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How To Deal With ISIS: Fighting Fire With A Fire Extinguisher

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My heart goes out to the victims of ISIS in the Paris attacks, in the Beirut attacks, and in the bombing of a Russian jet liner filled with over 200 vacationing Russians leaving Egypt. ISIS is indeed a clear and present danger and unrivaled since the 9/11 attacks in terms of its barbarous methods and willingness to kill innocent civilians in terror attacks.

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As tempting and visceral as it is to fight fire with fire in responding to ISIS’ barbarity, it is counter-productive to simply up the ante and bomb more of ISIS’ facilities in Syria and Iraq, or for the U.S. or France or Russia to send ground troops into Syria. We are already seeing predictable reports of civilian casualties from these massive bombardments of Raqqa, a Syrian city of 350,000, by France, Russia and the U.S.

We need a different approach.

We now have a clear record of U.S. and European military ‘solutions’ in the Middle East and Afghanistan in the last decade and a half: 1) we bombed and invaded Afghanistan in 2001 and that country is a mess with the Taliban now surging again; 2) we bombed and invaded Iraq in 2003, taking out Saddam and also countless civilians in the process, creating a power vacuum that allowed Al Qaeda in Iraq to flourish, leaving that country in a mess; 3) we bombed Libya in 2011, taking out Qaddafi and leaving that country in a mess with no viable power structure or functioning economy and we are now seeing ISIS spring up there as well as in nearby Mali; 4) we are now bombing Syria and Iraq (again) and exacerbating the mess that Syria already was in before we began bombing it.

These four countries are now major sources of instability and havens for groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda. Perhaps there’s a lesson here. Maybe military solutions aren’t actually solutions. Perhaps the kneejerk “I’ll hit you harder than you hit me and make you regret ever hitting me” approach isn’t the smart approach when it comes to fighting terrorism.

The hydra was a many-headed sea beast that guarded the entrance to the underworld in ancient Greek mythology. Hercules, the archetypal hero, was tasked with killing the hydra but he found upon cutting off one of its many heads that two heads grew back immediately where there had been one before, frustrating his efforts.

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The moral of the story: be careful how you attack one’s enemies because your tactics may breed more enemies.

The Origins of ISIS

It’s important, if we are to pursue more effective solutions to major problems like ISIS today, to look at how ISIS came into being and not repeat those mistakes. It turns out that we can trace the origins of ISIS directly to many U.S., Saudi, and European over-reaches and in some cases active efforts to support the most radical Islamist elements under the philosophy that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend.”

This is a complex debate, to be sure, but what is pretty clear is that the U.S. and our allies have time and again projected power and given billions of dollars in support without thinking through the consequences of our actions, including the possibility of “blowback”: when our former allies or partners in arms turn their sights on us.

There are three main events that led to ISIS becoming so strong, which I’ll focus on in this column: 1) U.S. support for radical Islamic groups in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s; 2) the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003; and 3) U.S. support for moderate and radical groups in Syria in the last few years. Other key factors that I won’t go into include U.S. support for various Arab dictators in recent decades and the resentment that has caused; the Israeli/Palestinian conflict; and, of course, the ongoing struggle between Shi’a and Sunni branches of Islam.

U.S. Support for Islamic Radicals in Afghanistan Led Directly to Al Qaeda’s Empowerment

It is little known but now widely accepted, based on declassified records and the statements of high-level officials in various administrations, that the U.S. actively supported radical Islamists (“mujahidin,” or those who fight in jihad, holy war) in Afghanistan before and after Russia invaded that country in 1979, under the philosophy that supporting such elements would help to tilt the pro-Soviet Afghan government away from the Soviet sphere of influence and would embroil the Soviets in a Vietnam-like quagmire.

Pres. Carter’s National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, stated in a 1998 interview published in the French newspaper Le Nouvel Observateur:

According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Lo and behold, there was a Soviet military invasion. The interview continued as follows, somewhat shockingly from today’s vantage point of a world in which Al Qaeda and ISIS have made regular headlines over the last 14 years:

Q: When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn’t believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don’t regret anything today?

B: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Q: Some stirred-up Moslems? But it has been said and repeated Islamic fundamentalism represents a world menace today.

B: Nonsense! It is said that the West had a global policy in regard to Islam. That is stupid. There isn’t a global Islam. Look at Islam in a rational manner and without demagoguery or emotion. It is the leading religion of the world with 1.5 billion followers. But what is there in common among Saudi Arabian fundamentalism, moderate Morocco, Pakistan militarism, Egyptian pro-Western or Central Asian secularism? Nothing more than what unites the Christian countries.

The CIA funneled billions of dollars (with a “b”) in aid to mujahidin in Afghanistan, from 1979 to 1989, as part of Operation Cyclone, through its partner, the Pakistani intelligence agency known as the ISI. The U.S. spent about $20 billion in total to fund the mujahadin in Afghanistan and related funding to Pakistan, as part of what came to be known as the Reagan Doctrine: the commitment to fund anti-Soviet groups around the world with little regard for the unintended consequences. This history is detailed in the 2015 book by Michael Springmann, Visas for Al Qaeda: CIA Handouts That Rocked the World: An Insider’s View and Peter Bergen’s 2001 book, Holy War Inc.

Charles G. Cogan, the C.I.A.’s operations chief for the Near East and South Asia from 1979 to 1984, stated in a 1994 interview with the New York Times after the 1993 World Trade Center bombings: “It’s quite a shock. The hypothesis that the mujahedeen would come to the United States and commit terrorist actions did not enter into our universe of thinking at the time. We were totally preoccupied with the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan. It is a significant unintended consequence.”

Part of the U.S. program involved the active training of mujahidin from Afghanistan. Springmann recounts (p. 79) how over 10,000 fighters were trained in U.S. facilities during the decade of support for the most radical elements in Afghanistan. So not only did we provide billions of dollars in funding, we also actively trained mujahidin in the arts of war and insurgency/terrorism.

There is no evidence that Osama Bin Laden received direct funding from the CIA or Pakistan’s ISI during this period, but it is apparent that he benefited directly from U.S. support and training for various mujahidin in Afghanistan during this time. Bin Laden created Al Qaeda, which is Arabic for “the database,” which, according to Robin Cook writing for The Guardian, originally referred to a list of mujahidin that the CIA supported and trained in Afghanistan.

The founder of ISIS, Abu al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian, set up a mujahidin training camp in Afghanistan with Al Qaeda funding in 1999 —a precursor to far more dangerous activities today in Syria and Iraq.

It is clear, then, that we have had a long history of fomenting and supporting radical Islamist efforts, based on the view that the benefits of the mujahidin on our side fighting the Soviets outweighed the potential downsides of such support.

The road from U.S. support of the mujahidin to the creation of Al Qaeda and the 9/11 attacks is fairly straightforward, but not of course the only factor, by far. Saudi Arabia’s support for mujahidin alongside U.S. support was also a large factor.

The U.S. Invasion of Iraq in 2003

The bigger mistake and tragedy was the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Former President Bush gave the order to invade Iraq in 2003, a country that had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Much of the world strongly opposed the invasion even though over time the coalition of countries, the “coalition of the willing,” involved militarily in Iraq grew to number in the dozens.

tamhunt-solarThe active war period and the toppling of Hussein was fairly brief, but the war to squelch remaining opposition in Iraq and to unite the major factions into a working government took many years. The widely-held view today is that the U.S. won the war but lost the peace by having no coherent plan to replace the power vacuum left by toppling the iron fist that was Hussein—our guy in that part of the world, until he wasn’t.

Many analyses, including records kept by the Pentagon, show that at least hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians were killed in the Iraqi war, and possibly over a million. Half a million Iraqis was at that time about two percent of the population, equivalent to over six million Americans being killed in terms of the equivalent percent of the U.S. population.

Al Qaeda in Iraq didn’t exist before the 2003 invasion. Zarqawi’s new group in Iraq, Monotheism and Jihad, joined Al Qaeda in 2004 and became “Al Qaeda in Iraq” or AQI. The marriage didn’t last long, however, and Zarqawi’s group split from Al Qaeda in 2006, shortly after Zarqawi’s death, due to many differences of opinion over strategy and tactics. This was the beginning of ISIS, the Islamic State. The two groups still communicated regularly, however, from 2006 until 2014, when the split became final, public and personal.

This history is recounted in William McCants’ 2015 book, The ISIS Apocalypse. ISIS distinguished itself in Iraq and Syria by being even more brutal than AQI and, as a consequence, seemed to attract even more eager martyrs to its battles in the Middle East.

It is also clear, then, that the misguided and illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a major factor in the creation and empowerment of ISIS.

Did the U.S. or its Allies Support Creation of the Islamic State in Syria?

The view of many commentators with respect to the situation in Syria is that the U.S. has been slow and cautious in taking action to quell the civil war that has been ongoing for four years now, with large parts of the Syrian population bearing the brunt for our inaction or cautious action. I suggest here that this view is way off. Rather, the U.S. and its allies have been actively involved in the Syrian civil war from the outset and have been supporting many opposition groups, including both moderate groups and radical groups.

A leaked 2012 memo from the Defense Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon’s own intelligence agency, stated in all capital letters: “THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME…”

The supporting powers are identified in the memo as the U.S., the Gulf States, and Turkey. ISIS, the Islamic State, is of course a Salafist state. Salafism is the hard-line version of Sunni Islam that ISIS follows, also known as Wahhabism, and also the variety of Islam that Saudi Arabia, a major U.S. ally, follows and actively exports where it can.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Major General Michael Flynn, head of the DIA when this memo was written, stated that the rise of ISIS was, in his opinion, a “willful decision” by the Obama administration:

Hasan: You are basically saying that even in government at the time you knew these groups were around, you saw this analysis, and you were arguing against it, but who wasn’t listening?

Flynn: I think the administration.

Hasan: So the administration turned a blind eye to your analysis?

Flynn: I don’t know that they turned a blind eye, I think it was a decision. I think it was a willful decision.

Hasan: A willful decision to support an insurgency that had Salafists, Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood?

Flynn: It was a willful decision to do what they’re doing.

I’ve had an interesting dialogue with Juan Cole, a Middle East expert at the University of Michigan, about what this memo really means. His view is that the U.S. never actually supported ISIS or the creation of a Salafist state, partly because the same memo warns about the consequences of this occurrence in terms of a possible breakup of Iraq. Rather, Cole’s view is that it was primarily a Saudi decision to support the Salafist state that became ISIS.

I agree that the memo is ambiguous and sketchy but it would not have been at all difficult for the memo to make the distinction that Cole believes is the reality about the supporting states’ support for ISIS. If it was mainly Saudi Arabia that supported the Islamic State’s creation as a bulwark against Assad, why wouldn’t the classified memo simply state this and explicitly warn against it?

Anyway, while it’s not clear at this time how much direct or indirect support the U.S. and its allies provided ISIS before it became ISIS, it is clear that at least some U.S. allies supported creation of a Salafist state in Syria as a bulwark against Assad (including in similar arguments put forward this week the neocon John Bolton, who wrote in the New York Times about his recommendations for the creation of a Sunni state in territory currently held by ISIS). That policy has now backfired in spectacular fashion.

These three sets of events—support for radical Islamists in Afghanistan in the 1970s and 1980s, the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and support for moderate and radical Islamists in Syria against Assad—are direct links in the chain that led to the Paris attacks, the Beirut attacks, and the bombing of the Russian jetliner in Egypt.

So before France, the U.S., and Russia go all-in in Syria, guns blazing, perhaps we need to have a larger discussion about how we got to the present mess.

Obama, to his credit, has thus far not given in to the kneejerk reaction to escalate the U.S. war in Syria and Iraq even further. He has resisted calls for boots on the ground and continues to maintain that the bombing campaign and covert actions on the ground are the best way to degrade and defeat ISIS. He said shortly after the Paris attacks: “The strategy that we are putting forward is the strategy that ultimately is going to work. It’s going to take time.”

So What Should We Be Doing?

A few words of caution are due in any attempt to interpret the abundance of information about large-scale world events and trends: one can, of course, find information to support many different stories about the rise of ISIS. I’ve tried to be objective in my analysis here but space prevents me from including the caveats that should accompany almost every conclusion about causal chains, and relevant links in those chains.

That said, my key point is that the U.S. and its allies have pursued a singularly militaristic focus over the last few decades, and at the same time a foolish long-time trend of supporting the most virulent Islamic groups when it was convenient to do so, ignoring the potential for blowback that is now quite predictable from such actions. Many aspects of this history are surely debatable, but this general pattern emerges quite clearly from any objective analysis of these events.

It’s time for a very different approach to combatting terrorism, one that leads with strong defense at home, accurate education about our history in the Middle East, a more humble foreign policy, and active efforts to put fires out rather than to strengthen existing fires in volatile regions of the world.

This means being diligent about security in our homelands, using a scalpel to remove the most dangerous elements in unstable regions like Syria and Iraq rather than massive military force, and doing what we can to slowly reduce and transform the radical ideologies that the U.S. and allies like Saudi Arabia have supported in various ways now for decades.

Hercules finally defeated the hydra not only by cutting off its heads but cauterizing the wounds so that no new heads could grow back. The non-military solutions I’m advocating here are our means for cauterizing the terrorist heads of ISIS and similar groups. And, better yet, we should focus on eliminating the conditions that have allowed extremist Islamic groups to flourish, stopping the hydra from rearing its ugly heads in the first place.

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Second FBI Informant Tried To Entrap Trump Campaign With $2 Million Offer For Hillary Dirt: Roger Stone

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Trump aide alleges that an FBI informant tried to spy on and infiltrate the campaign, and entrap them in a deal to exchange cash for Hillary intel.

  • Reflect On:

    If Trump was not an outsider, why was the Deep State so interested in spying and trying to infiltrate his campaign? What do we make of our election process when this is the type of behaviour taking place? Time to evolve?

We had been reporting a great deal during the 2016 campaign that if Hillary made her way into office it would have been the Deep State plan going to perfect tune once again. We talked about a great deal of corruption associated with her as a person, her foundation and her administration.

When Trump ended up in office we talked about this as a divide or fork in the Deep State that Trump was essentially disrupting the longtime running plan that had been going on for decades, as well as playing a key role in pushing for deeper reflections for humanity. This is why we see, for example, a full-on mainstream media barrage against Trump. The cabal is using their voices to attack and confuse the public about the ‘outsider’ that got his way in.

Now, as time goes on, more is being revealed about the shady nature of the 2016 election, as with any, and more is coming forward about not only the previous administration but Hillary’s campaign. We all know what they did to push Bernie Sanders out, the same was being done to Trump.

More Scandals

(Zerohedge) Now, Trump campaign aides Roger Stone and Michael Caputo say that a meeting Stone took in late May, 2016 with a Russian appears to have been an “FBI sting operation” in hindsight, following bombshell reports in May that the DOJ/FBI used a longtime FBI/CIA asset, Cambridge professor Stefan Halper, to perform espionage on the Trump campaign.

“When Stone arrived at the restaurant in Sunny Isles, he said, Greenberg was wearing a Make America Great Again T-shirt and hat. On his phone, Greenberg pulled up a photo of himself with Trump at a rally, Stone said. –WaPo”

The meeting went nowhere – ending after Stone told Greenberg “You don’t understand Donald Trump… He doesn’t pay for anything.” The Post independently confirmed this account with Greenberg.

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After the meeting, Stone received a text message from Caputo – a Trump campaign communications official who arranged the meeting after Greenberg approached Caputo’s Russian-immigrant business partner.

“How crazy is the Russian?” Caputo wrote according to a text message reviewed by The Post. Noting that Greenberg wanted “big” money, Stone replied: “waste of time.” -WaPo

Stone and Caputo now think the meeting was an FBI attempt to entrap the Trump administration – showing the Post evidence that Greenberg, who sometimes used the name Henry Oknyansky, “had provided information to the FBI for 17 years,” based on a 2015 court filing related to his immigration status.

He attached records showing that the government had granted him special permission to enter the United States because his presence represented a “significant public benefit.”

Between 2008 and 2012, the records show, he repeatedly was extended permission to enter the United States under a so-called “significant public benefit parole.” The documents list an FBI agent as a contact person. The agent declined to comment.

Greenberg did not respond to questions about his use of multiple names but said in a text that he had worked for the “federal government” for 17 years.

“I risked my life and put myself in danger to do so, as you can imagine,” he said. -WaPo

“Wherever I was, from Iran to North Korea, I always send information to” the FBI, Greenberg told The Post. “I cooperated with the FBI for 17 years, often put my life in danger. Based on my information, there are so many arrests criminal from drugs and human trafficking, money laundering and insurance frauds.”

Stone and Caputo say it was a “sting operation” by the FBI:

“I didn’t realize it was an FBI sting operation at the time, but it sure looks like one now,” said Stone.

“If you believe that [Greenberg] took time off from his long career as an FBI informant to reach out to us in his spare time, I have a bridge in Brooklyn that I want to sell you,” Caputo said in an interview.

Greenberg told WaPo he stopped working with the FBI “sometime after 2013.”

In terms of the timeline, here’s where the Greenberg meeting fits in:

April 26, 2016 – Maltese professor Joseph Mifsud allegedly tells Trump campaign aide George Paoadopoulos that the Russians had dirt on Hillary Clinton

Papadopoulos’ statement of offense also detailed his April 26, 2016, meeting with Mifsud at a London hotel. Over breakfast Mifsud told Papadopoulos “he had just returned from a trip to Moscow where he had met with high-level Russian governmental officials.” Mifsud explained, “that on that trip he (the Professor) learned that the Russians had obtained ‘dirt’ on then-candidate Clinton.” Mifsud told Papadopoulos “the Russians had emails of Clinton.” -The Federalist

May 10, 2016 – Papadopoulos tells former Australian Diplomat Alexander Downer during an alleged “drunken barroom admission” that the Russians had information which “could be damaging” to Hillary Clinton.

Late May, 2016 – Stone is approached by Greenberg with the $2 million offer for dirt on Clinton

Related CE Podcast: Trump, Alt News, & Disclosure W/ Jordan Sather

July 2016 – FBI informant (spy) Stefan Halper meets with Trump campaign aide Carter Page for the first time, which would be one of many encounters.

July 31, 2016 – the FBI officially launches operation Crossfire Hurricane, the code name given to the counterintelligence operation against the Trump campaign.

September 2016 – Halper invites Papadopoulos to London, paying him $3,000 to work on an energy policy paper while wining and dining him at a 200-year-old private London club on September 15.

Foggy memory

Stone and Caputo say they didn’t mention the meeting during Congressional testimony because they forgot, chalking it up to unimportant “due diligence.” Apparently, random offers for political dirt in exchange for millions are so common in D.C. that one tends to forget.

Stone and Caputo said in separate interviews that they also did not disclose the Greenberg meeting during testimony before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence because they had forgotten about an incident that Stone calls unimportant “due diligence” that would have been “political malpractice” not to explore. -WaPo

While Greenberg and Stone’s account of the meeting mostly checked out (after Greenberg initially denied Stone’s account), Greenberg said that a Ukrainian friend named “Alexi” who was fired by the Clinton Foundation attended as well, and was the one asking for the money – while Stone said Greenberg came alone to the meeting.

“We really want to help Trump,” Stone recalled Greenberg saying during the brief encounter.

Greenberg says he sat at a nearby table while Alexei conducted the meeting. “Alexei talks to Mr. Stone, not me,” he wrote.

The Clinton Founation has denied ever employing anyone with the first name of Alexi.

Caputo’s attorney on Friday sent a letter amending his House testimony, and he plans to present Caputo’s account of the Greenberg incident to the Office of Inspector General for the Department of Justice, which has announced it is examining the FBI’s use of informants during the Russia probe. Stone said his attorney has done the same. -WaPo

Second FBI informant

Caputo hinted at the interaction in late May when he said that there were multiple government informants who approached the Trump campaign:

“Let me tell you something that I know for a fact,” Caputo said during a May 21 interview on Fox News. “This informant, this person [who] they tried to plant into the campaign … he’s not the only person who came into the campaign. And the FBI is not the only Obama agency who came into the campaign.”

“I know because they came at me,” Caputo added. “And I’m looking for clearance from my attorney to reveal this to the public. This is just the beginning.”

Stone told the Post that he may be indicted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller and charged “with a crime unrelated to the election in order to silence him,” and that he anticipates the meeting with Greenberg may be used to try and pressure him to testify against President Trump (leaving no stone unturned), which he told the Post he would never do.

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Chilling “Before And After” Photos Of Libya Go Viral

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    A man takes pictures of Libya before and after post Hillary Clinton-NATO “liberation” of Libya. The reality is chilling.

  • Reflect On:

    What was the real reason Gadaffi was removed from power? Why was Hillary Clinton so proud of killing this man only to leave the country in devastation? Are we doing the right thing by supporting these politicians?

In the year 2000, a Libyan man took several photos of himself situated at various spots across the city of Benghazi, Libya. 18 years later, he recently revisited the exact same locations to take photos of the spectacular, beautiful human trafficking laden, NATO liberated mess of modern day Libya under the rule of the United Nation’s backed regime.

When we think about how western nations have gone into countries and destructed what they had, took over and ‘rebuilt’ as it’s often called, we have this image of something being done that is ‘right.’ What we don’t consider is all of the innocent people who are killed, the REAL reasons why western countries are looking to take over others, why they create, fund and aggressively push the idea of terrorism and so forth.

“Utter devastation” is how Libya is described today, after a coalition of over 19 countries and NATO took out the regime, in an incredible show of force that seems to resemble what they want to do to Syria or Iran today if you observe the pattern.

The man’s before and after photos have gone viral, with 50,000 retweets at least after being posted to an account that tends to feature other historical images of Libya while it was under the rule of the enemy of both Al Qaeda and the West, Gaddafi, between 1969 and 2011.

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Via Zerohedge…

It appears people do still care about Libya even if the political elites in Paris, London, and Washington who destroyed the country have moved on. Though we should recall that British foreign secretary Boris Johnson was caught on tape in a private meeting last year saying Libya was ripe for UK investment, but only after Libyans “clear the dead bodies away.”

We previously detailed in Libya’s Slave Auctions And African Genocide: What Hillary Knew how Libya went from being a stable, modernizing secular state to a hellhole of roving jihadist militias, warring rival governments, and open-air slave auctions of captured migrants.

Yet what the viral photos confirm is that Libya was once a place of sprawling hotels, wide and clean city streets, functioning infrastructure, and lively neighborhoods. But these very places are now bullet-ridden ruins rotting amidst the political backdrop of the ‘Mad Max’ style chaos unleashed immediately after US-NATO’s bombing the country into regime change.

Hillary still says that she has no regrets even after Obama timidly voiced a half-hearted and too-little-too-late Libya mea culpa of sorts in 2016.

Though Hillary’s beloved Libyan Al Qaeda …”rebels” — legitimized and empowered through broad support from the West — are now among the very militias hosting slave auctions and fueling the European refugee crisis, she’s never so much as hinted that regime change in Libya left the country and much of the region in shambles. Instead, she simply chose to conclude her role in the tragic story of Libya with her crazed and gleeful declaration of “we came, we saw, he died.”

Regime change enthusiasts everywhere please take note of what your blind jingoism has wrought.

A year before the NATO bombing of Libya the UN Development Programme (UNDP) assigned a Human Development Index (HDI) ranking of 53 to Libya (out of 169 countries ranked, Libya ranked highest on the African continent).

Right up until the eve of NATO’s air campaign against the Libyan state, international media outlets understood and acknowledged the country’s high human development rankings, though it later became inconvenient to present the empirical data. A February 2011 BBC report is a case in point.

The 2011 war and aftermath created a failed state with a once economically independent population now turned largely dependent on foreign aid and relief.

Currently considered to be at “emergency levels” of need, prior to NATO intervention Libya was not even on the World Food Program’s radar, yet is now considered a dire humanitarian disaster zone.

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Should Government Be ‘Protecting’ Gender Identity/Expression?

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Ontario's Bill 89 expanded the province's child welfare laws to include protection of a child's "gender identity and gender expression."

  • Reflect On:

    Is the ability of individuals in a society to respect and manage differences amongst one another something that is best fostered by mandated government oversight?

With any new legislation that increases the power of government over people–and what new legislation can you think of in recent history that does otherwise?—there is reason for concern and vigilance.

For example, a year ago the Ontario government passed Bill 89 into law. It was called the ‘Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act’ and was an update to the province’s child welfare laws, including child protective services, foster care, and adoption.

New ‘Protections’ For Gender Identity And Gender Expression

Of note was an update to the criteria for analyzing the wellbeing of a child to match the human rights code. These include “a child’s or young person’s race, ancestry, place of origin, colour, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.”

Yes, that’s right. The ‘protection’ of a child’s gender identity and gender expression is now in the hands of our ‘benevolent expert’ on everything under the sun—our government.

Foreboding Statement

The man who introduced the bill last year was Michael Coteau, Minister of Child and Family Services. His statements about the new protections for gender identity and expression certainly seems to challenge parents’ autonomy in making choices on behalf of their children:

“I would consider that a form of abuse, when a child identifies one way and a caregiver is saying no, you need to do this differently. If it’s abuse, and if it’s within the definition, a child can be removed from that environment and placed into protection where the abuse stops.”—MP Michael Coteau

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Bill 89 retains the provision in current law that a child who is suffering or “at risk of suffering” mental or emotional harm and whose parents do not provide “treatment or access to treatment” is in need of protection under the law.

Disturbing Hypotheticals

This information can lead to the contemplation of some disturbing possibilities. Let us say that your doctor, or teacher, believes that your 10-year old child is experiencing what the American Psychiatric Association has coined ‘Gender Dysphoria’, which they define as follows:

Gender dysphoria involves a conflict between a person’s physical or assigned gender and the gender with which he/she/they identify. People with gender dysphoria may be very uncomfortable with the gender they were assigned, sometimes described as being uncomfortable with their body (particularly developments during puberty) or being uncomfortable with the expected roles of their assigned gender.

People with gender dysphoria may often experience significant distress and/or problems functioning associated with this conflict between the way they feel and think of themselves (referred to as experienced or expressed gender) and their physical or assigned gender.

If the Ministry of Child and Family Services is made aware of signs of  ‘gender dysphoria’ on the part of your child, they have the right to ensure that a parent is taking what the ministry would consider ‘treatment or access to treatment’  that would mitigate the risk of suffering mental or emotional harm.

So then if individual human beings in the ministry, in their ever-expanding role of all-seeing and all-knowing authority on all things ‘children’, have decided to side with the notion held by some in the medical establishment that ‘puberty blockers’—pharmaceutical drugs designed to temporarily delay the onset of puberty—is appropriate ‘treatment’ for reducing the risk of the child suffering mental or emotional harm as a result of their ‘gender dysphoria,’ then, hypothetically, the ministry would have the power to take your 10-year old away from you unless you submit them to this drug ‘treatment’ program.

Big Leap

Certainly, this is a big hypothetical leap. There have been no cases resembling this in Ontario since the law was passed. Comments made by Akihito Tse from the Ontario Child’s Advocate Office made in this article appear to bring us back from the edge of the cliff:

Mere disagreement with a child about their gender identity or gender expression is not enough to bring the child into care. Instead, it has to be part of “a pattern of abuse, neglect or serious emotional harm” before removing the child can be considered, according to Akihito Tse, a spokesperson for the advocate’s office.

The reasons a child may require protection are laid out in section 74(2) of Bill 89. There is no specific reference to gender identity or gender expression, but if a child is suffering sexual, physical, or emotional abuse, including “serious” psychological effects, child welfare agencies may intervene.

As Tse noted, there is a high threshold for ever removing a child from their family, and the decision to take a young person into care cannot be made by government bureaucrats and child aid workers alone. “There is a clear process through which the final decision is made by a judge,” Tse said.

Stuck In The Left/Right Dichotomy

Perhaps, from a moderate and balanced perspective, there is no need for urgent and immediate concern. I say perhaps. In trying to examine the information on this subject on the internet, the moderate seeker is struck by an inescapable phenomena: the whole discussion (read: contentious battle) about the implications of government becoming the protector of a child’s gender rights is cast as the struggle between Far-Right Religious Conservatives fighting for their rights to raise their children in accordance with their dogmatic religious beliefs on gender, and Far-Left Liberals fighting for the radical breakdown of traditional societal order through the government-sponsored promotion of gender confusion and ambiguity–depending, of course, on which side you’re on.

In this landscape, it appears that there is no room for moderates—you know, those of us who don’t really care to identify with one of the polarities—to be part of the discussion. And that’s exactly the way our authority wants it. And by authority I don’t mean the government, I mean those who control the government.

To say that government overreach is at play here is not making a statement in favor of extreme right-wing agendas over extreme left-wing agendas. It is an observation that those powerful forces that control the government constantly fuel the fires of this polarity to exert more and more control over citizens. If we look back in history, it matters not which side of the spectrum is used to advance their agenda of control, as long as the battle between the polarities rages on to hide the influence of their hidden hand. And I do indeed believe that our authority has to some extent promoted and sponsored gender confusion in our society, doing so with absolute and complete disregard for the health and well-being of people who are transgender as well as an underlying disrespect for all individuals that make up our society.

A Moderate Perspective

I believe a moderate perspective on the matter of gender identity and expression focuses on the following points:

  • Physiologically there are 2 human genders: male and female
  • There are people who exist in our society that are not comfortable with their gender as denoted by their physiology
  • Some of these people identify with the gender opposite to the gender denoted by their physiology
  • Individuals have the right to choose to submit to treatments that modify or change aspects of their physiology when they reach a sufficient level of maturity to make informed decisions

As individuals, as a society, how should we deal with these facts? Through open dialogue and communication in search of truth; through a desire to share and to learn from each other as kindred souls; and with respect for differences between us and compassion about the impact of these differences in how we live together.

It is in bringing consciousness to bear in our personal lives and in the way we deal with others in our society that these matters are best handled. One important step is to join the growing number of people who have decided to dis-identify with either side of this fabricated extreme left/right polarity and promote open-minded and open-hearted discourse.

Related CE Podcast: Why We Get So Offended

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