"I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life"
Father God, thank you for the love of the truth you have given me. Please bless me with the wisdom, knowledge and discernment needed to always present the truth in an attitude of grace and love. Use this blog and Northwoods Ministries for your glory. Help us all to read and to study Your Word without preconceived notions, but rather, let scripture interpret scripture in the presence of the Holy Spirit. All praise to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Please note: All my writings and comments appear in bold italics in this colour
Saturday, September 30, 2017
How to handle corruption the Vietnamese way
Former Petro Vietnam (PVN) chairman Nguyen Xuan Son (R) © Kham / Reuters
The former chairman of the state-run PetroVietnam has been handed a death sentence after being found guilty of embezzlement, intentionally breaking state rules on economic management and abusing his position and power.
Nguyen Xuan Son, who was arrested in 2015 by the previous administration of former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, maintains his innocence and will appeal the verdict.
In a mass trial of 51 senior officials and banking executives accused of graft and mismanagement which has resulted in losses of $69 million, the Communist Party of Vietnam has continued its massive crackdown on corruption within the country’s financial sector.
This is the first time in years that the death penalty has been given to such a high-ranking official, however.
'Communist Party', 'crackdown on corruption', - why am I having trouble putting these two terms together?
Vietnam has one of the highest rates of executions in the world according to Amnesty international and has only recently replaced firing squads with lethal injections.
“According to a report of the Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security which became public in February 2017, 429 prisoners were executed between 6 August 2013 and 30 June 2016,” Amnesty wrote.
Following a power struggle within the communist party last year, which led to Dung’s ouster, authorities have engaged in a massive crackdown on corruption Reuters reports.
Son stood trial in his capacity as both the former chairman of the state-run oil company and as the former chief executive of Ocean Bank, which was bailed out and taken over by the Vietnamese central bank after it defaulted on debt repayments.
Another senior banking executive, Ha Van Tham, founder of Ocean Group and one Vietnam's wealthiest business people, was sentenced to life imprisonment in the mass trial.
"Tham and Son's behaviour is very serious, infringing on the management of state property and causing public grievances, which requires strict punishment," said judge Truong Viet Toan as cited by AFP.
Other executives involved in the mass trial handed 18-month suspended sentences to 22 years in prison Reuters reports.
The head of state-run shipping firm Vinashin was also sentenced to death following major financial losses in February.
Vietnam is ranked as one of the most corrupt nations in Asia.
One would think that being the 21st century, we would have ancient diseases like this under control. We certainly have the capability, but obviously, don't have the will. Geopolitical ambitions are far more important to world leaders than people.
A Yemeni stands near a sewage swamp covered with plastic waste and creating a high-risk environment for cholera,
in Sana'a, Yemen, 26 July 2017. British charity Oxfam warned the cholera outbreak, which has
reached 745,205 suspected cases, could soon become the largest in recorded history.
File photo Yahya Arhab/EPA/Y
UPI -- Yemen's massive cholera outbreak could infect more than one million people by the end of the year, experts believe.
The World Health Organization's Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean reported 745,205 suspected cholera cases and 2,119 associated deaths in the country as of Wednesday.
British charity Oxfam sad the epidemic is already the fastest-growing in recorded history and is expected to soon surpass the 754,373 cases recorded in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.
"Yemen is the world's worst humanitarian crisis and it is getting even worse. More than two years of war have created ideal conditions for the disease to spread," Oxfam's Humanitarian Director Nigel Timmins said. "The war has pushed the country to the edge of famine, forced millions from their homes, virtually destroyed the already weak health services and hampered efforts to respond to the cholera outbreak."
The United Nations and global children's advocacy group Save the Children warned of the ongoing cholera epidemic in early August while reinvigorating calls for international humanitarian aid.
Less than half of the country's medical centers remain functional following a civil war that engulfed the country in March 2015.
The severe damage to the medical system, along with 14.5 million people lacking regular access to clean water, allowed the deadly disease to spread since the epidemic began in March of this year.
The U.N. estimated $2.1 billion is needed to prevent Yemen from becoming a completely failed state, but donor governments only provided half the amount at an April aid conference in Geneva.
"Yemen's tragedy is a man-made catastrophe for which all sides bear responsibility. Yet it is being fueled by deliberate political decisions in London, Washington and other world capitals," Timmins said.
Riyadh, Tehran, ... This is a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. Nothing anyone else can do will stop it if these two lunatic Muslim states won't.
The New Normal - Denmark Style
Danish soldiers guard the Jewish Synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark, on September 29, 2017.
© Mads Claus Rasmussen / AFP
Danish armed forces have been deployed to the streets of the capital to guard potential terrorist targets, as well as the German border, to aid police with their duties.
It is the first use of troops in Copenhagen since WWII.
On Friday a total of 160 soldiers, bearing automatic weapons and special insignia, were sent to assist police at the German border and to watch locations in the capital vulnerable to terror attacks, the local media reported. These include several Jewish institutions, such as the Great Synagogue in central Copenhagen and the Israeli embassy, as Jews observe the Yom Kippur holiday.
“This is the first time they are used in this type of situation, so it’s unique,” AFP cited Copenhagen police spokesman Rasmus Bernt Skovsgaard as saying.
The border with the German state of Schleswig-Holstein has likewise seen an increase in the military presence. A special unit has been set up to guard and transport detainees and asylum seekers, while police and Danish Home Guard are still responsible for arrests and ID checks, introduced in early 2016. For now, the soldiers’ mission at the border will last for three months, according to a statement from the Armed Forces.
Danish soldiers are pictured at the Danish-German border train station in Padborg, on September 29, 2017. © Mads Dalegaard / AFP
The move, however, has already sparked criticism, particularly from the mayor of the German town of Flensburg near the border, who called the decision “a disaster” and “a big mistake,” DR Forsiden quoted.
The decision to relieve significant police resources was announced earlier in the month following alarming reports of extreme overtime hours worked by too few officers, and a more-than-year-long discussion in the government.
What remains unclear is how long the soldiers will be taking over the police duties for at the Jewish sites, with the synagogue having been under continuous police surveillance since February 2015 when it became one of the targets in three separate shooting cases.
On February 15 2015, a Danish-born citizen of Palestinian origin, who pledged allegiance to Islamic State, opened fire outside the synagogue, killing one. Earlier, the gunman attacked a cultural center, hosting a gathering on blasphemy and freedom of expression, leaving one dead. The threat level in Denmark remains as “serious,” ranked four on a scale of five.
An act of moral terrorism?
FILE PHOTO © Jamal Saidi / Reuters
The Coptic Church in Egypt has reportedly organized a conference entitled "The Volcano of Homosexuality" which will offer a variety of ways to "treat" homosexuality.
St. Mark's Orthodox Coptic Cathedral in Alexandria will set up the event to increase awareness about "treatments" for homosexuality and how best to ensure a "speedy recovery," reports The New Arab.
A date for the conference has yet to be confirmed but early reports indicate that a number of workshops will be provided at the event by a "homosexuality healing specialist" who will provide instruction on gay conversion therapy.
The Coptic church has previously described same-sex relationships as "immoral" and a "threat" to family stability.
"Therefore this marriage is completely refused from the Christian faith," head of the Coptic Orthodox Church, Pope Tawadros II, said when asked about gay marriage, as cited by Step Feed.
"When God created man and woman and for them the first family was made by man and woman. [gay marriage] is not acceptable and it is considered as a sin. It's sin," he added.
Homosexuality is taboo in Egypt among the nation's Muslim majority and Christians alike. The country has roughly 77 million Muslims and four million Christians, the vast majority of whom are Coptic.
Seven people were detained for flying the rainbow flag at a concert in Cairo on Monday.
Declaring yourself as a homosexual is not a human right,
Egyptian MP Shadia Thabit
"What happened at the concert cannot be accepted by society. Declaring yourself as a homosexual is not a human right," lawmaker and Egyptian Member of Parliament Shadia Thabit said, as cited by The New Arab.
"How can they openly announce their sins? Don't talk to me about human rights. They should go, get lost far away from us," she said.
Abbas Shouman of the Al-Azhar mosque in Cairo described the incident as an "act of moral terrorism," as cited by Egyptian Streets.
At a 2003 meeting of all Christian churches in Egypt, chaired by the former Pope of the Coptic Church, Shenouda III, leaders opposed attempts to legalize homosexual marriage, reports Egypt Independent.
Police in Egypt use decades-old laws to arrest members of the LGBT community including an anti-prostitution law established in 1950 and a 1961 law against "debauchery" which have been pretexts for raids on gay clubs and events in the country.
Friday, September 29, 2017
Morgan Geyser, 15, will remain in a state mental hospital
under agreement announced in court
The Associated Press
On May 31, 2014, rescue workers take a stabbing victim to the ambulance in Waukesha, Wis.
Prosecutors say two 12-year-old Wisconsin girls stabbed their friend nearly to death in the woods
to please the online mythological creature 'Slender Man.' (Abe Van Dyke/Associated Press)
One of two Wisconsin girls charged with stabbing a classmate to impress the fictitious horror character "Slender Man" will plead guilty in a deal that calls for her to avoid prison time, attorneys announced Friday.
Morgan Geyser, 15, will remain in a state mental hospital under an agreement announced in a court hearing two weeks before her trial was set to start. The deal calls for Geyser to be evaluated by doctors who will report to a judge for a determination of how long she should remain in treatment.
Geyser and Anissa Weier were charged with attempted first-degree intentional homicide in the 2014 attack on classmate Payton Leutner. Weier pleaded guilty to a reduced charge last month, and a jury later concluded she was mentally ill at the time of the crime. She faces at least three years in a mental hospital.
All three girls were 12 at the time.
Anissa Weier sits in a Wisconsin courtroom on Sept. 14 in Waukesha County Court. In August, she pleaded guilty to a reduced charge, and a jury later concluded she was mentally ill at the time of the offence. (Michael Sears//Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel/Associated Press)
"It's been a tragic experience for everyone" Geyser's attorney, Donna Kuchler, said after the brief court hearing. "Our hearts go out to the victim and her family. And we're very grateful that the district attorney's office gave this case the considering it deserves," she said.
A plea hearing to make the deal official is scheduled for Thursday.
Prosecutors alleged the teenage girls stabbed Leutner 19 times in a wooded area following a sleepover, then left her. The girls planned to walk hundreds of miles north to meet Slender Man in a forest.
Leutner was able to crawl out of the woods in the park to a path where she was found by a bicyclist.
Both girls are now presumed mentally ill at the time of the stabbing. Were they mentally ill before and after the stabbing? Were they so influenced by Slenderman that they became mentally ill? At 12 years old we should have some grasp of reality. Were they pot smokers? Is there an investigation into Slenderman? Did someone controlling Slenderman encourage the girls to do this evil? There are many unanswered questions to this story.
Justice: not for everyone!
The judge who spared an Oxford University student from jail after she admitted to stabbing her then boyfriend is being investigated by a judicial watchdog. It comes after he ruled the young woman was simply “too clever” to be behind bars.
A spokesman from the Judicial Conduct Investigations Office (JCIO) confirmed on Friday that it had received a complaint against Judge Ian Pringle QC, who earlier this week handed Lavinia Woodward a suspended sentence for her crime, citing her intellect and potential.
“The JCIO can confirm they have received a complaint against HHJ Ian Pringle QC,” the spokesperson said, as quoted by Sky News.
“Any findings of misconduct against judicial office holders are published on the JCIO website at the conclusion of investigations,” he added.
Woodward, 24, was on trial for stabbing her ex-boyfriend with a bread knife, punching him in the face, and hurling a glass and a jam jar at him during an alcohol-fuelled rage in December 2016.
The victim was Cambridge PhD student Thomas Fairclough, whom Woodward had met on the dating app Tinder. Fairclough needed three stitches and suffered cuts to his fingers following the attack, which took place at Woodward’s student accommodation at Christ Church College.
Woodward admitted unlawful wounding under section 20 of the Offences Against the Person Act 1861 at Oxford Crown Court, but received just a 10-month prison sentence, suspended for 18 months. This means she will not serve any time in jail unless she commits another offense or violates the conditions of her release.
Pringle described her as being “too clever” to be behind bars, having previously called her an “extraordinarily able young lady.”
He also let her off the hook for breaching her bail conditions by texting her victim to apologize, choosing to praise her for expressing remorse.
However, it has been alleged that the attack was not the first time Woodward had assaulted Fairclough, having done so on two previous occasions. Woodward has denied the previous incidents.
Meanwhile, Pringle’s ruling has sparked outrage among many who claim it fails to take the issue of domestic violence against men seriously. Others have said Woodward was let off the hook because she comes from a privileged background.
Despite such concerns, the JCIO says on its website it can “only deal with complaints about a judicial office holder’s person conduct - it cannot deal with complaints about judicial decisions or about case management.”
Thursday, September 28, 2017
Opposition wants government to look into B.C. charity’s links to Qatar group
By Stewart Bell National Online Journalist, Investigative Global News
A Jewish advocacy group said it was “shocked” the government had allowed a Canadian charity to remain registered despite a federal audit that alleged it was “controlled or influenced” by a group in Qatar accused of having ties to Hamas.
The Conservatives also called the matter “deeply troubling” and said they expected the government to look into the findings of the Canada Revenue Agency audit of the Islamic Society of British Columbia, which runs a Vancouver-area mosque.
Canada Revenue Agency’s national headquarters in Ottawa, Ont., on July 4, 2016.
THE CANADIAN PRESS IMAGES/Lars Hagberg
Documents obtained by Global News show the CRA audit concerned the charity’s operations between October 2010 and September 2013, the month its then-president Saadeldin Bahr was arrested for a sexual assault in the mosque building.
In a letter last year, the CRA raised concerns about the B.C. charity’s “connection to and possible control by” Qatar’s Eid Foundation, which auditors said was “alleged to have provided support to terrorism.”
The Eid Foundation is a member of the Union of Good, the CRA said. The U.S. Treasury calls the Union of Good “an organization created by Hamas leadership in late-2000 to transfer funds to the terrorist organization” and says it provides payments to the families of suicide bombers.
Hamas has been an outlawed terrorist group in Canada since 2002.
“The CRA established that a mosque in Canada is under the control of a foreign organization linked to a global coalition of charities operated by Hamas, a designated terrorist organization,” said Shimon Koffler Fogel, CEO of the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs.
“Given these links, we are shocked that the mosque’s charitable status was not revoked. All Canadians should be concerned about the flow of foreign funds into Canadian religious institutions. Clearly, the CRA’s disturbing findings require further investigation.”
Through its lawyer, Sebastian Elawny, the Islamic Society said it had responded to the CRA’s concerns and “the evidence was unequivocal in proving that the organization was not involved in any activities involving terrorism.”
Islamic Society directors was notified in June 2016 that there were “sufficient grounds” to revoke their charity status. But in a May 2017 letter, the CRA noted the charity had vowed to remove Bahr from the board and improve its record-keeping and internal controls.
The CRA imposed a $9,000 penalty for improperly issuing donation receipts, but did not penalize the charity for what the audit documents called the “relationship” with the Qatar group, which has itself denied financing terrorism.
Another source says that CRA could have fined the mosque $126,000, but settled for $9,000. We Canadians are so nice.
The auditors said the Eid Foundation had been contributing financially to the Islamic Society since 2005. During the period covered by the audit the Qatar group transferred almost $80,000 to the Islamic Society, the CRA said. Auditors also found transfers in February and July 2010 of $68,000, which the CRA said showed “an ongoing pattern of funding” from Qatar.
Qatar has been under pressure from its Arab neighbours in recent months over its alleged bankrolling of extremist groups in the Middle East.
“The CRA’s finding that a Canadian charity accepted funds from an organization with connections to terror financing is deeply troubling. I expect the Liberal government to look into the matter,” said Pat Kelly, the Conservative national revenue critic.
Auditors also said charity funds had paid for $126,000 worth of personal spending by Bahr on items such as a spa, jewelry, video games and hair dye. Bahr is currently imprisoned for a 2013 sexual assault that occurred in the mosque building.
Campaign to demonize Russia - American style
© Thomas Samson / AFP
It appears that in its eagerness to accuse Russian hackers of meddling in the US presidential election, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) wrongly claimed California's election systems had been breached.
California Secretary of State Alex Padilla released a statement in which he confirmed that DHS officials had told him that the state's election system had been “scanned” by Russian hackers.
“Last Friday, my office was notified by the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) that Russian cyber actors 'scanned' California’s Internet-facing systems in 2016, including Secretary of State websites. Following our request for further information, it became clear that DHS’ conclusions were wrong,” he wrote in a statement published on Wednesday.
He went on to stress that last Friday's notification from the DHS wasn't just “a year late,” but was also “bad information.”
It's very curious that it took a year for DHS to inform California and other states about this, and that even after a year, they got it wrong.
Now the DHS instead maintains – without any stated evidence – that “Russian scanning activity...occurred on the California Department of Technology statewide network,” rather than Secretary of State websites.
California's Secretary of State does not use the Department of Technology to provide IT services for its website, internet-facing applications, or the statewide voter registration database, according to Padilla's office.
Padilla’s statement added that based on this additional information, “the California Secretary of State elections infrastructure and websites were not hacked or breached by Russian cyber actors.”
As for the Department of Technology allegedly being breached, the office said its security systems were able to block “suspect activity.” However, claims that Russians were behind any such attempt remain unsubstantiated.
Padilla's statement comes after California – along with 20 other states – was told last week that its systems were targeted last year “by Russian government cyber actors seeking vulnerabilities and access to US election infrastructure.”
The DHS' mistake in California is the second time in a week that the department's credibility has come into question, as it was forced to backtrack earlier this week on its claim that Russian hackers attempted to hack Wisconsin's election infrastructure.
Just as in the case of California, the DHS quickly pointed to another government department which the elusive Russians allegedly tried to hack – the Wisconsin Department of Workforce Development. It is an interesting – and once again unproven – claim, considering the office merely oversees job training and unemployment benefits.
Despite ongoing claims and an investigation into Russian meddling in the US presidential election, no evidence has been provided to support the hysteria.
A congressional investigation into Russia’s alleged meddling in the US election has been dragging on 10 months, with any hard evidence explicitly pointing to the role of Russian authorities yet to be produced.
Moscow has repeatedly denied interfering in the election campaign.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has rebuffed the meddling claims, on one occasion noting that the US is not “a banana republic,” for others to interfere with its people's choice.
In an interview with filmmaker Oliver Stone in June, Putin instead accused the US of meddling in Russia's most recent presidential elections in 2012, by campaigning on the side of the Russian opposition.
Moreover, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said in August that there is “no doubt” the US will again try to meddle in the 2018 presidential election.
That same month, US President Donald Trump told a rally in West Virginia that the Russia story is a “total fabrication” and an excuse used by Democrats for the “greatest loss in the history of American politics.”
He said that prosecutors should instead be focused on Hillary Clinton's 33,000 deleted emails rather than alleged Russian meddling.
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Astonishing and refreshingly honest speech by a Muslim clericby DEBORAH DANAN
TEL AVIV – An Iraqi cleric recently said Muslims should imitate the Jewish people and praised them for having emerged from the Holocaust to win the “respect of the world through science,” while Muslims are seen as “the world’s headache.”
In a sermon titled “Don’t Be Mad. Strong Words. Imitate the Jews in This,” translated this week by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Shiite cleric Salam Al-Askari said that after the “Nazis killed and burned them” and they were “gassed” and “killed in droves,” the Jews “put their greatest minds into science” and “made the entire world kneel before them, and accept and respect the Jewish nation.”
The cleric continues by quoting Arthur Balfour, whom he says refused entry to Jews seeking shelter in the UK only to become a Zionist 12 years later with the Balfour Declaration, which helped give the Jews their own state. He credits this turnaround to the fact that the “Jews put their greatest minds into science.”
Al-Askari lists Jewish achievements, including the invention of acetone and nuclear power, and describing how the Jews “won over” Europe.
“The Jews suffered,” he said. “The Nazis killed and burned them. They were brought in groups to special places, where they were gassed and they suffocated and died. The Jews were killed in droves. They wanted to emigrate but some European countries banned the Jews from entering. ‘We will not accept them,’ they said. They were tormented in Germany. … Today, when our countries suffer, the youth emigrate to Europe. But back then, Europe shut its doors to the Jews.”
Al-Askari said: “What tipped the balance in WWII in favor of the Allies were the two bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. You’ve all heard about this, right? This bomb that terrified the world was manufactured by Jewish minds. It was designed by the minds of Jewish physicists. Europe declared officially: ‘We need the Jewish nation.’”
The cleric then addresses his Muslim brethren, citing an article he said was published by a European writer asking what would happen should Muslims “be removed from the face of the earth.”
The conclusion of the article, al-Askari said, “was that if Muslims were removed from the face of the Earth, there would be no more headaches in the world – no bombings, no bribery, no plundering and no kidnapping.”
if Muslims were removed from the face of the Earth
no more headaches in the world – no bombings,
no bribery, no plundering and no kidnapping
Salam Al-Askari, Muslim cleric
“We are two billion Muslims in the world. How many Jews are there worldwide? Seventeen million. Seventeen million. … There are more people in central and southern Iraq. That is the number of the Jews in the whole world,” he continued.
“How many Nobel prizes in the field of science have they won, and how many have we won, in the last century?” he asked.
“We, with almost two billion Muslims, have won 10 Nobel prizes in a hundred years. They number 17 million, and how many prizes have they won in the past hundred years? Two hundred. They have won 200 prizes, 50-60 of them in physics alone. In other words, if we were to say that the physics of the 20th century is Jewish, nobody could call it an exaggeration.”
Last month, Breitbart Jerusalem reported that more and more Iraqis are showing their support of Jews and Israelis by condemning Palestinian terror attacks.
Denmark's immigration minister has sparked outrage once again, posting a photo of her iPad on Facebook which shows a satirical drawing of the Prophet Muhammad as the screen's backdrop in a move which some Muslims regard as blasphemous.
The post, which shows a bearded Prophet Muhammad with a bomb in his turban, comes in reaction to a Danish museum's decision not to include the drawing in a new exhibition about blasphemy since the Reformation.
“It is the museum’s own choice and they have their full right to do it, but I think it’s a shame,” Immigration and Integration Minister Inger Stojberg wrote in her Facebook post, referencing the Skovgaard Museum in Viborg.
Stojberg went on to state that she uses the cartoon as her background screen because it reminds her that Denmark has freedom of speech, including the right to criticize religions.
“Honestly, I think we should be proud of the Mohammad cartoons,” she wrote.
Many have spoken out against Stojberg's post, particularly as visual representations of Muhammad are seen as blasphemous by hardline Muslims.
One person said the post had nothing to do with free speech, and was only aimed at "mockery and provocation," while accusing Stojberg of "looking for conflict, trouble, and discord between people in Denmark."
Another person accused the minister of "creating divisions" while others are "trying to create more unity." They called it "sad" that Stojberg didn't have "more important things to do."
One person called Stojberg "disgusting" for creating a "greater and greater distance between Danes and Muslims," adding that she doesn't "deserve" to hold the position of immigration and integration minister.
Others, however, seemed to agree with Stolberg's stance, with one person thanking her for "fighting so hard."
Another said the museum's decision "shows how much Islam has been allowed to influence Denmark," while encouraging Stojberg to "keep up the good work."
One person encouraged Stojberg to "stand firm on our freedom," adding that "the right to criticize and to make satire and fun over and with religion have made us the free people we are today."
Previous drawings of Muhammad published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten - including the one posted by Stojberg on Tuesday - led to three of Denmark's embassies being attacked in the Middle East in 2006. Dozens of people were killed in the rioting.
Stojberg is no stranger to controversy. In March, she sparked outrage after encouraging "normal Danes" to report "weird" situations, using the example of a local pizzeria which may have "many people going around in there not speaking Danish at all."
Monday, September 25, 2017
RCMP alleged that Othman Hamdan posted pro-ISIS materials to social mediaBy Michelle Ghoussoub, CBC News
Othman Hamdan, on his way into a bail hearing in Fort St. John on July 15, 2016.
He has been acquitted on all charges. (Brett Hyde/CBC)
A Fort St. John, British Columbia man charged with terror offenses, including inciting murder, has been acquitted.
Othman Hamdan was charged with encouraging murder, assault and mischief for terrorist purposes.
He was also accused of inducing and instructing someone to carry out a terrorist act.
Hamdan was 33 and working as a construction contractor when he was arrested in Fort St. John in 2015.
RCMP scrutinized 85 Facebook posts published between 2014 and 2015 and alleged that Hamdan posted pro-ISIS material and celebrated advances made by the group.
The court also heard that Hamdan's posts praised lone wolf attacks on Parliament Hill and Quebec and that he published a how-to guide for carrying out attacks.
But Hamdan, who plead not guilty to all four charges against him, argued that his posts were taken out of context, and that he used social media to "shine a light" on atrocities being carried out in the Middle East.
He said his posts constituted political satire and were attempts to explain why certain events were taking place, without endorsing them.
A life on the road
Hamdan, who described himself as a non-practicing Sunni Muslim, was born to Palestinian parents in Abu Dhabi and moved to the U.S. at the age of 18.
After 9/11, Hamdan was interrogated because his Saudi roommate was an aviation student.
He moved to Vancouver in 2001, saying he was facing discrimination in the U.S.
Hamdan was accepted as a refugee in B.C. in 2002.
According to prominent members of the Fort St. John community, Hamdan led a relatively isolated life in the small town.
At the time of his arrest, the mayor of Fort St. John said he was virtually unknown to the community.
A spokesman for the Peace River Muslim Association said he had never met or even heard of Hamdan before police announced the charges, and that he had never visited the local mosque.
Because Hamdan is not a Canadian citizen, he may need to attend an immigration hearing.
Sunni Muslim, Palestinian parents, praises terrorists, writes how-to guides for terrorists, anti-social, flies below every radar - why on earth would he be suspected of being a terrorist? Good grief!
This has got to be appealed.
Sunday, September 24, 2017
Unfortunately, this makes a great deal of sense.
© KCNA / Reuters
The whole Pacific Rim agenda is predicated on poor relations with North Korea and being on a war footing. The only reason the US is there is to counter China, while North Korea is just theater, geopolitical analyst Patrick Henningsen says.
The US flew B-1B Lancer bombers, escorted by F-15 fighters, off North Korea’s east coast. However, the aircraft remained in international airspace.
In a statement, the Pentagon said the mission was designed to demonstrate “US resolve and [sends] a clear message that the President has many military options to defeat any threat.”
RT discussed this situation with geopolitical analyst and founder of the news website 21st Century Wire Patrick Henningsen.
21st Century Wire has some critics. It is accused of being conspiratorial and not citing as many mainstream sources for their conclusions as some would like. But MSM doesn't publish articles on Deep State or the Military Industrial Establishment, and you would be hard-pressed to find any credible source of documented information in the western world on these subjects.
What he says makes sense, and so, he is going to generate much criticism from those who actually think things are as they appear to be, and from those who want to remain in the shadows. As wise people always say, 'follow the money'!
RT: What message is Washington sending with this bomber deployment?
Patrick Henningsen: They are sending a message of aggression and war. It is certainly the message that Trump’s base, some of them anyway, want to hear. It is the message that the military-industrial complex in the US – all the defense contractors – they want to hear this, it is John McCain’s message, it is James Mattis’ message. This is the message of neoconservative war hawks. That is basically who he is talking to.
In terms of diplomacy, it is completely counterproductive. In terms of China relations, it is very poor form. In terms of military strategy, it is worthless, it is nothing. The other thing is, Obama would have done the same thing. In fact, Obama did exactly the same thing in September, 2016 – he flew a B-1 bomber over South Korea not very far at all, technically from where this was flown today. Of course, it didn’t get any media coverage at the time. But this is just basic US behavior, a government that is dominated by the Pentagon, by the defense industry, by these interests.
RT: Is it a sensible move given how high tensions are at the moment?
PH: The US is the problem in this. South Korea and North Korea have tried different times to initiate some kind of meaningful peace process. And almost at every turn, the US will intervene in one way or another to try to break up that sort of bilateral negotiations between the North and the South. The US has a demilitarized zone between North and South Korea with 30,000 troops and military contractors and civilian personnel based there. They have a base in Okinawa, they have a base in Japan, they have a base in Guam, they have a few bases on the Philippines. From the Korean point of view, the problem is the US. I am sure North and South Korea could eventually work this out to have a peace treaty. But that is not what is happening now. The US is intervening for one simple fact: because the whole Pacific Rim agenda is predicated on poor relations with North Korea and war footing. Otherwise, the US would have no business in the Pacific and the only reason they are there is to counter China. So, North Korea is just theater. This is stage-managed geopolitical theater. It is very dangerous what the US is doing right now, what this president is doing right now, pushing the envelope in a very negative way.
RT: How might Pyongyang react to a provocation like this?
PH: If you listen to the words of Donald Trump at the UNGA, wouldn’t you want a nuclear deterrent as well? He is threatening to destroy a country with 25 million people that live there. And it is an idiotic statement by the US president for the simple reason, if you nuked North Korea, you would also create huge nuclear contamination that would kill so many people in the South. It would make huge areas uninhabitable and parts of China. It is not going to happen. Everyone knows the US is not going to nuke North Korea. What you have here is an exact identical replay of the US relations with Cuba. The US government, though its ridiculous policies and rhetoric, threatening, sanctions and embargos, kept Fidel Castro in power for so many odd years. They are doing exactly the same thing. This is like a replay of Cuba. The US made Fidel Castro who he was, made the conditions that kept him in power. The US government is doing the exact same thing here with North Korea; it is like a replay of history. It doesn’t make sense on so many levels, but this is sort of business as usual for Washington and unfortunately, history will not be on the side of the US in this, because at some point, it has to end. They’ve been there 70 years. They’ve carved out a strip between North Korea and South Korea, which is basically a giant dollar sink for US dollars, for the military-industrial complex. There is no reason for the US to be there and there is no reason for North and South Korea to be pointing guns at each other. The only reason they are is because of the US.
My fear is that the Pentagon and the White House do not fully comprehend the deep-seated paranoia of devoutly communist countries which is that the western world is out to destroy them. It might be easier than they think to push the envelope beyond the breaking point.
It’s all about money at the end of the day. It’s about a defense budget that has been increased 20 percent to 700 billion dollars; the increase percentage alone is more than the entire annual Russian defense budget… this is about money, this is about profit.
Saturday, September 23, 2017
Yes, this is a Russian article, but what the Foreign Minister says is what I have been saying for years. NATO is creating geo-political instability in order to create some excuse for its very existence.
The West structured its policy according to the principle of "who's not with us is against us," and has chosen the path of NATO expansion, he said
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov© Alexander Shcherbak/TASS
UNITED NATIONS, September 21. /TASS/. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is seeking to recreate the Cold War-era climate, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Thursday at the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly.
"NATO aspires to recreate the Cold War climate and refuses to bring to life the principle of equal and indivisible security across the OSCE area, solemnly declared in the 1990s," he said."
"For the last quarter of a century, Russia, no matter the challenges it faced, made in good faith its part of the way to eliminate the legacy of the Cold War, has done a lot to strengthen confidence and mutual understanding in the Euro-Atlantic region and the world," Russia’s top diplomat said.
"This, however, has not been reciprocated by our Western partners, overexcited by the illusion of the 'end of history' and still trying to accommodate rudimentary institutions of block-to-block confrontation era to the modern day realities," he continued.
The West, in its turn, structured its policy according to the principle of "who's not with us is against us," and has chosen "the path of reckless eastward NATO expansion and provoking instability in the post-Soviet space and encouraging anti-Russian sentiments," the Russian foreign minister said.
He is referring to the coup in Ukraine where the elected government was overthrown by an EU-friendly opposition. With many Russian-speaking people in Ukraine, Russia sees this as a provocative attack to which it responded by finessing the Crimea from Ukraine and by supporting rebels in the east.
I have to wonder how much George Soros had to do with the Orange revolution? No doubt his Russian-hating NGOs were involved; they have never evolved out of the Cold War. I wonder who else was involved?
Friday, September 22, 2017
I realize this is an RT interview. But it is with an American tech entrepreneur,
Chris Kitze, and it pleads the same case that I sensed almost immediately,
that the Russian advertisements on Facebook are a ruse to smooth over
the fact that there is no real Russian connection to last year's elections.
He also largely agrees with my 'deep state' theory.
Those who lost the 2016 presidential election to Donald Trump are finding their Russian story falling apart before their eyes, because there was nothing there, and now they are trying this, said Chris Kitze, founder of encrypted internet service Unseen.
Facebook agreed to release to Congress data about ads allegedly bought by Russia, amid an ongoing investigation into Moscow's purported meddling in the 2016 US election.
The social media giant claims it discovered 3,000 paid political ads that could have links to Russia. They cost a hundred thousand dollars in total, and were bought between 2015 and 2017.
The company said all the purchased advertisements are linked to "inauthentic" accounts.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Friday denied Moscow have anything to do with political advertisements on Facebook.
“We don't know who placed the advertisements on Facebook or how, and have never done it. The Russian side has never been part of it,” said Peskov.
RT: Earlier Facebook refused to publish these ads, posted by user accounts allegedly linked to Russian authorities. What made the company change its position?
Chris Kitze: They are running out of time. They can’t prove anything that Russia did anything bad with the American election. They are obviously trying to put some news out there to try and keep the story alive. It looks to me like it is pretty much nothing.
RT: Are you suggesting that there is someone specific behind this issue?
CK: What happens with politics in America is that there are certain people behind the scenes who are doing things. They are not accomplishing what they wanted to accomplish. So what they end up doing is that they have to keep trying more and more things. In the case of Facebook, they said: ‘Well, we can dump these things out and make a news headline.’ Everyone will forget about it in a couple days.
RT: What kind of leverages does the congressional investigation committee have to pressure the Internet giants like Facebook to cooperate?
CK: Facebook is so big they basically do whatever they want anyway. The Congressional hearing can subpoena things, but a lot of these giant companies can just sandbag and hold things back so that they don’t have to provide anything. They will just drag it out so long that it won’t matter. There is a reason why all the stuff is being released right now - and you noticed the coordination of the news media - that is the first tell that shows you this whole thing is a setup.
RT: Usually the big companies do not immediately agree on such demands of a government, trying to draw public attention to the problem. Why this time it was not the case?
CK: They are contributing to the Russia hysteria. There are two sides to this: there is President Trump and then there are the other people. The other people lost power. They were surprised they lost the election. And now what they are trying to do is get back at President Trump. It’s just that simple. What is happening now – they are finding that the whole Russian story fell apart right in front of their eyes, because there was nothing there, and now they are trying this. It is another bit of nothing. They may try and use this as a way to try and regulate people, like Matt Drudge and other news websites to say: ‘Well, you’re accepting ads potentially from foreign people.’ But there is no way that a news website knows who the advertisers are, because they all are done by add networks, like Google.
RT: The investigation committee has a right to make any company share the materials that might interest them. Why then are they focusing on Russia? Doesn’t it violate privacy rights of the Internet users?
CK: There are things that the Congress can do and judges can do. They have wide powers to subpoena things for criminal investigations. So at that point people pretty much lose their privacy rights – that is just the way it is.
RT: Judging by what you’ve said, today people almost don’t have a chance for any kind of secrecy, do they?
CK: I am not sure you can hang your hat on that for this matter. People can have privacy, but the real issue here is between Facebook and the advertisers. So it is not really involving the end user – it is more a corporate and a political matter.
RT: Usually the big companies do not always agree to comply with such demands from the government, trying to draw public attention to the problem. Why is that not the case this time around?
CK: It is interesting to me, as someone who used to be a Facebook user… They push all kinds of other junk, things that most moral people would never want in their homes. Now they are cooperating with the government. The only reason they are doing this is obviously because that is what they want to do – that is in their interest. These are companies who could hide all this stuff and say: ‘We don’t know anything about it,’ or they can drag it out for two years – just looking for the information, or even lose it. There is a reason why these companies all of a sudden are showing up with this information – it is because that is a part of the agenda that is being pushed by the news media complex and the tech complex in the US.
The New Normal - Estonian Style
View of Estonia's capital Tallinn © Peter Seyfferth / Global Look Press
A court in Estonia has sentenced a Syrian refugee to 10 years’ imprisonment for setting fire to his wife in front of their young daughter, as well as subjecting her to months of abuse.
On Friday, Judge Merle Parts pronounced her sentence on 20-year-old Kovan Mohammad at the Harju County Court. Mohammed, who arrived in Estonia with his family from Greece last year, had been charged with assault causing severe bodily harm, as well as physically abusing his 22-year-old wife throughout their relationship.
On March 7, wanting to teach his wife a “lesson,” Mohammed used gasoline to set her alight in front of their young daughter at their apartment in the Lasnamäe district of Tallinn, local media reports. After calling an ambulance herself, the wife had to spend five months in hospital and go through six operations, as well as spending two months in a coma. Nearly 70 percent of her body was covered in burns.
Mohammed pleaded guilty to putting his wife through physical abuse, including hitting her with a wooden slat, but claimed the incident on March 7 was an accident. However, the court heard he took the time to go out and buy gasoline and also watched videos of burnings over the internet, as well as searching for the best ways to punish a woman. He was found guilty of both charges, but his lawyer Alar Neiland says he intends to appeal.
Mohammed’s wife, who was released from hospital in August, has now moved into a new apartment with their child.
10 years is not nearly long enough. He should have been convicted for traumatizing the child, for not calling an ambulance, and for setting a fire in an apartment building endangering the lives of everyone in that building. Those acts deserve 10 years on their own.
This is Muslim insanity!
OMGoodness! Since, in Saudi Arabia it takes the testimony of two women to equal that of one man, I guess we can assume that Saudi men have only half a brain. Aha! That's it! Now I completely understand Islam!
Sheikh Saad Al-Hijri. © أخبار اليو / YouTube
A Saudi cleric has been slated for saying that women don’t deserve to drive because they only have a quarter of a brain. Sheikh Saad Al-Hijri was also banned from performing his religious duties because of his outrageous comments.
Al-Hijri made his brain-numbing remarks at a lecture aptly titled, “The evils of women driving.” Women are banned from driving altogether in the notoriously conservative country, with many jailed for attempting to.
According to the cleric, women only have half a brain to begin with, but, when they attempt to factor shopping into their feeble minds, that halves again and they “end up with only a quarter,” as cited by the Jerusalem Post.
A video of Al-Hijri’s sexist musings was circulated online, provoking a backlash from many in the kingdom who used the hashtag “Al-Hijri says women have a quarter of a brain” to voice their anger.
“She became pregnant with him, gave birth to him, raised him, spent sleepless nights for him until he grew up and now he calls her a woman with a quarter of a brain. He and his like must be banned from appearing anywhere,” wrote one irate user.
“I swear to God those who have a quarter of a brain are you and your likes who handed you platforms to deliver hardline views. It is the woman who raises man and she is the core of success,” said another.
Saudi Arabia, an absolutist monarchy which controversially has seats on the UN Human Rights Council and the Women’s Rights Commission, has long been criticized for the treatment of the kingdom's female population.
Not to worry though, in an apparent move to rectify this the government established a ‘girl’s council’ consisting solely of men who know better.
Obviously, there are many Muslims in the UN.
A remarkable switch to common sense in N&L schools
Teachers now able to award zeroes for grades, deduct marks for late assignmentsCBC News
The Newfoundland and Labrador English School District (NLESD) has ended a controversial policy that kept teachers from deducting marks when work was handed in late.
That means teachers are now able to award zeroes for grades, and students can no longer wait until the end of the term to pass in assignments.
Teachers had complained the policy was unfair to students who did meet deadlines, and that it created extra work at the end of the year.
"Any policy has to survive the realities of the classroom, and we learned from our policy development,' said NLESD CEO Tony Stack.
"At times, you'll have to adjust and we adjusted the course, in this case, and I think what we've got now is a very good balance."
Students will face adjustment
At Gonzaga High School in St. John's on Thursday, the news was all the students could talk about at lunchtime.
Gonzaga High School may be the home of the Vikings, but like other schools in the province, it will no longer be the home of a policy that prevented zeroes from being given out to students. (Gary Locke/CBC)
Rhys Northcote said many students were surprised by the news, and that students who are used to passing in work late won't be able to do it anymore.
"After tests, we don't get to redo them anymore. If we miss it we need a doctors note, otherwise we just get a zero for it."
Gonzaga High School student Rhys Northcote says the the new policy will be an adjustment for students. (Gary Locke/CBC)
The NLESD says it did realize there were unintended consequences to a policy that was designed to encourage students to complete their work, instead of teach them to get used to loose deadlines.
"I'm sure right now as we speak in classrooms, the subtle changes to what we've done are being talked about and shared with students, and they will adapt as they always do," said Stack