Monday, August 15, 2016

Yay for Our Side! We prevented a Jihadi!

A neighborhood in the small Ontario town of  Strathroy, Ontario got a rare treat when representatives of Canada's security services - except perhaps the armed forces - 'took down' a real, live terror threat. Terrorist  Aaron Driver aged 21 was shot and killed after one of two bombs he had made exploded in the taxi he planned to take to a Mall attack.

Driver had previously been charged with being interested in terror and was on a 'peace bond' to avoid doing things on the internet and  reading jihadist material. Police had requested that judicial order, I would imagine, because the judge couldn't convict him of something that would have required a jail sentence, or probation. So when the mandated period for wearing his "locator anklet" expired,  the jihadi-in-waiting left Winnipeg and moved in with a sister in Strathroy.  Obviously he was aware that he was being watched - which explains perhaps that the authorities were not aware that he was back on-line and doing things he wasn't supposed to be doing. It was the Islamic-style pre-suicide attack tape he made, and posted,  that got somebody's attention.

Thank goodness it only took less than a day to identify the masked man in the video, locate him in Canada, mobilize a force from three police organizations, stage for a raid and stop him before he killed himself and perhaps innocent people. The bomb that exploded will require having to replace the backseat of the cab he was taking to his 'attack'. He was uninjured enough to want to ignite the second bomb - that action got him shot. The cabby was 'shaken-up' as, no doubt, was the police sniper.

Security forces did their job.

 But they might not have been able to do that without some help from the 'FBI' or whatever body (probably the company of which  Snowden is an alumnus)  that keeps an eye on Canadians for our security forces, while our security forces, and the other 'five eyes' nations keep an eye on Americans. You see national laws protect citizens from national security snooping, but foreign spy agencies can act at will.  That's only bad if they're the kind of spy agencies that don't share what they find out.   If they do share, what they're spying on, they're called 'allies'.

I've mentioned before, a friend with 'connections' to US security being 'warned' that he was in contact with a possible 'subversive writer' .... moi?   But that was years ago when America was up  to its testicles in Iraq.  Things have gotten better.

So, if some 'representative' of US national security is browsing this screed (I tagged it with 'bomb' and ]jihad]), I still think you could have more useful employment.

But I digress.

Last year when terrorist  Michael Zehaf-Bibeau popped onto police scanners wearing a bandanna and holding an antique  - and what looked a hell of a lot like a .22 calibre - 'Winchester' in a photo taken by a tourist at the War Memorial in Ottawa, it didn't take much more than a hour for US 'authorities' to identify him from their 'records'. Later investigation revealed that Canadian police 'knew' him from some 'dust-ups' in homeless shelters ion the West Coast.  They certainly didn't know him while he was shooting-up the parliament buildings.  But America did.

Here again America was able to inform Canadian authorities that a video had been posted but, we are told, not much else for a nation wide effort ensued, as reported,  to identify the masked man. Police in Winnipeg, again reportedly, made the connection and he was tracked to his residence in Strathroy.  Concerning ere is apparently, the fact that a security agency that could identify a flop-house pugilist in less than an hour couldn't identify someone who, by virtue of the police charges alone,  should have been in the terrorist database in the USA.   Or don't self-radicalizing people get identified?

I'll bet the recently exonerated pressure cooker legislature bombers from BC are on the no-go list and  will always have a tough time 'going stateside' or, even, jaywalking in Canada.

As it is another 'terrorist' bites the dust. Chalk another one up to 'the fight for freedom, peace and justice'. And all the other things that make 'them' hate 'us' so much.

There are more 'victims' to-day than ever before.

Help Arthur Silbur?

Read Arthur's Story

 Some people have it worse but for Arthur Silber  this is  very bad.

 I don't know the guy from Adam but I'm imagining going around the block in his shoes.  Maybe, by giving a little we can help him see beyond next week with an easier mind?

Please give it your best consideration?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

How Crazy Can It Get?

An elderly couple in Rome , Italy, were reported to police, yesterday, who attended to them in a suspected case of domestic violence. It turns out all the shouting they were doing was a 'cri de coeur' from a pair of septuagenarians feeling very alone in an increasingly frightening world.  It seems the female half of the partnership was in the habit of 'keeping up with world news' and tried to keep her husband 'in the know'.  The police responded by reassuring the oldsters and cooking them some pasta.

The daily news would terrify anybody. Not simply for what happens, but for the increasing evidence that those 'in charge' may be profoundly negligent, malignant or just plain stupid.

As evidence of this is the latest result of Olympic doping scandal.

It has been two years since the last Olympics,  in Sochi, where it is now claimed, on the evidence, of a pair if defecting athletes, that Russia engaged in a "national program" of fudging lab tests and test results,  to cover-up the already wide-spread allegation that most of its competitors were 'doping'. As a result of this, and a Canadian lawyer's investigatory report,  a number of Russian athletes were banned from current Olympic competition. A substantial number of others - who were claimed to have tested positive for doping at other venues since -  have been admitted to competition.  That's not the stupid part. The banning of the complete Russian Para-Olympic team is the stupid part.

These athletes weren't involved in the Sochi doping - or at least no evidence has been offered of that - but the international organization seeing to 'para-olympics' took a 'brave (politically correct)  stand' that the IOOC couldn't,  or wouldn't,  and sanctioned the Russian team, as a whole,  for what, apparently, their dope-testing apparatchiks at the other Olympics did.  "Russia Lets the Disabled Down" said the headlines. And then the 'good guys'  'nailed' the cripples.

What's really stupid is that the IOOC would trust any host nation to be 'responsible' for dope testing  that's just asking for some shenanigans.  If it's important,  the IOOC should have its own, separate, drug-testing entity, funded out of the proceeds the IOOC already receives from all aspects of the Olympic games.

That, apparently, is too hard to do.  Or too expensive. Or something.  But not too  stupid. That continues.

But while they're passing out the imbecile awards, you get gob-smacked by the realization that cretins deserve awards too.

 In a Florida city of Punta Gorda , yesterday, a 'local initiative' to help  citizens  better understand how their city government works, resulted the the shooting death of a 79 year-old woman when a police 'live role-playing enactment' of a 'fire/no fire'  situation went amiss. The woman was one of two participants who volunteered to act out parts in a "Citizens Academy" demonstration.  The police officer who made 'a mistake'  (by bringing a loaded gun to a 'dramatic recreation' do ya think?) and fired the shot that killed her, is now suffering 'emotional stress' and is off work on administrative leave.  It goes beyond a mere loaded gun. What part of drawing it, pointing it at a civilian and pulling the trigger was deemed to be 'smart', or even 'better helping citizens to understand why police fire their weapons'? Was she threatening life and property? Was she holding a jihadi car bomb or beheadment sword?

I would imagine the other participating citizens, and police officers, might be feeling a little stressed too.  Not to mention the mayor, the city 'fathers' and the municipal legal team. One could only wonder how her family is taking the 'accident'.  I have a pretty good idea what the story might do to that Italian Grandmother.

Punta Gorda Citizens' Academy 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Forcillo's Fate

Another legal drama almost played out to-day in Toronto. Its 'star' was another of  'Tronna's finest' who felt enough fear doing that awesome job of defending, protecting and serving society, the one that we honor and reward cops for doing, to draw that pistol we provided to him and unload most of a  clip into a 'threat'.  If anything the drama proves that 'police lives matter'.

The  story in summer 2013 when a 17 year-old called Sammy Yateen got  load of dope into himself (or so toxicology reports)  and went for a tram car ride on his own, somewhere he normally didn't go, and something his folks said he normally didn't do.  Whatever was on his mind on that night,  something happened that made him expose himself and start threatening the others on that train with a pocket knife  ( it had a 3 inch blade which made it legal to carry, but not, perhaps, as impressive a the "10 centimetres" the defense team described) he happened to have with him. The result was that, while nobody was hurt, many were frightened, including the driver who, after seeing his tram evacuated tried to reason with Sammy but left as well when police arrived.  The first police to arrive   realized that Yateen was in a state that was not conducive to reason, and that he had that knife. They waited for back-up, which, as usual duly arrived - Officer Forcillo was one of tthem. By the time the incident ended there were 23 police officers on the scene including at least one ranking officer.

Yateen refused to surrender and while police maneuvered and decided on a best approach to ending the situation - which was by now the focus of a number of  bystanders, one of whom deployed his cell phone camera.  The videoed part of the interaction lasted 3 or 4 minutes out of the 12-15 that the whole saga lasted. There were to be 4 such video sources entered in evidence including on on the tram itself.

But it wasn't so much the saga as the finale that involved officer Forcillo. He was to be the 'subject officer' charged with shooting Yateen - at total of 8 times (one shot missed).  The other 22 police officers present were designated  the 'witnessing officers'  for the subsequent  SIU investigation.  For while  the world very quickly became witnesses to the 55 seconds of Officer Forcillo's part in the drama, and saw what happened, what he was seen to do was to remain 'alleged' until a court found him guilty - and that part of the saga has taken three years.   What the world saw, and that the court heard, was that Yateen threatened Forcillo from a streetcar. That resulted in Forcillo being one of three officers to draw their weapons and to be the only only to be threatened enough to open fire. Forcillo did that. A first volley of four shots dropped Yateen - possibly inflicting one of the fatal wounds. The second volley of five shots - fired seconds later finished him off. Other officers standing near or beside Forcillo, including another one pointing his/her weapon did not fire.  Another officer then deployed a taser to 'render Yateen receptive to medical intervention'.  After which officers stormed the tram, Yateen was removed to be pronounced dead at a hospital.

Then it was officer Forcillo's turn.

Unlike ordinary people in such situations,  Forcillo wasn't jailed during the investigation or before, or after,  charges against him were laid.  He was suspended from work as a policeman - a harsh sort of necessity - but he received normal pay and emoluments until he was sentenced to jail yesterday after which the Chief of Police 'suspended him from duty (in accordance with the Police Act) without pay'. (something that should have happened 'in accordance with the Police Act' on his conviction?).  His Police Association hired, and paid for, a team of 'specialist' lawyers who did their best to convince the court that Yateen had, essentially, signed his own death warrant and coerced an innocent policeman into executing it.  The court didn't buy that. The public, or the greater part of them, didn't either. Perhaps some of the 22 witness officers didn't, either, the court heard from very few (none?) of them.

In passing a sentence of 6 years, one year more than the mandatory sentence for the crime charged (attempted murder), the judge hauled out the old saws about violated trusts and duties and the needs to be held 'accountable'. But Officer Forcillo literally got away with murder. He was charged with trying to kill Yateen, not actually doing it as attempted. In the best of all possible worlds manslaughter might have been conceivable  ... but even a crack defense team couldn't rationalize  that second volley and the pause before it. Forcillo said he saw the dead man move to  "threaten him",  the tape sadly didn't agree.

Never having shot someone, or having been in any sort of position where I might have shot someone,  or even having life the stressful life ascribed to policemen, I know  disqualifies me from sharing the ideation that let Officer Forcillo to off-load.  But I have felt threatened, and stressed, in my work and  I  have fired a gun, in fun.  I know from personal experience, that one good shot very often deserves another - just because. To diverge to another case recently in the news of a handicapped man and his care-giver confronted by police in Florida, after the caregiver was shot while lying on the ground with his arms extended, he asked the policeman who shot him why he'd done that. The answer was "I  don't know."  Possibly that might have been Officer Forcillo's honest answer, but he was otherwise advised and they almost got him off  'scot free'.

What they did get him was treated differently from any other felon - until yesterday. For he is no longer 'on the force', and not protected by 'the brotherhood'. Other than never, perhaps, having to spend a day in jail 'general population'.  Maybe he never will, police are rarely punished for things they do 'on duty' except theft, drinking and sex - which again required almost boilerplate proof or dissing a superior or breaking the brotherhood bond which don't.

The sentence is supposed to send some sort of message to police. But Forcillo is the first policeman to have been convicted of something that happens all too regularly are 'part of a hard job'. To many people he's a scapegoat. To some who believe he did go too far they wonder of 6 years isn't too much - it won't bring back the dead kid and Focillo has already had an ordeal in court.  But that was his choice and his right and it was designed to prevent a harsher sentence - or exonerate him completely. And that's all something that wouldn't happen to a security guard or licensed gun owner who did the same thing

As he was being taken to 'protective custody' in cells below the courthouse, his lawyers were announcing there was to be an appeal launched in another court this morning that might see him freed to celebrate the long week-end and to put his finances in order, if he hadn't already done that.  He's now, almost officially, another 'bad' cop. 

Hopefully a 'bad'  cop with a partial pension.

Monday, July 04, 2016

My Two (almost) Favorite Topics: Again

Gays and the Gardai - or Tronna's rebutylhydrated version of an  'Ulster constabulary' - (no feckin' pl'eece services in Hogtown) and the annual paean to promiscuity - the Gay Pride parades.

Was a time in 'Toronto the good' when the one would regularly  rough-up gatherings of the other.  Hallowe'en was a good night to catch somebody 'in flagrante delicto', dressed-up a like a bombshell, and if you couldn't throw the book at em for some kind of turpitude , at least you could make sure they 'tripped' over their crinolines.  Toronto gays still commemorate the 'bathhouse raids' and the heavy-handed police 'presents' that turned the tide on outright harassment.

Over the years the Toronto police have come a long, long way. From the Chief participating in the parade a few years back, when the Mayor wouldn't,  to the LGBTSMFP members of Toronto's finest prancing and capering down Church Street as their granddaddies might have done  behind King Billy's horse in  Julys of yesteryear. Not only prancing and capering - but smooching, holding hands and - unless it was another police force - popping the question (diamond and all) to that significant same-gendered  other,  in front of an admiring crowd.  Wonder if they would qualify for a 'police wedding'  like the RCMP jobbie - with 'orses,  and  the riot baton honour-guard salute?

The gay thing is, again, much as traditionally 'proud'  as it has been ,  an exposee of pulsating,  ambidextrous,  pulchritude, kitsch and too much make-up  - only now extending to a whole week of 'celebrating'.  It will be interesting to see where this goes and more 'mainstream ' gays get involved with their families. I imagine that, even for the cause, there are some things even their offspring shouldn't be seeing.  And what happens as time goes by and age takes it's toll?  The octogenarian gays might need their own less-exciting celebration, they would be more frightening in gold lame short-shorts  than a legion colour party - much like the gradually-changing veterans day parades that once graced the CNE on Warrior's Day -  today the handful of wheelchair-bound stalwarts and the cadet corps to push them.   Mind you there are a couple of newer generations of peacekeepers - now carrying the torch of sacrifice - while the current lot of real combat vets don't want much to do with the BIG show.

It was one of those growing number of 'mainstream groups' that caused the uproar and offended Toronto's finest,  at this year's gala.

Black Lives Matter 'activists' participated in this years' doings to publicize their 'agenda', which has something to do with the undiminished frequency with which some of Torontos finest deal with some 'malefactors' - usually black or psychologically troubled ones - and  with what used to be called 'extreme prejudice'.  The Toronto force has had a couple of 'bad incidents' this year where somebody videoed what looked, to the untrained eye - and, in one cause, a supposedly unbiased court - for all the world like unwarranted overreactions in which citizens found themselves shot dead by police.   Those Black Activists actually brought the Pride parade to a standstill briefly on a couple of marching days and, in the last instant, had the organizers sign a committment to remove the 'official' pollice presence from the parade. No more float from the Metro cops - and that hurt.

 Not the gay cops marching, no, the pain was felt by the 'Nellies;' in the police Union who took it all to heart and let the media know about them 'shocks' and 'dismays' - hurt feelings and all. That some guttersnipers could rise up and bust a perfectly good community-building exercise, was just almost as much as seeing a member get sentenced to a term in jail rather than just being allowed to retire to an early pension.  But such, as some people say,  is life.

Now the pleece service (catch the change?)  are demanding an apology - or two.  

Somebody should be asking for what?

I'm pretty sure the gay community could get along very well without 'Jock' ( my daddy was pl'eece chief so this is genetic, eh?) McCormick  and the  cops who 'hang out' at HQ.  Maybe if they hadn't 'tapped the goodness' out of  all that extra funding they were given to stop  the gun violence - which is back again - in spades - annual budget increases and all, they might have more respect or pride.

They still have  the same old bunker mentality. Somebody IS out to get them.

 The Bluack live Matter - 'activists' protesting a seemingly undiminished number of poluice

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Down that Rabbit Hole

Curiouser and curiouser - and somebody's getting paid to keep us safe?

The US 'suffered' another mass shooting last week. In their penchant for such things, it was described as 'the single greatest mass-killing by a lone gunman in US history'.   While it may be one for the record books, it is not a singularity in US history,  nor is it probably THE ultimate. For along with the normal three-day hoo-haw about 'who dunnit' and the seven-day mourning period for the victims, this incident is no different from any of the others - in that the essential condition which gave rise to it - the 'right' to bear some heavy-duty firepower - runs on, untroubled, to the gun shops and shooting ranges.  The US Senate refused to impinge, even slightly, on America's 'Gord-given' right to have an arsenal at home.

Perhaps obfuscating any change were the details.  While the Americans killed were possibly a cross-section of normal Americans, they didn't represent many of the true believers who hold America's best interests hostage to their own. They were for the most part gay, and for the other part largely Hispanic.  The shooter himself is being told-off - aside from the blatted 'pledging of allegiance to ISIS' - as a possible self-loathing  sodomite, or someone unlucky in that kind of love and looking to take a 'harem' with him.  He certainly succeeded killing and wounding well over 150 people in a two hour period when he wasn't holed up in a toilet, or trying to get through to 911.   One has to wonder what his 'load out' was,  as he walked, or flew,  or morphed  past the off-duty officers on duty as security guards.  Something went-off the rails there, for  not only did he have a long gun, a pistol and a knife, he also had  a significant amount of ammunition. And we're told he'd bought it all only days before. And he carried it all, unremarked,  into a closing time crowd.

                                            SWAT squad load-out. The battle of The Pulse

It's sad, really, that the shooting is remarkable only for a spate of the standard 'bolshoi' that seems to be the 'blffftsplk cloud' around all such sad events.

First there was the saga of the authorities having had him 'on their radar' but not being able to 'get the goods on him', or stop him.  His wife is facing charges of failing to stop him because she failed to notify authorities that she had been trying to talk him out of something that might have involved his new guns - if she knew about those. But when we hear about some of the 'terrorists' that authorities did stop, one has to wonder if they aren't relying far too much on paid informants  and mapping-out their own 'terror scenarios' to entrap some poor schmuck into doing them?

Nine terrorists who were stopped.

Then there are  the knee-jerk reactions and generalized stupidity that follows such outrages.  Somebody had his bank account frozen after after writing his dog's name 'Dash' on a cheque to the dog-sitter. Either the dog-sitter has a threatening Arabic name,  or somebody at Chase Manhattan was in 'Dwight Smoot'  mode and thought he had meant to write 'Daesh'.

Puppy dog tales 

In an even more humorous anecdote Homeland Security got involved when somebody created a money transfer to a buddy to pay for a night out  and memorandized it with the guilty phrase "ISIS beer funds".  Obviously that electronic communication was flagged in some 'trapment warehouse' and along with the nude selfies, 'sent up' for the attention of operatives with better skill sets.  This was the sort of thing that, possibly,  'soured' Snowden on America, one  might imagine, but the official follow-up was the work of morons and a waste of valuable security resources - considering a real terrorist shot up a gay bar and killed 70 people. .

This Bud's 4 U

And then there's that need to take some action. If you can't shut down a gun shop, or 500, well you can stop them jihads sending messages that make people want to grab an assault rifle and a passel of  ammo and go  wreak a cowardly killin' somewhere.  Facebook and Twitter are to blame for wrecking America if  the 'Allahu Akbars', 'salaam''s  and 'inshallah''s aren't curtailed.

Cutoff my nose to spite my face.

And lastly,  a truly sad commentary on the effects of it all.  This story is about a 3 year-old practicing her 'lock down' skills -  hiding in the bathroom and acting out what she might need to do if a bad man with a gun came to her school - stand on the toilet so he can't see your feet when he looks.

Peek a boo. Bang!

What's interesting is the response to the story.   Practical suggestions for further training for a wide array of emergencies at school and elsewhere.  The standard 'bleeding heart' criticism of the anti-gun population. Even a reminder that sanitation is important when hiding from a gunman. I'm surprised that nobody mentioned good etiquette. There were  reminders of how effective armed teachers might be - they'd certainly get those drills down pat ( Mr.  Woloshowinsky will be pretending to be the shooter to-day - his gun will remain unloaded.) .  Somebody recalled the good old days when hiding under a desk wasn't really going to save anyone from a nuclear bomb, (nobody wanted to frighten the kids by telling them that) . But it was used to do something in kids about 'Russians'.  A fear that many still hold in their essential being to this day and transfer, ever so easily, to whatever boogey-men are selected for their paranoic consideration.

As long as somebody suffering some delusion, or a bigger hate,  has access to a gun, kids in schools - or people in churches , theaters, libraries or simply on the street  are still going to get shot in America the Armed.

It's like dogs biting people - we'll ban breeds one by one, up the fines and punishments  - but we won't make the beggars, all of them, wear a muzzle if they're out in public.  Like muzzles on all dogs the answer to gun violence in America is glaringly obvious too.

No guns, no gun violence.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Fallujah - the Third Time Round

The third Battle of Falljuah (Iraq) seems to be coming to a close as forces of the Iraqi government close in on whatever ISIS forces are holding on to the city. Concerns are being expressed for civilians trapped in the city and yesterday morning it was reported that ISIS was killing those who were trying to leave. That seems to be a fairly standard report coming out of these things.

Yesterday i happened to find a report on YouTube from a Vice News reporter traveling with an  Iraqi Army special forces unit, 'the Golden Division',  as they moved in on Fallujah.  The parts of the operation depicted involved the 'liberation of two outlying towns just north of Fallujah.

Fallujah is no stranger to danger in the mess that is modern Iraq.  It first became a news item, for civilized people, when the denizens of the place killed three American 'contractors' back in the days when Bushco's 'mission accomplished' was starting to derail itself. They killed, burned and strung-up the corpses and, for their pains, received the gentle ministrations of a US Marine regiment. The first assault just seemed to annoy the locals - at least those who weren't killed - and they 'forced' the Marines to do it all over again,  bigger and better, a few months later.  Fallujah was pacified, and largely flattened.

When the town was rebuilt,  it was as some kind of 'model' for what civilization was going to look like in Iraq. The centre of the city was a fortified FOB to protect government and police buildings. It was hoped that the surviving Sunnis would 'see sense' and, like many other Sunnis,  accept Uncle Sammy's gratitude. They did and they and started hunting down "AQ terrorists" for him.

Things were looking good until the Americans decamped,  leaving a lightly-armed Sunni Anbar facing the Shia-dominated, and American-armed  Iraqi government.  It didn't take long for an 'insurrection' to occur.  The Sunnis re-staked their  claim on Anbar and fought the Shia forces to a stand-still.  The Sunni revolt was still underway when ISIS came driving down from the north and captured the place,  two years ago in November.

After the Iraqi Army was  routed so badly the US had to form a new coalition to help and returned to Iraq.  Now the US-backed Iraqi government, after training and re-equipping,  is poised to hit back.  What seems apparent is that the Sunnis of Anbar are about to get the 'comeuppance' they were 'due' five years ago. And because they've been lying-down with the devil, they're going to  get the Shia version of Islamic, and Iraqi,  justice - in spades.

One of the things that is most noticeable about the clip attached, is the eminent humanity displayed by the unit commander,   who,  although he's pretty convinced he's dealing with some bad dudes, shooting at him, he's also pretty sure some are hiding among the civilians he takes.  But he, repeatedly hectors his men,  'Don't hit them!'.  At least on camera and, incidentally, after they do.

 Given the 'injustice' we are told America rescued Iraqis from, most of the men we see sitting captive will be lucky if all they get is a good hiding.  In one scene the commander's mask slips as he goes, in person, to arrest a family who, he was told denounced a woman's son to ISIS.  "I'll break your teeth."  seemed a mild promise of worse to come as a man and his three sons were frog-marched off for 'investigation'  in Baghdad.

But if the commander is not as good as the good guys might hope, he closes the report by warning that the forces following behind him are real villains.

 Yesterday a news story reported that the assault on Fallujah was being 'delayed'  because of 'communications problems' in the attacking units.  I would bet that that problem is the one the fighting commanders have to deal with when the rievers, rapists and real killers show up. I'm pretty sure everybody knows this operation will either make peace, or set Iraq up for another decade of  sectarian violence.   Or the drift into sectarian statelets with continued strife.

Just like the neocons' plan for that  'New American Century' in west Asia foretold.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Egyptair: MH 17 The Putin Connection?

 The recent downing of  the Egyptair Airbus over the Med must have reminded somebody that MH17 is still in need of some definitive proving.  And so there is a regurgitation of the 'social media ' evidence that Putin dunnit.

Tell that to the Aussies,  who are convinced they're going to be able to convince the ICJ that the chips are all turning-up 'Putin' - and they'd like a few hundred million to assuage the grief involved. The US attorney who got Ghaddafi to cough-up the boodle over Lockerbie - or was that to ensure the release of the convicted, and at that time dying, bomber - has signed-on to 'assist' the case.  It might help if any Russians had been convicted since having a Libyan charged, and found guilty, probably made the Lockerbie case a slam-dunk even if the money did come later.  But there are no convicted, or even identified, Russians - so MH17 might be tougher.

Although the first part of the MH17 investigation was concluded and the conventional wisdom that 'the russians did it' was upheld by Dutch investigators, enough questions were left unanswered to at least hint that the final word may not be emanating from Kyiv.  The Ukrainian side of the issue was adopted from virtually the first moment and only lacking proof would indicate it isn't wrong.  Facebook posts of what  'Bellingcat' thinks the Russian military are up to, his evidence is - to a large degree - open to some questioning or interpretation. It is no 'smoking gun'. That's a large part of the problem that could apparently be resolved easily.  But for some reason it has not been.

Within two days of the incident, US Secretary of State John Kerry gave every indication that he knew all there was to know about MH17, so much so that he appeared at the UN to demand a sanctions program. But statements aside, one would think if definitive proof was available, as he claimed  it was, it would have been made available to the investigation - even 'sub rosa' if military secrets were involved.   Here's what he told America and the world three days after the crash.

Kerry on 'Meet the Press'  July 20, 2014.

The discussion had been wide-ranging before Kerry Arrived but he launched himself into the topic 'ab initio', he remarked on the separatists' guilt, the Russian commander admitting as much, rejoicing over the hit etc , their control of the crash site,  the loading of victims bodies into trucks, knowing Russia had supplied them with Buks and then.  

"Are you bottom lining here that Russia provided the weapon?

There's a story today confirming that. But we have not, within the administration, made a determination. But it's pretty clear, when, you know, there's a build-up of extraordinary circumstantial evidence. You know, I'm a former prosecutor. I've tried cases on circumstantial evidence. It's powerful here. But even more importantly, we picked up the imagery of this launch. We know the trajectory. We know where it came from. We know the timing. And it was exactly at the time that this aircraft disappeared from the radar. We also know, from voice identification, that the separatists were bragging about shooting it down afterwards.


So there's a stacking up of evidence here, which Russia needs to help account for. We are not drawing the final conclusion here. But there is a lot that points at the need for Russia to be responsible. And what President Obama believes and we, the international community, join in believing, everybody is convinced we must have unfettered access."

There was a conclusion drawn then that still exists and this is a 'smoking gun' story  if I've ever hard one.  Yet Kerry has yet to provide the evidence of which he speaks. Or admit making a creative statement to 'color' an already bloody disaster.

The most  development in the saga is a recently release dash cam of what is claimed to be the rebels Buk 'moving into position' shortly before it downed the Malaysian airliner.

 David Perry of Consortium news deconstructs the updated conventional wisdom

David Perry "More Gameplaying on MH17?"

The second part of the investigation. The presentation of incriminating evidence and the proof of Russian perfidy is not expected anytime soon. 

In the meanwhile there is another plane  - Egyptair - fallen from the sky and even now (almost two weeks later) almost beyond the ability of modern man to retrieve let alone know exactly what happened.  We're nor getting much better at air disasters, are we? 

Big Brother at Work

There have  been a number of interesting government 'interventions' in otherwise 'small potatoes' over the past wee while.  Some of them are worth a look

Anti-Israel boycotts.  A number of western governments have recently enacted legislation to 'outlaw' any 'boycott Israel' activities in organizations or institutions that receive government funding.  Canada passed such a law after a McGill University Student group moved to boycott Israel. Obama signed similar legislation in the USA. Similar laws have been passed in Britain, France and Germany.  All to stop support for Palestinians and the boycott of goods manufactured in Israeli West Bank 'settlements',  but imported as 'Products of Israel'.

The boycott was instituted to have such products labelled accurately.  One of the most notorious products was a soft-drink flavoring system (Soda Stream) manufactured in the Jewish West Bank using 'Palestinian labour'.  The company has now gone out of business completely, after  relocating to the Sinai area of Israel and hiring 'bedouin tribesmen'.

It remains to be seen what penalties will be incurred for failing to adhere to the laws.

The Brexit - Brexception:  Prime Minister Cameron campaigned his last election on the notion that Britain could do better outside the EU and should have a better deal inside it.  He has recently concluded a round of trade negotiations that, he claims, make 'staying in'  in Britain's best interests. Some commentators liken it to the Munich agreement that gained a breathing space before the inevitable bad times to come.  In Cameron's mind there will be no 'Brexit' from the EU - and so all the other is bumpff.  What nobody has noticed, yet, is that Britain has gained no special dispensation from EU control over its economy, or other important affairs of state. Britain is as 'tied' to  the EU this week, as it was a month ago, and will be in the future. Cameron got little more for his troubles than he already had.  And, should he win the up-coming referendum,  Britain will be more tightly attached to Europe than it has ever been. All this does is 'shut-up' the vocal rump who've been complaining since last the lion roared. And that isn't the British banks and financial system - which let its mind be known by devaluing the pound - citing the 'upset'.

Ukraine - on going:  The EU was had 'Ukraine Week' at the Parliament a few weeks back (shows how long I've been procrastinating)  - celebrating all things Ukrainian with socializing and canapes. The purpose was to 'keep Ukraine high on the EU agenda' - as if Ukraine and its sad state could be ignored. The Dutch were preparing to 'ratify' their EU agreement with Ukraine (they didn't- but this is 'no longer important') - something that had been bruited to fail when put to the Dutch, even after a government plan to 'manage' the dissonance was revealed last week. Ukrainian ministers were doing their world tours of western capitals, 'selling' the struggle against Russia for the 'defense of civilization'.  Western governments bought it, at least insofar as maintaining, or as in the case of the US, extending,  the sanctions program against Russia.

In the meantime,  the imminent collapse of Russia is postponed, again, while Ukraine 'gears-up' for the only option to doing nothing, trying to 'provoke' the rebels into the 'attack' that would justify one more, hopefully successful,  "tooth-breaking offensive" to regain 'the east.'  There was a minor dust-up related to this when somebody in the EU parliament  noticed the 'nazi' tattoos on the portraits of some wounded Ukrainian servicemen displayed for the edification of the Euros.  The photos were hastily removed from display but also appeared  on an AV presentation.  (So have any references to this minor fiasco.  But I shall keep on looking - they were there - video and all - on Ukrainian government sites.)

The east China Sea continues to focus the lights of the great defender of most things, as the Chinese continue to tun reefs into desert islands from which they can 'threaten' international shipping or something like that.  One would think that building a landing strip in the middle of a sea would be a good idea.  Ir's a pretty virtual certainty that international, indeed any kind of shipping, which might have avoided a submerged reef, would certainly avoid an emerged islet built on top of it.  But the Chinese building anything, without somebody's say-so,  not inside China,  is a threat to American interest somewhere, somehow.

Syria continues as Syria has continued since 'the US led coalition' showed up to fight the ISIS thing the  Saudis and Gulf States  created for them.  Correct that: things actually started to change after the Russians showed-up. Things are still changing, how is not yet clear.


 "The road to heck passeth through procrastination" - cleaning up some 'old' ideas.

 Just when you think things have gotten as funny, stupid, tragic, etc as they're  going to get,  along come the next thing, worse (or better).  In this instant it's another sad story of Putin 'doing it' (although he is never directly accused).

As we all know one of the blowback effects of the strife in Ukraine has seen both sides setting-up ministries to handle the necessary 'skew' on news, the amplification of outrages and the 'toning' of accusations.  There are - we are told -  an army - Putin's Army - of internet commentators   scanning for stories and either bolstering Putin's misdeeds or making mock of the poor valiant Ukrainians. Apparently there are a number of patriotic, nation-loving people who do the same thing for Kiev. So when 'Peace-President' Poroshenko was mentioned in the Panama Papers a tide started rising about him and his promises to divest himself of his oligarchy, so as to run the country for somebody else' benefit and not his own. Something had to be done, enter Putin's army and the cockamamie story posted in a recent New York Times. Although the writers claim their 'contact' indicated he was hired by Ukraine, you can bet your  Vyshyvanka that Putin did it -  to make Porko look better.

A Hoax Cloaked in An Ukrainian Interview

The Hindustan Times is a unique rag,  often breaking stories from Asia well-before they appear in western media.  They are BIG on 'the evils of ISIS' stories but sometimes that even can get obfuscated. One of their more garish tales was the execution of 15 potential 'Brides' in an unnamed marketplace somewhere - for, apparently, refusing to be brides.   This sad tale started in the HT early in the day, by noon it was featured by the Jerusalem Post and made it to America in time for the dinnertime news. It was like all others of its ilk,  a memory by the next day.  Strangely enough,  the same story surfaced datelined two weeks prior to the 'big' HT reveal,  on the website of a Catholic newsfeed organization in the USA and penned by one of their staffers.

HT provided this bit of human interest which typically went on to make the rounds of western media. It was, later on, displayed as a lesson learned from the gallant Israelis who featured "door knocking" - a targetting missile on the roof -  as a replacement for the formerly-used method of placing a phone call to warn that destruction was imminent.

Door Knocking

In this instant, the report accompanied the much-circulated story of the US destroying ISIS cash reserves.  It is a telling breakthrough in humanitarianism that such bomb strikes on other 'terror targets' are often decried for the later arrival of a second missile  - intended  to disrupt any rescue effort.  Could you imagine the crowd of possible 'collateral damage' that would have gathered to pick up any flying bills?   Things are looking up.