Thursday, April 16, 2009

Robert Fisk, Snowblind in Mukluks, Again.

There are some merits in Fisk's observation that Arab Canadians are not kept safe from the long reach of intelligence agencies from Arab countries, but as usual, it all gets lost in a blizzard of Fiskesque innuendo, paranoia and general weirdness. Pondering why something he'd said during a speech in Ottawa had failed to elicit any applause, Fisk has a kind of epiphanic moment during a "long car journey . . . across the frozen tundra of Canada," by which he appears to mean the two-hour drive to Montreal when there's snow on the ground.

The last time he was in Canada, which he described then as “a country whose tundra wastes are known for their frozen desolation,” he had a similarly epiphanic moment. He was walking around in Toronto and had to take off his pullover because the weather was so strangely warm, thus inducing the insight that global climate change is really about depleted uranium and the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which is somehow made plain in the contents of a secret databank said to be locked away at the Aldermaston Atomic Weapons Establishment back in Blighty.

Either he should stay at home or get out more often. A list of the planet's tundra ecoregions is here.

Typical street scene in the Notre-Dame-de-Grâce district, Montreal:



Blogger Fred said...

Ahhhhhh Umminmaq.

Some good eating there.

11:44 AM  
Blogger J. Carter Wood said...

I'll be visiting Montreal soon, for a conference. It's good to know what kind of weather to prepare for.

Thanks so much.

But what does one wear to protect oneself against weird, paranoid blizzards?

12:53 PM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

The problem isn't just Fisk, it's Brits in general. Their ignorance of, and condescension towards, Canada are almost limitless.

The Times had the last resident British correspondent in Canada and his position was axed in the early 70s (I knew his daughter).

Let's face it we're of almost no significance to them. And just a bit more to the Americans, but only really in the restricted field of trade, plus defence to some extent--and these get very little public attention, cf. the Canadian side of the Detroit Three in the current crisis.

Back to the Brits. I'm almost finished Andrew Marr's lengthy and very good "A History of Modern Britain" (post WW II); Canada does not appear in the index, nor does Trudeau. But also no listing for Australia.


1:33 PM  
Blogger Will said...

"it's Brits in general."

wot a calumny piled upon a libel.

I challenge you to a dual.

There is no such thing as 'Brits in general' and there never has been.

Recant now or forever be reviled.

3:19 PM  
Blogger Fred said...

says a Londoner visiting Vancouver:

Question "So if I take the 4 O'clock bus, what time will I be in Toronto ?"

Response "uhhhh maybe next Thursday"

Stunned, incredulous look in return.

4:16 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Canadians don't even know where New Zealand is.

Thicko fuckers...

4:48 PM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Will: Sorry if "Brits in general" offended. Any serious number of Brits (whatever type) with any real knowledge or interest in Canada?

My wife is English (now dual). I have spent a fair amount of time in England (lived there from 1953 to 1956) absorbing the media amongst other things. I follow the media there on the Net, and read a great deal of British history. Canada is a cartoon country to the great majority of Brits, as folks like Fisk prove.

No calumny, no libel, no recantation. Revile me if thou must. Hier stehe ich. Ich kann nicht anders. Gott helfe mir. Amen.:)

As the Marr book clearly shows the Brits are obsessed about their special relationship with the US, at least as much as Canadians are. Except that in the case of the Brits there is a much more substantive basis to the relationship, in political, military, and intelligence terms, than is the case with Canada--much though we like to fool ourselves about our understanding of the Americans and our importance and access to them.

I would argue that the greater part of the Canadian punditocracy and political class have much less understanding of the US than their equivalents in the UK, including, er, "New Labour" types.

Too many chattering Canadians tend to live simply in solipsistic self-satisfaction.


5:08 PM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Will: Turn left at Australia.


5:10 PM  
Blogger Will said...

Aye watteveh Mark.

Yanks and that.

We can all pile in and hate the stupid as fuck cunTs as far as this is concerned.

5:43 PM  
Blogger Mark, Ottawa said...

Will: Yanks indeed, merits of the issue aside:

"Arar still not welcome in U.S. Barack Obama's arrival in the White House won't change one thing for at least one Canadian — Maher Arar remains banned from the United States.

"Mr. Arar is not welcome in the United States. He's not admissible," said the acting U.S. ambassador to Canada, charge d'affairs Terry Breese.

This appears to be the first time the new Obama administration has weighed in on the Arar affair.

Arar, an Ottawa engineer, was detained at New York's JFK Airport on Sept. 26, 2002 as he waited for a connector flight to Montreal after a vacation in Tunisia.

Twelve days later, U.S. officials deported him to Syria, where he was imprisoned for 10 months and tortured. He was released in October 2003.

"Our former public safety minister, Stockwell Day, flew down to the United States, saw the American file on Mr. Arar, came back to Canada and said publicly there was nothing there that he could see that would justify Mr. Arar being on a U.S. no-fly list or any no-fly list," said Kerry Pither, a human rights activist and author of a book on Maher Arar and three other Canadians detained and tortured overseas.

"Not long after, Prime Minister Stephen Harper was on national television issuing an official apology to Mr. Arar. So clearly the United States has nothing on him. And if they did they would have produced it by now."

Human rights lawyer Lorne Waldman agreed, the U.S. "has absolutely no basis for any of these allegations."

"I was involved in Mr. Arar's file for many years and over the years we've heard many allegations but there's never been any evidence that would justify this," Waldman said about the continuing ban Thursday.

The subsequent Arar inquiry concluded false information given to U.S. authorities by an inexperienced RCMP anti-terrorism team, which tagged Arar as an "Islamic extremist," very likely set off a chain of events that led to his deportation and torture.

The inquiry cleared Arar of any terrorism links and the government paid him $10 million in compensation.

Breese refused to discuss why Arar remains banned in the U.S., saying the evidence is classified..."


6:46 PM  
Blogger mrzee said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:30 AM  
Blogger The Contentious Centrist said...

Fisk is prone to over-exciting himself by the exuberance of his own verbosity. I always get the feeling that he can hardly contain himself when he realizes, for the umpteenth time, just how clever he is.

I remember his truly original interpretation of Othello, in which he took it as a fact that Mr. O was a Muslim. Everything else just followed beautifully:

"Othello remains the most obvious, tragic narrative of our Middle Eastern fears. He is a Muslim in the service of Venice - close neighbour to the Ottoman empire - and is sent to Cyprus to battle the Turkish fleet. He is a mercenary whose self-hatred contaminates the play and eventually leads to his own death. Racially abused by both Iago and Roderigo, he lives in a world where there are men whose heads supposedly hang beneath their shoulders, where he is black - most Arabs are not black, although Olivier faithfully followed this notion - and where, just before killing himself, he refers to his terrible stabbing of Desdemona as the work of a "base Indian" "

6:55 AM  
Blogger SnoopyTheGoon said...

Hey, man, that's me - second from the right, after putting some hair on my chest in Montreal in 19xx. Being younger then, I've decided to test two or three Canucks in alcohol consumption. They still remember.

As for Fisk... he is circling the drain for quite a few years already. Time to forget that geezer.

3:35 AM  
OpenID alakurda said...

"I remember his truly original interpretation of Othello, in which he took it as a fact that Mr. O was a Muslim."

I once made a prediction that Robert Fisk will convert to Islam before his death. Let me repeat it here: Robert Fisk will convert to Islam before his last breath.

4:18 AM  

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