refWrite
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
  Toronto: Subway Greater Toronto Area terrorist-threat focused on transit system, especially subway
Toronto Subway Watch

Globe & Mail's Joe Friesen and Katie Rook, July 13, 2004, "Is Toronto prepared for a terrorist attack?"

At the end of the day, I don't know how you can prevent all this from happening. There's things you can do reasonably, and people are trying to do the best they can, but it's never enough and it never will be enough in this new world, this new norm that we live in. - Julian Fantino, Ontario Commissioner of Emergency Management


This article from December has the most hard facts, and gives the best informed overview of the situation. - Owlb

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Joel Johannesen's
Proud to be Canadian blog, July 12, 2005, "It's like I planned it: Secret Liberal memos reveal terrorist plot to blow up Toronto subway."
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CTVNews, November 14, 2004, "CSIS monitored Toronto subway after Spain attack."
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Canadian Free Press, July 13, 2005, "Protecting Toronto's subway." Associate Editor Arthur Weinreb offers some deft analysis of the difference between the Toronto Transit Corporation's ridershp patterns and those of other terror-struck cities. Along the way, Weinreb again gets too feisty, using the occasion to express hostility to the TCC chair Howard Moscoe's style of response to media gangs with one-liners. Of course, there are many different on-camera styles, and what may work well in litening up a situation in an hours-long meeting, doesn't come out so well when swarmed. Weinreb doesn't have a fit sense of occasion in trashing Moscoe as a "bufoon," when in actuality he is a very hard working civil servant and politician. Still, Howard, you'd better heed the grouch's warning. Toronto is very much on the terrorist map, and the TTC's subsystem is a juicy prey for those looking for the best possible target here. To think Al-Qaeda isn't here, has no able-bodied, sharp-minded devotees here, is irresponsible. Our problem besides defendin the system itself and its customers, is to accept the presence of the terrorists in the city, and differentiate constantly what makes them the foe and enemy of all Torontonians, including our large talented hard-working civic-minded community of Muslims, most of them immigrants. Weinreb has something to learn in writing about these themes, but likewise Moscoe just has to self-censor the grab for a glib fallacy that can be ruthlessly offensive and produce reactions aimed at him, such as the one Weinreb hurled in a moment of huff. - Owlb
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Little Green Footballs, posted by Charles with 81 comments, December 13, 2004, "Toronto Subway Monitored After Spain Attack."
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Don't forget to click the live-linked headline that will take you to a Google page of mostly recent reports on with a focus on the subway as temptation for terrorist pleasure. - Owlb
 
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
  Israel: Politics: Kadima win shaky, tied to coalition + Kirschen cartoon à propos
The Israeli election yesterday sets pro-Israel folks around the world somewhat at ease, while still on edge, in that Ehud Olmert at the helm of the new party Kadima (The Future, in Hebrew) won the vote and will be Prime Minister pending his recruitment (negogtiation) to create a new Cabinet with sufficient support in Knesset (parliament) to govern with a coalition majority. Many Israeli voters voters did not go to the polls; there will be long analyses as to why not in the next months.

Olmert did not gather the support directly that Ariel Sharon may have. Sharon remains in a coma, descended upon him shortly after he created Kadima with Olmert, and called the elections.

Rookmaker Club geostrategic analysis:

UPDATE: Iran gets scolding, but ElBaradei (head of UN's anti-nuke prolif agency IAEA)is now "sole solution" according to Russia–putatively in the group of disciplinarian countries trying to reign-in Iran's nuclear-plunge bombward. Final count of seat distribution for Israeli parties, with BBC list of possible coalition partners for Ohlmert's Kadima. - P
Party standings - Israel vote

Students of the Jewish Scriptures will find this fate resonant with what happened to King David when the Lord, displeased with David's sending a general to his death at the head of the army and then taking the man's wife, denied David the privilege of building the Temple – a task that then devolved onto David's favoured son Solomon whose own misdeeds, tho he built the Temple, denied him the line of descent thru which the Messiah would come. But even more than these, one thinks of Moses who brawt Israel the Ten Commandments from the Lord's hand, but whose sins prevented him from living long enuff actually to cross the Jordan River as Israel entered the Promised Land. And conquered. Sharon's fate is all too biblical, as the story goes.

But Sharon's successor Olmert did win the election as the party with the most votes, far fewer than a direct majority. Olmert's Kadima party does have a very difficult priority program to consolidate the West Bank settlements into just a few of large populations (what other parties will strictly join in advancing such a priority?) and thus hopefully further reduce tensions with terrorist-led Palestine, and otherwise determine the future boundaries of the Israeli state - whether Hamas-led Palestine negotiates the determination of that border or no (so far, they say only the pre-1967 border is acceptable for now, before they day when the push the Israelis into the sea (of blood, which meanwhile they will prepare for even a shrunk-down pre-1967-bordered Israel).

Cartoons & cartoonists + comix panels

"Israeli Elections (1977)"©YaakovKirschner(May 17,1977).
Republished here with the author's permisssion.

Olmert wants peace and safety for Israel, both. We know that Hamas wants the destruction of Israel and has been backed up in that aspiration by Iran, which probably already has the nuclear weaponry to fulfill the Hamas dream and the Israeli nitemare. That means, besides securing the borders, Olmert, the Israeli Security agency Mossad, and the Israel Defense Forces must be ready in concert to cripple Iran's capacity to exterminate all of Israel (an Iranian move that would kill, not just Jews, but many Israeli Arab Muslims and Christians, as well as Palestinian Arab Muslim and Christian civilians too). Hey, but that's no skin off mullahcratic Iran's nose. Hamas claims to be ready for any exigency in seeking Iran's terrible swift sword. Iran stands then to establish the new Caliphate of Muslim world political and legal domination with the dhimmitude of Jews and Christians and secularist Humanists, too.

We can see from the way the wind is blowing in the UN Security Council, the windy effort to water down the sanctions adamantly proposed against Iran, taken with in mind now the shaky Elmert government in Israel, that exactly no help will come from the UN enforcer agency. That means, Olmert, Kadima, and Israel stand in need of backup against the Hamas-Palestine and Mullahcratic Iranian extermination scenario. Islamofascism is now rampant from these two quarters against Israel. One hopes that the US does not reward the unjust watering down of sanctions by the UN Security Council, and prepares itself and such allies as are willing to take out the nuclearizing Iranian Islamofascists. Perhaps, but I doubt it, Canada will be able to muster membership in the the prayed-for coalition to stop exterminationist Iran.
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US-Israel defense against Hamas-Palestine / Mullah-Iran. But Canada too has its own shaky minority government of Conservs opposed by three parties, the largest of which is itself in such disarray that it mite let the shaky Tory (Conservs) government team stay on, prop it up even should it join in with a coalition of the willing to defend Israel. After all, most Jews in Canada voted Liberal, and they mite persuade the leaderless Libs not to bring down the Tories should sufficient among the Libs in the House of Commons too feel that duty calls them to help in preventing Israel's extermination.

Of the three named potential allies in countering the UN water-down and in taking on responsiblity to stop Hamas-friend Iran dead in its tracks toward nuclearization, only the Bush Administration is led by a majority-secure Presidency that will last another three years (no matter what the opinion polls or the outcome of the November 2006 elections). The dirty bloody job that needs doing now can be accomplished soon, over the heads of the mindless appeasers of injustice who populate the UN, its organs and agencies (once again). We hope the latter will not prevail, and that Bush and allies will forcibly disarm exterminationist Iran before it's too late. Such are the political-military nuclear realities that must be faced. The Americans don't need nukes to accomplish it; its mega-"conventional" weapons could do the job–albeit with great lamentations, gnashing of teeth, sack-cloth and ashes. - Politicarp
 
Sunday, March 26, 2006
  Satire: Irony: Kirschner designs howler, offers Shmendrik Awards 4 AntiSemitism (equal opportunity > some fellow Jews included)
The distinctive Israeli cartoonist Yaakov Kirschner, usually gentle and even whimisical in pointng to the absurdities and horrors of these times from the perspective of an American-born Jew living in Israel in his elderly years, has produced a belly-shaker of strait-faced irony in picturing photographically the awardwinners in his recent Shmendrik accolades – a set of awards that, for me, rival the Oscars this year. I don't want to give away the pleasures of surprise in enjoying the semiotic technique of satire and irony employed on a very serious theme.

Kirschner is himself an outstanding cartoonist who swept the recent Israeli and Jewish Annual Blog Awards in several categories. I've learned to take his work as a reference-point for determining what cartoon and satire techniques are legit, and what stray into the zone of gross impropriety. It's a fine line sometimes, at others its not difficult at all to discern the spirits in the cartoon-works of a given artist who becomes nothing but savage propagandist.

Politicarp (refWrite's main political writer) and I (as his editor) have been very stringent, but correctly so (I believe), on the Jyllands-Posten spirit of cartooning and of prophet-mocking aimed explicitly against our Muslim neighbours in an incendiary world situation. Politicarp and I have tried to point out how an absolute doctrine of freedom of expression, freedom of speech, is inherently contradictory. I've pointed out how in the case of the Danish cartoons the freedom for public cartoon-mockery (some of the J-P cartoons seemed to me to be quite innocuous, others were not, indeed were quite vile); in that case the J-P was was consistent with the (il)logic of the demand for absolute freedom in Danish secularist free-market ideology for the child pornography for which Denmark is world famous, along with Danes in the same spirit who are active in the worldwide child-sex tourism industry. But this absolutist "freedom of expression/speech" contrasts sharply with the statutory prohibition of anti-religon (Danish state Lutheran Christianity) and particularly antiJewish, antiJudaic, and Holocaust-denial in expressive acts and public discourse. I support the Danish law in these prohibitory and penalizing regards, and likewise insist that it is antiChristian not to catch the positive spirit of that prohibition and extend it sympathetically to prohibit attacks on the core figure in the Muslim neighbour's attitude toward honouring prophecy (which requires respect for Abraham, Moses and all the Judaic Prophets, respect for Jesus, and respect for Mohammed - tho the violation of this spirit may be conducted by some Muslims too). But mostly the violations in Denmark, in all of Europe, and in North America are the work of secularist "Humanists" who hate all religions without ever noting the corporate sins of secularist atheist Nazi and Communist mass-murder systems which surpass the horrors of all other religions ever in Europe). Kirschner, to the extent I know his corpus of work, manages to draw the line well!

Moreover, refWrite now has organized a Satire section on the sidebar, experimenting and reflecting upon satire, irony, mockery, et., by linking to both the great Kirschner, HumorFeed, and some independent blogging satirists. They appear uncensored and unmonitored on this blog for the meanwhile, to test how well and how far a Christian blog, largely political in content, can accomodate the most severe visual and writerly critical works of some satirists, ironists, and mockers. We will try to keep up somewhat with what we make available, but invite our readers / viewers to use the Comments of this particular blog-entry to make criticisms of matter carried in the Satire section offered in refWrite's Sidebar. You are welcome to criticize, or alternatively to praise any particular well-wrought urn of such humour. If the HumorFeed proves unbearable over a bit of time, it will be dropped. More largely, it must be said that there is still a keen place in a shared morality of living with neighbourliness in a society of diverse religions and their adherents of good will, a shared place also for cartoonists, mindful of the thawt that launches the Book of Psalms. Please note Psalm 1 (verse 1):


"Blessed is the man

who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked

or stand in the way of sinners

or sit in the seat of mockers."

I don't think this verse rules out the full development of personal vocations to gifted people as cartoonists, satirists, and ironists; but reflection on it should give Judaists, Christians and Muslims pause as they put their pen to the piece of paper before them each day and awaiting that first line to be drawn. As in so many vocations of cultural service, there's an existential moment for the person of conscience – secularists and atheists too! - Owlb


 
Wednesday, March 22, 2006
  Pisteutics: Conversion: Death a 'clash of civilizations' proof, right to convert & proselytize a human basic
Abdul Rahman, the Afghan convert to Christ turned over to Sharia judges who themselves have little leeway (given their juridic sources), and perhaps have even less courage to break with the Muslim rule requiring the death penalty for turning one's back on Mohammed's "revelation," cannot deter the USA, Canada, and our other NATO allies from pursuing the total defeat of the Taliban and Al-Quaeda in that country. At the same time, however, the irony of fiting to preserve the beginning of Afghan democracy when the country's extensive Sharia-bondage leads a family to turn one of its own members over to authorities to face the death penalty for converting away from the family's Islamic faith, cannot be lost on any of us. Remember, there are Christians among the Canucks and Yanks and other coalition forces. There are atheists too among our combined forces there, we may presume. No one escapes from the irony, especially Mr Rahman, a fellow believer in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Afghanistan has a way out, as I understand the matter. Its legislature can pass a civil law which stays/stops all Sharia trials for apostacy from the state religion and conversion to another–while asserting the inviolable right to convert, to proselytize under certain conditions without penalty, and to be free of coercion, either to remain adherent to or to become nonadherent to one's original religion–precisely in order to adopt another, including even a secularist one (anti-religion ideologies which thereby become religions of their own).

There's no way thru the present situation without inflaming a significant part of the Afghan and worldwide Islamic population. And already people of many religions, certainly Christians in North America are inflamed and are tempted to swing into Islamophobia of a worse kind than already prevails.

Our first duty, I think, is to pray for Brother Abdul, that the Lord may show himself in a very close way to this witness for the faith, and strengthen him for the ordeal (including the inevitable publicity now), and the possiblity of a trial in which Sharia itself will be on trial. And our second duty in North America is to write, email, fax and visit our legislators and to participate in mass demonstrations if they're called on this continent, demos on Mr Rahman's behalf (all those of us able to participate). Most important: we must let Prime Minister Harper and Foreign Minister MacKay in Canada, and President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice know that only a forthright affirmation of the right to convert and, under certain conditions, to prozelytize is acceptable. Otherwise, there is no end to the clash of civilizations between the West and Islam; in such an instance we should prepare for a Hundred-Years War.

Maverick rightwing Christian blogger LaShawn Barber has fumed furiously on this subject matter, and has drawn an inpour of sometimes furious but always supportive responses. Hat Tip to her and to Christopher Taylor for his comment on LaShawn's blog, regarding the legal situation in Afghanistan:

This case is actually a test, to see if the legislature is willing to pass a law protecting people who believe in faiths other than Islam. The constitution of Afghanistan recognizes Islam as the official state religion (dated I know, but at least it’s a step forward from what was before). It states explicitly, from what I understand (I don’t read their languages) that Islamic Law is followed unless there are state laws that say differently.

So Afghanistan has a choice: pass a law protecting people’s freedom of religion, or slide slowly and brutally back into the 14th century. The choice is theirs, thanks to the coalition led by President Bush. Let us pray and hope that they choose wisely. [Comment #42]

Sad to say, I think a lot of Christians are going to get this matter terribly wrong–more railing aganst Islam and Sharia, and Afghanistan and its government, and President Bush and Prime Minister Harper (the latter Western leaders for urging us to support our troops there rather than bringing them home with a snap of the fingers. Prayer, patience, diplomacy, and pursuit of the War against Terrorism on all fronts against all obstacles is our best counsel at this very critical moment, meanwhile showing also our respect for everything good in Muslim life and culture. - Politicarp
 
Monday, March 20, 2006
  Turkey: EU Membershp: Accession to EU blocked by Turk intransigence on culture, education, particularly Christian education
The closure in 1971 and refusal to allow to reopen the only institution of Christian h+er learning in Turkey, has become a metaphor for Turk intransigence toward historically-Christian Europe and for freedom of religion in Turkey today. Tho Europe is now a post-Christian society, and tho it has strong secularist and atheist power-hegemonic structures and cultural forces (typified these days by Mohammed-mocking-cartoons publisher, the Danish Jyllands-Posten newspaper), Europe in an often-inconsistent way still seeks to maintain religious freedom - from which many religions - including numerous Christian groups, observing-believing Judaic faith-formations, and Muslim denominations - benefit far beyond the status quo in "secular" Turkey.
The institution in question is the historic theological seminary of Turkey's main Christian denominaton which is headed by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, which on the negative side unfortunately does not offer Eucharists in Turkish but which has undergone numerous episodes of severe oppression since Turkey became a "secular" state, and whose Christian people exist in a precarious state of dhimmitude (classical subservience to Islam, masked in Turkey as a second-classs citizenship to the "secular" state). These Christian Turkish citizens are not at all equal to the status of the mainstream Turkish Muslims who constitute the approved "seculars" - or laîques, to use the evasive French term, with its model of state secularism whereby Muslim girls are forbidden to wear a headscarf in school (to understand the history of the French school policy, see Thomas McIntire - again even while Turkey styles itself a "secular state" and imposes its Muslim-tinted "secularism" with its mainstream-Muslim tint, a mainstream that suppresses even some peacful Muslim sects [for a soporific presentation of the government stance, see the site honouring Moustafa Kemal Ataturk (1881-1938)], founder of what seems like French-style totalitarian religion of secularism, instead of pluralism. A secularity that interconnects with pluralism, instead of suppressing every form of traditional religion except that elevated by the state, could accomodate by the several Islamic denominations that firmly disavow violence and Turkey's religious minorities, including the Christian Orthodoxy of the Ecumenical Patriarchate.
In Turkish Daily News, Fatma Dimirelli reports, "Political criteria: Finished or unfinished job? (Mar19,2k6):
The EU norms require the unanimous vote of all [EU] member states in opening and closing of all chapters [of the statutory regulations for accession to EU membership], giving each state the power to effectively block the negotiations citing a concern on the level of Turkey's compliance with the political criteria.
A reference to political criteria in connection with the chapter on education and culture, for example, may be expected to raise such sensitive issues as the opening of a Greek Orthodox seminary near Istanbul, closed since 1971, or education in Kurdish.
EU officials, on the other hand, admit that such a reference could be used as an instrument by those who oppose Turkey's membership in the EU, but even those who do not want to see the reference to political criteria in the letter say the process is as political as it is a technical one.
"In principle, there should be no problem here because there is nothing new to the whole process. The accession process to the EU is by far not only a technical process," Ambassador Hansjoerg Kretschmer, head of the Delegation of the EU Commission to Turkey, told Turkish Daily News. "There is a lot of technical work to be done, and the bulk of the work in fact is technical. That's certainly correct. But this is a political process apart from that."
He added, "Government knows very well that we are still quite a long distance away from the complete fulfillment of the political criteria."
Interestingly, in a disturbing way, the Greek news source online, Reporter.gr, essentially rewrites Fatma Dimirelli's article but strategically omits her reference to the Greek Orthodox Christian theological seminary on the island of Halki (Heybeliada). Cut from the English-languge Reporter.gr, nevertheless the Greek-language η θεολγικη σχολη τησ χαλκησ carries a most significant snippet in English:
Although in October 2005 [Turkey's] Minister for Education noted that he was opposed to the continued closure of the Greek Orthodox Halki (Heybeliada) seminary, which has been closed since 1971, no steps have yet been taken to facilitate its reopening». “
One can't help but speculate that the Education Minister's stance suggests that the Turkish Prime Minister and Cabinet are using the very possiblity of allowing the Christians to reopen their Halki Seminary, without which the Orthodox Christians have no means of training future priests (since priests must be of Turkish nationality and study in Turkey, according to government rules), is itself a bargaining chip to force Greece and the EU to pressure effectively its member Greek-speaking Cyprus to agree to the re-integration of Turk Cyprus into one unitary secular state. In other words, the problem for reopening Halki Seminary may be the intransigence of Greek-speaking Cyprus.
refWrite supports the fair and minority-protective unification of Cyprus, the reopening of Halki Seminary, the turning over of Holy Wisdom ('αγια σοφια ) Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Istanbul to the Patriarch (whose community is the true owner), and the protection thereof by the Turk "secular" state. The catherdral goes all the way back to the Byzantine Christan Empire and was forcibly alienated from the administration of the Patriarchate upon the Muslim conquest. The moves again advocated by refWrite could help the Turkish tourist industry by the subsequent influx of Christian pilgrims and tourisists annually. It would lead to the urban redevelopment and revitalization of that section of Istanbul where the Cathedral is now used as a storage wharehouse. Such a return of the Cathedral after all these centuries, besides being a magnificent Turkish statement, would then be able to pay for any expenses of turning over and protecting the Cathedral, the Patriarchate, and Halki seminary. The Christian sites and institutions of Turkey do need special protection, as the 2004 blast that damaged Saint Gregorios church (a modest Istanbul substitute for the ancient Hagia Sophia Cathedral mentioned> so clearly demonstrates.
Istanbul, Turkey (Associated Press). - An explosion shattered windows at the seat of the spiritual leader of the world’s Orthodox Christians in Istanbul on Thursday [reported Oct8,2k4 in The National Herald] officials said. No one was injured.
The explosive device was placed on the roof of the church of St. Georgios where a similar device had been placed in 1997, a fact that has caused concern both to the Ecumenical Patriarchate and the authorities.
The Cathedral’s windows and the main building of the Patriarchate complex were shattered.
A terrorism police squad was investigating the cause of the blast, which came weeks after police clashed with hundreds of rock-throwing fanatic Turks who staged a protest outside the Patriarchate and burned an effigy of Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomaios I, whom far-right groups accuse of working against Turkish interests.
The Patriarchate has been the target of a number of small attacks in the past, which has worked against Turkish interests as they strive towards E.U. membership.
The explosion came one day after the E.U. agreed to open membership talks with predominantly Muslim Turkey, but called for humanitarian greater reforms, including expanding religious freedom and improving its treatment of non-Muslim minorities.
Many right-wing Turks are suspicious of the Patriarchate because of its close ties with Greece, and also strongly oppose Bartholomaios’ efforts to reopen an Orthodox seminary that Turkish authorities closed in 1971. Greek Orthodox say the school is crucial for the education of future leaders.
Members of Turkey’s government have expressed support for reopening the school as they push forward with the country’s bid to join the E.U.
Although few Greek Orthodox Christians remain in overwhelmingly Muslim Turkey, forced out years ago, the Patriarchate is still based in Constantinople (Istanbul). It dates from the Orthodox Greek Byzantine Empire, which collapsed when the Muslim Ottoman Turks conquered the city in 1453. Istanbul, then called and still referred to as Constantinople by Orthdox Christians, was the capital of the Byzantine Empire.
Bartholomaios has spiritual authority over the world’s 300 million Orthodox Christians.
Were Turkey able to deliver promptly on Halki Seminary and Hagia Sophia Cathedral, the Turk state's bid for EU membership would be h+ly likely to accelerate. It would also go a long way toward undoing Greek Cyprus' injustice to Turk Cyprus.
In closing, I must mention that one authority, Prof David Koyzis in his blog Notes from a Byzantine Calvinist has disagreed with refWrite on the importance of returning Hagia Sophia to the Ecumenical Patriachate in Istanbul. - Politicarp
 
Sunday, March 19, 2006
  Diplomacy: Iran & USA: Iran wants talks with America, a Kirschen cartoon
Iran wants to talk with Amrica (Mar17,2k6)
"Iran wants to talk with America"©YaakovKirschen (March 17, 2006)
The cartoon is republished here with the artist's permission.
 
Inkwell
various stuff from my thawt and life, word play and semiotic experiments, with Christian intent but in tension with culture of North America, both USA and Canada, both hither in Toronto and yon worldwide ...

Name:Owlb
Location:Toronto, Ontario, Canada

65 years old; retired. I'm an American who is some 30 years Permanent Resident in Canada. I love both countries.


Toronto: Subway Greater Toronto Area terrorist-thr...
Israel: Politics: Kadima win shaky, tied to coalit...
Satire: Irony: Kirschner designs howler, offers Sh...
Pisteutics: Conversion: Death a 'clash of civiliza...
Turkey: EU Membershp: Accession to EU blocked by T...
Diplomacy: Iran & USA: Iran wants talks with Ameri...
Denmark: Historian's augury: R Plat blogs historic...
Ethnoreligious roots: St Pat: Irish all over the w...
Intelligence: Juridics: Libby launches contretemps...
Politics: UN Security Council: China & Russia stop...

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