Archive for the ‘HUMAN RIGHTS’ Tag

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: PROPAGANDIST SUGGESTS TRADE DEAL WITH ISIS TO SHAME BRITAIN’S DOING DEALS WITH CHINA – PERSPECTIVE IS EVERYTHING – CHINA’S RECORD VERSUS BRITISH AND AMERICAN AND ISRAELI HUMAN RIGHTS HORRORS   Leave a comment

John Chuckman

EXPANSION OF COMMENTS POSTED TO AN ARTICLE IN THE INDEPENDENT

Mark Steel is just a second-rate propagandist.

Of course, China has its flaws, and some serious ones.

But perspective is everything.

After all, let’s not forget that Britain did help mightily in killing about a million people in Iraq, the creation of a couple of million miserable refugees, and the destruction of large parts of an advanced society for generations.

And Britain happily supports America’s horror in Syria, the letting-loose of tens of thousands of well-equipped cutthroats in an effort to destroy a beautiful land.

I haven’t heard any public cries from Downing Street over the Saudi terror campaign in Yemen, including the use of cluster bombs on civilians. Perhaps I missed something?

No, I don’t think I did. There was nothing either about all the Saudi beheadings and a sentence of crucifixion either. But there was a huge secret arms sale and a project for building prisons in one of the world’s great tyrannies.

Please, stuff like this of Mr. Steel’s is just clap-trap. I doubt very much he raised his voice on such other atrocities as Israel’s murderous abuse of several million Palestinians for half a century. This remains the world’s single greatest example of a complete squashing of human rights and decency: the Palestinians have no votes, no rights, no future, and they can’t even enjoy their homes and farms with any security. Again, that is a matter about which we never hear from good old David or Mr. Steel for that matter.

After all, for David to do so, even slightly, would seriously harm relations with Rupert Murdoch, a man, by the way, whose British publishing empire was built in part on hacking the intimate telephone conversations of hundreds of unfortunate people, including victims of violent crime. To say nothing of casting a pall over those delightful country weekends with Rupert’s designated creature in Britain, red-haired bombshell Rebekah Brooks

Interesting, despite China’s shortcomings in human rights, it has pretty well lived in peace with its neighbors for its entire modern existence.

That certainly cannot be said of the United States or its colony in the Middle East, the two most dangerous states in the modern world, both of whom get David’s unlimited support and affection.

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America has given us nothing but wars and coups and “interventions” since the end of the Second World War. The toll of their attempts to control the planet, including such glorious episodes as the Vietnam War, has been literally as many people killed – mostly civilian, as is the case in all modern war – as were killed in the Holocaust.

Three million victims just in Vietnam, another million in Iraq, a million in Cambodia, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Somalia, Chile, Guatemala, and on and on.

Israel, America’s colony in the Middle East, has behaved as a miniature replica of the mother country. It has done nothing but kill and suppress people for 65 years, having invaded every neighbor that it has, many of them two or three times.

I don’t see how anyone can write what Mark Steel writes without being entirely ignorant of modern history or deliberately ignoring it. In either case, the result is not worth publishing.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: ISRAELI COURT THROWS OUT SUIT OF RACHEL CORRIE’S PARENTS – WHO EXPECTS JUSTICE FROM COURTS RESEMBLING STALIN’S?   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Israeli courts speak with just about the same sense of justice legitimacy as did the United States Supreme Court in the 1850s, a court that never saw a case of slavery or abuse of slaves that it didn’t think was just fine.

The legal apparatus of Israel serves as a big dumb show almost like Stalin’s courts.

How else do you explain murders being fine?

Theft being fine?

Abuse being fine?

Arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment being fine?

And a systematic race-oriented bias to all the activities and policies of government?

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE MYTH OF CHINA’S RELIGIOUS INTOLERANCE   Leave a comment

 

 

 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSES TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

‘”Human rights” is a Western concept that has no importance or meaning in Chinese thought.

‘Or in Islam, for that matter.’

Only partly right, and more wrong than right.

“Human rights” is a modern concept, having no long history in Europe.

Every state which reaches general prosperity and modernity comes to gradually embrace the concept.

Even in a place like Saudi Arabia, there is a growing implicit recognition.

So, too, China.

It took Europe a very long time to evolve the concept, through centuries of absolutism and religious violence.

The United States borrowed all the concepts in its founding documents from Europe, but it was a very long time until it lived up to them.

Dr. Johnson talked contemptuously of “drivers of negroes speaking of liberty!”

And we see today that ignorant fear, re-inforced by government’s special interests, can start making what we thought were well-established freedoms start disappearing under ghastly legislation like The Patriot Act.

Again, where is the concern for rights in a place like Israel with its 4.5 million people with no rights whatsoever and suffering constant abuse?
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The person writing this is simply ignorant of China.

China is not intolerant of religion.

Religion often in the past – as the Catholic Church of the sixteenth century – has been used by outsiders as a means of gaining power in a state.

The Chinese understand this, and much like French kings or Henry VIII’s England, they are against such efforts.

Outfits like Folun Gang fall into this category.

While I’m sure it has some sincere followers, the organization unquestionably has been driven by secret CIA funding.

And if we are going to speak of religious intolerance, may I remind you that the United States has virtually declared war on Islam, the religion of more than a billion people?

It murders literally thousands in Afghanistan and, with its drones, in Pakistan and Somalia and other places.

And not one of its victims was involved in 9/11.

Saudis, the folks helping engineer the violence in Syria, very much were.

And what of Israel’s 4.5 million victims, the Palestinians, people of many faiths actually, including significant numbers of Christians?

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: DAVID CAMERON BRAVELY REJECTS BUSH’S USE OF TORTURE – JANET DALEY DEFENDS WHAT CANNOT BE DEFENDED – PLUS A SUMMARY OF BUSH’S SHABBY CHARACTER   Leave a comment


 

JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JANET DALEY IN THE TELEGRAPH

“David Cameron’s repudiation of George Bush’s policy on waterboarding is logically flawed, argues Janet Daley. “

Pure logic does not apply to such matters, rather they intimately involve democratic and human values and just plain human decency.

Western society has struggled for centuries to reach the point where we even question such acts. We endured inquisitions and terrors and the rack and countless other ingenious and malevolent engines of human cruelty to reach our enlightened state. Overcoming our nasty chimpanzee origins and creating societies of just laws have been no small feats and represent our greatest achievements.

Crude people like George Bush or sophists like Janet Daley willingly cast aside this advance of immense importance for no good reason.

I remind readers of just a few details Bush’s background. He happily sent scores of prisoners to their deaths by execution in Texas, including a woman whom he mocked in public over her plea for mercy. He said in Chicago, shortly after 9/11, that he had “won the trifecta,” knowing how polls soared for his administration which had been quite unpopular. A boyhood friend told us of one of young George’s great pleasures in life: stuffing lighted firecrackers into frogs and watching them blow up.

George Bush demonstrated in countless ways his lack of genuine regard for ethics, from his drunken abuse of family to his disappearing from his obligations in the Air National Guard, the institution which was his ticket in avoiding Vietnam, a ticket paid for through family influence.

Bush was in the driver’s seat for Abu Ghraib, and readers may not know that the worst excesses there have been suppressed. One of the world’s foremost investigative reporters, Seymour Hersh, told us that events included the raping of children and killing. Bush also gave us Guantanamo and the entire CIA international torture gulag which includes God-knows–what to this day in places like the secret facilities at Bagram Air Base and the unapproachable Diego Garcia.

Bush thought nothing of the Northern Alliance’s General Dostum taking 3,000 Taleban prisoners in the early days of the conflict in batches out to the dessert in sealed trucks to suffocate while American soldiers stood around picking their noses. He thought nothing of a child soldier of fifteen, who had been shot twice in the back by Americans, being sent to Guantanamo, contrary to all international agreements, to be tortured and kept out of contact with family or lawyers for years.

I remind readers too that George Bush gained office by vote fraud in Florida. He is a man of about as poor a set of ethics as you will find on the planet outside of some police states or prisons.

No, Janet Daley, you support what no decent person can support, an example of almost unparalleled creepiness in the leader of a modern democratic state.

Shame on you: there can never be a defense for torture.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE DREADFUL CASE OF SEAN BRUYEA – THE HARPER GOVERNMENT AND POLICE-STATE TACTICS   Leave a comment


JOHN CHUCKMAN

POSTED RESPONSE TO AN EDITORIAL IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

I have heard Sean Bruyea (a veteran and critic of Harper’s policies towards veterans) interviewed on CBC’s The Current.

He is a powerful and convincing speaker, intelligent and informed.

What government did in his case – his confidential medical files passed to hundreds of bureaucrats with summaries made suggesting they could be used to discredit him – is truly frightening, the most atrocious activity I can recall in Canada in a long time.

Genuinely the stuff of a police state.

There is no defense for such behavior. It is beyond unacceptable.

The Globe, in this editorial, has joined the efforts to minimize what happened.

Just in terms of the Globe’s own past stuff about stigmas and mental illness, this is reprehensible.

In terms of human rights and democratic values, it is just destructive.

No one can defend this government behavior unless they desire Canada’s decline into a corrupt and backward place.

Shame on you.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: TORONTO’S GAY PRIDE PARADE AND THE ANTI-ISRAELI APARTHEID GROUP OF MARCHERS – A SAD ATTEMPT TO DEMONIZE THEM   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY JUDITH TIMSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

The only part of this piece worth reading is the way Judith Timson starts it with her and the kiddies having a gay old time at a past Pride Parade, describing it the way some suburban housewife might describe the family’s being at Disney World. She only left out Granny.

“The mood was celebratory on that early summer day as we stood shoulder to shoulder with a gay elementary-school vice-principal….”

Note the use of words like “celebratory” and “early summer day” to set a mood.

And don’t you just love the “shoulder to shoulder” bit, as though Ms. Timson were describing a World War II rally for Rosie the Riveter or describing her participation in a March on Selma Alabama in the 1950s?

This is a classic technique of the propagandist: it might be called the benign, fairy dream, and its purpose is merely to serve as a prop to be knocked over by what follows.

The insincerity here almost grips one like an unwanted waft of heavy cheap cologne.

Gay Pride’s history is not like that at all.

Anything resembling Ms. Timson’s fairy story is a very recent, rather sanitized occurrence. I lived in Toronto during the days of police raids and arbitrary arrests. And anyone knows, or should know, that the Pride Parade was early on treated in Toronto as a somewhat shameful, reluctantly-permitted event.

Much like the way Toronto always had, years ago, a grim King Billy Parade instead of a joyous St. Patrick’s Parade.

The point is that gay people have a history of fighting injustice and oppression, and many of them are still at it, and those latter are the ones who insisted on the right to express themselves on Israeli apartheid.

And I’m sorry, Ms. Timson, but the word “apartheid” is absolutely accurate. We have Nelson Mandela, Bishop Tutu and Jimmy Carter as just some of our star witnesses for the state of affairs in Israel, all honourable men with an intimate understanding of injustice and abuse, Jimmy Carter, by the way, having been labelled an anti-Semite in Israel for stating the plain truth.

Once Jews very much shared that quality we see in many gays, ready to defend the downtrodden, but today it does seem a majority of them serve as apologists for abuse and injustice and killing instead, just so long as the abuse and injustice and killing are done by Israel.

This is a shameful column, written to defend the indefensible, but I’m thankful there are a lot of others, brave gay people in Toronto, ready to stand both for free speech and against oppression.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: MORE NEO-CON NONSENSE FROM DAVID BERCUSON – IGNATIEFF AND THE LIBERAL PARTY AND FOREIGN POLICY   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY DAVID BERCUSON IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

Silly David Bercuson is at it again.

“Ignatieff needs to rein in Dosanjh and Rae to restore sense to his party’s defence policies.”

Actually I think the Globe needs to rein in David Bercuson to restore sense to its op-ed page
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Ignatieff will never be elected prime minister no matter what he does or doesn’t do.

And Harper will never receive a majority.

So Canada remains stuck in a political twilight zone, and we receive only disingenuous advice from the neo-cons like David Bercuson.

The truth is that Harper has violated many traditional and fair-minded principles in our foreign policy, his absolutely outrageous comments about Israel being a prime example.

But we have no one else to turn to right now.

Ignatieff has a record as a man of no principles: support for the killing of a million people in Iraq, support for torture, opportunistic return home, opportunistic parachuting into riding, and opportunistic parachuting into the party leadership.

But that kind of record is just fine with the David Bercusons of this world.

Dosanjh and Rae, for all their faults, are two of the most intelligent, thoughtful, and well-informed national politicians we have.

Either of them beats Ignatieff in eloquence. Either beats Ignatieff in dedication to human rights.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: IGNATIEFF: CAN YOU TRUST THIS GUY?   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY DENIS SMITH IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAIL

‘“Can I trust this guy?” And he hasn’t given us the answer.’

I disagree with that point in your otherwise excellent article, Denis Smith: he very much has given us the answer.

The truth is Ignatieff has always been a politician, and a rather shallow one. Anyone who listened to him carefully years ago knows that.

Most importantly, Ignatieff’s stuff on human rights has always seemed more of a cocktail-party view than a bred-in-the-bone characteristic: it is precisely the kind of stage persona shallow politicians assume.

He reminds me of a rich blue-haired Boston matron attending a dazzling gala to benefit some cause somewhere out there in the third world. She doesn’t much care in about the nitty-gritty of the cause, and perhaps even knows little about it, but she is concerned with her reputation among a certain social set.

Ignatieff has always given us words with little or no substance, and different words to different audiences, nicely calculated to appeal to each with half truths.

I believe there is no center, no “there,” to Michael Ignatieff, and that has always been the case. His writing and lectures betray that. They are characterized by mannered ambiguity and not particularly insightful or exhibiting the thirst for justice.

The Liberal Party has made a terrible choice in Ignatieff, and it was not even a democratic choice.

The fact that he accepted the leadership in this fashion speaks volumes.

God, we desperately need a genuine leader, a person of eloquence and driving concern for justice. It is regrettable to have to say that Gilles Duceppe displays these characteristics immensely more than Harper or Ignatieff.

That great thumping political cretin, Harper, is shaming our country in a dozen ways, from handing out orders in Foreign Affairs to have the term “child soldier” not used to condemning the UN for deaths of observers in Lebanon murdered while bravely doing their jobs.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: THE HORRIBLE CASE OF MR. ABDELRAZIK LEFT STRANDED ABROAD AND TIME TO BRING HIM HOME   Leave a comment

JOHN CHUCKMAN
 
POSTED RESPONSE TO A COLUMN BY IRVING COTLER AND DAVID GROSSMAN IN TORONTO’S GLOBE AND MAILThe real story behind the government’s disgraceful treatment of Mr. Abdelrazik is our government abasing itself for fear of offending the least American sensitivity.

We know there are high-level Americans who have even the basic facts of 9/11 wrong – both the Homeland Security Secretary and Senator John McCain spoke foolishly only recently.

There has been in America generally a big head of steam and lack of clear thinking over the crime of 9/11, but we do not have to accommodate America’s every whim and myth in these affairs.

America’s head of steam is why they are in Afghanistan, and it is why we are there.

America’s head of steam is why we’ve left a boy to rot in Guantanamo.

America’s head of steam is why we’ve quietly cooperated in the transport and torture of several Canadians.

And America’s head of steam is why we are doing irrational things like no-fly lists and bio-metric records of visitors.

It is time to act responsibly on at least this one matter of human rights.

JOHN CHUCKMAN COMMENT: OLIVER KAMM’S INSANE CLAIM THAT BUSH HAS MADE THE WORLD A SAFER PLACE   Leave a comment

TWO POSTED RESPONSES TO A COLUMN IN THE GUARDIAN BY OLIVER KAMM
 
JOHN CHUCKMAN

Safer for whom, Oliver Kamm?

For the more than 600,000 murdered by Bush in Iraq?

For the tens of thousands murdered in Afghanistan, including the 3,000 prisoners who were driven out to the desert in vans to be suffocated?

For the thousands of prisoners of the CIA’s International Torture Gulag?

For the abused and tortured of Abu Ghraib?

For the abused and tortured of Guantanamo?

For the millions of lives shattered in Iraq, a place that once was on the cusp of modernity and prosperity?

This has to be the most breathtakingly dumb piece of writing I’ve seen in years
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Apart from my question of safer for whom, citing the piles of Bush victims, the world is not a safer place for many other reasons, Oliver Kamm.

First, suppression of human rights all over the Western world is no light thing. There is nothing ‘safe’ about living in a police state or a quasi-police state the U.S. has become under Bush. The Bill of Rights has virtually been suspended.

Second, people of Arabic origin or of Muslim beliefs are now routinely abused and insulted in many Western countries, especially in the United States.

Third, a wave of hatred and injustice is rippling through the Muslim world. That isn’t just going to go away. Bush’s approach has been the approach of Israel, which today remains a garrison state with no peace and defended by walls and brutality, a long-term untenable position, besides being a shining example of ethically-hollow behavior.

Fourth, Bush’s oppression and killing abroad have been closely paralleled by an almost unprecedented grant of license to Israel to behave as brutally and ruthlessly as it wishes towards Palestinians and other neighbors.

A genuinely horrible situation has grown up, and no open-minded person can possibly look at Israel’s wretched behavior in Gaza and in Lebanon and towards Syria without some revulsion. Nothing, absolutely nothing, Apartheid South Africa did has not been repeated by Israel towards its neighbors, and, of course, that includes infamous mass killings of poor blacks by South African troops and mass imprisonments with no rights or justice.

Fifth, Bush has also set aside the Geneva Conventions and other important international treaties, including that safeguarding the rights of child soldiers. No meaningful sense of safety comes from this arrogance.

He has practiced new bizarre doctrines, giving the example to other states to do the same in future, as, for example, pre-emptive strikes on suspects and high-tech assassinations. These provide another measure of the ‘Israelization’ of American policy. Imagine a world in which every state claims this philosophy?

What has happened overall in the world under Bush is a series of steps away from democratic principles. Even if America had the most vigorous and fair democracy, something that is demonstrably not the case, when its leaders decide the fates of so many others, its tiny group of electors (maybe 1% or less of the world’s people, taking into account many Americans do not even vote) effectively acts like an aristocracy vis-à-vis the rest of the world.

You cannot claim democratic values and behave this way. After all, the Communist Party of China rules more than a billion people with almost the same percentage of representation.

The United States and Israel have given democracy a bad name in much of the emerging world. After all, in the special limited sense they claim to be democratic, so was Apartheid South Africa or the American Confederacy or the Britain of George III.