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The Reunification Of Palestine’s “Religious Fascists”

Posted May 8th, 2011 in International by Adrian MacNair

The dubious reconciliation pact that has been signed between Fatah and Hamas, the latter purporting to be the governmental authority in the Gaza Strip whilst simultaneously carrying out acts of terrorism against Israel, is another step back in the road to an independent Palestinian state.

As James Kirchick writes in Hareetz, the “useful idiots” supporting this reunification genuinely consider themselves friends of the Palestinian cause, but are unable to detect their cognitively dissonant support for a paramilitary organization that decried the death of mass murderer Osama bin Laden.

As Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh told media this week, “we condemn the assassination…of an Arab holy warrior. We ask God to offer him mercy with the true believers and the martyrs.”

Bin Laden was a deranged, psychotic cult leader who carried out an act widely considered to be amongst the most heinously evil in contemporary human history. That he represented the idealistic image of a holy warrior for Palestine tells you all you really need to know about Hamas, or the potential for peace with this group of ragged rage-filled radicals.

Hamas is everything that self-professed liberals should be “prejudiced” toward: obscurantist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, warlike and rejectionist. It calls for the death of homosexuals and bans dancing.

This is the paradoxically perplexing thing about the left’s devotion to the Palestinian cause. Hamas, and other religiously inspired fanatics in the Arab world like them, represent everything anathema to liberal sensibility. Those who openly mourned bin Laden’s long overdue date with the afterlife deserve the harshest sort of condemnation from the liberal-left usually reserved only for evangelical Christians.

But, as we all know, that sort of outrage is meted out to nice safe targets like Rob Ford and Don Cherry, racists both. The same useful idiots who hyperbolize our new majority government as the beginning of a George Bush-style Americanization of our country are deafeningly silent when it comes to criticizing a people who launch rockets from children’s schools and use women as human meat shields.

via — Terry Glavin

Postmodern, postcolonial progressives: “Huh”, “Horseshi..” and…

Posted January 5th, 2011 in British Columbia, International, pop culture by MarkOttawa

…hooey. Further to these posts,

Evil language

Horsesh..: “human rights imperialism

Jonathon Narvey presents a stinking gem (should that be conceivable) at The Propagandist:

Anti-Imperialist Rot In The Foundation Of The Ivory Tower

This is a description of an actual course taught at a real university by a living, breathing university professor. It’s called “Young people and the global imaginary: History, empire, and identity politics in transnational borderlands” [it's near the bottom here at the University of British Columbia]…

students will explore a range of theoretical orientations to confront the concepts of empire and its contested social and transnational imaginaries. Some of these orientations include, but are not limited to, an examination of: critical transnational theories of post-coloniality; cultural geographies of race, migration and post-colonial spaces; micro-national theories of space; comparative and international cultural studies; a history of ideas tradition established through European Continental thought and its links to Orientalism(s) (Said [more here]); theories which reside outside the cultural lineage of the ‘global North’ (see Connell on Northern Theory); and global youth cultural studies. Each of these approaches acts as a lens and important background for discussing empirical research on the topic of youth, empire and education.

We will begin the course with a critical history and cultural sociology of imperial education and its globalizing functions.  This temporalized approach will not be nation-based but will instead represent transnational account which situates imperialism and colonization in both a synchronic and diachronic temporal framework…

Update: About the prof. (via Terry Glavin):

Jo-Anne Dillabough is not just any old prof. She is the David Lam Chair in Multicultural Education, she’s been a Killam Fellow, a Spencer Fellow, a UBC Early Career Scholar with the Peter Wall institute for Advanced Studies, and a Noted Scholar with Flasco, Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Social Sciences Institute.

She’s the boss.

She is also associated with the University of Cambridge (extensive CV at link).


Horsesh..: “human rights imperialism”

Posted January 4th, 2011 in Afghanistan, Canada, International by MarkOttawa

Terry Glavin skewers the broad elements on the left who (in my view) hate their own societies more than they care about actually existing people:

The Heart Of The Matter: A Corrosive, Reactionary Parochialism On ‘The Left’.

The headline on Stephen Kinzer’s unintentionally self-incriminating display of the rot that has eaten away at the rich world’s “left” spoke sufficient volumes all by itself last week: “End Human Rights Imperialism Now”.

Apart from being a classic study in deception masquerading as revelation and self-deception masquerading as reflection (and a workshop-worthy specimen of straw-man argument, besides), what was exceptionally useful about the spectacle Kinzer made of himself was the service he provided in presenting a textbook example of the madhouse delusion that will inevitably result from the muddles of moral, epistemic and cultural relativism.

There’s no point in resorting to empirically-derived evidence if you’re trying to talk sense to someone whose very arguments rest on the absence of such universal standards if not their wholesale rejection. The dialectic, as we used to say, is simply not going to move forward. There will be rot in both form and content. Some people are just numpties.

But today, also in the Guardian, in an essay well-titled Beware those who sneer at ‘human rights imperialism’, our friend Sohrab Ahmari does yeoman service in exposing the bankruptcy of the pseudo-left orthodoxy that Kinzer so helpfully distilled. Sohrab does so by simply raising this question:” If the isolationist, provincial left manages to convince us that the blessing of liberty is to be allocated randomly – along geographic lines and according to the accident of birth – will the heart still beat on the left?”

It’s my own view that on the so-called “anti-imperialist” left, the truly progressive heart had already stopped beating at least a decade ago. True enough, the zombies have been stumbling around for much longer than that…

The thing about the contemporary iterations of that decadence that gets at me like fingernails scratching on a blackboard is its cynical disregard for the bravery of hundreds of thousands of Afghans, especially, who every day take greater risks and make greater sacrifices in the struggle for the rule of law, free speech, womens rights and civil liberties than any of the rich-kid “anti-imperialists” have undertaken in their entire lives. It’s the arrogance of it all that I can’t abide. It’s a distinctly “western” kind of arrogance, parodoxically, that would assert that “western” values are what these brave Afghans are fighting for, but to which – owing to their nature, their “race,” their religion, their “identity” or some dang thing – they are somehow disentitled, and we in the west must not stand with them or support them because to do so is to engage in “imperialism.”..

Be not a numptie. Read the whole dang thing.  I think the difference between many of our progressives and 1890 Tories is that those Tories actually liked their own country.


How to help the Afghans

Posted December 22nd, 2010 in Afghanistan, Canada, International, united states by MarkOttawa

Louise Arbour (of whom this blog generally disapproves) looks like she’s actually on to something in the view of Terry Glavin:

As I Was Saying: Get Real.

Most recently here, which I was then pleased to find Christopher Hitchens reiterating here, Louise Arbour, former Supreme Court judge, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and currently president of the International Crisis Group, asserts in clear and unforgiving terms here:

“Shortcuts and backroom deals just won’t cut it. Instead, Canada and other NATO members must focus their efforts on reforms that can give Afghans stability, security and rule of law. More attention and resources, not less, must be focused on building governmental capacity and combatting corruption…

…Canadians must recognize that their continued engagement in Afghanistan must rest not on wishful thinking but on a policy grounded in reality.”

Thank you, Justice Arbour. You’ve just neatly summarized everything the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee has been saying [disclosure: I'm a member--MC].

A truly eclectic meeting of minds.  But achieving their ends will take an awful lot of neo-imperial twisting of Afghan arms, primarily by the US.  And, I suspect, at least tacit Pakistani acquiescence.


AfPak round-up (Canada may cause NATO training problems)/Girls with guns Update

Posted December 21st, 2010 in Afghanistan, Canada, International, united states by MarkOttawa

1) NATO fails to deliver half of trainers promised for Afghanistan

A further complication is that some contributing countries, including Canada, have placed restrictions on how and where their trainers can be used in Afghanistan.

The pledge of Canadian trainers last month came with the caveat that they not be used outside the Kabul area or “outside the wire,” such as in mentoring roles that would put them in the field with Afghan soldiers or police officers.

Although the makeup of the Canadian training force has yet to be announced [the US has been pressing us], the limitation sets a domino effect into motion. To find places for them, NATO commanders will likely have to move trainers from other countries out of bases and schools in the Afghan capital…

Lots more on that wee difficulty from BruceR. at Flit.

2) Foreign troop deaths in Afghanistan top 700 in 2010: site

The latest figures came as The New York Times reported that senior US military commanders in Afghanistan are pushing to expand special operations ground raids across the border in Pakistan’s lawless tribal areas.

But the story was denied by a spokesman for ISAF, who said there was “absolutely no truth” to any suggestion that ground operations into Pakistan were planned.

3) U.S. Military Seeks to Expand Raids in Pakistan

WASHINGTON — Senior American military commanders in Afghanistan are pushing for an expanded campaign of Special Operations ground raids across the border into Pakistan’s tribal areas, a risky strategy reflecting the growing frustration with Pakistan’s efforts to root out militants there.

The proposal, described by American officials in Washington and Afghanistan, would escalate military activities inside Pakistan, where the movement of American forces has been largely prohibited because of fears of provoking a backlash.

The plan has not yet been approved, but military and political leaders say a renewed sense of urgency has taken hold, as the deadline approaches for the Obama administration to begin withdrawing its forces from Afghanistan. Even with the risks, military commanders say that using American Special Operations troops could bring an intelligence windfall, if militants were captured, brought back across the border into Afghanistan and interrogated…

…one senior American officer said, “We’ve never been as close as we are now to getting the go-ahead to go across.”..

Update: From Terry Glavin:

All I’m saying here is that nothing cheers me up more than the sight of an unveiled Afghan woman cradling a machine gun [actually an AK assault rifle variant].


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“Obama administration Afghan war review due out tomorrow”/Tourists/What happens to foreigners Update

Posted December 15th, 2010 in Afghanistan, Canada, International, united states by MarkOttawa

Just in case you didn’t know, from Foreign Policy’s AfPak “Daily brief“:

No surprises here

The Obama administration’s one-year review of the Afghan war strategy, which White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said will “not surprise” anyone following the issue, is due out tomorrow, and Barack Obama met with his national security team for two hours yesterday to give the final approval (Post, FT, Tel). The report is said to note that although progress has been made in some areas of Afghanistan and the transition to Afghan security control “can and should begin” in July 2011, the Karzai government receives low marks for efficiency and corruption (Post)…

The NYT and LAT add to reporting about two grim new National Intelligence Estimates on Afghanistan and Pakistan, representing the consensus views of the U.S.’s 16 intelligence agencies, which military officials reportedly claim were “written by desk-bound Washington analysts who have spent limited time, if any, in Afghanistan and have no feel for the war” (NYT, LAT) [see also this post four days ago]. The NYT reports that the dispute reflects two things: debate in Washington over whether the U.S. can succeed in Afghanistan without more Pakistani cooperation, and “longstanding cultural differences between intelligence analysts, whose job is to warn of potential bad news, and military commanders, who are trained to promote “can do” optimism.”..

UBC’s intrepid Brian Platt (see the whole blog on his recent Afghan trip) would count as one of these tourists:

New Year’s in Kabul?

An Afghan official said earlier today that in spite of daily violence in Afghanistan, the tourism industry is up from last year, with around 12,000 visitors going to see the sites in Kabul, Bamyan, Parwan, and other provinces (Pajhwok). Most of the tourists were from the U.S., Canada, Germany, France, Italy, and Norway. Bonus click: Afghanistan 2010 — a year in photos (FP).

Sign up here to receive the daily brief in your inbox. Follow the AfPak Channel on Twitter and Facebook.

Update: From Terry Glavin:


One type of Afghan progress; or, an agent in place?/Don Martin Update/Journalism Upperdate

Posted November 26th, 2010 in Afghanistan, Canada, Vancouver by MarkOttawa

An excerpt from a speech by B.C. Conservative M.P. Jim Abbott features prominently at this post today:

The disgraceful failure of our major media’s Afghan mission/Coalition crazy/Bob Rae Update

Canadian media coverage of Afghanistan for 10 years has been the equivalent of covering news in Canada and Canadian events by having three reporters driving around in a Vancouver police cruiser on Vancouver’s east side. What would that coverage tell Canadians about Canadians’ aspiration or the beauty of our land or our potential?..

But now we can see that Mr Abbott is merely the front-person for Terrible Terry Glavin (of the Canada-Afghanistan Solidarity Committee, amongst other things).  From Mr Glavin at The Tyee, April 15 this year:

The way Canadians see Afghanistan is the way Afghans would see Canada if they had three or four reporters here who spent pretty well all their time in the back of a police wagon cruising Vancouver’s downtown east side. That’s not what Canada is about…

Via Terrible Terry.  Somehow I don’t think he’ll be complaining to the estimable M.P. about plagiarism.

Update: Don Martin is a journalist–it’s never quite clear whether he’s a reporter or a columnist–from Alberta who has been to Afstan. He likes to play the role of a hard-bitten, cynical, old-school newsman (but with a sharp sense of humour) who just calls them as he sees them and takes no guff from no-one. Unfortunately his vision is rather limited. He’s basically all hattitude and little cattle. Here he defends the honour of our gallant and intrepid journalists (see my comments, the third and fifth):

Safety = a Canadian MP in Afghanistan

Upperdate: Terry Glavin (yet again), who writes so well (heck, that’s one reason why he’s a real journalist), puts a lot of things Afghan together at this post ending:

…The trouble with Martin’s view is that he is getting pissy and deliberately missing Abbott’s point, which is that any given time there are rarely more than three or four Canadian reporters in Afghanistan and as likely as not they’ll all be embedded with the Canadian Forces in Kandahar, and not embedded with the Afghan people.

Martin doesn’t help his case by bringing the memory of the Calgary Herald’s Michelle Lang into it, either. Michelle had enormous respect for Canadian soldiers but she wanted to write stories about the Afghan people, outside the wire. It was in her memory that the Calgary Herald ran a baker’s dozen of my essays from “outside the wire” (here’s just one), which is a news media euphemism for the entire, heartbreaking, splendid and terrific country we call “Afghanistan.” Some more stories about that country and its people would be a good place for Canada’s journalists to begin to make amends for the distorted picture they’ve given Canadians about that country.

To be comfortably embedded in the Ottawa press gallery and to bitch about politicians who can dish it out as well as take it is churlishness, not journalism. More journalism about Afghanistan, please. That’s the point Abbott was making.

It can be done. It’s not that hard. It’s not even all that dangerous. A young comrade from the Ubyssey, the student newspaper at the University of British Columbia, committed several acts of useful journalism [emphasis added] from Afghanistan, “outside the wire,” all by himself, here.

Another one of those posts that just grew.


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Gunning for Galloway (with “some truly fine polemical invective from a master”)

Posted November 23rd, 2010 in British Columbia, Canada, International by MarkOttawa

1) Jonathon Narvey at The Propagandist, with kind words for Adrian:

Galloway Tour Organizers Don’t Like The Propagandist

One little incident at the George Galloway Stopwar-organized tour event in Vancouver before things even got started might give you a bit of the flavor for the evening. Having previously grumbled about Stopwar talking head Derrick O’Keefe’s weird communications and Galloway tour organizer and Omar (Fuck Canada Day) Shaban, I half expected to be stopped at the door by security. As it turned out, I walked right in with no problems…

But when my colleague, Adrian MacNair, tried to use his press pass from the Langara Voice, he allegedly was told by O’Keefe and Shaban that his press credentials were not valid. Why? Because, he was told, he was a writer for The Propagandist…

But MacNair doesn’t write for us. MacNair is as talented, insightful and courageous a writer as one could hope for, which is why I’ve often tried to get him on board with our growing roster of contributing writers…

The intrepid MacNair did purchase a ticket, so they reluctantly let him in. “I guess it’s one standard for the other newspapers and another for guys who don’t agree with your politics,” MacNair said. And that pretty much sums it up…

2) Terry Glavin at the National Post’s “Full Comment”:

Canada In Palestine, fascists on campus.

It would probably come as a surprise to most people to learn that Canada deserves credit for being one of the world’s leading financial contributors to the cause of Palestinian freedom and a functioning Palestinian state. You’d never know it from reading the newspapers or all the posters on campus, but the sinister Zionist bogeyman otherwise known as Prime Minister Stephen Harper appears to have arranged for more money and aid to find its way to the oppressed and downtrodden people of Gaza than all the George Galloway fundraisers, “Viva Palestina” crusades and Gaza Flotilla spectacles combined, by several orders of magnitude.

…you’d have to sift through CIDA’s voluminous “West Bank and Gaza” files to see for yourself how much Canadians are spending on aid and development in Gaza, but a cursory review reveals that among the Gaza-specific expenditures Canadians are currently supporting is a $4.1 million contribution to a UNICEF-run project for kids and an $8 million food-aid package for Gaza administered by the UN Relief and Works Agency, which appears to be on top of a $3 million food-aid contribution to Gaza through the UN and $1 million in food aid to Gaza through the Red Cross that Ottawa announced last January.

This, all by itself, should sufficiently expose the lie that Galloway’s Canadian activists tell about their aims to “break the seige” on Gaza. It should give you at least a clue as to what Galloway’s current Canadian tour is really all about. Despite his claims to the contrary, Galloway provides material, objective and propaganda support to Hamas, the worst tormentors of the Palestinian people. That is what his interventions in Palestine are for. It is what the various Gaza Flotilla spectacles are about, too…

Galloway and his friends have been allowed to get away with their dissembling not just because of the idiocy of certain currents on the “Left” in this country but also because of the laziness and self-serving purposes of Canada’s news media [emphasis added]. They run blaring headlines proclaiming something as “fact” just once when it was really just Galloway’s own propaganda and you’re not likely to declare to your readers, ‘Sorry, but this two-bit blackshirt and his friends actually hoodwinked us.’ In a sadly typical and error-riddled account of a recent Galloway speech from just the other day, the reader is treated to the bowdlerism that Ottawa banned Galloway from entering Canada last year but the ruling was “overturned by a Federal court judge.” That is Galloway propaganda. The opposite is true. The judge found that Galloway was not banned and that there was no ruling for him to overturn, and consequently, Galloway’s lawyers had their claim dismissed

Read on for some truly fine polemical invective from a master.  And earlier from Adrian:

“Are Kurdish Lives Worth Less Than Gazans?”


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Afstan and strange bedpersons? Now is the time when Mr Glavin juxtaposes

Posted November 22nd, 2010 in Afghanistan, Canada, International by MarkOttawa

Not that much to choose between the Canadian Peace Alliance, (open fire for effect,  say I) and the Talibs:

Comparative Analysis: The Taliban Position and the Troops-Out Position.

To assist you in your inquiries, here is the Reponse of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan As Regards Lisbon Meeting. Here is what the Canadian Peace Alliance (such an amusing boast) has to say about the directly-related Canadian decision to stick around with a military troop-training project in Afghanistan. Plus a Ceasefire petition. Plus various ruminations from the towering intellectual giant Steve Staples on the subject…

But wait!  There’s more at Mr Glavin’s post!  Or as George Orwell put it: “Pacifism is objectively pro-fascist. This is elementary common sense…” Who’d a thunk that, eh? There’s also more scattered here on “the towering intellectual giant”, St. Steve Staples.


NATO Summit: CF in Afstan until 2014/ISAF and the Afghans

Posted November 21st, 2010 in Afghanistan, Canada, International, united states by MarkOttawa

Read all about us at  Plus a piece by David Ignatius in the Washington Post, based on some recent polling in Afstan (do check that out in conjunction with Ignatius):

How to win over the Afghans

The poll results convey a stark reality about this war: People in the Pashtun region of southern Afghanistan resent foreign fighters. Most don’t comprehend why they have come or how they might offer a better future than would the Taliban. They feel that America and its allies don’t respect their traditions…

NATO forces have done better over the past six months at winning “hearts and minds” in southern Afghanistan – but probably still not well enough to succeed without some changes in tactics…

Perceptions of the Afghan army and police are improving in Helmand and Kandahar, but not sufficiently that people are confident they can take control. Fifty-two percent say the Afghan army is effective, and 39 percent say that about the police. But on the big question of transferring power, 61 percent believe that the Afghan security forces will be unable to provide security in areas from which foreign forces are withdrawing…

Gen. David Petraeus has stepped up the “enemy-centric” side of counterinsurgency, tripling the number of U.S. Special Operations raids from a year ago. But MacDonald’s polling data make clear that the “protect the population” side isn’t succeeding yet. The trends are improving, but not enough.

Whilst from Terry Glavin:

Clarity and Cluelessness on Canada’s New Mission in Afghanistan.

…I would bet a dollar to a dime that most Canadians believe the lie that most Afghans want NATO forces to leave their country. The primary function of Canada’s so-called “anti-war” activists is to make you to believe that lie, and Canada’s punditocracy has encouraged you to believe it.

I would also bet a dollar to a dime that if most Canadians knew the truth, which is that the overwhelming majority of Afghans have consistently supported and continue to support NATO’s efforts in their country, Canadian support for a robust Afghan mission would be overwhelmingly favorable, and we’d be closer to the relative sophistication of Indians, Kenyans and Nigerians. And then we could move the Canadian debates out of the weeds, to questions that really matter.

Here’s just one question we should be debating: How can Canadians best put their backs into the cause Prime Minister Harper articulated in Lisbon – the cause of Afghan democracy, the rule of law and fair elections, human rights, and good governance?


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