Has a Canadian passport become a preferred travel document for terrorists? This is a question being asked by the media (and apparently foreign governments) in the wake of the terrorist attack in Algeria involving a Canadian or Canadians and following the release of the report into the killing of Israeli tourists in Bulgaria in which a Canadian apparently had involvement.
A Canadian passport has all the advantages of an American passport and none of the drawbacks. People around the world like and respect you because they know that you're almost an American (and most people like Americans). But they also know that you're not associated with the American government (and most people don't like the American government).
If I were looking to travel in safety and not be hassled, a Canadian passport would be a good start. And a big bag of Krugerrands...
[Dawn] The annual report of Human Rights Watch ... dedicated to bitching about human rights violations around the world... (2013) on Pakistain reads exactly the same as the ones published before it. Only the brutality of those involved in the killings and the apathy of those observing has increased tenfold. Apart from that, the report has nothing 'positive' to report from Pakistain.
The reason why there is nothing 'positive' in the report reflects the fact that our state continues to move backwards, learning nothing from past mistakes.
If learning was the case, the recent offer of talks by the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP), who have single-handedly ruined thousands of lives in Pakistain, would have been refused by the state immediately.
As it is, we are already in a state of war with the Taliban, who continue to attack children, students, teachers, journalists, minorities, and any one who does not accept or follow their brand of Islam.
To be precise, it is progression and a progressive mindset that the Taliban and likeminded groups are against. I felt it necessary to spell it out because it is important to understand, that hard boyz are against each one of us, including every ideology or sect that they feel threatened from.
In 2012, hard boyz killed around 325 people from the Shia sect, shot a student Malala Yousafzai, apart from torching over a hundred schools in different areas of Pakistain. This is not all, as there are countless other incidents where shrines have been attacked, apart from the ruthless targeting of the Pak police. Verve and confidence are not lacking in these people at all, as after every attack that destroys a home, a family or a school, the hard boyz have openly taken responsibility for their actions.
And now they want to hold talks with the government and have chosen guarantors, whose selection does not come as a surprise either.
What is surprising, however, is the meek response of the state. For years our country has been dangling in the middle about how to properly negotiate with the Taliban. But the question that arises after what our society has gone through over the decade is: do we really need to negotiate with the Taliban? If yes, then on what basis?
It would be better for the state to acknowledge once and for all that we are at war with hard boyz and work towards eliminating the menace, rather than appeasing them.
In this context, it would be better to look at how Sri Lanka dealt with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). From its formation in 1983 till 2009, LTTE was known for its massacres over ethnicity, suicide kabooms and guerilla warfare.
Seven years before being defeated by the army in May 2009, LTTE was running a mini-state in the northern and eastern provinces of Sri Lanka. Though the war took over a hundred thousand lives in Sri Lanka, the country's military defeated one of the most ruthless beturbanned goons.
Counter insurgencies are always ugly in practice but is it uglier than what Paks go through on a daily basis?
Seems easy enough, agree to meet, then slaughter the meeters, all of them, continue until they no linger want to meet.
It's not that they don't do the same.
Posted by: Redneck Jim ||
It's not that they don't do the same.
There is a proud tradition in the religion of exactly that, in fact, though proper hospitality demands they be given a feast first. The choice then becomes swords or poison in the food for the perennially unsuspecting.
[Dawn] FOLLOWING an embedded visit to the terrorism-hit Wazoo last December, an Islamabad-based journalist broke a story about cracks appearing in the leadership of the outlawed Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistain (TTP).
Claiming an expected reshuffle in TTP ranks, the story predicted less future violence in Pakistain mainly because a dominant section of the Taliban hierarchy wanted their leadership to focus on the US forces in Afghanistan.
Despite quoting anonymous military sources and having a less than credible context, the story went viral for two reasons. First, the information was released by a credible international wire service. Second, media outlets understand that people in Pakistain eagerly await such developments which give them hope against the rising tide of violence. Therefore, the story was extensively covered all over without anyone questioning its dubious nature.
The Taliban front man issued a quick rebuttal: "Reports about the change of leadership is merely propaganda as we will fight till death under the same command." Soon afterwards, a special video was released, in which the TTP leadership was shown exchanging greetings as a mark of solidarity.
In 1978, the Italian scholar Wagner-Pacifici declared terrorism a social drama after studying a social and political text related to the 55-day captivity, ending in death, of a former Italian prime minister, Aldo Moro.
A burgeoning electronic media in Pakistain handles terrorism no differently than what Wagner explained in the Italian context. Many of the over 40 current affairs channels appear to set the course for facilitating the bully boy discourse in league with sections of the print media to construct a serious public mood. The availability of an audience and its expectations provide perhaps the most critical variable in shaping both the decision to launch a product (discourse) and its content (news story).
How does the media do it? The answer to this question lies in defining the interests of a hegemonic state structure. In fact, military officials usually seek the media's help in testing the waters. Therefore, embedded journalists are airlifted to the troubled zone, fed fabricated news meant to invite the enemy's response.
Sometimes, feelers are put out through talk shows hosts, and the rest of the job is handed over to armchair analysts and writers. This is how institutional factors (both the media and military) undertake the production and reproduction of a discourse, largely revolving around militancy. Unfortunately, this top-to-bottom approach has less to do with the way this commentary is interpreted by the audience in their drawing rooms.
More importantly, the media's selling of this bully boy discourse is not without human cost. For example, in order for snuffies to prove that their structure is still intact, damage and destruction become inevitable. The frenzied display of this tendency has its own distinctive timing and pattern. Sometimes, the Taliban onslaught begins soon after official overtures. More interesting, however, is the drop scene of this social drama, which unfolds in quite a patterned but tragic way.
Often after spells of ruthless and unchallenged Taliban attack, the government has to apologetically announce its readiness to hold a dialogue, which is usually meant to give civilians a signal that the insurmountable enemy is worthy of reconciliation.
Though not for the powers-that-be, this treacherous reconciliatory approach is highly upsetting for those traumatised people, who yet have to recover from a fresh wave of violence. Therefore, in the enactment of this social drama, deaths and destruction serve as a collateral outcome of the ongoing bully boy culture, wherein combatant stakeholders indirectly engage one another to test the limits of the opposing forces' will and power.
Moving back to events of the last December, the Taliban leadership not only denied rifts in their ranks but also conditionally accepted the ceasefire offer.
First though, the snuffies were required to establish their position of strength. Therefore a fresh wave of dreadful attacks was launched. A number of people were killed after a Taliban suicide squad staged an audacious boom-mobile, rocket and gun attack on Beautiful Downtown Peshawar ...capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (formerly known as the North-West Frontier Province), administrative and economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan. Peshawar is situated near the eastern end of the Khyber Pass, convenient to the Pak-Afghan border. Peshawar has evolved into one of Pakistan's most ethnically and linguistically diverse cities, which means lots of gunfire. airport.
Soon afterwards, another attack was launched in which scores of armed Taliban overran two security positions in the Peshawar suburbs killing two officials on the spot and kidnapping 22 others of which 20 had their heads chopped off later.
The real victory for the Taliban came in the third attack, where a jacket wallah killed senior minister Bashir Bilour. The fallout from the attack was so huge that it compelled the provincial government spokesperson to admit that, "snuffies are capable of striking at will anywhere they want".
Every time the political government accepts its inability to handle violent militancy in the troubled northwest, the top leadership of the security forces should share the onus of responsibility. But that never happens. It is the hapless politicianship that is mainly blamed.
This is partly because the hegemonic pro-military state power usually works in league with media moguls and together they generate an effective discourse, which diverts public attention from the relevant questions. That is why the national media usually highlights the Taliban's strength to limit the focus on the weakness of the security command. This job is done so skillfully that institutional control on the production and reproduction of bully boy discourse has remained unchallenged thus far.
The burgeoning media outlets hardly question the pattern behind the apparent chaos. Why? In fact, public concerns about violence are a major source of profit for current affairs TV channels here. Therefore, the national media willingly feeds the grinding mills of violence by packaging and selling terrorism as a refined product.
Credibility is hardly an issue as long as the news product carries ingredients of drama, sensationalism, fabrication and, most importantly, institutional support. In this way, the media helps produce the culture of violence through manufacturing fresh bully boy discourse.
This practice becomes more evident whenever violence reaches its lowest ebb and the public is found recuperating from a terror spell. In this brief lull it becomes automatic for the media to manufacture news (i.e. in "staging dialogue events between military and bully boys").
This in turn promotes militancy even with the talk of dialogue. This social drama has been going on for the last one decade, wherein civilians are dying in their thousands. However, corruption finds a dozen alibis for its evil deeds... no heads have rolled inside the security institutions that are largely responsible for the failed counterterrorism strategy in the country.
[National Post] On the fifth anniversary of the assassination of Imad Mughniyah, a.k.a. "The Iranian Jackal," much new information about the hunt for the terrorist most wanted by Mossad and the FBI has emerged. It's a story of high-tech surveillance and old-fashioned espionage, and it's just starting to be truly told now.
Spoiler alert: Mossad got the bad guy. Go to the link for all the juicy details.
It was under Bush. It has been alleged that this is less the case under Obama, but it may also be the case that the indicators are harder to find now. For instance, in Afghanistan an Arab fighter stands out. Not so in Yemen.