Monday, July 20, 2009

Matt 24 watch, 85: understanding the mindset of the Iranian regime

CAUTION: Very disturbing material. (I would not normally circulate so saddening a bit of information, but we need to understand the mindset that we are now dealing with in Iran. given the known pattern of dubious executions of especially young girls [long term readers may recall an invitation to sign up to an international petition for blocking the execution of a young girl who defended herself and a young cousin from rape with a pocket knife and who in so doing happened to kill one of the assailants], the below is all too sadly credible. )


Mark Steyn gives us a link to a Jerusalem Post article that in turn gives a chilling insight into the mindset of the "justice" that the Iranian regime sees as being established globally by the Mahdi, through a reported interview with a member of the Basiji militia that was involved with the recent suppression of protests on the recently stolen election:

The Basiji member, who is married with children, spoke soon after his release by the Iranian authorities from detention. He had been held for the "crime" of having set free two Iranian teenagers - a 13-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl - who had been arrested during the disturbances that have followed the disputed June presidential elections.

"There have been many other police and members of the security forces arrested because they have shown leniency toward the protesters out on the streets, or released them from custody without consulting our superiors," he said . . . .

Returning to . . . his decision to set free the two teenage detainees, he said he "honestly" did not know why he had released them, a decision that led to his own arrest, "but I think it was because they were so young. They looked like children and I knew what would happen to them if they weren't released."

He said that while a man is deemed "responsible for his own actions at 13, for a woman it is 9," and that it was freeing the 15-year-old girl that "really got me in trouble.

"I was not mistreated or really interrogated while being detained," he said. "I was put in a tiny room and left alone. It was hard being isolated, so I spent most of my time praying and thinking about my wife and kids."

Nine is of course the age of Aisha, Mohammed's child-bride, when he took her from her dolls and consummated his arranged marriage with her, originally made when she was six.

However, sad as the above is, that is not what is truly chilling.

That comes out in an answer to a follow-up question:

Asked about his own role in the brutal crackdowns on the protesters, whether he had been beaten demonstrators and whether he regretted his actions, he answered evasively.

"I did not attack any of the rioters - and even if I had, it is my duty to follow orders," he began. "I don't have any regrets," he went on, "except for when I worked as a prison guard during my adolescence."

Explaining how he had come to join the volunteer Basiji forces, he said his mother had taken him to them.

When he was 16, "my mother took me to a Basiji station and begged them to take me under their wing because I had no one and nothing foreseeable in my future. My father was martyred during the war in Iraq and she did not want me to get hooked on drugs and become a street thug. I had no choice," he said.

He said he had been a highly regarded member of the force, and had so "impressed my superiors" that, at 18, "I was given the 'honor' to temporarily marry young girls before they were sentenced to death."

In the Islamic Republic it is illegal to execute a young woman, regardless of her crime, if she is a virgin, he explained. Therefore a "wedding" ceremony is conducted the night before the execution: The young girl is forced to have sexual intercourse with a prison guard - essentially raped by her "husband."

"I regret that, even though the marriages were legal," he said.

Why the regret, if the marriages were "legal?"

"Because," he went on, "I could tell that the girls were more afraid of their 'wedding' night than of the execution that awaited them in the morning. And they would always fight back, so we would have to put sleeping pills in their food. By morning the girls would have an empty expression; it seemed like they were ready or wanted to die.

"I remember hearing them cry and scream after [the rape] was over," he said. "I will never forget how this one girl clawed at her own face and neck with her finger nails afterwards. She had deep scratches all over her."

Nor is this merely an unsupported report via anonymous phone interview. Here is a corroborating report from, which explains the chilling theological reason for the execution eve rapes:

There are no accurate records of just how many men, women and girls were executed in the first years of the Revolution. There is a credible list of 14,028 names available and some sources claim figures of several tens of thousands, although these are not substantiated with names. According to a report published by the Organisation of Women Against Execution in Iran, at least 2,000 women were executed between June 1981 and 1990. They have been able to prepare a list containing 1,428 names. 187 of these women were under the age of 18, with 9 girls under the age of 13 and 14 between the ages of 45 to 70. The youngest girl executed was just 10 years old. Thirty two of these women were reported to have been pregnant at the time of their execution. Many of those executed were high school and college students . . . .

Under Revolutionary law, young girls who were sentenced to death could not be executed if they were still virgins. Thus, they were "married off" to Revolutionary Guards and prison officials in temporary marriages and then raped before their execution, to prevent them going to heaven. The Mullahs believed that these women were ungodly and did not deserve paradise in the next life and that if they were deprived of their virginity, it would ensure that they went to hell. Therefore, on the night prior to execution, the condemned girl was injected with a tranquilliser and then raped by her guard(s). After the execution, the religious judge at the prison would write out a marriage certificate and send it to the victim's family along with a box of sweets.

Similarly, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran ( Correspondence address: B.P. 18, 95430 Auvers-sur-Oise, France) reports in Women, Islam & Equality . . . Chapter Two - Prime Victim:

According to a "religious" decree, virgin women prisoners must as a rule be raped before their execution, "lest they go to Paradise." Therefore, the night before execution, a Guard rapes the condemned woman. After her execution, the religious judge at the prison writes out a marriage certificate and sends it to the victim's family, along with a box of sweets. In a written confession in January 1990, Sarmast Akhlaq Tabandeh, a senior Guards Corps interrogator, recounted one such case in Shiraz prison: "Flora Owrangi, an acquaintance of one of my friends was one such victim. The night before her execution, the resident mullah in the prison conducted a lottery among the members of the firing squads and prison officials to determine who would rape her. She was then forcibly injected with anesthesia ampoules, after which she was raped. The next day, after she was executed, the mullah in charge wrote a marriage certificate and the Guard who raped her took that along with a box of sweets to her parents."

In short, we must stretch our minds to understand a legal mentality that rationalises and "solves" a "legal" and "theological" problem under sacralised law -- making "sure" the executed go to hell (just imagine the further torment to the victims' families on receiving that sickening certificate and box of sweets) -- through in effect legalising rape under the "temporary marriage" provision of Islamic law.

Even, "rewarding" zealous job performance by the privilege of being the designated rapist who ensures that he to-be executed young girl goes to hell.

And, no wonder the victims of such psycho-spiritual and physical torture on the night before they are to be executed are plainly often reduced to near-catatonia or to clawing up themselves: they are not only being viciously violated under false colour of law, but believe they are being doomed to hell and can do nothing about it, even if they try to fight.

Perhaps even worse is this case, the execution of a "mentally incompetent girl, 16-year-old Ateqeh Rajabi on August 16, 2004, the vague charge "acts incompatible with chastity":

. . . informed sources revealed that Ms. Ateqeh was sentenced to death by the judge, a cleric, because during the "trial", she expressed outrage at the misogyny and injustice in the Islamic Republic and its Islam-based judicial system.

“The lower court judge was so incensed by her protestations that he personally put the noose around her neck after his decision had been upheld by the Supreme Court”, the sources reported.

Such a mentality will -- as events have shown us -- easily justify stealing an election and suppressing protest, punishing those who cannot find it in them to destroy the lives of children. The cold blooded sniping of a young girl simply standing on the streetside when a protest was underway suddenly makes a lot of sense.

And worse, much worse.


Ever so sad.

In short, we are in a far more dangerous world situation than we are wont to think as the Iranian regime clearly nears end-game in its campaign to acquire nuclear weapons.

It is time to face some very unwelcome facts, think and pray about even more unwelcome implications, and act decisively and determinedly in the face of growing danger.

Before it is too late. END

Friday, July 17, 2009

Matt 24 watch, 84: Iran issues as Ahmadinejad declares intent and as "first nukes" are now credibly six months out

In recent weeks, we have seen an evidently fraudulent re-election of Mr Ahmadinejad in Iran, leading to now suppressed street protests. Now, Mr Ahmadinejad has announced his current intent. According to a July 16, 2009 Reuters report:

TEHRAN (Reuters) - Newly re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday his next government "would bring down the global arrogance," signaling a tougher approach by Tehran toward the West after last month's disputed election.

Ahmadinejad, in his first provincial trip after the June 12 presidential vote, said Iran's enemies had tried to interfere and foment aggression in the country, referring to mass opposition protests against the official election result.

The hardline president, who often rails against the West, said the Islamic Republic wanted "logic and negotiations" but that Western powers had insulted the Iranian nation and should apologize.

Iranian leaders often refer to the United States and its allies as the "global arrogance."

"As soon as the new government is established, with power and authority, ten times more than before, it will enter the global scene and will bring down the global arrogance," he told a big crowd in the northeastern city of Mashhad.

"They should wait as a new wave of revolutionary thinking ... from the Iranian nation is on the way and we will not allow the arrogant (powers) to even have one night of good sleep," Ahmadinejad said, according to state broadcaster IRIB . . . .

He also voiced continued defiance in a row over Iran's disputed nuclear ambitions, saying major powers "will not be able to take away the smallest amount of Iran's rights."

Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful power purposes. Western countries suspect it is aimed at making bombs.

In a related development, a Ha'aretz report summarises a German intelligence assessment on Iran and nuclear weapons:

Iran is capable of assembling an atomic bomb within six months, German intelligence analysts told the German weekly newsmagazine Stern.

"If they want to, they will be able to set off a uranium bomb within six months," an analyst with Germany's intelligence service, Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), told the magazine.

German intelligence officials told Stern believe Iran has "mastered" every stage of uranium enrichment and that they have activated enough centrifuges to produce sufficient quantities of weapons-grade uranium for at least one atomic bomb.

"Nobody would have thought this possible some years ago," an intelligence official told Stern.

Israel's own Intelligence agencies are world class and have prioritised Iran as perhaps the most dangerous threat to Israel in the Middle East [no mean achievement in that neighbourhood!]. So, it is thus no surprise to see that in recent weeks, recently elected Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's administration has sent a Dolphin class submarine from the Mediterranean to the Red Sea (and back again) through Egypt's Suez Canal, and ten days later has now sent two of Israel's Saar class Missile Gunboats (which range up to Corvette -- small Destroyer -- size) through the same canal to the Red Sea.

When Mr Netanyahu's spokesman, Mark Regev, was asked about these developments, he responded: "It is not our policy to comment on such reports."

However, another Israeli official has been extensively quoted in the international media as saying:

"This is preparation that should be taken seriously. Israel is investing time in preparing itself for the complexity of an attack on Iran. These maneuvers are a message to Iran that Israel will follow up on its threats."

The original report in the London Times, continues:

It is believed that Israel’s missile-equipped submarines, and its fleet of advanced aircraft, could be used to strike at in excess of a dozen nuclear-related targets more than 800 miles from Israel . . . .

Two Israeli Saar class missile boats and a Dolphin class submarine have passed through Suez. Israel has six Dolphin-class submarines, three of which are widely believed to carry nuclear missiles.

Israel will also soon test an Arrow interceptor missile on a US missile range in the Pacific Ocean. The system is designed to defend Israel from ballistic missile attacks by Iran and Syria. Lieutenant-General Patrick O’Reilly, the director of the Pentagon’s Missile Defence Agency, said that Israel would test against a target with a range of more than 630 miles (1,000km) — too long for previous Arrow test sites in the eastern Mediterranean.

The Israeli air force, meanwhile, will send F16C fighter jets to participate in exercises at Nellis Air Force base in Nevada this month. Israeli C130 Hercules transport aircraft will also compete in the Rodeo 2009 competition at McChord Air Force base in Washington.

“It is not by chance that Israel is drilling long-range manoeuvres in a public way. This is not a secret operation. This is something that has been published and which will showcase Israel’s abilities,” said an Israeli defence official.

He added that in the past, Israel had run a number of covert long-range drills. A year ago, Israeli jets flew over Greece in one such drill, while in May, reports surfaced that Israeli air force aircraft were staging exercises over Gibraltar. An Israeli attack on a weapons convoy in Sudan bound for militants in the Gaza Strip earlier this year was also seen as a rehearsal for hitting moving convoys.

The exercises come at a time when Western diplomats are offering support for an Israeli strike on Iran in return for Israeli concessions on the formation of a Palestinian state.

If agreed it would make an Israeli strike on Iran realistic “within the year” said one British official.

Diplomats said that Israel had offered concessions on settlement policy, Palestinian land claims and issues with neighboring Arab states, to facilitate a possible strike on Iran.

Thus, with an Iranian existential threat hanging over it, Israel is being pressured to make concessions that on the history of events since the Oslo process began in 1993 are unlikely to give it peace with its Palestinian Arab neighbours.

And, on the subject of "concessions," one has to ask:

1] What more concession could Israel reasonably offer than was put on the table in 2000 -- half of Jerusalem, all of Temple Mount, 100% of Gaza, 97% of the W Bank (as a contiguous territory) with compensating territories elsewhere, a causeway linking the two zones, and US% 15 billion in aid -- and which was rejected outright by Arafat leading to the current cycle of war?

2] What does that imply about the likely nature of further "compromises" that now seem to be on the table?

Aaron Klein of WorldNetDaily adds that:

According to Israeli defense officials speaking to WND, the Dolphin was carrying out test drills. The officials said the submarine passed through the canal with permission from Egypt, even though the Egyptian government denied any permission was granted.

The Times today quoted an Israeli diplomat explaining the Jewish state has been bolstering its ties with certain Arab nations that are also threatened by Iran. The diplomat cited a "shared mutual distrust of Iran" between Israel and Egypt.

In a report denied by Netanyahu's office, the Times of London two weeks ago claimed Saudi Arabia would turn a blind eye to Israeli warplanes flying over the kingdom in any raid on Iran's nuclear sites.

The Times said Mossad director Meir Dagan had held secret talks with Saudi officials to discuss the possibility.

"The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of Israel and Saudi Arabia," the newspaper quoted a diplomatic source as saying.

Adding these up, it is clear that the Middle East is on the brink of a nuclear arms crisis, with an Israeli Missile and aircraft attack on the Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile infrastructure very likely within the year. (And in that context, given that Israel has been close to Georgia, which is just across the Caspian Sea from Iran, the recent Russian sabre-rattling about Georgia, following up from its recent invasion is probably not coincidental. For, in 1976, when Israel launched a hostage rescue mission against the terrorists holding a British Airways passenger aircraft in Entebbe Uganda, it did so in cooperation with then friendly Kenya.)

So, it seems the pessimistic assessment on the Iranian situation -- again -- has been the more correct one. In turn, this makes for sobering reading, given the close ties between the Iranian regime and the Chavez regime in Venezuela. (This last is not without relevance to the views of our region's leading opinion makers and the statements and actions of our Foreign Ministries.)

And, as the Middle east pot heats up to the most dangerous boil ever, we need to watch and pray; especially, for the peace of ever-contended for, claimed and counter-claimed Jerusalem. END

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Newswatch: Reported media clampdown in Honduras -- a troubling development

Nicholas Casey of The Wall Street Journal, in his July 3, 2009 article, "Honduras Takes Control of Some Media," has reported on a further explosive ingredient in the Honduras mix:
TEGUCIGALPA, Honduras -- Honduras's provisional government, while trying to persuade the international community that its overthrow of its president was democratic, is being criticized for taking control of a number of media outlets since the coup.

The country's Channel 36, run by a close associate of expelled Honduran President Manuel Zelaya, was shut down following Mr. Zelaya's ouster and remained off the air this week, with only a blank signal showing up on Honduran televisions.

Channel 8, a state-owned network that had also supported Mr. Zelaya, went off the air on Sunday and then returned with a new cast of anchors, largely delivering news friendly to the government's interim president, Roberto Micheletti.

Radio Globo, a network that spent much energy criticizing Mr. Micheletti before he took power, remains under military guard, according to its owner, Alejandro Villatoro. When it broadcast the first Honduran interview with Mr. Zelaya Wednesday from exile, in which he was addressed as "Mr. President," soldiers turned off the station's transmitter, Mr. Villatoro said.

Other outlets less closely allied with Mr. Zelaya said they had no complaints . . . .

Reporters Without Borders, an advocacy group for press freedom based in France, said Wednesday that some stations "have resumed broadcasting but their coverage of the coup is either closely controlled or nonexistent." It also said international news outlets including U.S.-based CNN and Venezuela's Telesur -- which is run by the government of Venezuela's Hugo Chávez and strongly supports Mr. Zelaya -- were no longer available on TV stations and could only be seen on the Internet.

In an interview late Thursday, the country's new interim president, Mr. Micheletti, said he had "not the slightest idea," about why soldiers had disrupted Mr. Zelaya's speech. But he said certain measures were necessary to prevent Hondurans from being incited to violence. A call to the Honduran National Telecommunications Commission seeking comment was not returned.

Now, in a de facto or declared state of emergency, it is normal for media to be restrained to a more than usual extent, in the interests of the public good; on the principle that one has no proper right to shout "Fire!" in a crowded theatre.

Also, while Reporters without Borders reports that CNN etc are not accessible on the broadcast networks, a commenter on the article claiming to be reporting from Honduras remarks:
People say that all we see in Honduras are local news telling us a biased story of the situation, but the media is not saying how CNN is basing most of their news from reporters of TELESUR, a news channel loyal to Chavez. I have been watching CNN since sunday afternoon, which was when electricity and TV were restored. People in Honduras are outraged by the constant news by CNN tellin[g] the international viewers that life and business are not being carried as usual and there has been misinformation inside the country. Totally false, why don't CNN reporters como [sic] to Honduras instead of depending on Telesur or other leftist reporters. Let them go into a restaurant and film how CNN news are being displayed all around We are tired of listening to CNN and CNN in Spanich [sic] portray lies about what's going on in Honduras . . .
It seems likely that CNN etc are accessible on Cable TV, which may be viewed in restaurants etc (as well as in the homes of those well enough off to subscribe -- and, Honduras is one of the poorest nations in the hemisphere) but is not currently extensively broadcast on over the air networks. Also, given that Telesur is Chavez-controlled [Chavez being no mean media manipulator . . . ], Mr Diaz's complaint just above on manipulative reporting that has been broadcast to the world as if it were objective reporting by CNN is not implausible.

As a relevant background note, it is worth looking at the Wikipedia article on Mr Zelaya and his presidency on the subject of media controversies:

On May 24, 2007, Zelaya ordered ten two-hour cadenas (mandatory government broadcasts) on all television and radio stations, "to counteract the misinformation of the news media."[17] The move, while legal, was fiercely criticized by the country's main journalists' union, and Zelaya was dubbed "authoritarian" by his opposition.[18] Ultimately, the broadcasts were scaled back to a one-hour program on the government's plans to expand telephone service, a half hour on new electrical power plants and a half-hour about government revenues. According to the University of New Mexico's electronic bulletin NotiCen, "Zelaya's contention that the media distort his efforts is not without merit," citing reports which gave the public the impression that murder rates were rising, when they actually fell by 3% in 2006.[17] Journalists who have criticized Zelaya's rule have been murdered and harassed.[19] Inter American Press Association (IAPA) and the United Nations criticized murders of journalists during Zelaya rule.[20] In 2008, The Organization of American States (OAS) accused Zelaya of imposing "subtle censorship" in Honduras. A study, "Censura sutil en Honduras: abuso de publicidad oficial y otras formas de censura indirecta", was released in September 2008.[21]

In short, the media situation in Honduras has long been in an unhealthy condition, with contentions over media rising to the level where reporters critical of Mr Zelaya seem to have been murdered in the line of service in the past several years. So, there is a complex and delicate situation with known potential for violence.

That does sound like a fairly crowded theatre.

On balance, then, some restrictions on media in a state of emergency are both inevitable and justifiable in the specific interests of public safety and security. Similarly, it is legitimate that a state-owned broadcast network would reflect the voice of the state (especially in a situation where there are other voices that have independent access to the airwaves). But, once that crosses the line to manipulating the public through suppression of legitimate opinion and reporting and/or intimidation of journalists, that would be going dangerously too far. Also, should restrictions be long extended or should they become clearly draconian, that would be a clear sign that the interim [de facto?] government is itself a threat to civil liberty.

In short, these are troubling developments, but as of yet they are not in themselves decisive.

Let us pray that wisdom, justice, truth and peace will prevail in Honduras, and let us learn from the developments of the past few days, that it is ever more clear that we cannot safely trust or take at face value the news and views in our media, or for that matter the statements and declarations of regional and international fora. END

Friday, July 03, 2009

Newswatch: a senior Honduran voice speaks on the "coup"

Octavio Sánchez, a lawyer, is a former presidential adviser (2002-05) and minister of culture (2005-06) of the Republic of Honduras.

He has just written a column, entitled "A 'coup' in Honduras? Nonsense," that appears in the July 2, 2009 Christian Science Monitor; and which begins:

Sometimes, the whole world prefers a lie to the truth. The White House, the United Nations, the Organization of American States, and much of the media have condemned the ouster of Honduran President Manuel Zelaya this past weekend as a coup d'état.

That is nonsense.

In fact, what happened here is nothing short of the triumph of the rule of law . . .

He takes time to explain, having first briefed on the background history and entrenched clauses of the Honduran Constitution:

Under our Constitution, what happened in Honduras this past Sunday? Soldiers arrested and sent out of the country a Honduran citizen who, the day before, through his own actions had stripped himself of the presidency.

These are the facts: On June 26, President Zelaya issued a decree ordering all government employees to take part in the "Public Opinion Poll to convene a National Constitutional Assembly." In doing so, Zelaya triggered a constitutional provision that automatically removed him from office.

Constitutional assemblies are convened to write new constitutions. When Zelaya published that decree to initiate an "opinion poll" about the possibility of convening a national assembly, he contravened the unchangeable articles of the Constitution that deal with the prohibition of reelecting a president and of extending his term. His actions showed intent.

Our Constitution takes such intent seriously. According to Article 239: "No citizen who has already served as head of the Executive Branch can be President or Vice-President. Whoever violates this law or proposes its reform [emphasis added [by the author]], as well as those that support such violation directly or indirectly, will immediately cease in their functions and will be unable to hold any public office for a period of 10 years."

Notice that the article speaks about intent and that it also says "immediately" – as in "instant," as in "no trial required," as in "no impeachment needed."

Continuismo – the tendency of heads of state to extend their rule indefinitely – has been the lifeblood of Latin America's authoritarian tradition. The Constitution's provision of instant sanction might sound draconian, but every Latin American democrat knows how much of a threat to our fragile democracies continuismo presents. In Latin America, chiefs of state have often been above the law. The instant sanction of the supreme law has successfully prevented the possibility of a new Honduran continuismo.

The Supreme Court and the attorney general ordered Zelaya's arrest for disobeying several court orders compelling him to obey the Constitution. He was detained and taken to Costa Rica. Why? Congress needed time to convene and remove him from office. With him inside the country that would have been impossible. This decision was taken by the 123 (of the 128) members of Congress present that day . . . [Emphases added]

This therefore confirms and fills out the picture from the previous newswatch article.

The Honduran Constitution is a bit drastic on the matter, but in the historical context, that is unfortunately understandable; and defiance of clauses -- much less, entrenched clauses -- of a Constitution is most plainly an action that points to lawlessness.

And, in the end, it is better that the rule of law be preserved than that any one man -- however popular or even effective -- continue in office in defiance of plain law. (We can always change the law if it proves unsatisfactory -- in this case by calling a proper constitutional convention under its terms; which is actually one of the particular points that was being defied by what now looks like former president Manuel Zelaya. But, on a lot of painful history, to restore respect for law once a precedent of defiance of law has been set, is not so easy.)

Such confirmatory news is of course of general interest for those of us who are concerned about our region.

But, more to the point, we now see a question of a widening gap between reality and the picture being painted for us by prominent international and regional statesmen and organisations, as well as by media houses. For, we have not heard of headlined complaints that the Honduran Constitution is defective through being overly drastic (which would be understandable and debatable); instead, from seemingly every quarter, we have been hearing the repeatedly headlined outright declaration of "fact" that a coup has taken place against Senor Zelaya and that Honduras is to be subjected to sanctions against a coup.

And that brings us right up against the theme for this blog that much of the news, views, and state-level declarations that so often fill our headlines across the Caribbean plainly cannot be safely taken at face value. With very serious implications for the question of the manipulation and deceiving of the nations. For, if half of a story on one matter can so easily be turned into what now appears to be a false picture on the nation of Honduras and those who have sought to preserve the rule of law there, creating a climate of unjust contempt and even hostility; what about the possibility that the same tactics may one day be deployed against us?

(That is, I am here applying he Golden Rule of Matt 7:12 by asking us to put ourselves in the shoes of those who have been -- on what now has to be viewed as credible evidence -- victimised by distorted and irresponsible reporting. How would we feel were we in their shoes? What would happen if such evidently irresponsible and unfair, imbalanced media coverage were to become routine? [This is Kant's approach: that which is immoral or unjust shows itself by the likely destructive consequences were it to spread unchecked across the community.] How, then should we pray? What, then, should we say and do?)

Not to mention, that the plainly unbalanced responses we have seen raise serious questions about the judgement, actions -- and perhaps even competence on international affairs -- of several regional and international statesmen, starting within Caricom, but extending to the OAS, the White House and even the UN.

Troubling questions in a dangerously turbulent time. END