Jun 19 15

Are Mass Shootings Trending?

by Calum MacKenzie

To call the most recent tragedy in South Carolina a hate crime – as some media types have done – or to treat it with inward looking labels of intolerance, man’s inhumanity to man, racial bigotry, severe prejudice, class bias, etc., is to cover the ordeal with soft soap and furnish a snow job. The mass shootings that have made startling headlines not just in the USA but around the globe all seem to be aimed at those who can’t fight back; church-goers, school children, students, all unarmed and unprepared for gun violence. It follows that the perpetrators are not just mentally unstable and lacking human decency but the lowest in the ranks of cowards.

A similar class of cowards is being recruited by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. Given that they are armed with American weapons granted to Iraqi forces and then abandoned, it would seem that a new wild west scene is being opened up with some delight in the Middle East. The question arises as to how the ISIL recruits are to be treated when they are eventually brought to justice. Those same recruits are labelled terrorists and guilty of public beheadings (to mention but one international crime).

As in the original wild west, law enforcement – using brave souls, the rule of law and posses – eventually brought some order to the west. Would the “eye for and eye” old testament justice suit in the Middle East? Why are those perps who resort to gun violence against the unarmed in churches and schools not labelled homeland terrorists? Are they not every bit as guilty of terrorism and crimes against humanity as their ISIL brethern? Semantics? Perhaps. The children of Sandy Hook and the congregation at the Emanuel church felt terrorised!

It is variously reported that the perps are recruited via internet sites such as KKK, Aryan brotherhood, etc. and that there are some 800 such hate groups plying their poisonous doctrine world wide via those sites. Are they not all offering a route to terrorism? Free speech mantras are one thing but such freedoms surely carry some responsibility and accountability to recognise that not all free speech is good or welcome. So much is known to law enforcement entities about those groups at federal, state and local levels that it should be a no-brainer to shut them down permanently. Just as ISIL is treated by the international community, so too should like remedies be levied against our homegrown terrorists.

The ranks of cowardice also extend to the legislative branches of government. To make armaments available to the mentally unstable and registered felons sans background checks and to offer the nonsensical audacity that the availability is a right is to invite chickens to come home to roost.

In the 1950s and 60s, the UK was forced to face up to racial profiling and prejudice. The national conversations that followed brought stringent laws to bear on all cases of discrimination in the workplace and in rentals and sales of properties: People of colour were offered the same rights in public as their local born citizens. Perhaps a similar round of conversations is long past due in the home of the brave.


Apr 8 15

Despite Netanyahu’s pre-emptive strike

by Calum MacKenzie

It was with some surprise and a smidgen of disbelief that I listened to the local news and learned that not only was a nuclear deal with Iran in the offing, but the military was not involved. There were no boots on the ground, no aerial bombardment, no collateral damage, no killing of innocents, and no damage to schools, hospitals, churches, and civilian infrastructure. No f****** semper fi! Those tactics that the US and NATO had used mercilessly and with impunity since world war two were mysteriously absent. Hoo-bloody-ray!

So many pundits were against any sort of deal with Iran that such an event entered the realm of impossible. Those pundits showed their brass necks by noting at some length that Iran was not to be trusted. A short course in recent Iranian history would have taught them that any animosity on Iran’s part would have shown that Iran had multiple reasons for mistrust of US and NATO and their clients. Have the Israelis always treated Iran fairly? Did Iraq have US backing for its military adventures in Iran? Did the US shoot down an Iranian civilian aircraft over Iranian waters? Did agents of the US usurp the democratically elected government of Iran and install the Shah as their puppet?

US and NATO spokesmen have a terrible habit of rewriting history boasting that they are the good guys. War crimes do not apply to them and international criminal courts are only recognised when it’s to their advantage. Even the present incumbent in the White House regards the US as the shining city on the hill and its systems and players as exceptional. The naive might ask, ‘exceptional in what way?’ Surely not exceptionally violent, exceptionally aggressive, exceptionally greedy, exceptionally hypocritical, and the list of negative character traits goes on? How about exceptionally paranoid on a daily diet of media inspired fear?

It’s the Iranians who have reason to be paranoid. They had been caught between a theocratic rock and the hard threat of nuclear annihilation. Their choices were hell or hell!

Has the US and NATO actually listened to the oceans of criticism arising from their decades of misadventures and decided to seek a better solution for foreign policies? There are 47 so-called republican traitors who adamantly adhere to the previous bullying tactics and would disrupt the administration’s attempts at joining the human race and the side of good hearted folks world wide. Freedom of speech is good. Freedom of speech with accuracy and responsibility is better. Hopefully those brain addled clowns will always be in a distinct minority whether they are charged as traitors or not.

While today’s news is uplifting, it is not yet cast in stone having a 3 month respite to dot the I’s and cross the T’s. It does however, auger extremely well for the future of diplomacy. The reasoned talk, debate, tact and courtesy, as shown to a world wide audience, has exemplified that there is hope yet for the future of the human race. Mr. Netanyahu’s pre-emptive strike in his dubiously illegal, certainly discourteous, speech to the US Congress, may have earned him a few votes on the extreme right of Israeli politics but it earned him little, if any, brownie points with the larger audience. Just imagine the furore if Mr. Obama had been invited to address the Knessett behind Netanyahu’s back!

Dare we imagine that as Iran foregoes being a holder of nuclear weaponry, that all other nations will follow their lead? Will Israel and the US, to mention but two such candidates, also follow UN resolutions on nuclear proliferation? If the world is safer when Iran toes the line, doesn’t it follow that further safety is ensured when all nations do the right thing?

But why stop with nukes? The UN has resolutions on its books relating to the proliferation of all arms. Where is the leadership to take up those challenges? Surely there is a strong desire in China, Russia, and the US to make all nations safer? If those nations led the way, the other nations such as Israel, France, Britain, Italy and Germany would be obliged to follow suite. What a gift that would be to the peacemakers; to see the supply of arms dry up. Police forces would begin to sleep soundly once more and smiles would come back into fashion.

Today’s news was huge. It was not only welcome in our household, it removed a large cloud of cynicism from my shoulders and restored a large unit of trust in my fellow humans. Thank you.


Jan 16 15

Je Suis Charlie: The CyberWar is now MainStream

by Joseph Carrabis

The Washington Post recently published Anonymous hacks terror website in retaliation for Charlie Hebdo attack.

It’s a fascinating read on so many levels.

The cyberattack wasn’t on a nuclear station, a power grid, a military base, an operations center, an intelligence command depot.

The cyberattack was on an idea, a belief, a way of doing things.

I remember an IRA member talking about an extremist attack on the London subway system. He said, “Those people are f?cking nuts. They’re not doing this right. We’re getting out of the terrorist business.”

And when was the last time you heard about an IRA attack? They may still be happening, we’re just not hearing about them.

And I’m not condoning the cyberattack, only recognizing it as a new level of warfare and a new type of warfare, a Censorship warfare. Or maybe not censorship as in “I won’t let you get your message out”, more like “I don’t care what you say, just don’t act on what you say…at least not in a way that’s going to hurt people.”

I don’t know where to place this, really.

Thoughts, everyone?


Jan 14 15

Is Paris Burning? And Who’s Holding the Match?

by Calum MacKenzie


The situation in Paris came as no surprise and fell into the category of ” here come the chickens home to roost.” European nations have 500+ years history of crusades of one form or another having learned zilch from those mistakes. The US, its clients and NATO continue to apply violence in many Muslim countries. The perpetrators then have the nerve to ask, “Why do they hate us?”

After all, we are the good guys. We want to further the cause of democracy, but not in Iran, Chile, Nicaragua, Saudi Arabia, etc. We want all nations to enjoy the fruits of capitalism don’t we? Not so, the critics sing out. The US has to be in charge. The conditions which they impose on their trading partners would not see the light of day in Washington DC. So we have the enrichment of US banks via “odious debts” which are ruinous in the third world.

Hundreds have been killed, wounded or orphaned in the Yemen, thousands have suffered similar inhumane treatments in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan. When the sunshine is too much for the US media to stomach, the US calls on client states, such as Israel and Honduras, and US armed dictators to fill the breach with violent aggression, eg. the Contras, with the usual ruinous results.

Each one of those who have suffered under US led aggression, has a family of relatives all of whom grew up in a culture where revenge is a legitimate remedy. They also live in oil rich areas where access to funding is possible. Some attend Wahabbi schools and learn more than quotes from the Koran. Some learn to read in English and pick up armed forces literature on the art of war.

So with the means, motives and opportunities, are we really surprised that the chickens are coming home to roost? Just as the European colonialists were on the wrong side of history for centuries, the US and NATO have joined that losing side.

So what can be done? How about diplomacy? How about listening to moderate Muslims? How about closing US and NATO bases in Muslim nations? How about treating Palestinians exactly as Israelis are treated and funded? How about doing unto others as we would have them do kindly unto us? How about getting mental health treatment for the national paranoia?

Obviously having nuclear weapons, superior instruments of war, EITs, and a spectrum of legislative and educational tools are ineffective against 7th century warriors who see death as a good thing. Yet we see armed forces personnel being sent as advisors, legislators, and educators; a task for which they are neither qualified nor adequately trained. As the US and NATO media and news releases are far right wing extremists, the general public is continuously misinformed, pinning its hopes on government sound bites. And so the carnage will continue till Obama or his advisors join the human race.


Jan 9 15

Gas Pump Nightmares

by Calum MacKenzie

The oil producing province of Alberta is struggling to maintain its workforce as the price of oil plummets. Those who are in natural gas production, pipelines and alternates have not been hit as yet. The Albertans go on to blame the Saudis for deliberately keeping production levels high, glutting the market and putting the boots to the competitors especially the Ruskies. However, the Ruskie ace in the hole is their natural gas market on which Europe depends.

As a client state of the US, I wonder if there isn’t background shenanigans going on in Saudi land to keep the Ruskies on the verge of failed statehood. One empire at a time is enough.

The Saudi family is so obscenely well off that the present fall in the barrel price of oil does no harm. Later, as they close the spigots which are now wide open, the six month fall in price will be quickly reversed.

Other oil producers such as Iran and Venezuela, no friends of the US, also suffer from those crude tactics. The upside of those tactics, is that consumers gladly go to the pumps and have shekels left over for other things such as groceries.

The downside, apart from unemployment in oil producing countries and the economic fallout across the spectrum, is that investment in alternatives seems less urgent. So the ecology of the planet suffers, climate change advances, and climate control planners have to reset their priorities.

I have no proof that US policies in client states is at the root of all this, just as no proof was available for bankrupting the USSR in Afghanistan or EITs. Yet we must learn from history and see that if it walks, talks and acts like duck it’s not a lilywhite swan.