Tag Archives: Russia

Miss Myrtle’s Vancouver: Pomegranates

He smiled. Daroo had always seemed very serious, almost unapproachable. He struck me as being in his late 20’s, and he never cracked a smile. Ever.

Until the morning I put down my only grocery purchase – two large pomegranates. He smiled. I asked if he liked pomegranates, and he answered wistfully “We have two pomegranate trees in the garden, back at my home.” When I asked him where “home” was, Daroo responded “Syria”.  When pressed further, he added “in a small village near Aleppo”. Instantly, I understood the underlying sadness that his face always expressed. Hoping that Daroo might share the story of how he had come to Vancouver by way of Aleppo, asked if we could meet for coffee. He agreed.

Daroo was born in a Kurdish village near Afrin. It sits near the north-west border of Syria and Turkey. The region is called “Kurd-Dagh”, the Mountain of the Kurds. His parents still live there. The village is famous for its bountiful olive, fig and pomegranate trees. Daroo says that once you taste Afrin’s fruit, all others will forever pale in comparison.

“Neighbouring Azaz is also home to many Turkmen and Arab communities. Almost everyone, Kurds included, is Sunni Muslim. Kurdish identity is based not on religion, but on ethnicity and cultural heritage. Overlooking the Afrin River, within sight of the Turkish border, sprawl the vast Roman ruins of Cyrrhus” –  Diana Darke, BBC

The thriving, ancient Syrian city of Cyrrhus was founded in 300 BC, by Seleucus Nicator, one of Alexander The Great’s generals. Its history over the centuries includes Roman, Armenian, Byzantine/Justinian, Muslim and Crusader rule.

Daroo was born into a family of five sisters and one brother, with lots of aunts and uncles. He played with his brother, sisters and friends in the family garden and roamed the streets of his village and Afrin. He remembers that when he was a child, all the members of his family had to sign an Oath of Allegiance to the ruling Ba’ath Party, led by Hafez al-Assad. The family avoided politics, and the community was largely left to its own devices.

Daroo also remembers, that even as a young boy, he knew that he was “different”. He knew early in his life that he was gay. He was not alone – when he eventually went to work and study in Aleppo, he discovered a large, vibrant underground LGBTQ community, where he fit right in. The Hafez al-Assad Regime enforced Article 520 of the penal code of 1949, which prohibits “carnal relations against the order of nature”, and provides for up to three-years imprisonment. Members of that community have been and continue to be jailed, beaten and often executed. Neighbors and even family members continue to inform on others.

Someone reported Daroo in 2008. In jail for 5 days, in an underground cell, he and several friends were packed into “a shithole” where he often had to sleep standing up, hearing endless beatings and screaming. He himself was beaten so severely, that he passed out. The five days felt like five years. His frantic family pooled their resources and paid the local police and judges, expensive bribes. He, his two gay and one transgender friends, were finally released from jail. Even though he was released, he had to go back and forth to court for a year. Fortunately he was given parole.

In 2011 The Arab Spring, which had given so many in the Arab world hope, was hijacked by radicals, but all that the Kurds really wanted, was a secular Syrian Democracy. Life began to change for the worse. Even in the face of all of these challenges, Daroo found something that would underpin his life forever…

Daroo fell in love with the writings of William Shakespeare. He majored in English Literature at Aleppo University. The Bard’s plays transported Daroo to another time, another place – but they also spoke of the very contemporary treachery, horror, loves, lives, wars, births, deaths and laughter that were life in Kurdish Syria. Daroo and his classmates wrote their final exams in 2013. While he sat in the eerily quiet exam hall, with pen in hand, the Russians carpet-bombed the University.

His passion for Shakespeare shaped Daroo’s decision to remain in his family’s Aleppo home, even after they had returned to the relative safety of Afrin, because the Bashir Al Assad – Putin regime stepped up bombardments of Kurdish communities and “rebel strongholds” like Aleppo. On that fateful day in 2013, all around him, many of them friends as well as classmates, 80 students, died. Daroo kept his head down. He kept writing. “I studied so hard and so long I wanted to graduate or die. I wasn’t afraid, I was fatalistic.”

Daroo passed. Aleppo University exams were suspended for a month. Although he didn’t realize it, he was still in shock. The day he was awarded his BA in English Literature, he also received an official notice from the Syrian government, saying that he was drafted into the Syrian military, and must report to basic training. Then and there, Daroo made one of the most difficult decisions of his life. Leaving his beloved family, he fled to Turkey.

Months before, Daroo met a farmer who transported tea and cigarettes into Turkey, in bags on the backs of several donkeys that he owned, in order to support his family, including small children. The man lived in the next village Sheeh, one village over from Afrin. Daroo helped carry some of those bags across the border into Turkey.

His sister had married a Turkish man and was living in Turkey. She had a passport and met Daroo after he crossed the border. He sat, emotionally exhausted, as she drove back to her family home. Daroo lived with his sister and brother-in-law for the next year. They all worked cutting fabric 12 hrs/6 days/per week for 600 turkish lira ($140 Cdn), to survive.

Daroo had applied for a passport before fleeing Syria. Amazingly, a year later, his passport in Aleppo was ready. He stole across the border to Afrin and bribed someone to steal his passport and bring it to him in Afrin. Passport in hand, he fled Syria for Turkey, and eventually made his way to Canada, Vancouver… And a New Life.

To be continued … Pomegranates 1

Footnote. Have never been a chest-pounding smug Canadian, but am very proud of our Country for taking in over 50,000 Syrian Refugees over the past four years. Many people came to Vancouver, and in spite of facing so many challenges, continue to enrich our Community in many ways. Yes, our social support systems are stretched – but life for those who fled the horrors of the Syrian war and impending Kurdish Genocide, is now bearable.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrrhus

Three Mass Murders in One Week – In Trump’s America

It’s hard to describe the range of emotions we feel at this moment. Deep sadness, shock, anger, hopelessness, helplessness, revulsion, horror, rage. We, your Canadian cousins, share those feelings.

Racist-In-Chief, White Supremacist-In-Chief Donald Trump, encourages these very attacks at his frequent Nuremberg 2.0 Rallies and in his daily Twitter and TV comments. He also distances himself from them, accusing Democrats of causing the turmoil. His anti-immigrant, anti-people of color dog whistles are no longer subtle. His base knows what he’s talking about. Trump’s flying monkeys delivered the same Joseph Goebbels propaganda talking-points across Sunday TV news programs today.

Putin’s GOP talking heads, joined White House advisers like Mick Mulvaney and Kelly Anne Conway in gaslighting Americans yet again. Make no mistake, the Republicans have become the American White Supremacist Party. Make no mistake, this is all part of Vladimir Putin’s Long Game – Destroy America From Within.

The Kremlin has directly bankrolled the NRA, its leaders, GOP politicians, armed militias and Alt Right fringe groups, with cash. Indirectly, Putin has weaponized the internet and social media – the platforms of choice for these Second Amendment Bible-thumping extremists. And let’s be clear, these extremists ARE Domestic Terrorists. They are White Supremacist Domestic Terrorists.

Anarchist, Trumpanzee and Putin Proxy Steve Bannon, was one of the Vice Presidents of the SLC hybrid Cambridge Analytica Aggregate IQ, the Big Data firm that Robert and Rebekah Mercer created. While he was working with Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale and others on the Trump Campaign, Bannon was also working with Nigel Farage, Arron Banks and others, on the British BREXIT debacle. Through him and the Brexit Party, Putin helped install Kremlin hack Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, ousting Theresa May.

The ubiquitous Steve Bannon has also been fanning the flames of White Supremacist Populism in Europe: Italy (Matteo Salvini) France (Marine Le Pen), Germany (AfD Bjoern Hoecke) and Hungary( Prime Minister Viktor Orban). Anarchy after all, is chaos, and creating chaos is Steve Bannon and Vladimir Putin’s most effective weapon. 

Vladimir Putin was a KGB intelligence officer for 16 years before becoming the head of the FSB, the post-Soviet incarnation of the KGB, under the late President Boris Yeltsin. He was “re-elected” for a fourth term as Russian President, in March 2018. There is nothing that Putin wants more, than to re-absorb the former Soviet satellite states, preside over the demise of America and Britain, and Make Russia Great Again. That – and become Emperor For Life.

We are living through Undeclared World War Three…

Boris Johnson, Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin – Stalin 2.0

@MissMyrtle2 in Twitter Jail Part 1 Feb 8 2019 – The Rachel Maddow Show

Normally, I would be parsing the Rachel Maddow Show for my Tweeps on Twitter tonight, as I do every weeknight. Sadly, my Twitter account has been temporarily suspended. That is a story for another time. Am going to do the parsing here:

THE RACHEL MADDOW SHOW — Pictured: (l-r) — (Photo by: Ilya Savenok/MSNBC)

Rachel is on fire, following up the ground-breaking post by Amazon founder and Washington Post owner Jeff Bezos. His bombshell revelations about Mueller – cooperator, Trumpanzee David Pecker, and his media company AMI, threatening to expose sexually explicit photos and news about Bezos’ private life, have far-reaching repercussions.

Rachel gives context to the fact Robert Mueller had entered into a Plea Agreement with National Enquirer publisher David Pecker, that would mean no prosecution in return for his truthful testimony and cooperation, related to Donald Trump. That Agreement was entered into, based on the rule that Pecker & AMI must NOT commit any criminal acts in the interim before the cases he is assisting with, are fully prosecuted and discharged.

Pecker predictably picked the wrong folks to try and outsmart. What Jeff Bezos did, was to not only reveal the threats against him, but the fact that his own reputable private investigators had discovered Pecker and AMI’s connection to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

This is the same Mohammed bin Salman who arranged the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The same financial resource for Donald Trump, Jared Kushner and the rest of the Trump Crime Family. Buying good PR meant that AMI published The New Kingdom, a glossy ad mag for bin Salman. Pecker sought out that business, through Trump.

Time Person of the Year 2018 Jamal Khashoggi

The sheer hubris of thinking that their blackmail business model would work on The Richest Man in the World, and other investigative journalists, dovetails perfectly with that of the Traitor-in-Chief, fake president Donald Trump. They are mobsters. Just like Vladimir Putin.

Trying to silence the Washington Post, and its ongoing investigations into Trump-Russia Collusion, the Trump-Russia Conspiracy, the Trump Corporation, the Trump Foundation, the murder of Jamal Khashoggi and the oppression of dissidents and activists within Saudi Arabia, might work elsewhere. Not in America. Not even in the America that is under relentless attacks by Enemies Foreign and Domestic. Democracy Truly Dies In Darkness…

Today’s contentious appearance before the House Intelligence Committee, by “Acting” Attorney General Matthew Whitaker, is part of the same attempt to subvert Democracy, and allow an installed puppet-government to continue it’s “Domestic” destruction of American institutions, including The Constitution.

Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Matthew Whitaker

What gives me hope, is that Robert Mueller and His Team, working with other judicial and law enforcement agencies across America, is building the most critical far-reaching and prosecutable case possible together. They are being aided by the best investigative journalists, allies around the Word and concerned citizens like you and me. The very reason that their efforts will eventually succeed, is that this is NOT Russia, China, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela or other entrenched autocracies.

Never Again Is Now! Remembrance Day November 11, 2018

Never Again Is Now!

Yesterday, Traitor-In-Chief, Fake President Trump stayed in his hotel and tweeted hateful comments to Californians while their state became an inferno. Others, REAL Leaders honored those who served and died, to defend Democracy. They attended memorial services across France.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau visited the Vimy Ridge Memorial, where he laid a wreath and made a heart-felt speech in the pouring rain. Vimy holds a special place in Canadian’s hearts and consciousness. 66,000 fought and died during World War One. The Canadian Expeditionary Force served with distinction.

Trudeau at Vimy Nov 10 2018 Canadian Expeditionary Force Flag

They fought heroically at the Battle of Arras, wherein lies Vimy Ridge, and on other bloody battlefields across Europe. On the 11th hour of the 11th day, Armistice Day, we remember their sacrifice during the Great War. We said Never Again.

Canada itself had only become a nation in 1867. At the start of World War 1 in 1914, Canada’s population was just under 8 million. Over 619,000 Canadians enlisted and served, both at home and abroad. Putting that into context, our losses were staggering. While so many perished on the battlefield, many came home alive, but irreparably damaged.

World War 1 was the first major global conflict in which chemical weapons were used. In this case mustard gas, phosgene gas, chlorine gas and tear gas were deployed with deadly and life-changing consequences. The newly invented machine gun and bombs propelled the permanent need for on-site amputations of arms and legs. The number of those surgeries was astronomical. Shell Shock became the euphemism for PTSD. Needless to say, those who survived the Great War, came home with serious untreated mental health issues that they never talked about. Those issues haunted them to their grave. The painting below is by renowned artist John Singer Sargent…

Chemical Weapons Soldiers WW1 John Singer Sargent

The Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps and the Canadian Army Nursing Service performed heroically on the European battlefields. They had previously distinguished themselves attending to Canadian soldiers in South Africa, during the Boer War (1899-1902) and at home.

WW1 Royal Canadian Medical Corps  WOUNDED GROUP Canadian Soldiers WW1

Canada Remembers because the Battle to Save Democracy NEVER Ends.

Nurse with Wounded Soldiers  Canadian Nurses Burial WW1

That is why my Russian grandfather fled the Jewish Pogroms, joined the French Foreign Legion, then joined the British Army and fought in WWI. He eventually made his way to Canada, where he worked and raised a family. My father, his son, served in the Royal Canadian Navy during WW2, working on dangerous North Atlantic convoys. Two of his brothers served in the Royal Canadian Air Force. One became an acclaimed war artist, whose paintings of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen Concentration Camp, Hamburg and Hanover, hang in the National War Museum in Ottawa. What he witnessed, haunted him for the rest of his life.

Aba Bayefsky War Museum2  Aba Bayefsky War Museum1

Canadians have always had our American Cousin’s backs, never more so than today. We have served in the trenches of every major global conflict, with our American Cousins.

That is why it is so important, perhaps even more important today, to continue the Fight To Save Democracy. Make no mistake, nothing less than global Democracy is at stake in these perilous times. As Putin’s Puppet Donald Trump, meets with his master in France, the Republican Party that is no longer the Party of Lincoln, helped install him. We must understand that while many of the battlefields have changed, the battles are just as bloody.

Putin has weaponized social media and the internet. As he masses forces on Ukraine, Belarus, Polish, Finland & other borders, he has become the de facto ruler of Syria. He and Bashar Al Assad have bombed the Syrian People into oblivion. Putin is playing all sides against each other, hoping to draw America, Iran, Israel, Syria and Saudi Arabia into an all-out Middle East war. He has created chaos everywhere.

He finances and manipulates White Supremacists and domestic terrorists in Europe and North America, uses his own mercenaries in Africa and elsewhere. Very quietly, Putin has taken over much of the Arctic. His newest ice-breaking nuclear submarines have disappeared off the radar, but my money’s on them being in the Arctic, where drilling for oil has become a priority.

Russian Nuclear Sub Prince Vladimir 2017  Medvedev Russian Nuclear Attack Submarine 4th Generation

He and his cronies the Russian Oligarchs have looted and pillaged Russia. They have become obscenely wealthy, at the expense of the Russian people. The economy has fallen flat. His propaganda machine is in overdrive. Once again the Russian people are at the mercy of a cold-blooded tyrant who is murdering his opposition, with impunity. My Russian grandfather is turning over in his grave.

Robert Mueller, his team of Trump Russia Investigators, other intelligence agencies, judicial bodies, investigative journalists – foreign and domestic, Allies around the World and concerned citizens everywhere, have a part to play in the Battle to Save Democracy. Now is The Time For All True Patriots To Come To The Aid Of Their Country – On this Remembrance Day 2018, Never Again is NOW!

– End –

In Flanders Field was written by  Canadian physician Lieutenant-Colonel John McCrae, in 1915. It was written after the Second Battle of Ypres, in Belgium. Since World War One, the Canadian Legion, Canada’s War Amps, the Vimy Foundation, Veterans Affairs and others have played an important role in addressing Veterans needs, and making sure that their contributions to preserving Democracy are honored, from generation to generation.

in-flanders-fields-by-john-mccrae-in-flanders-fields-the-6375884  330px-Lieut.-Col._John_McCrae,_M.D.

Please donate to these organizations, so that the never-ending services and support that they give Our Veterans can continue: Lest We Forget

@RoyalCdnLegion https://www.legion.ca/ @TheWarAmps https://www.waramps.ca/home/ @vimyfoundation https://www.vimyfoundation.ca/ @CanWarMuseum https://www.warmuseum.ca/

Miss Myrtle’s Rectal Cranial Impaction Hall of Fame Part 9

Illegitimi non carborundum – Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down

Here for your edification and enjoyment are yet more Inductees into the Rectal Cranial Impaction Hall of Fame. These are the folks who leave us dumbfounded, dumbstruck and dumbfucked, in no particular order:

DISCLAIMERS: Any picture/Inductee duplication is purely intentional. You may also notice that the majority of Inductees are men. Dearies, that should require no further explanation. This blog post includes text and photos…because a picture is worth a thousand words.

SPECIAL THANKS to Colonel Morris Davis, former Guantanamo Chief Prosecutor for creating the phrase Rectal Cranial Impaction

twitter-logo

F**K TWITTER! 

There, I’ve said it. In the strongest terms possible. Miss Myrtle does not use foul language unless there is no other choice.

Have officially inducted Twitter into The Rectal Cranial Impaction Hall of Fame, and am devoting the entire blogpost to them.

For the second time in 6 weeks Twitter has seen fit to lock my account. Was unable to tweet the Vice Presidential Debate last night, or anything today. The last time this happened, the account was down for 72 hours.

Just received the following  email from Twitter Support illuminati. They state my account has been unlocked. IT HAS NOT.

@MissMyrtle2

Hello,

Your account is now unlocked, and we’re sorry for the inconvenience.

Twitter has automated systems that find and remove automated spam accounts and it looks like your account got caught up in one of these spam groups by mistake. This sometimes happens when an account exhibits automated behavior in violation of the Twitter Rules (https://twitter.com/rules).

Again, we apologize for the inconvenience. Please do not respond to this email as replies will not be monitored.

Thanks,

Twitter Support

I stand accused of exhibiting “automated behavior” – a crime obviously punishable by a slow and excruciating death in earlier times. Twitter is a legend in its own mind, and as such has insulated itself from dealing with its pesky users on a true Customer Service basis. You cannot speak with a Twitter human you must use their on-line forms to plead your case and they will get back to you whenever they feel like it.

Dear Twitter, One Algorithm Does NOT Fit All. 

Had just sent a very strong tweet to Donald Trump surrogate General Flynn and not long thereafter the account was blocked. Had also sent multiple tweets to the GOP, Senate GOP, House GOP, Speaker Ryan, Reince Priebus (whose name reminds me of a stray pubic hair), Trump Campaign Manager Kellyanne Conway, Trump surrogates Newt Gingrich (never trust a grown man willingly going through life with the name Newt) Governor Chris Christie and others.

Have also been tweeting about Vladimir Putin and Sergey Lavrov regarding the bombing of Syria and its children, into oblivion. And Russia’s aggression in Ukraine/Crimea.

So here is the thing. ANYONE who believes that the Russian hacking and monitoring of the US election and beyond, is not a reality and a SERIOUS one, needs to rethink that position.

There is an insane madman out to control the World, and for once, I am not talking about Donald Trump. Vladimir Putin has crawled forth from a primordial swamp and is determined to Make Russia Great Again. Which in his case means Back To The Gulag.

In World Wars One and Two, the enemies were clear, The Kaiser, Adolf Hitler. During the Cold War it was Stalin. Now, the Enemy is hidden. Cyber warfare has turned the battlefield upside down and no one has used this more astutely for greater self-interest than Vladimir Putin. He and China have turned cyber warfare into an art-form.

Throw into this toxic brew the recent explosion of social media and its global impact, and you have set the stage for an ongoing drama. Social Media has driven the 24/7 news cycle – not the other way around. It disseminates information and dis-information at the speed of light.

Dezinformatsiya is an old KGB term for spreading false information of all kinds, to undermine your enemy. One of my favorite authors, John Le Carre, created one of the greatest unglamorous, brilliant and world-weary spies of all time, George Smiley. Smiley oversaw the British effort to shut down The Soviet Union’s Cold War spy apparatus.He was a metaphor for the decline of the British Empire, amongst other things.

The Cold War never really ended, despite what Reaganites would have you believe. It has just entered a new and equally dangerous phase. Former KGB agent Vladimir Putin has assassinated or disappeared all serious Russian opposition at home and abroad, to make himself Emperor For Life. He is using cyber warfare to manipulate the US Presidential Election, in addition to supporting his candidate for President, Donald Trump. That is a whole other discussion for another time.

My questions for Twitter are this: Have you been compromised by Russian hackers in the following ways:

  1. They create spam  characteristics for Twitter Accounts that are critical of Russia and Vladimir Putin. You lock these accounts.
  2. They ficticiously report abuse by Twitter Accounts that are critical of Russia and Vladimir Putin. You lock these accounts.
  3. What are you doing to prevent AND deal with this.
  4. Can you assure users that they can trust Twitter to deal with this.
  5. Why do you give Twitter users no recourse to deal with their accounts being  locked other than online forms that are rarely responded to efficiently or effectively.

Dear Jack Dorsey – One Algorithm Does NOT Fit All