Friday, 30 September 2011

Illegal Drug Traffic cannot be fixed by punishing its victims.

Real drug problems stem from tolerating heroin poppy fields in Afghanistan.

Harper's law and order agenda gets a hit from the Supreme Court of Canada. The battle to control heroin and cocaine crime cannot be waged at a safe injection site in Vancouver.

by Tom Thorne
The Harper Government's doctrinaire notions about drug addicts and safe injection sites got struck down today in a 9-0 decision by The Supreme Court of Canada.
The Harper government had been muscling a Vancouver and other Canadian safe injection potential sites threatening to close them using the heavy hand of federal criminal illegal drug control legislation. These safe injection sites were to be criminalized and closed as part of Harper's get tough on crime policies.
The people engaged in running these safe injection sites fought back with a number of arguments mainly based on the right of provinces to provide health care for their citizens whether they are involved in criminal acts or not. They also argued that the site's ability to control disease was a social good.
Watching over drug addicts as they inject, they argued, enables health authorities to control diseases such as hepatitis and AIDS/HIV which is rife among drug addicts sharing needles without proper sanitation.
Safe injection sites help to control disease

Since heroin and other injectable drugs are illegal, the federal government argued that the federal criminal law was being ignored at safe injection clinics. The Harper government wanted to bring down their federal jurisdiction for criminal drug control on the people offering safe injections.
Admittedly the drug problem in Vancouver and other metro cities in Canada is bordering on epidemic and it is also politically very visible when addicts shamelessly use alleyways and parks to shoot up. Spent needles are left on the ground in plain site. It looks bad and it is and remains a sore on downtown Vancouver. 
Even in my small Eastern Ontario town is not immune as we see our share of drug addicts on our downtown streets seeking their daily fixes.
We also see a methadone clinic on my town's main street operated by provincial authorities as a way to lure addicts off heroin and crack. It is an expensive tough fight that always teeters on failure as people marginalized by their addictions try to recover or simply survive between fixes.
The distribution of illegal drugs observe basic economics

So what way is right? Obviously the laws of supply and demand are working well throughout Canada for all illegal drugs. The criminals who provide these hard drug substances seem to have the distribution well organized as they fill the needs of the hooked addicts.
I can sympathize with the frustration of the federal government to control these drugs and the policing and court costs they mount up. In addition, the cost they bring to provincial health care budgets is gigantic. However it is not a problem that can solved with doctrinaire law and order policies as we see from the Harper government.
The human costs and wasted lives of drug addicts is incalculable as the monkeys on the backs of addicts ensure poverty and misery for their children and families. So what is to be done?
In Mexico they have been actively fighting drug cartels using the army and federal police in a shooting war and the violence they create has bodies in the streets and politicians fearful of saying anything for fear of being gunned down. It is a literal war on drug approach and it seems to be creating a no-win limbo for the Mexican authorities.
Drug lords are like a government unto themselves. In fact the goal of organized crime is to have the power of a government by graft and influence. They control low paid police and soldiers with bribes. They intimidate law enforcement and their drugs move north to American and Canadian cities as easily as if they were part of the North American Free Trade Agreement. 
In South America drugs form part of several countries GNP and in places like Afghanistan heroin poppies pay a lot more to farmers than growing vegetables or grain. Clearly the poppy fields exist to fund the Taliban and they are tolerated by the Karzai government and its imbedded corruption.
No incentive to stop. Drug crime is attractive to poor people.

There really is no incentive in the hard drug producing countries to stop producing drugs. The sale of heroin and cocaine fuels economic activity and the dollars associated with this market are so huge that the drug lords buy governments inactivity.
So besides the toll in the streets we see in our cities as more people get hooked the incentive to stop this trade is fleeting. In some ways it is a more pernicious form of terrorism than bombs and attacks. 
We know that terror organizations utilize drugs as a way to fund themselves but their reach into our daily life is very real when we see our addicts and the cost of their addictions to our government budgets. That is the real war.
The real war on drugs we can wage is stemming the financial channels drug lords use to launder their huge cash flows. How much drug money is invested into other legitimate businesses? I suspect a lot is in commercial real estate  buildings, resorts, legal casinos, malls and condo towers probably located in the cities where they sell drugs on the streets.
Organized crime and terrorists are symbiotic.

It is organized crime on a large scale. And when the money from these illegal activities is not used to invest in legitimate businesses it is used by terror organizations to buy arms and corrupt governments where they operate or hide.
When Stephen Harper talks about his law and order agenda and drug control I think there is a lot of smoke and mirrors at work especially on the control of heroin and cocaine markets. The people who operate these criminal organizations are as skillful as any legitimate multinational corporation.
The economic power of the drug cartels is everywhere. It creates untaxed dollars world wide and it saps government health and social programs as its profits mount.
The real war on drugs will not be fought on the streets of our cities, or with guns in the hills of Colombia or the poppy fields of Afghanistan. It will be fought with Swiss banks, real estate holdings and wherever the money for illegal drug distribution is invested.  Anything less is form without substance do nothing political grandstanding.

Evidence of industrial strength crime organization.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Thursday, 22 September 2011

NDP Leadership race maybe a coronation for Brian Topp.

Thomas Mulcair's NDP leadership bid is in doubt.

New Democrats seem to be crowning Brian Topp as their new leader. Can Thomas Mulcair still get in the game?

by Tom Thorne
Disturbing trends developed this week within the ranks of the New Democratic Party. The leadership race seems to be over. There has been a pregnant silence from Thomas Mulcair about his plans after former leader Ed Broadbent's endorsement of Brian Topp. This week Topp has been endorsed by his old boss, former Saskatchewan Premier Roy Romanov.
It looks like the NDP bigwigs are for Brian Topp. This development seems to have stopped Thomas Mulcair in his tracks since he doesn't appear to have much traction now that party brass and strategists have already backed their horse in the race. This is not a good situation for a party that claims to be democratic and recently renewed its claim on political decency  by releasing the Jack Layton manifesto letter at his state funeral.
Last week I said we would see Thomas Mulcair enter the leadership race. This week I am not so certain that he will. If he stays out, then that will be a pity because there are few other candidates that would be little more than form without substance up against Brian Topp and his back room backers.
Quebec is the weak link.
Although the NDP has 59 seats in Quebec they do not have a big membership to support Thomas Mulcair. In fact the membership of the party in Quebec is small and without much structure that means that as a Quebecker Thomas Mulcair hasn't got a lot to work with except the parliamentary caucus.  I suspect they will soon drift away soon to Quebec born Brian Topp when they sniff the wind and smell a winner.
So it looks like a Brian Topp coronation for the leadership and a lot of form without substance stuff between now and the Leadership convention in January 2012. Mulcair is popular in Quebec but perhaps somewhat unknown in the rest of the country. Brian Topp has a good record throughout the rest of the country however he too will also have to woo the membership and get to know them.
The real place for Thomas Mulcair to shine is in parliament shredding the ideological notions of the current Harper Conservatives. The omnibus crime bill offers a lot of opportunity for Mulcair to shine with his former justice ministry background  when he was a civil servant for the Quebec government. 
The NDP constitution elects leaders with one vote for each signed up member.  At the moment 80,000 people are card carrying NDP members who can by their party membership status vote for the leader. 
Only about 2,000 of these people are registered in Quebec. If Mulcair wants the leadership he has to not only sell memberships in Quebec but also convince card carrying NDP members across the country to support him.
The Broadbent and Romanov endorsement of  Brian Topp....
Can he do it? This is exactly what he is gauging at the moment. He has two strikes against him with the Broadbent and Romanov endorsements. Now he has to pull irons out of the fire to register with the NDP membership. Just what does he offer that they can't get with Brian Topp? 
Mulcair will need to offer a creditable direction to the party. Everyone of course will endorse Jack Layton's manifesto letter so no one gets a leg up by doing that. The problem is how leadership hopefuls put their stamp on Jack Layton's manifesto death bed letter. 
Passion may be the first thing Mulcair can use against a sombre Topp who has a demeanour of a seasoned back room person.  But can Mulcair harness the vision of Jack Layton better than Brian Topp? Can he marshall the membership to basic principles of the NDP? I would say that this process is a very hard uphill battle for Thomas Mulcair because Topp is election strategist  who did the 2011 election. Topp has these credentials in spades.
The real problem as the NDP seeks a leader is simply that the Harper Conservatives will get an easy ride in parliament for this session. Thomas Mulcair may find it difficult to be around parliament too much if he runs. He will have to campaign for the hearts of the party faithful between now and the new year.
Parliamentary performance important.
Things will slip as the Conservative front bench makes mincemeat out of the inexperienced NDP parliamentary caucus using their majority to ram bills through the House of Commons with scant attention to any opposition criticism. Mulcair is needed in parliament and he needs while he needs to get the membership thinking that he has a chance. However, first he has to decide to run despite the odds stacked against him.
It will be an uphill battle and perhaps a lose-lose if the NDP looks bad in parliament and Mulcair is drawn into a leadership campaign and falls on stoney ground. It also looks even worse if the NDP is seen to be presenting a crown to Brian Topp who is without a seat in parliament. How democratic is that scenario and does that gel with Jack Layton's manifesto?
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved.
22 September 2011 Errata: 
I said today in the above story that Brian Topp was the only declared candidate for the federal NDP leadership. That is not true. Declared candidates are currently: party strategist Brian Topp and Quebec MP Roméo Saganash (Abitibi—Baie-James—Nunavik—Eeyou). Sorry-Tom Thorne

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Internet: A place where information never sleeps.

Your personal computer: a node to access world information.

The the nature of the Internet: Layers of feedback loops creating new perceptions of information.

by Tom Thorne
How is your personal entry node to the Internet doing these days? You may say that is a silly question to pose because your entry into the unstructured, often unorganized world of the Internet is obviously something you do with your personal computer, smart phone or pad that you take for granted. 
That personal computing device is your entry node on this endlessly complex world-wide networked information system. Each node possesses the means of production to create information and content that can be instantly shared and distributed world wide across the internet. This technique has only been with us for about 25 years and has changed our view of our human experience. In addition, because of mobility each node can be anywhere on the planet where there is a smart cell phone or internet connection and probably by wireless.
This new ubiquitous communications medium has some interesting characteristics. First any entry node is also an exit node. Unlike other media its communication is automatically two way or even multiple ways. It is one large interconnected sets of feedback loops. Information once committed to this system will certainly be altered, changed, reworked, reedited and commented on and regurgitated in some new form.
The usual communications model- sender- medium-receiver is compounded by a series of instant feedback loops which means that any sending node can expect a response and where changes can be made to the message. The message is always massaged in transit from one loop to another and it becomes a variation on a theme often in nanoseconds.
You may say that all communications techniques share this model such as telephones and telegraph but that is not really the case. Telephones exchange speech and speech messages but their content is unshared with other telephones. Telegraph is also essentially the same. They are not  media with feedback loops built in.

Print stands still
Print is a send and distribution medium only. Only when a medium is electric and networked can it potentially be two way or multiple way meaning that a sender and receiver are interchangeable roles. This is why I call them networked nodes which recognizes their two way send and receive nature. Information into this system can be altered and changed endlessly if it is posted on another node.
In a more formal way Wikipedia is such an example. If I file a reference for this on-line encyclopedia it is open from any other node where there is a person on the Internet to change it. There has never been a medium that is constantly being edited before in real time. It is a very new editorial style or method and for some a new editorial problem because they find it hard to escape the old top down editorial styles of print and broadcasting. Some are concerned that there is no fixed text set in time. This medium is not like an edition of a printed book. Nothing is frozen for any time. 
Broadcasting is a one way distribution medium that can be made two way only by using a hybrid forms of electric techniques such as telephone call in and or email. However, radio and television are inherently a one way distribution medium without this other media hybridization. The Internet is all self contained.  Its users can create, edit and post its content and revise it as needed. It has no firm edition of anything. Search a topic now and in six months time to test this idea. Nothing is static.
The first truly interactive information medium
Computers are inherently two way systems. In this sense they are not a distribution medium but inherently an interactive medium with high user involvement. As a result when they are connected to the Internet there is a difference in how they are perceived by users. They create instant feedback when they are networked on the Internet and they create the communities we have seen with Blogs, Facebook and Twitter. 
Social media are another example of Internet medium's unique two way characteristics. They are subject to content input, updates and comment and in fact content and the information contained in it is never still for more than a few seconds. A book could remain still or unchanged until its next edition. A radio or TV broadcast is a mass medium subject only later to individual comment and review. It is a produced medium rather than interactive change medium controlled by its users.
The difference between book culture and Internet culture is the users expect it to change constantly. There is no constant or even breathing space for content to take root or be considered before it is altered. It is a speedy medium that thrives on 140 characters of text to make a point of content.
It is also a medium that quickly reveals trends that are developing. In that sense it is potentially a democratic medium because viewpoints appear and comments are added creating a trend or a commonality of purpose. Politicians use this system to get elected.  It is a medium that worries dictators and closed societies. Politicians master the constant and instant character of the medium to get your vote or gauge your opinions and to affect the outcome on the election hustings. Dictators look for ways to shut it down.
A new communications model: loop the loop
The new communication model for information on the Internet is send - transmit - receive - forward.  Messages are in constant passage to other nodes on the system where they can be resent creating more and more inclusive feedback loops. This system is in effect when an idea, video or other information is described as "going viral". Viral activity can elect presidents and destroy centralized authority as it did recently in Egypt.
The nature of the Internet is viral. Once a message is in the feedback loops it is spread and reproduced at the speed of electric viral infection. It is interesting that "going viral" is used to describe the nature of a message that takes off by capturing more and more nodes and feedback loops. Information is spread at the speed of light and is potentially highly "infectious" and an agent of change because it is inherently change in motion.
The internet is so large that fortunes can be made charting paths into its information. It is the first medium on this planet with a built in search-index system. Search engines filter a request no matter how vague and provide information nodes (web sites) that may provide what the user wants and even more prompting a rethink of the original request.
This process almost always provides more than the user wants and sets off other thinking about the topic being searched. This is a unique feature of searching the web. New ideas surface and some of them are viral and spread quickly once uncovered.
The nature of the internet is you can be out of town but never out of touch. You are always connected and always available. This is a sociological change of some consequence which we need to explore much more fully probably searching the internet to do so delving into endless feedback loops that we and others create each day.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved

Thursday, 15 September 2011

So far the NDP Leadership race is a one man band. Is Brian Topp the only candidate?

Thomas Mulcair: Still no commitment for the NDP Leadership race.

New Democrats must begin the process of finding a leader.

by Tom Thorne
Somewhere in the ranks of the New Democratic Party (NDP) there is a leader who will emerge. Declared candidate Brian Topp has (as I predicted in a earlier article on 30 August) thrown in his hat backed by Ed Broadbent former federal party leader and NDP eminence gris. 

Now Brian Topp must resign as NDP President which means this job is now up for grabs too. Looking for a new leader and a new party president at the same time could mean structural stress within the NDP as the new parliamentary sessions start this month. Hopefully interim leader Nycole Turmel has the reigns securely in her hands.
Before we go too far let me say that the last person Ed Broadbent endorsed was Jack Layton. In Jack's case he didn't have a seat in parliament and again Brian Topp currently the NDP President is also not a member of the 102 elected NDP members of the parliament caucus.
So in both cases Ed Broadbent has endorsed party leader hopefuls who will have to be elected. Jack Layton managed it after he became leader. It remains to be seen if Brian Topp can, if he is elected leader, find a safe seat to get into parliament. 
Brian Topp will need a seat in parliament.
There will have to be a by-election for Jack Layton's Toronto seat but Topp, I suspect, as a Quebecker, will want to run ,if he wins, from a Quebec riding. That might mean dropping one of the 59 elected Quebec members so there would be an open seat in that province. 
Perhaps Brian Topp should look for a seat outside of Quebec.Whether Topp should run in Jack Layton's old seat is a choice that will have to be made only if and when he wins. 
Waffling currently on the sidelines of this leadership race is Thomas Mulcair. He at time of writing today has not decided to run for the leadership. He as said recently that is is gauging his support within the NDP before making the plunge.
I predict that Thomas Mulcair will run. He was born in Ottawa in 1954 to an Irish Canadian father and a French Canadian mother. He is a graduate of McGill University in law and has taught law in Quebec universities. He has also been a Quebec civil servant working for the Justice Department.
He has been a Liberal cabinet minister in the Jean Charest Quebec provincial government from 2003-2006. That job included topics such as sustainable development, the environment and parks so he can be green if he wants. However his Liberal background could be a liability with NDP purists.
In 2007 Mulcair ran as an NDP federal candidate in Outremont riding in Montreal and won. He was the first NDP candidate to win in Quebec and Jack Layton made him Deputy Leader as a reward. Of course he was re-elected in 2011 in the NDP sweep. His authority in Quebec may preclude Brian Topp running for a seat in that province.
Brian Topp and Thomas Mulcair are the two top candidates for the NDP leadership at this time but Mulcair has yet to decide to run and he doesn't have much more time to think about it. The leadership  entry fee is $15,000 to discourage flighty and fanciful candidates from running. Here are some other possibilities for the leadership but may think twice about the entry fee.
Libby Davies....what's her support like? She needs to speak French.
Some people tout west coast MP Libby Davies as a potential leader. Miss Davies is out of the closet as a lesbian, but what that has to do with party leadership abilities is anyone's guess. She also does not speak French so with a huge Quebec caucus that will go over badly. 
Libby Davies is the co-deputy leader of the NDP caucus a job she shares with Thomas Mulcair. Mulcair takes care of the Quebec group of MPs and I suspect Libby Davies takes care of the rest of the country's elected members.
Since Libby Davies is more to the left, both Mulcair and Topp celebrate a more centralist viewpoint. Mulcair in particular is more of a liberal from what I can see, abandoning the Liberal party for a run at a seat in pre-NDP Quebec in 2007. A gutsy move considering that NDP supporters and elected members to the federal parliament were as scarce as hen's teeth back in 2007.
Brian Topp I think is also a centralist NDPer and he brings Saskatchewan government credentials as a back room boy for Premier Roy Romanov. Topp is also a former labour union boss and so brings that credential to the table. Libby Davies is probably the closest NDP MP you will find who could be seen as a socialist.
There is one more possible leadership hopeful and that is Paul Dewar, 48, the sitting NDP MP for Ottawa Centre, Ed Broadbent's last riding when he returned to parliament in 2004. Dewar is a graduate of Queen's University in Kingston and is an elementary school teacher by profession. He has served as the NDP foreign affairs critic and is a champion of legislation to make generic drugs available to the Third World especially to fight HIV/AIDS.
Paul Dewar is more to the left than Thomas Mulcair and Brian Topp. Obviously now it is time for serious candidates for the NDP leadership to ante-up the $15,000 fee to run. So far it is only Brian Topp in the ring. I don't think the NDP membership will allow him to get the leadership by acclamation. Let's see what next week brings.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Lion OS upgrades: Are Apple corporate needs in sync with customer needs?

Apple Lion OS: Loyal customers are not very happy.

Apple's OS Lion Upgrade: How to produce customer and public relations nightmares.

by Tom Thorne
Public relations 101 is really quite basic. Never do anything that draws negative attention to your products and services. Apple seems to be in the midst of a customer and public relations situation that their commercial enemies will relish.
The recent introduction of OS Lion seems to be abuzz with negative, or at best, mediocre responses from customers reminiscent of when Microsoft launches new software. Just put "OS Lion problems" in your browser and you will see what's going on. There is a lot of negative comments.
An Apple authorized dealer told me that I should wait to upgrade because OS Lion will create problems for older software. They have been putting out fires for their clients who have simply downloaded and installed Lion form the Apple App Store. They also told me they want to sell the upgrade on a Apple DVD. Apple has decided that everyone will download from the App Store. Since there is no DVD for Lion they suggest keeping the download install files on an external hard drive.
Apple makes a mistake.
Apple has made a big mistake. To this point in time you cannot get a DVD of the OS Lion upgrade. Clearly an option for Apple customers should be a DVD copy that they can order and carefully put away for the time that the systems has problems. Apple is becoming more bureaucratic. They now know better than their customers. They don't.
Customers, especially the loyal Apple variety, expect to be in control of their machines and software. App stores are great but it is essential that for those of us who want a DVD we should be able to get it from an Apple authorized dealer, an Apple retail store or by ordering it directly from the Apple on-line store that sells hardware. 
Simple. Give the customer choice. I don't like the big brother nature of current Apple thinking that everything is a download and a backup on an external drive or on their iCloud when it finally starts. Physical DVDs are not passé should I need to restore my computer's  Operating System.
Why are we engaged in this change of heart from Apple? Control of software perhaps is at the basis of it. However that is simple enough to deal with if I order a physical DVD. Give my order a specific code that I must use to upgrade to OS Lion that is sent back to Apple after the install. It would read my computer serial number and connect to my purchase code. No one else could use this software.
This customer is placing Apple on Customer Relations Watch status.
A few weeks ago I wrote a piece on this blog about Steve Job stepping down as Apple CEO. I was quite upbeat saying that it is business as usual at Apple even with Jobs gone. Now I am rethinking that viewpoint. 
Apple has to do more than grow and be innovative. It may be becoming remote from its very loyal customer base/ If it is true or continues it will cost them business.
Apple needs to correct this mounting situation surrounding the OS Lion upgrade and its mounting list of older software compatibility gaffes. Until they do I will stay with OS Panther for a while longer.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved.

Monday, 12 September 2011

Why 9-11? The answer is blowing in the wind.

What kind of mind conceives this outcome?

Reflecting on 9-11

by Tom Thorne
The common question when we reflect on 9-11 is where were you 10 years ago when it happened?  I was at home reading the Globe and Mail with CBC Radio 1 on as background. A normal morning for a news junkie like me.
Suddenly  the radio announcer broke into the regular morning program with the news that the World Trade Centre was on fire. No talk of airplanes slamming into it, just that there was a very bad fire in one of the towers.
I got up and turned on the TV. Yes it was on all channels and it was definitely on fire. I watched with my wife in morbid fascination as the building smoked and smouldered. We both knew it was serious and so we kept watching. How could firemen reach the top floors to fight such a fire? It looked dire and perhaps hopeless.
Then it happened. The second airplane slammed into the other tower. There was a ball of flame and now both buildings were crippled. And then we went to the Pentagon as CNN confirmed that a airplane had crashed into the headquarters of the US military in the middle of Washington.
President George Bush shocked
Cut to President George Bush at a school watching a teacher read stories to the children. An aid whispered in his ear. He looked grave but remains in his seat for what seems like an eternity. His security apparatus was beginning the process of protecting him and getting him into Airforce 1. The US was moving towards a war footing and on their own soil.
US airspace was shut down and aircraft over the Atlantic are sent to Gander Newfoundland and other Canadian airports. Airforce 1, the president's aircraft, is the only plane left in the air as it travels to whatever secret place in the sky it goes to in such an emergency.
What was going on? Terrorism but from where and by whom? Of course the entire story unravelled as months passed and we learned how US security had blown most clues concerning the young jihadists who trained for this operation right under their noses. It seemed slack when one considers that the Twin Towers had been attacked before in 1981 and US embassies had been attacked before 9-11 all apparently by Al-Qaeda.
A a nightmare
It also seemed a dream. Firefighters and policemen risked and often gave up their lives to save people in the crippled World Trade Centre. The final fall of the buildings into the streets of Manhattan then happened. The choking dust was everywhere in the streets.
The passengers of flight 93 took on the terrorists knowing they would die in the process to prevent that aircraft from ploughing into perhaps the White House or the Congressional Capitol building. That plane crashed in Pennsylvania with a total loss of life.
This catastrophe reached everyone on this planet and set off a response from the United States for setting up a very tight Homeland Security that we feel to this day. The Iraq War was a response to this tragic event with all its excesses. In addition, it set off the war in Afghanistan to fight jihadist terror on its own ground and in western Pakistan. 
Rendering prisoners to foreign lands for torture to gain information about terror organizations was now OK.  We now know that western governments used Syria and Libya for these operations. 
The first casualty...the rule of law. 
Then Americans opened  Guantanamo Bay detention camp at their base in Cuba to hold terror suspects without due process or trial.  American  and Canadian Arabs and muslims were suspects even in their own land. Travelling became a chore if your profile looked remotely middle eastern.
The result of 9-11 is both Canada, United States and most of the European NATO countries have been at war now for 10 years with no end in sight. This is a sobering thought. Peace is fleeting. Understanding between the Muslim world and the West seems very remote and vague and on a sad level of considerable miscommunication and prejudice.
Even with the Arab Spring in Egypt and Libya along with the stresses against the Assad dictatorship in Syria there is still no real effort to mend relations and strike at the real root of jihadist terror which in my view is an extremists response to Western wealth, exploitation and status quo responses to ugly sores like Palestine refugees. It's hard to convince Palestinian refugees that the west cares about their fate.
Terror's roots...
Whatever the roots of terror are it is not going to end because Al Qaeda leaders are tracked down or Osama Bin Laden is found and killed by the US military. Terror organizations don't fade away because their leaders are killed or captured. These terror cells are structured to survive independently and so rise again constantly. 
They are true believers with a just cause in their view. They may even be energized by events like the Osama bin Laden search and kill operation.
The solution? There may not be a solution. Terror as a weapon is very appealing to extremists who are mentally driven to a point where they will wear a bomb to get at the enemy knowing it means certain death. 
It's hard to reason with this kind of extremism. How did Al Qaeda manage get into the heads of the young men who piloted those airplanes into the World Trade Centre? Their biographies, histories, education and prior experiences of most of these young jihadists were unremarkable would never arouse serious suspicion of a security or intelligence service. On the surface they seemed very normal low key people.
And that is and remains the problem. Terrorists do not fit neat profiles. Al Qaeda leaders may be captured and killed but the mentality that persuades young men to become violent jihadists can not be explained easily. Jihadist  actions are not actions of thinking muslims who stand for peace and mutual respect. In fact what happened at The World Trade Centre 10 years ago has created a huge problem for peaceful muslims and Islam. 
The best weapon to counter jihadist terrorism is to remain alert and respect the peace inherent in the Islamic traditions. It requires a very fine balance and ultimately may be the first step to counter terror.
© Copyright 2011, Tom Thorne, All Rights Reserved