away from extremists who seem to grab the headlines. This symbol of quiet remembrance is the face of everyday British Islam — not the angry minority who spout hatred and offend everyone.”

The hijab was launched Oct. 31 to coincide with the 100-year anniversary of the first Muslim soldier — an Indian machine-gunner named Sepoy Khudadad Khan born in what is now Pakistan — awarded the Victoria Cross for bravery.

He was among 1.2 million Indian soldiers, and 400,000 Muslims, who fought for Britain in the First World War — a contribution that few in the U.K. are aware of, according to a study by British Future.

Designed by Tabinda-Kauser Ishaq, 24, a Muslim fashion student in London, the hijab was a pilot project, explained Steve Ballinger, spokesperson for British Future. The think-tank sold the head scarf online for £22, which is about $40. (All proceeds went to the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal.)

Response — both reaction and sales — was swift. The initial run, of 120 scarves, sold out in 36 hours.

“We received a handful of requests from Canada, but most of the interest has been here in the U.K.,” Ballinger told the Star, adding the goal is for the Royal British Legion to sell the hijab next year as one of its poppy products.

But the initiative has also garnered online criticism from some British Muslims, who feel like they’re being called on to prove their loyalty to the U.K.

In a widely circulated article posted on the website Media Diversified, writer and activist Sofia Ahmed notes “a symbol of my religion is being appropriated as a marketing tool for (the) empire.”

“My hijab is a visual sign of my religiosity and devotion to Allah and not a walking talking billboard on which to showcase my patriotism and undying loyalty to Britain,” writes Ahmed of Manchester. “No other religious group is pressured to prove their allegiance in the same way.”

In Canada, associate professor Jasmin Zine, who teaches sociology and Muslim studies at Wilfrid Laurier University, said she wouldn’t have been surprised if a similar initiative was launched here.

“Particularly since the Ottawa shootings, there is a sense of being forced to perform your loyalty to the nation,” she said, referring to the fatal shooting last month of a soldier at the National War Memorial by a radicalized gunman who then stormed Parliament Hill.

“Muslims are constantly being pushed to prove their loyalty and allegiance and to distance themselves from terrorism.”

The decision to don the so-called poppy hijab is “a personal and political” choice, says Zine.

Amira Elghawaby, human rights co-ordinator at the National Council of Canadian Muslims, says “clothing can be neutral or political and it’s up to the individual to express themselves as they want.”

Similarly, she notes, there was a Fleur-de-lis hijab created in 2013, during the Quebec government’s controversial proposal of the values charter, which would have banned public employees from wearing religious symbols, including the hijab. At the time, some Canadian Muslim women ordered a hijab with the Fleur-de-lis to symbolize how practising their faith was compatible with Quebec society.

Alia Hogben, executive director of the Canadian Council for Muslim Women, has mixed feelings about the poppy hijab, and wonders if it would be perceived by some as disrespecting the poppy.

Hogben questions why the initiative is just focusing on Muslim women.

“Is it all right for non-Muslim women to wear it as a scarf?”

Hogben doubts she would ever wear a poppy scarf — she doesn’t wear a hijab.

“I’ll wear the poppy on my lapel, or on my clothes” she says, adding “like everybody else does.”

Source: thestar.com

 

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Human Rights

 

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Marriage fraud: Canadian immigration officials tread thin line

 

Sarem Raza Soomro is shown at home in Georgetown. Soomro's spousal sponsorship application to bring his Pakistani wife to Canada was rejected last year because of their education and age gaps.

Aaron Harris / Toronto Star Order this photo

Sarem Raza Soomro is shown at home in Georgetown. Soomro’s spousal sponsorship application to bring his Pakistani wife to Canada was rejected last year because of their education and age gaps.

By: Nicholas Keung Immigration reporter

The immigration officer pondered the woman’s older age, better education and large family — and denied 21-year-old Sarem Soomro’s application to sponsor his wife to Canada.

To the shock of Soomro and his parents, his arranged marriage to 25-year-old Ghulam Fatima Soomro in Pakistan was deemed a fake.

“We have worked very hard to give Sarem a normal life,” said his upset mother, Armaghan Soomro, a support worker for the Red Cross and a CPR instructor for St. John Ambulance.

“We just want him to have a family and a complete life.”

As the Canadian government cracks down on marriage fraud, concern is being raised on both sides that officials are being too harsh, and in other cases too lenient, in deciding what is a genuine relationship.

“The law is there, but there is no will to enforce it,” said Sam Benet, founder of Canadians Against Immigration Fraud.

Benet’s group successfully lobbied Ottawa to strengthen the law on spousal sponsorships, but he says border service officials have done little to pursue the 85 formal complaints filed by his members.

Immigration officials say investigating marriages of convenience is now a priority, but Benet argues not enough is being done to catch the bad apples looking for a back door into Canada.

Soomro, a Canadian citizen who lives in Georgetown with his parents and sister, submitted wedding photos, receipts, their wedding certificate, a DVD, and the couple’s communication on Facebook. His wife was interviewed in Pakistan. He was not.

Soomro’s family, who moved here from Pakistan in 2001, said it is not unusual for Pakistani men to have older, educated wives. He is a high-school graduate and she has a university degree in economics.

However, the officer also wrote: “(The wife) is the second of six children; the elder sibling is married, but the younger ones would be dependent children of her parents. This provides a potential benefit for the family, were a child to become a permanent resident of Canada.”

Soomro, who is deaf and works full-time as a baker at Tim Horton’s, is appealing the decision. His family does not believe his deafness factored into the rejection.

In some cases, where a spouse is already in Canada, the investigation may also include a surprise visit to the couple’s home.

Citizen and Immigration refused to reveal the specific criteria used to decide if a marriage is real or fake, but a federal ‘operational manual’ for processing family class members, obtained by the Star, outlines in detail the questions an officer must consider. Among them:

Do the spouses have good knowledge of each others’ personal circumstances, background and family situation?

Is there a history of multiple marriages and divorces?

Have previous relationships clearly ended?

Do the applicants speak a common language?

Where was the wedding and who attended?

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney has brought the issue of marriage fraud to the fore after media reports of foreign brides and grooms leaving their Canadian sponsors upon arrival, and revelations of a “rent-a-guest” scheme in India that set up bogus wedding ceremonies for immigration purposes.

The new law,  now requires sponsored spouses to remain in a relationship for two years before they can obtain permanent status, and bans the sponsored spouse from sponsoring a new spouse for five years.

Source: the star.news

 

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2014 in Human Rights

 

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Marriage fraud

 

 
Some people think marriage to a Canadian citizen will be their ticket to Canada.
It is a crime for a foreign national to marry a Canadian citizen or permanent resident only to gain entry to Canada. CIC is working to prevent these false marriages.
In many cases, sponsors and foreign applicants set up a “marriage of convenience.” This is a marriage or common-law relationship whose sole purpose is to let the sponsored spouse or partner immigrate to Canada.
CIC officers are trained to recognize real immigration applications. They know how to detect false marriages. They have many ways to spot marriage fraud, including:
  • document checks,
  • visits to people’s homes and
  • interviews with both sponsors and applicants.
Canadian citizens or permanent residents who are in a marriage of convenience for immigration reasons may be charged with a crime.

New regulations

Were you sponsored to come to Canada as a spouse or partner on or after October 25, 2012? If so, you must now live with your sponsor in a genuine relationship for two years from the day you get permanent residence status in Canada. This is a new rule.
As a spouse or partner being sponsored, this applies to you if:
  • you have been in a relationship with your sponsor for two years or less,
  • you have no children in common and
  • Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) got your application on or after October 25, 2012.
Learn more about the new measure for spouses and partners.

Don’t become a victim of marriage fraud

Are you a Canadian citizen or permanent resident? Have you met someone from another country on the Internet or while travelling? If so, think carefully before marrying them and sponsoring them to come to Canada.
Sponsors must give financial support to their spouse for three years, even if the marriage or relationship fails. If your spouse uses social assistance, you will have to repay the money. Also, you cannot sponsor anyone else until you repay the debt.
Sponsorship is a legal contract with the Government of Canada. You must meet its terms.
Sponsors: Do not be tempted by offers of money or other rewards to marry a person just so he or she can immigrate to Canada. If you do this, you may face serious criminal charges. You will also still have to meet the terms of the sponsorship.
Do not feel you must help somebody by being part of a marriage of convenience, no matter what the reason. It is not worth the risks.
Visa applicants: Do not get involved in a false marriage. CIC will refuse your visa and may ban you from travel to Canada for two years. This will stay on your CIC record forever.
CIC knows that even genuine marriages can fail. But, if you enter into a marriage of convenience and come to Canada as an immigrant, Canada may:
  • take legal action against you and
  • deport you from Canada.
Source: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english

 

 
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Posted by on November 11, 2014 in Human Rights

 

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Inspirational quotes

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“I will always be on the side of those who have nothing and who are not even allowed to enjoy the nothing they have in peace.” Frederico Garcia

“I believe in liberty for all men: the space to stretch their arms and their souls; the right to breathe and the right to vote, the freedom to choose their friends, enjoy the sunshine, and ride on the railroads, un cursed by color; thinking, dreaming, working as they will in a kingdom of beauty and love.” – W. E. B. Du Bois

If we understand the mechanism and motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing about it?” Edward L. Bernays

When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. – Unknown

When one door closes, another opens; but we often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door that we do not see the one that has opened for us.- Alexander Graham Bell

 
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Posted by on November 9, 2014 in Quotes

 

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Ambulance Drone could deliver life-saving equipment “within one minute”

 
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Posted by on November 8, 2014 in Health

 

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Costco’s Kirkland Signature Chicken Recalled Due To Possible Listeria: CFIA

 

Posted by:  | By The Canadian Press

COSTCO MEAT

OTTAWA – The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is advising people not to consume Kirkland Signature brand grilled chicken breast strips due to possible listeria contamination.

The product, which is being recalled by Freshouse Foods Ltd., was sold at Costco stores in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, but may also have been sold in other provinces.

The recalled product was sold in 500-gram packages with a UPC code of 0-96619-70787-4 and best before dates of April 13 to April 26.

CFIA says there have been no reported illnesses associated with the consumption of the chicken but anyone who has the product at home should throw it out or return it to the store where it was purchased.

The recall was triggered by CFIA test results and the agency says it is conducting a food safety investigation, which may lead to the recall of other products.

Experts say food contaminated with listeria may not look or smell spoiled but can still make you sick.

Symptoms can include vomiting, nausea, persistent fever, muscle aches, severe headache and neck stiffness. Pregnant women, the elderly and people with weakened immune systems are particularly at risk. In severe cases of illness, people may die.

 

 

 
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Posted by on November 7, 2014 in Health

 

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Soldiers Train To Shoot Zombies During Ebola Emergency

 
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Posted by on November 5, 2014 in Health

 

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Inspirational quotes of the day

omar

 

“All over the place, from the popular culture to the propaganda system, there is constant pressure to make people feel that they are helpless, that the only role they can have is to ratify decisions and to consume.”  Noam Chomsky

“You see, when a nation threatens another nation the people of the latter forget their factionalism, their local antagonisms, their political differences, their suspicions of each other, their religious hostilities, and band together as one unit. Leaders know that, and that is why so many of them whip up wars during periods of national crisis, or when the people become discontented and angry.

This is the explanation of all wars, all racial and religious hatreds, all massacres, and all attempts at genocide.”–    Taylor Caldwell,

“Peace cannot be kept by force. It can only be achieved by understanding”.  - Albert Einstein

 The evil that is in the world almost always comes of ignorance, and good intentions may do as much harm as malevolence if they lack understanding.”  - Albert Camus

 

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2014 in Quotes

 

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Burqa ban in France

Any one wearing niqab or burqa in France faces150 - uro fine

 
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Posted by on November 1, 2014 in Human Rights

 

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Nathan Cirillo-inspired racism ‘experiment’ ends with punch to face

 

In the wake of Nathan Cirillo’s shooting death in Ottawa, a Mississauga-based filmmaker staged a “social experiment” in downtown Hamilton to see how people would react to overt racism against Muslim people.

People reacted, all right: the experiment ended with a punch in the face.

“This is based on the events that happened in Ottawa,” said Omar Albach, a York University student at the start of a YouTube video called Canadians React to Ottawa Shooting Racism. “We’re going to see if people feel safe to be around Muslims or people who look like Muslims.”

In the video, a man named Zakaria Ghanem is dressed in a traditional Muslim gown called a Dishdasha or Thobe, while another man, Devin Giamou, berates him in public and says he wouldn’t feel safe getting onto a bus with him.

Then the reactions pour in from other people waiting for the same bus who don’t know the whole thing is staged.

“You can’t stereotype and judge people by their clothes,” one man says. “Or their nationalities or anything else, you know what I mean?”

One woman says what happened to Cirillo in Ottawa was “awful and tragic,” but doesn’t think “that’s any reason to persecute someone just because of what they’re wearing.”

One man objects to Giamou’s staged racism so much that he punches him square in the face in the video, near the entrance to Hamilton shopping mall Jackson Square.

‘This is a social experiment’

 

“We never expected that,” Albach told CBC Hamilton. “I was standing there filming and just went, ‘Did he just get punched?’”

Albach says he immediately ran over to help, and explained that they were conducting a social experiment — and that no one here was harbouring any racist feelings. “They did apologize and said ‘we just wanted to stick up for the guy.’”

Source:

CBC.CA

 

 
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Posted by on October 29, 2014 in Human Rights

 

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Cold Lake residents help remove graffiti from mosque

 

 Global News

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Watch above: A mosque in Cold Lake was vandalized this morning – the words ‘go home’ spray painted on the outside. But, the community came together to clean it and offer support. Laurel Gregory was there.

EDMONTON — The RCMP in Cold Lake is investigating after a mosque in the north-eastern Alberta city was vandalized; spray painted with “go home.”

The vandalism included that phrase, which was spray painted above the front door of the place of worship for Muslims.

The mosque’s windows were also smashed.

Mosque board director Mahmoud El-Kadri says there haven’t been any previous acts of vandalism during the four years the mosque has been at its location.

El-Kadri doesn’t know if the vandalism somehow relates to the recent attacks on Canadian soldiers in Quebec and Ottawa.

Mayor Craig Copeland calls the act “extremely disappointing.”

“Just what’s spray painted on the mosque, I mean, ‘go home’… The Muslim community here is at home here in Cold Lake,” said Copeland.

“It by no means represents Cold Lake. Some individuals took it upon themselves to do this.”

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As soon as he heard about the vandalism, Copeland drove up to the mosque to speak to the members.

“They’re just disappointed,” he explained.

The mayor described the mosque as part of the fabric of life in Cold Lake.

“All of Cold Lake is rallying around the mosque and the Muslim community,” he said.

“So many people from Cold Lake were coming up to them and apologizing and saying this by no means represents Cold Lake… There were actually several people in tears.”

Soon after the news broke, residents showed up at the mosque to help clean and repair it.

Nikki Williams, a Cold Lake resident, came out to help.

“I just came to help these guys get it off the building and bring them supplies, a ladder, graffiti remover,” she said. “Just trying to get it off.”

“I think it’s a terrible thing,” Williams added.

“I think it shows just how ignorant people are about the whole situation.”

“The people who go to this mosque, I’ve been born and raised with since I was a little kid. This is their home.”

“We don’t condone this at all. We’re a very tight community – the Muslims along with every other religion in this town – Cold Lake is their home.”

 

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2014 in News

 

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Justin Trudeau urges Canadians to remember themselves in the wake of Ottawa shooting

 
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Posted by on October 24, 2014 in News

 

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How To Defeat Terrorism

Terrorism is a tactic used by a small set of extremists to fight against an overwhelmingly powerful opponent while surrounded by a large population that mostly just wants peace and quiet.

Terrorism can be defeated. To do this, first we need to understand how terrorists are kept away in the best case, then how terrorists can fight against this mechanism, and finally what works and what doesn’t work to foil those aims.

The Thin Blue Line

Although terrorists are not merely criminals, it is helpful to think about what keeps criminals under control in our society. Ask any police officer: it is not the police and the courts who keep criminals at bay. It is the society as a whole. It is the ordinary people who call the police when they hear a problem starting. It is the ordinary people who trust the police and cooperate with them to bring criminals to justice. The “thin blue line” only works when it is backed up by the vast majority of ordinary people.

This, by the way, is why police brutality is so damaging to law and order in our society. If ordinary people lose trust in the police, they won’t call and they won’t cooperate. If they fear that calling the police to quiet down a loud party could result in their neighbors’ kids being shot dead, they won’t call. And they also won’t cooperate in more serious cases. Without community backup, the “thin blue line” starts to feel very thin indeed. And criminals become bolder.

Likewise with terrorists. Terrorists are defeated when the large majority of the community feel that they can trust the local authorities to maintain law and order and work for the common good. Then ordinary people will turn the terrorists in to the authorities when, or even before, they strike.

The Unabomber was an insane but highly intelligent man living alone in the woods, writing a manifesto and killing and maiming people with mail bombs. After his manifesto was published, he was turned in to the FBI by his brother, who recognized the writing and made the correct but agonizing decision to be loyal to society over blood. We can only wish that a relative or neighbor of Timothy McVeigh had been in a position to make a similar decision before he struck in Oklahoma City.

In even the best, most civilized, law-abiding society one can imagine, there will be small numbers of extremists tempted by terrorist tactics. Ideally, the vast majority of people will see them as marginal nut-cases, and will report them to trusted authorities if they show signs of turning extreme ideas into dangerous action. Terrorist acts can never be totally eliminated, but a cohesive community that trusts its authorities can defeat a continuing terrorist movement.

One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom-fighter.

But what if the society is not civilized? What if the authorities are hated and feared rather than trusted? Then the true terrorist can always find support and hiding places among sympathizers who are not willing to become terrorists themselves, but are not willing to support the authorities either.

The terrorists’ best strategy is to drive a wedge between the people and the authorities. Then the “thin blue line” becomes thinner and weaker. The ordinary people, or at least some of them, protect and support those they see as fighting for freedom, religious faith, patriotism, or some other deep value, against overwhelming odds.

The biggest danger to the terrorist is the trust the people have in the authorities. As that trust is weakened or destroyed, the terrorists gain strength and freedom of action. Their prime goal must be to eliminate the trust between the people and the authorities.

How can they act most effectively to eliminate that trust? Here is where the meaning of terrorist violence is often misunderstood. The classic terrorist act is to blow up some innocent victims. But the actual destruction is not the goal, in a military sense. There is a symbolic goal of showing that the more-powerful enemy can be touched and deeply harmed, but even that is not the real goal.

The real goal is to provoke massive retaliation. The tiny group of terrorists who actually committed the act may escape entirely, may take casualties, or may even be entirely destroyed, but the larger terrorist movement feeds on the retaliation. The important thing (from the terrorists’ perspective) is for the massive retaliation to harm many people in the general population, even among their own supporters.

The point is to incite the authorities to act in a way that erodes the people’s trust in them. The people lose trust, the terrorists are seen as freedom-fighters, and they gain support, cover, strength, and freedom of action.

From the terrorists’ perspective, the more horrible the original strike the better, since it will provoke a more drastic retaliation. And the more horrible the retaliation the better, since it will destroy the people’s trust in the authorities and strengthen the terrorists. From the terrorists’ perspective, the actual damage to their own people is a benefit, not a cost, of terrorist action.

 
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Posted by on October 23, 2014 in Poilitics

 

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Iraq – It Sucks to be You

 
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Posted by on October 22, 2014 in Caricature

 

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‘CIA killed 9/11 author in black ops hit’

 

A former US National Security Agency officer says the 9/11 investigative author Philip Marshall and his children were killed in a “black ops hit” by the CIA, dismissing the suicide hypothesis.

Wayne Madsen said in a show organized by Kevin Barrett, a founder of The Muslim-Jewish-Christian Alliance, that he had reached the conclusion after a weeklong investigation.

Marshall was afraid of being silenced for his revelations about 9/11, Madsen said, noting that a side door the investigator never used was wide open when his dead body was found.

Along with Marshall, 14-year-old Micalia and her 17-year-old brother Alex were also found dead.

Madsen suggested that Marshall, who had observed many covert operations, had decided to shed light on mysterious issues in the last years of his life.

Marshall believed the former US President George Bush had pulled off the 9/11 attack to foment a government coup. In his fourth book, he was supposed to disclose blockbuster information.

According to Madsen, the crime scene was cleaned up by professionals, and there was also “an SUV, license plate undetermined, with an array of communication antennas bristling from the roof” outside the building.

In a recent interview with Press TV, Barrett said, “Of course, here in the US, where national security community we’re talking about could be both Israel and the US because essentially the US community has been taken over by the Israeli community since 9/11.”

“It seems that Philip Marshall had gotten his hands on some kind of explosive information as he [Madsen] put it. And, he was planning to publish this in his next book,” he added.

Source: Press.tv

 

 
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Posted by on October 19, 2014 in Poilitics

 

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The ‘humanitarian’ war furphy

 

(Image by John Graham)

This new rush to war is not an intervention designed to meet humanitarian goals and objectives, writes Dr Adam Hughes Henry, but simply another bloody bombing campaign to protect strategic Western interests.

THERE IS A PUBLIC PRESENTATION that a war against the Islamic State (IS) is justified outright on clear humanitarian grounds. That is, universally accepted standards of human rights have been transgressed and these unique perpetrators need to be brought to account.

There is evidence that IS actions on the battlefield contravene international human rights law. There are numerous allegations of ethnic cleansing, atrocities and threats of possible genocidal intent against their enemies.

Yet the actions of IS, in terms of our contemporary world, are very far from unique and as grotesque as their crimes are, cannot possibly be considered the worst of the worst. There are examples of barbaric behaviour which continue to be exhibited by U.S.-UK allies all over the world.

There does not seem to be any clamour to arrest and try any of the IS leadership in a court of law. There is, however, a clamour to bomb them.

Bombing from the sky is not a very useful humanitarian response — it is clearly a one dimensional military tactic contingent on targets. If there is a clear danger of ethnic cleansing and potential genocide in Iraq or elsewhere then the United Nations Security council is duty bound to act.

Current actions do not appear to have any such UN sanctioned legitimacy. Furthermore, there are no foreign troops on the ground to specifically defend these threatened ethnic populations, set up safe zones or sanctuaries and there is also absolutely no talk from nations like Australia of taking in any of the threatened groups as refugees as a matter of priority.

As in Kosovo in 1999, the way to save civilians from the stated threat of ethnic cleansing is apparently to bomb the place.

In the case of Kosovo in 1999 the NATO bombing killed scores of civilians, attacked civilian infrastructure once they quickly ran out of legitimate military targets and NATO effectively provided aircover for the Kosovar Liberation Army (KLA) to engage in their own campaign of ethnic cleansing on the ground.

The response of the Serbs to the bombing was a rapid escalation of reprisals against the KLA and Kosovar civilians. That is, the bombing did not decrease atrocities, they actually helped to create and indeed initiate a new cycle of Serbian atrocities in reprisal to a relentless U.S. led NATO bombing.

Given the behaviour of IS so far in Syria and Iraq, even before the U.S. led bombing, it is very difficult to imagine that the current air campaign will have much of a deterrent effect, perhaps exactly the opposite. The campaign of anti-Western beheadings and other civilian atrocities in Syria and Iraq all ready for mass media distribution through the internet is hardly encouraging.

It might then get worse ‒ much worse ‒ particularly for the civilians in the cross hairs and one does not have to imagine the potential saga if a pilot on a bombing run against Islamic State is forced to eject over IS controlled territory.

Source: independentaustralia.net

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 17, 2014 in Poilitics

 

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Political Cartoon: Iraq Prime Minister Maliki

maliki

 
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Posted by on October 14, 2014 in Caricature

 

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Motivational quotes of the day

We cannot destroy the war machine until we destroy the

“When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”  

Mahatma Gandhi

 “A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.”
Mark Twain

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.”  

William Faulkner

 

 

 
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Posted by on October 10, 2014 in Quotes

 

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Political quotes

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We, unlike Nazi Germany or Mussolini’s Italy, have never stopped being a nation of laws, not of men. But witness how men with motives and a majority can manipulate law to cruel and unjust ends. Robert Byrd
3-
To the American people I say, awaken to what is happening. It is the duty of each citizen to be vigilant, to protect liberty, to speak out, left and right and disagree lest be trampled underfoot by misguided zealotry and extreme partisanship. Robert Byrd
 
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Posted by on December 14, 2013 in Quotes

 

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