Creekside

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Stephen Harper, Nobel Peace Prize nominee


Not content with awarding Stephen Harper their Gold Medallion human rights award and pledging to create a Stephen Harper Centre for Human RightsB’nai Brith Canada announced yesterday they will be nominating him for the Nobel Peace Prize.

Frank Dimant from their statement :
“Moral clarity has been lost across much of the world, with terror, hatred and antisemitism filling the void,” said Frank Dimant, CEO, B’nai Brith Canada. “Throughout, there has been one leader which has demonstrated international leadership and a clear understanding of the differences between those who would seek to do evil, and their victims." 
Yeah, about victims ... one minute of aerial footage of Al-Shejaiya in Gaza



B'nai Brith was a successful advocate of Canada cutting off funding to UNRWA, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency - the only UN human relief agency willing to work in Gaza under fire. (Eight of their workers died in this last incursion). Last month B'nai Brith called for the disbanding of UNRWA altogether. Canada is no longer a donor country to UNRWA.

Back to Frank's presser, where he notes that as a 'professor' he is eligible to make a nomination to the Nobel Foundation : 
“In accordance with the rules of the Nobel Foundation it gives me great pleasure to nominate in my capacity as Professor of Modern Israel Studies at Canada Christian College, Prime Minister Stephen Harper for the Nobel Peace Prize in honour of the outstanding moral leadership he has demonstrated.”
Frank Dimant is a professor at Charles McVety's Canada Christian College because Charles McVety awarded him an honorary doctorate there in 2004 at a ceremony attended by Jason Kenney.
Texas millionaire televangelist and Christian Zionist Pastor John Hagee and his Christians United For Israel rents office space from McVety for his Canadian operations at Canada Christian College.

Dimant : "We [Jews] and Israel are not alone because of you and the tremendous leadership of Dr. McVety and Dr. Hagee." Dr. Hagee. Go on, click that last link.

Three years ago in this Christian College video, Dimant, Jason Kenney (far left), and McVety (behind Dimant) shared the podium as Dimant courted his presumably mostly Christian audience. He praised Harper and the Cons as friends of Israel and called on God to protect Israel from the United Nations "as we await the messianic times which are just around the corner."

In March 2014, in a more intimate setting in a synagogue, Dimant spoke about his relationship to Harper
" I happen to know Mr.Harper from the days he was in the opposition and the truth is we were on first name basis because the Jewish community was not in favor of Conservatives  - at that time they were called the Alliance Party and before that the Reform Party.  The Jewish community was traditionally liberals and the Jewish community was very much onside with the Liberal Party of the day.  When Mr. Harper and before him Mr. Stockwell Day wanted to get their message out to our community, all the doors were closed in their face.  It's very difficult to believe when today you see the world's premier friend of Israel - that when he wanted to speak about his attitude towards Israel, that door was shut. 
Only one organization at that time - and I was B'nai Brith and our publication The Jewish Tribune - gave them a forum, gave him a platform, gave them an opportunity to say : 'This is how we really stand on Israel; this is where we stand on anti-Semitism; and this is where we stand on the values that we share with you.'  
I've had the good fortune in my lifetime to work with many governments.  I've gone to Auschwitz with Prime Minister Chretien,  I've gone to Israel with Art Egglington, I've gone to Israel with Jean Chretien, and I went now with our Prime Minister again. [Note : Harper's visit this past January] 
And I saw the difference, saw the difference.  And the difference was that here you had a man like Harper who you can feel - FEEL - the love that he has for the State of Israel, the affection that he feels for the Jewish people. So you may ask why. Why? Good question. 
Mr. Harper is a religious Christian.  He believes. He believes when it says "Blessed are those who bless the Jewish people."  And he says Canada is blessed because we bless the Jewish people. He really deeply believes that. As does Jason Kenney, as do some of the other ministers - they are religious people. So they feel it."

As to the Nobel Peace Prize nomination, I'm blaming Michael Byers. 
Six weeks ago in The Harper Plan for unilateral Canadian disarmament , Byers suggested that despite all his tough military world stage talk, Harper might be eligible for one because he has "reduced defence spending to just 1% of GDP — the lowest level in Canadian history".  

Yeah, I know - you're still stuck back there at the idea of a Stephen Harper Centre for Human Rights.
.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Harper discovers Northwest Passage














Harper joins Arctic search for lost ships of Franklin expedition 
"One day we're just going to come around the bend and there's going to be the ship and Franklin's skeleton slumped over the helm and we're going to find it."
"I've never been that close to a big chunk of ice. It's huge," he said. "That was great. Really exciting."

Boris from the Beav has uncovered two of Steve the Explorer's earlier compositions on the subject ...
The Arctic
by Stephen Harper
In the Arctic the ice cube is really big.  Franklin died one day in the Arctic. His ship got lost. I will find the skeleton of Franklin.  I like big ships.
The end

and 
Boss of Canada
by Stephen Harper
In the elections I got to be boss of Canada. I have a big house. You are not the boss of me. The ice cubes are really big. I got a big plane.
The end. 

.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Gaza War Map and Con warmongering

















British photojournalist Lewis Whyld has completed his Gaza War Map of 15 panoramic "virtual tours” of the destruction in the Gaza Strip. The stills and vid of the last 50 days hardly prepare you for the impact of turning in a full circle through 360º of destruction from a single point chosen from the map.    
Whyld : these are "not precision strikes". 

In the early stages of this latest version of bombing Gaza to rubble, or as a US military officer put it -  "It's not 'mowing the grass,' it's removing the topsoil" -  the Cons released their "Fire and Water" video. 

Yeah, I know you've already seen it - watch it again. 
It's a battle cry - a pre-justification for the coming assault.  Compiled of clips from Harper's pledge to the Knesset in January : "Through fire and water, Canada will stand with you", and John Baird's bellicose 2012 speech to the American Jewish Committee, echoed again this February in his speech to AIPAC, it also featured seemingly out-of-place non sequitur footage of Canadian soldiers in past wars accompanied by Harper's voice-over about doing what's right even when it isn't popular.  

Not so puzzling now, is it?  Because they obviously knew precisely what was coming.


.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

"Traditional family values" ?

Conservatives tout traditional family values in message to party members
OTTAWA - The federal Conservatives are telling core supporters that "traditional family values" are a party stance, a phrase that so far has not entered the prime minister's public speeches or official Tory documents.
Well not quite and not for some time  ...



"A survey was circulated Tuesday to Conservative donors and "grassroots supporters," to "hear what issues matter to you the most."
The party's policy declaration does not use the term traditional family values, but talks about the family unit as "essential to the well-being of individuals and society." 
It goes on to say that the party supports legislation defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. That issue has not been raised by an Conservative MP in Parliament since 2006, and attempts to reopen the abortion debate have been quashed."
Yup, so it does ...

Conservative Party of Canada Policy Declaration, as amended Nov. 2, 2013, Page 28 
"We support legislation defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman."
Of course there's all kinds of families. Here's Steve's Con family :

h/t Stephen Lautens  for Ditchburn's news item.
.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Imagining Toronto bombed like Gaza


Click Full Screen to render the script visible.

Via Electronic Intifada : Gazonto
"In his compelling new video Gazonto, Canadian filmmaker John Greyson reimagines Israel’s massive bombardment of the Israeli-occupied and besieged Gaza Strip as if it were an attack on his home city Toronto.
Greyson imagines specific attacks on Palestinian homes, schools, mosques, hospitals and other institutions that Israel perpetrated since 7 July as if they had occurred on real-life Toronto sites including a well-known café, CBC TV, the University of Toronto and the Scarborough Injury Rehab Centre.
The film uses the device of a simulated video game to show how the horrifying effects of Israeli violence against Palestinians are rendered distant or invisible while the violence itself is celebrated."
.

Friday, August 22, 2014

From Ferguson and Gaza to the Toronto G-20


Combined Tactical Systems, Inc. (CSI), according to its website, manufactures and markets tactical munitions and crowd control devices to armed forces, law enforcement, corrections and homeland security agencies around the world.

This photo of its Jamestown, Pennsylvania headquarters raised a few eyebrows this week because :

1) as you can see in the photo, CSI was flying an Israeli flag alongside the US one up until January 2012 and, according to a former CSI plant employee in the first comment here, it is flown whenever the Israeli owner/founder is in town, and 

2) CTS tear gas shell cartridges manufactured there were found a week apart in Gaza and Ferguson, Missouri - where protests and excessive police reaction fuelled by the half a billion dollars in military weapons given to local police forces erupted in response to the August 9 shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a local police officer. 

Along with 9,500 other law enforcement officials who have attended Israeli-led LEEP training sessions in the US and Israel. 

The Law Enforcement Exchange Program (LEEP) - created :
"in cooperation with the Israel National Police, the Israel Ministry of Internal Security, and the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) to support and strengthen American law enforcement counter terrorism practices"
 - was the brainchild of former FBI Assistant Director and Chief of Counter-Terrorism Steve Pomerantzin his capacity as Director for Counter-Terrorism Programs for The Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA). 
JINSA was founded to "advocate on behalf of a strong U.S. military, a robust national security policy, and a strong U.S. security relationship with Israel" to "provide leadership and affect policy on crucial issues of national security and foreign policy." 

Yeah, they pretty much have that part nailed down.
Former JINSA advisory board members include perennial neocon warmongers Dick Cheney, Richard Perle, John Bolton, Douglas Feith, James Woolsey, and Michael Ledeen.

Meanwhile, according to the U.S.-Israel Strategic Cooperation : Joint Police & Law Enforcement Training page at the Jewish Virtual Library detailing their joint history :
"In early September 2012, the New Police Department (NYPD) opened an Israeli branch at the Sharon District Police Headquarters" in Israel because "the Israeli police is one of the major police forces with which it must maintain close work relations and daily contact."
Really? The NYPD requires daily contact with Israeli police from a location inside Israel?

Naturally, there have also been Canadian security junkets to Israel. In 2005, on his first day as Ontario emergency management commissioner, Julian Fantino, Toronto Police Staff Supt. Bill Blair, and 30 more Ontario police officials left for Israel to "study security and anti-terrorism measures", courtesy of the Canadian Jewish Congress, the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police, airline El Al and the Israeli government.

But back to Combined Tactical Systems (CSI). In addition to making the teargas cannisters used against populations in Gaza, Ferguson, Tahrir Square in Egypt, Bahrain, Occupy Wall Street, and Toronto's G-20 in 2010, they also run their own training sessions "combining product tools with knowledge and techniques."

In February 2010 - four months before the Toronto G20 - this highly respected and decorated officer was a Training Sergeant with the Toronto Police Public Order Unit working on :
  • Development & delivery of crowd management training to Toronto Police Service and police agencies across Canada.
  • ORT (Obstacle Removal Team) trained - Responsible for training Toronto Police members in extrication and removal of protestors from fixed objectives using various tools and equipment.
when he took the four-day CSI course on chemical munitions (hand-held and fired), distraction devices (flash bangs), and fired munitions, bean bags, wood batons, rubber batons, sting calls :
CHEMICAL MUNITIONS/ LESS LETHAL WEAPONS - INSTRUCTOR  
Combined Tactical Systems, San Bernadino, CA / February 2010
Then read this account of Why there wasn't accountability for the police in Ferguson and see if it doesn't remind you of the same police set up used to defy accountability at G-20, involving the aforementioned Fantino and Blair.

Final note from Jewish Virtual Library :

In January 2011, Canada and Israel signed an umbrella pact for defense and military cooperation and bolstered that agreement in November 2011 amid the turmoil that had been set upon the Middle East and around the Arab World during the Arab Spring. Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak settled a number of memoranda of understanding to facilitate information and intelligence sharing as well as cooperative arrangements for the development and sale of military technologies.

From Ferguson and the occupation of Gaza to the Toronto G-20, war is a racket that always comes home .

Edited for clarity and typos.
.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

10,000 Israelis demonstrate for peace in Tel Aviv


Haaretz :  A Facebook organized peace rally - "Changing direction: toward peace, away from war."
"Following a painful month of war and death, in view of waves of incitement and hatred that are tearing apart Israeli society, we call for a demonstration for peace and democracy. The next round can be avoided. We don’t have to sink into an abyss of ever-crueler wars, of extreme hatred and a destruction of our neighbors and ourselves. 
Only an agreement will ensure long-term security and quiet for residents of the south and of the entire country. There is another way – immediate dialogue with Palestinians to ensure a fair peace, the opening of Gaza, and a determined stand of Arabs and Jews against racism and for life. Only a two-state political solution will guarantee independence, justice, security and hope for all people living in this land.”

Author David Grossman, speaking at the pro-peace rally in Tel Aviv, August 16, 2014 :
"There is no military solution for the conflict between Israel and Hamas. There is no military solution that will end the suffering of Israelis in the south and the inhumane suffering of people in Gaza. People in Israel won’t be able to breathe freely either, until the stranglehold on Gaza is lifted." 
.

Ethical arms sales from Canada

Back here in comments, e.a.f. noted I was singling out Israel for its promotion of occupied Gaza as a lab/marketing display tool for selling its population control armaments abroad - when USA arms manufacturers also benefit. 

Too true. Also Canada.

As Marc Whittingham, CEO of the Canadian Commercial Corporation, the crown corporation that acts as Canada's global military sales agency and "a foreign policy instrument for the government of Canada", once put it :
 "There is no better trade show for defence equipment than a military mission."  

"Report on Exports of Military Goods from Canada", as per international.gc.ca :

Israel
  • Chemical or biological toxic agents, riot control agents, radioactive materials, and related equipment, components, materials. 
  • Bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles, other explosive devices and charges, and related equipment and accessories specially designed for military use. 
  • Vessels of war, special naval equipment and accessories, and components specially designed for military use. 
  • Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles. 
  • Specialized equipment for military training or for simulating military scenarios, simulators specially designed for training in the use of any firearm or weapon.

Saudi Arabia -
  • Guns. Bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles, other explosive devices and charges, and related equipment and accessories specially designed for military use. 
  • Ground vehicles. 
  • Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles, aero-engines and “aircraft” equipment, related equipment and components, specially designed or modified for military use. 
  • Imaging or countermeasure equipment, specially designed for military use.

Qatar
  • Chemical or biological toxic agents, riot control agents, radioactive materials, and related equipment, components, materials
[Aug 25, 2014 Update : Yesterday in the NYTimes, Israel's ambassador to the UN Ron Prosor called Qatar the “Club Med for Terrorists.”]

Egypt
  • "Guns. Ammo. 
  • Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles, aero-engines and “aircraft” equipment, related equipment and components, specially designed or modified for military use. 
  • Specialized equipment for military training or for simulating military scenarios, simulators specially designed for training in the use of any firearm or weapon. 
  • Imaging or countermeasure equipment, specially designed for military use." 

Iraq - Software.

Bahrain

  • "Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles, aero-engines and “aircraft” equipment, related equipment and components, specially designed or modified for military use."
Colombia
  • "Bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles, other explosive devices and charges, and related equipment and accessories specially designed for military use. 
  • Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles, aero-engines and “aircraft” equipment, related equipment and components, specially designed or modified for military use. 
  • Imaging or countermeasure equipment, specially designed for military use, and specially designed components and accessories."
[Note : Since this gc.ca report was issued, Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird recommended amending the Automatic Firearms Country Control List (AFCCL) to create "new market opportunities" for Canadian companies to sell armoured personnel carriers to the Colombian military in January 2013.]

Algeria "Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles, aero-engines and “aircraft” equipment, related equipment and components, specially designed or modified for military use." 


Ukraine - "Guns. Ammo."

Russia - "Guns. Ammo. Electronic equipment. Software."

I could go on. You will note we have armed both sides of many recent bloody conflicts, as for instance when Saudi Arabia sent troops into Bahrain to crush their "Arab Spring".


In the time period covered here, 2010 - 2011, 28 countries received "Chemical or biological toxic agents, riot control agents, radioactive materials, and related equipment, components, materials" from Canada.

The figures from this Feb 4 2014 report cover nothing more recent, as our government has not seen fit to provide the Canadian public with more up-to-date figures.   



However Project Ploughshares does provide this rather startling graphic on Canadian Commercial Corporation's recent marketing success in securing "two contracts totalling $14.8-billion awarded by the CCC to General Dynamics Land Systems Canada of London, Ontario during the 2013-14 fiscal year to supply Saudi Arabia with military armoured vehicles. "

According to Project Ploughshares
"For the first time in more than half-a-century of CCC operations, Saudi Arabia has displaced the United States as the largest year-on-year recipient of CCC-brokered military export contracts."
Canada, of course, has declined to sign the UN Arms Trade Treaty.
.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Making a killing on Gaza

As blogged here a month ago, Israeli writer/researcher Shir Hever told the Real News Network that Israeli security companies are using the Gaza conflict to market the tools of occupation to other countries :
"... when they go to arms trade shows and show their equipment, they say this has already been tested by the Israeli army on actual people. You can only have that because of the occupation. So every new weapon is first sold to the Israeli army, shot at Palestinians. Then you can sell it." 
Fast forward to two articles from today's Haaretz : 

For Israeli arms makers, Gaza is a cash cow
Protective Edge’s marketing edge
“Battle-tested” is the best marketing slogan for defense industries the world over, so for Israeli military manufactures Operation Protective Edge has yielded a major competitive edge. 
"What has proven itself in battle is much easier to sell.  Immediately after the operation, and perhaps even during, all kinds of delegations arrive here from countries that appreciate Israel’s technological capabilities and are interested in testing the new products.”

Arms sales set to rocket after showcase during Gaza conflict
"Since 2000, when the second intifada broke out, Israel has had some form of military operation lasting a few weeks every few years: Defensive Shield (in the West Bank) in 2002; the Second Lebanon War in 2006; Cast Lead in 2008-09; and Pillar of Defense in 2012. In almost every case, new military technology or weapons were used – which had a positive effect on overseas sales.
The numbers show that, after the initial period of criticism against Israel after the various operations quiet down, sales pick up. And there has been continuous growth in defense exports in recent years. In 2002, such exports were worth $2 billion, grew to $3.4 billion in 2006, and were $6 billion in 2012."
"After the initial period of criticism against Israel after the various operations quiet down, sales pick up."

The article explains the close ties between the IDF, the Defence Ministry, and Israel's three main arms makers - Elbit Systems, Israel Aerospace Industries and Rafael Advanced Defense Systems - and how "many of the senior executives in the defense industries still hold senior positions in the reserves" :
One of the systems that was used in Protective Edge was developed by one of the defense companies as a result of a need raised by a reserve officer who participated in Operation Cast Lead. The officer convinced people in his company to invest in developing the system, and the product went operational during Protective Edge."
It also notes that by exporting 80% of Israel’s defense production, the remainder can be sold more cheaply to the IDF.  So which countries are buying that "battle-tested" 80% ?
"$3.83 billion-worth of deals were signed in 2012 with Asian countries; $1.73 billion with European nations; $1.1 billion with Canada and the United States; $604 million with Latin America; and $107 million in Africa. Haaretz has found there were deals with at least 33 more countries, including many in the Third World."
On the "stars" of arms used against Gaza :
"The Tamuz missile – from Rafael’s “Spike” family of missiles – is equipped with a video camera and can hone in on a target, moving or static, at distances of up to 20 to 25 kilometers. Reports say the IDF has used Tamuz some 200 times during Protective Edge."
A reporter embedded with an IDF unit reported it was a Tamuz missile that killed 15 displaced Palestinians and wounded 150-200 others sheltering in an UNRWA school in Beit Hanoun on July 24 after UNRWA asked for time to evacuate civilians which was not given.

Results like that must really cut down on printing costs for trade show brochures.

The Haaretz article Arms sales set to rocket after showcase during Gaza conflict is behind a paywall but the same article is publicly available under the alternative header How Israel's arms manufacturers won the Gaza war 
.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

"Cutting the grass" in Gaza


Updated : Total number of declared civilian casualties via United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), as of Aug 10, 2014 



With one quarter of the total population of Gaza now *displaced*, Harper, Mulcair, and Trudeau continue to "Stand with Israel", insisting on the right of Israel to defend itself against the people they are illegally occupying.

Great letter via Kev :

Dear NDP : Stop apologizing for war crimes and breaches of human rights
.

Blog Archive