Answers needed

The Hizbollah-Israeli conflict has so far killed a disproportionate number of Canadians compared to losses from other countries not involved in the conflict.

First, we heard of the tragic deaths of the Al-Akhrass family from Montreal, who were visiting Lebanon when chaos broke out and they got caught in a war-zone.

Then a Canadian-Israeli pilot named Thom Farkas was killed when his IDF helicopter crashed, possibly due to friendly fire.

And the latest Canadian death is Maj. Paeta Hess-von Kruedener, a Canadian military member of the UN observer mission in Southern Lebanon.

All deaths are tragic and as Canadians, we mourn them.

Since Canada has taken an unambiguous stance in moral support for Israel in this conflict in which Canadians lives have been lost, Prime Minister Stephen Harper should ask Israel for observer status in IDF operations.

Israel should be able to accomodate this request from its Canadian ally.

Observer status will help provide answers to questions from the Canadian government regarding the deaths of our fellow citizens and will help bridge any communications gap which may then help prevent future tragedies.

What the?

Those don’t look like peacekeepers or wounded people that pile into a UN ambulance for transport. The terrorists in the video also do not appear to have hijacked the ambulance. What’s going on here?

The video description claims that the video from Reuters and that the footage is from Israel.

UPDATE: After a bit of digging, I found an article from the Jewish World Review that might provide some insight. The video was shot on May 11 2004.

Last week, an Israeli television station aired footage of armed Arab terrorists in southern Gaza using an ambulance owned and operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). Palestinian gunmen used the UNRWA emergency vehicle as getaway transportation after murdering six Israeli soldiers in Gaza City on May 11. The footage shows two ambulances with flashing lights pull onto a street. Shots and shouts ring out during the nighttime raid. A gang of militants piles into one of the supposedly neutral ambulances, clearly marked “U.N.” with the agency’s blue flag flying from the roof, which then speeds away from the scene.

International relief officials are in stubborn denial about the abuse of their emergency vehicles and hospital credentials by terrorists. They claim the videotaped May 11 ambulance-assisted attack was an isolated incident and that the driver was forced to transport the gunmen. But this ambulances-for-terrorists program has been going on for years. And “humanitarian” workers have been willing collaborators.

According to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center at the Center for Special Studies (CSS), senior UNRWA employee Nahed Rashid Ahmed Attalah confessed to using his official U.N. vehicle to bypass security and smuggle arms, explosives, and terrorists to and from attacks. He was in charge of distributing food supplies to Palestinian refugees. Nidal ‘Abd al-Fataah ‘Abdallah Nizal, a Hamas activist, worked as an UNRWA ambulance driver and admitted he had used an emergency vehicle to transport munitions to terrorists.

Busy times

It’s been a while since my last post (4 days!) but it has felt longer since I’ve been busy doing a lot of blog stuff unrelated to this blog.

During the weekend and over this week, Craig Smith and I have been working extended hours (Craig tells me that he has a day job… a reality outside of this grad student’s life) moving Blogging Tories to its own server to give it some more space to roam.

We’ve also been upgrading the site’s software and its plugins. Due to a new caching program that we wrote, the aggregator no longer is the bottleneck for load times. Upon launching this new feature, we noticed an increase in hits. The small percentage of you who gave up on the page after 10 seconds of load time, welcome back!

Perhaps the most exciting change to Blogging Tories is the launch of our new group blog: The Brookstreet Group. The blog is named after the Ottawa-area hotel where some conservatives (fresh off of a federal election victory) got together this year and talked about [censored]. It has also been reported that the Bilderberg group met there soon after. Secret meetings and hidden agendas… what better name than “The Brookstreet Group” to generate some conspiracy theories among some of our nuttier left-leaning friends?

The Brookstreet Group Blog will be written by “conservative notables” (as Steve Janke puts it) and will hopefully generate a lot of discussion and perhaps some news.

The Blogging Tories Television plugin has also been upgraded to add the capability of hosting YouTube videos along with the Google Video standard that we used in the first version. The plugin is still being upgraded (as I find the time) and will soon feature a video archives feature, a full screen feature and video submission capability. For now though, if you have an interesting video that you’d like featured on BT-TV, send me the Google Video or YouTube link.

Blogging Tories Television will also be host to some exciting new BT-produced content soon, so what better reason do you need to install the plugin on your own blog! Please help us launch Blogging Tories version 4.0 and install the BT-TV plugin today. (what a pitch!)

We’ve also included more gimmicky features such as the Stephen Harper “days in office” mini-skyscraper graphic. This was mostly a diversion to figure out how to get PHP to dynamically generate an image, but it will inspire Conservative bloggers to help that number grow… or it will inspire Liberals to minimize its final total (NDPers don’t know where they want that number to go these days). Blogging Tories, show your pride by showing your visitors how long our friend “Steve” has been in office!

We’ll be launching a few more features that I haven’t mentioned yet (I may update this post as they become available), so keep watching the site. If you’re a long time conservative reader of this blog and/or of any Blogging Tories blog, why not join our ranks as a member?