Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Mid-Week Post

Twenty-four more days until Easter....
Nothing to do with Islam:

Last fall, counterterrorism agents trained their investigative crosshairs on a 33-year-old Pakistani man who had spent a decade residing in Toronto. Detectives secured the services of an undercover officer, and put him in place to win the target’s confidence.

During the course of the six-month probe, authorities allege that the globetrotting suspect made many incriminating admissions. He boasted of taking “weapons, combat and landmine training” in Libya, according to a synopsis. He even is alleged to have wanted to bring the undercover officer in on a scheme “to blow up the U.S. consulate and other buildings in the financial district in Toronto.”

The ultimate result of all these admissions? Not one single criminal charge.

Instead, the case has become a government bid to deport the man to his native Pakistan, on the grounds that he poses a potential security threat to Canada.

This is a relatively constrained legal approach to a sensational set of allegations. The strange case against Jahanzeb Malik, 33, came to light during a hearing on Wednesday. Dressed in an orange jumpsuit and sporting a thick black beard, he appeared via videolink from a jail in Lindsay, Ont., where he has been jailed since Monday.

During this first appearance, Mr. Malik kept his head lowered as he heard the charges. When he asked to speak, he was told he could not address the tribunal. His defence strategy is not known at this time.
Under Canada’s immigration laws, the government can kick out a non-citizen if authorities can prove that he or she might engage in acts of violence. “Mass destruction or possibly the loss of life would have been the result,” a government representative told the tribunal.

It’s not known why a criminal prosecution against Mr. Malik was not deemed to be viable. But authorities have released no information suggesting he took any concrete steps toward wreaking violence within Canada.

The tribunal did hear that he openly sympathized with jihadis. For example, Mr. Malik was said to have proudly shown the undercover officer the Islamic State’s infamous beheading videos. It’s also alleged that he claimed to have been in communications contact with Anwar al-Awlaki, the al-Qaeda suspect who was killed in Yemen by a 2011 U.S. Central Intelligence Agency drone strike.

After news of the case broke in Toronto, federal Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney spoke from Ottawa to laud federal agents for neutralizing a man who was said to be “promoting jihadi ideology.” And with that, the minister starting promoting the Conservative government’s 2015 Anti-Terrorism Act. This legislation would make it a criminal offence for anyone in Canada to openly glorify terrorism.

(Sidebar: any idiot can bang the drum for terrorism. What does it say about a government that already has the power to remove a dangerous individual and does not?)

 What took them so long and why should anyone listen?

Imam Syed Soharwardy and 37 other Muslim leaders from across the country have issued an Islamic edict called a fatwa against the militant group currently trying to attract supporters to its war in Syria and Iraq.

Soharwardy, the founder of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada, said Wednesday the Islamic State is violating Muslim law. As a result, the group and anyone supporting them, will no longer be considered to be Muslim.

"They have been excommunicated from the Muslim community and those who will join them — they should be excommunicated from the Muslim community and they cannot be considered as Muslims at all," said Soharwardy.

That's nice except there is no excommunication in the religion that preaches jihad, only apostasy, for which the punishment is death.

A verdict is expected in the trial of Chiheb Esseghaier and Raed Jasser:

The fate of two men accused of plotting to derail a passenger train travelling between Canada and the U.S. now rests in the hands of a jury.

Justice Michael Code spent three and a half days delivering nearly 300 pages of instructions to jurors in the case of Raed Jaser and Chiheb Esseghaier.

Jaser is facing four terror-related charges while Esseghaier is facing five. Not guilty pleas have been entered for both men.

Jaser’s lawyer has argued that the permanent resident of Palestinian descent was only feigning interest in the alleged terror plot as part of an elaborate con to extract money from his co-accused and an undercover FBI agent who befriended the men.

Esseghaier, a Tunisian national who was pursuing a PhD in Montreal when he was arrested in 2013, chose not to participate in his trial because he had wanted to be judged by the rules of the Qur’an.

Crown prosecutors argued that there was an “overwhelming” amount of evidence against the accused, and urged the jury to find them guilty on all counts.

This woman is an accomplished liar:

Hillary Clinton admitted today that the whole time she was Secretary of State, she never used a secure government email address.

Instead, she used a private server out of her home. ...

Unless Japan and South Korea are willing to nuclearise, I'd say little will be resolved:

The foreign ministers of South Korea, Japan and China are preparing to meet this month for their first talks in nearly three years in a bid to resolve tensions over Japan's wartime past and discuss a trilateral summit.

Japanese media reported that the foreign ministers would likely meet in Seoul on March 21 and 22. South Korea said a ministers' meeting is planned for this month, without confirming the dates.

"If the trilateral foreign ministers’ meeting is held soon, it will undoubtedly give us the opportunity to re-establish the groundwork for trust-building and common prosperity," South Korea's deputy foreign minister Lee Kyung-soo said.

Forget the Dokdo Islands. Start asking China how far its waters extend.

How curious:

Ezra Levant and Sen. Mike Duffy have appeared on each other's talk shows over the years — now they'll both be featured in one of the year's most-watched courtroom dramas.

Levant, the provocative political commentator formerly of Sun News, has been subpoenaed to testify at Duffy's upcoming fraud and bribery trial.

Levant confirmed to The Canadian Press that he's been summoned as a Crown witness for the case that begins in an Ottawa court April 7.

Levant, also a lawyer and columnist, said he wrote "a couple" of speeches for Duffy five or six years ago. He declined to comment on the subject matter of the speeches.

"...Out of respect for the court I don't propose to give my testimony in advance," Levant said an email.
Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador from Sweden, widening a diplomatic rift between two countries with sharply contrasting views on everything from women's rights to criminal justice.
The move comes after Sweden refused to renew a 10-year-old weapons deal with Saudi Arabia and the Saudis blocked the Swedish foreign minister from giving a speech to the Arab League.

Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Gabriel Wernstedt said Wednesday that the Saudis were recalling their ambassador because of "Sweden's criticism regarding human rights and democracy" in the ultra-conservative kingdom.

The official Saudi Press Agency reported that the Saudi Foreign Ministry recalled its diplomat because it considered remarks by Sweden's foreign minister about the kingdom as "blatant interference it its internal affairs."

Sweden, one of Europe's most egalitarian and secular countries, has little in common with deeply religious Saudi Arabia. Yet the countries have previously had friendly relations and Saudi Arabia has been one of the Middle East's biggest buyers of Swedish arms exports.
Environment Canada statistics confirm what Canucks felt in their frozen bones — this winter has been a brutal beating from Mother Nature.

There are reports that the snow banks in Moncton, N.B. are three storeys high.

Three. Storeys. ...

NASA kindly pointed out on Jan. 8 that it was warmer in the Gale Crater on Mars than it was throughout much of Canada, and there was one day in January that Ottawa was the coldest capital city on Earth — colder than Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, and Moscow, Russia.

Niagara Falls froze. ...
A blocked jet stream that created a ridge of mild temperatures over B.C. and the Yukon became a trough over the East.
 While the West Coast enjoyed seasonal temperatures 4-5°C above normal and the Yukon and western Alberta 3-4°C above, Ontario and provinces further east were stuck under a mass of cold air that, like a bad dinner guest, showed up early, empty-handed, and left late.

This winter wallop for Ontario and Quebec comes on the heels of last winter, which bore the dubious honour of being the coldest in 35 years.

And while the mercury may have been a bit more merciful on the East Coast, residents of the Atlantic provinces were hit by a “relentless” series of snow storms.

“P.E.I. and southern Newfoundland got hit the hardest,” MacDonald said.

Those two provinces saw 2.5 times their normal amount of snow. New Brunswick and Nova Scotia had double.

The Maritimes on average saw 400-500 centimetres of the white stuff.
And now, twelve recipes that involve Cadbury creme eggs in some way.

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