Is the NDP establishment scared to have party members discuss Canada’s international posture?
At the party’s first leadership debate last weekend there wasn’t a single foreign policy question despite a host of contentious recent party positions on international affairs.
Certainly at a time when the mainstream media is giving prominence to militarist voices, many members would be keen to hear the four candidates’ positions on military spending. The party’s 2015 platform said an NDP government would “meet our military commitments by maintaining Department of National Defence budget allocations.” In addition to backing Stephen Harper’s budget allocations, the NDP aggressively promoted the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, a $40 billion effort to expand the combat fleet over three decades (over its lifespan the cost is expected to top $100 billion). Defence critic Jack Harris bemoaned “Conservative delays” undermining “our navy from getting wanted equipment” and the platform said the NDP would “carry forward the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy to ensure Canada has the ships we need” even if this naval build-up strengthens Canadian officials’ capacity to bully weaker countries.
It would also be good to know the candidates’ views on the Trudeau government repeatedly isolating Canada from world opinion regarding Palestinian rights. In November, for instance, Canada joined the US, Israel, Marshall Islands, Nauru, Federated States of Micronesia and Palau in opposing UN motions titled “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, and the occupied Syrian Golan” and “persons displaced as a result of the June 1967 and subsequent hostilities.” One hundred and fifty-six countries voted in favour of the motions, but the NDP stayed silent on the UN votes.
During the 2015 federal election the NDP responded to Conservative party pressure by ousting as many as eight individuals from running or contesting nominations because they defended Palestinian rights on social media. In the most high profile incident, Morgan Wheeldon was dismissed as the party’s candidate in a Nova Scotia riding because he accused Israel of committing war crimes in Gaza, when it killed 2,200 mostly civilians in the summer of 2014. Do leadership candidates plan to continue purging critics of Israel?
The grassroots would also be interested to know the candidates’ views on Ottawa ramping up its military presence on Russia’s doorstep. The NDP backed the 2014 coup in Kiev, war in eastern Ukraine and NATO military buildup in Eastern Europe. During a 2015 election debate party leader Tom Mulcair called for stronger sanctions against Russian officials and last summer NDP defence critic Randall Garrison expressed support for Canada leading a NATO battle group to Latvia as part of ratcheting up tensions with Russia. Alongside ongoing deployments in Poland and Ukraine, 450 Canadian troops will soon be deployed to Latvia while the US, Britain and Germany head missions in Poland, Lithuania and Estonia.
Are the candidates troubled by the protracted civil war in Libya that grew out of NATO’s bombing? In 2011 the NDP supported two House of Commons votes endorsing the bombing of Libya, which was justified based on exaggerations and outright lies about the Gaddafi regime’s human rights violations (see my The Ugly Canadian: Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy for details). Additionally, the NATO forces explicitly contravened the UN resolutions sanctioning a no-fly zone by dispatching troops and expanding the bombing far beyond protecting civilians, while Ottawa directly defied the two Libya-related UN resolutions by selling drones to the rebels.
It would also be good to hear the candidates speak out against diplomatic efforts to promote mining interests abroad or Ottawa signing Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements (FIPAs) to protect mineral corporations in Africa.
But party insiders likely don’t want to discuss foreign policy because there is a substantial gap between members’ views on the issues and what the dominant media considers acceptable. The party’s grassroots would be open to reducing the $20 billion (plus) military budget and withdrawing from NATO. A good number would also be concerned about stoking tension with Russia and a new poll confirms that NDP members — and most Canadians — are critical of Israel and open to the Palestinian civil society’s call to boycott that country.
Fundamentally, party insiders do not want to rock the foreign policy status quo boat. The media backlash that would result from adopting progressive foreign policy positions terrifies the NDP establishment. Even debating the subjects mentioned above would drop the party’s stock in the eyes of the dominant media.
But maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe being perceived as outside the mainstream political consensus — fresh ideas and promoters of open debate — is exactly what the NDP needs.
If a leadership campaign is not a time for a rigorous foreign policy debate, when is?
Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.
What do you call an organization that teaches children an exclusive religious or ethnic nationalism and promotes war and other forms of violence to get its way?
Many people would say an extremist group or a right-wing cult. Many people would think we were talking about something like the Ku Klux Klan.
But while the KKK did have a youth corps where children were taught “patriotism” and “Christian values,” but weren’t “brainwashed” – in the words of one “imperial wizard” – we are talking about a group the Canada Revenue Agency finds worthy of awarding tax-deductible status for “charitable” donations.
The Jewish National Fund would also deny “brainwashing” children, but there is no doubt it tries to convince young minds of its exclusivist worldview.
JNF Montreal recently organized a “tree-a-thon” with the stated aim of restoring lands damaged by last year’s forest fires in Israel. Participants were promised “great prizes, great food, great fun,” and students were told they could “earn community service hours.”
The registered “charity” offers various youth education initiatives promoting Zionism, Israel’s state ideology. JNF Canada’s website boasts of how it helps young people “forge an everlasting bond with the land of Israel.”
The JNF has long promoted an expansionist vision of the “land of Israel” – a term that can be found on the Blue Boxes that it uses in fundraisers.
Maps on JNF Blue Boxes distributed in recent years encompass the occupied West Bank. The first map on the Blue Box, designed in 1934, depicted an area reaching from the Mediterranean into present-day Lebanon and Jordan.
Blue Boxes – tins for collecting money – are the mainstay of JNF youth outreach. Over the last century millions of them have been distributed around the world.
An official description explains: “Since its debut in 1901 as JNF’s official fundraising pushke [collection box], the Blue Box has represented JNF and its efforts to develop the land and roads, build communities, strengthen agriculture and create water reservoirs in Israel. It is also a vehicle for educating Jewish youth and involving them in these efforts in order to foster their Zionistic spirit and inspire their support for the State of Israel. For many Jews, the Blue Box is bound up with childhood memories from home and the traditional contributions they made in kindergarten and grade school.”
While youth pursuing “community service” sounds benign, the JNF is, in fact, a racist, colonial institution that has no place in the 21st century. An owner of 13 percent of the land in Israel and with influence over much of the rest, the JNF discriminates against Palestinian citizens who make up one-fifth of the state’s population.
According to a United Nations report from 1998, JNF lands are “chartered to benefit Jews exclusively,” which has led to an “institutionalized form of discrimination.”
For their part, JNF Canada officials are relatively open about the discriminatory character of the organization. In 2009, JNF Canada’s then head Frank Wilson explained, the “JNF are the caretakers of the land of Israel on behalf of its owners, who are the Jewish people everywhere around the world.”
In addition to racist land-use policies, JNF Canada lobbies for war.
As well as being a former defense minister, Mofaz was in charge of the Israeli military from 1998 to 2002. In that capacity, he oversaw the brutal oppression of the second intifada, including a series of attacks on the main cities in the occupied West Bank.
In 2007, the JNF sponsored a cross-Canada speaking tour by Zeev Raz, a colonel who led Israel’s 1981 bombing of Iraq’s nuclear reactor and who has subsequently worked for Israel’s arms industry. The aim of the tour was to build momentum for an attack against Iran.
“Sanctions against Iran are not effective,” Raz argued. “Sanctions are too vulnerable to cheating. The only solution to the Iran problem is for there to be an effort of the US and other forces to invade Iran from the ground.”
JNF Canada has described 2016 as “our best year yet.” More than $21 million was raised.
Similar to other formerly powerful, but now discredited, institutions, the JNF seeks to convince vulnerable young minds of its racist worldview.
It’s time to free the children and abolish the JNF. Or at least revoke its tax-deductible status.
Yesterday it was confirmed that 200 Canadian troops would remain in the Ukraine for at least two more years. This “training” mission in the Ukraine is on top of two hundred troops in Poland, a naval frigate in the Mediterranean and Black Sea and a half dozen CF-18 fighter jets on their way to locations near Russia’s border. Alongside Britain, Germany and the US, Canada will soon lead a NATO battle group supposed to defend Eastern Europe from Moscow. About 450 Canadian troops are headed to Latvia while the three other NATO countries lead missions in Poland, Lithuania and Estonia.
From the Russian point of view it must certainly look like NATO is massing troops at its border.
Canada’s military buildup in Eastern Europe is the direct outgrowth of a coup in Kiev. In 2014 the right-wing nationalist EuroMaidan movement ousted Viktor Yanukovych who was oscillating between the European Union and Russia. The US-backed coup divided the Ukraine politically, geographically and linguistically (Russian is the mother tongue of 30% of Ukrainians).
While we hear a great deal about Russia’s nefarious influence in the Ukraine, there’s little attention given to Canada’s role in stoking tensions there. In July 2015 the Canadian Press reported that opposition protesters were camped in the Canadian Embassy for a week during the February 2014 rebellion against Yanukovich. “Canada’s embassy in Kyiv was used as a haven for several days by anti-government protesters during the uprising that toppled the regime of former president Viktor Yanukovych,” the story noted.
Since the mid-2000s Ottawa has actively supported opponents of Russia in the Ukraine. Federal government documents from 2007 explain that Ottawa was trying to be “a visible and effective partner of the United States in Russia, Ukraine and zones of instability in Eastern Europe.” During a visit to the Ukraine that year, Foreign Minister Peter MacKay said Canada would help provide a “counterbalance” to Russia. “There are outside pressures [on Ukraine], from Russia most notably. … We want to make sure they feel the support that is there for them in the international community.” As part of Canada’s “counterbalance” to Russia, MacKay announced $16 million in aid to support “democratic reform” in the Ukraine.
Ottawa played a part in Ukraine’s “Orange Revolution”. In “Agent Orange: Our secret role in Ukraine” Globe and Mail reporter Mark MacKinnon detailed how Canada funded a leading civil society opposition group and promised Ukraine’s lead electoral commissioner Canadian citizenship if he did “the right thing”. Ottawa also paid for 500 Canadians of Ukrainian descent to observe the 2004-05 elections. “[Canadian ambassador to the Ukraine, Andrew Robinson] began to organize secret monthly meetings of western ambassadors, presiding over what he called ‘donor coordination’ sessions among 20 countries interested in seeing Mr. [presidential candidate Viktor] Yushchenko succeed. Eventually, he acted as the group’s spokesman and became a prominent critic of the Kuchma government’s heavy-handed media control. Canada also invested in a controversial exit poll, carried out on election day by Ukraine’s Razumkov Centre and other groups that contradicted the official results showing Mr. Yanukovich [winning].”
For Washington and Ottawa the Ukraine is a proxy to weaken Russia, which blocked western plans to topple the Assad regime in Syria. As part of this campaign, 1,000 Canadian military personnel, a naval vessel and fighter jets will soon be on Russia’s border.
Where will this lead? A new cold war against a capitalist Russia? Or a much hotter war involving direct confrontation between Canadian and Russian troops?
What would the US response be to Russian troops massed on its border? The last time Russian missiles came within 90 miles of American soil, the world came very close to nuclear war.
Canada is participating in a “game” of brinksmanship that could end very badly.
Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.
Foreign policy is one of those areas of democratic governance that doesn’t often get on the public’s radar. But when it does it provides citizens with a kind of unsullied opportunity to apply their values. That is, unsullied by considerations of self-interest, we get to ask what is the right thing to do?
Governments, of course, aren’t quite as free to make such decisions given that they have so-called “national interests” to consider. But Canadians should be able to expect from their federal government that their foreign policy conforms closely to their values.
When it comes to Canada’s policy towards Israel the Trudeau government, aping its predecessor, is several country miles from reflecting Canadian values. That is the irrefutable conclusion of an Ekos poll whose partial results were released February 16th. A second batch of survey results released yesterday (all survey results can be found here: focussed on the issue of whether or not Canadians think it is appropriate to use sanctions and/or boycotts to pressure Israel to obey international law.
The results demolish conventional wisdom on this question. Respondents were asked – in the context of the UN Security Council denunciation of settlement building in the West Bank – “… do you believe that some sort of Canadian government sanctions on Israel would be reasonable?” Overall, 66% expressing an opinion answered yes. But that number is heavily skewed by Conservative supporters, 70% of whom reject sanctions on Israel. Openness to sanctions on Israel by supporters of other federal political parties ranged from 75% for Liberals to 94% for Bloc Quebecois supporters. Eighty-four percent of NDP supporters believed sanctions on Israel would be reasonable.
Levels of acceptance for the Palestinian call for a boycott of Israel was even higher with fully 78% of those with an opinion stating they believe the Palestinians’ call for a boycott is “reasonable.” Again, Conservative supporters expressed radically different views from respondents supporting other parties: 51% rejected a boycott. Supporters of other parties who were receptive to the Palestinian call for a boycott ranged from 88% for Liberal supporters to 94% for the Bloc Quebecois.
Flashback to February 2016, when Parliament adopted a Conservative motion (by a vote of 229-51) condemning Canadian individuals and organizations who promote the Palestinian call for a boycott. That shameful assault on freedom of expression was supported by the Trudeau government. Only the NDP and Bloc opposed it.
When asked if they supported the passing of this resolution a majority of respondents expressing an opinion – 53% – said no while half that that number, 26%, said yes. Only 20 % of Liberal supporters supported the resolution while 55% disagreed with it.
Most Canadians still have little idea of just how sycophantic the Trudeau Liberals are when it comes to support for the right-wing government of Benjamin Netanyahu, particularly when it comes to U.N. votes on Palestinian rights and Israel’s violations of international law.
The Trudeau government has cemented Canada’s reputation as an embarrassing outlier when it comes to UN votes on Israel. Since October, 2015 when it came to power, the Liberal government has voted against United Nations resolutions that were critical of Israel on over 25 occasions. In fact, it has never voted in favour of a U.N. resolution that is critical of Israel. Which illustrious democracies does Canada find itself allied with in these votes? Besides Israel and the US, it’s loyal benefactor, our fellow-travellers are normally Micronesia, Palau and the Marshall Islands. Most of these resolutions pass by a vote of 156 or 158 to six or eight (with our EU allies voting for or abstaining).
Some of the resolutions Canada actively opposed should shock Canadians. The Trudeau government opposed a U.N. resolution that reaffirmed “… the importance of Israel’s accession to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons [NPT].” Another resolution, supporting “The right of the Palestinian people to self-determination…” was opposed by the Liberals as was a resolution that almost precisely reiterates the government’s official policy – that “Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem…” are an obstacle to peace.
Last December the U.N. Security Council voted unanimously (with the US abstaining) to declare that Israeli settlements on territory intended for a Palestinian state were a “flagrant violation under international law and a major obstacle to the achievement of… peace” between Israel and Palestine. Canada remained absolutely silent as it was (effectively) when Israel passed its “land grab” law which retroactively legalises settler homes on private Palestinian land.
What could possibly justify Trudeau’s immoral and frankly irrational stance when it comes to promoting peace between Israel and the Palestinians? In determining its policy towards Israel the Trudeau government has three apparent motivations at play: defending Israel’s right to exist, tending to Canada’s specific national interests and reflecting Canadian values.
None of these shine any real light on Canada’s continued blanket support for the Netanyahu government. It is being increasingly argued by Israel’s friends that the trajectory of that country today is in fact the biggest threat to Israel’s existence: a one-party state that can be Jewish or democratic, but not both. Canada on its own has no compelling “national interests” in the Middle East – except as a yes man for the US Empire.
And lastly, Trudeau’s inexplicable stance is overwhelmingly at odds with Canadian values. Not only do large majorities see Israel in a negative light, they reject by 91% the notion that criticism of Israel is necessarily anti-Semitic as implied in the Commons resolution. Flying in the face of Trudeau’s cowardly denunciation of BDS supporters are 75% of his own party supporters who are open to sanctions and 88% who say the same of boycotts.
Justin Trudeau has a lot of explaining to do.
MURRAY DOBBIN, now living in Powell River, BC has been a journalist, broadcaster, author and social activist for over forty years. He now writes a bi-weekly column for the on-line journals the Tyee and rabble.ca. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
As Black History Month draws to an end it is important to reflect on the European conquest of Africa. Is there a connection between colonial rule and the continent’s impoverishment today? Should the beneficiaries of European imperialism pay reparations or at least acknowledge the injustices committed?
When thinking about these questions it’s important to look at my city’s contribution to this history. For example, few are aware that a Montréaler played a key role in expanding British colonial rule across Africa.
Sir Edouard Percy Girouard rose to fame by helping Britain conquer Sudan. The Royal Military College of Canada graduate and former Canadian Pacific Railway engineer oversaw the construction of two hard-to-build rail lines from southern Egypt towards Khartoum, allowing British forces to bypass 800 km of treacherous boating up the Nile. Able to transport ammunition and guns into Sudan, the British killed 11,000 and wounded 16,000 in the final battle at Omdurman (only forty-eight British/Egyptian soldiers died).
At an 1899 dinner in this city Canadian minister of militia Frederick Borden celebrated Girouard’s contribution to the slaughter in Sudan. “Major Girouard has added luster, not only to his own name, but also to Montréal, to the dominion of Canada.”
During the 1899 – 1902 Boer War Girouard was Director of Imperial Military Railways. Afterwards he became Commissioner of Railways for the Transvaal and Orange River colonies, which are now part of South Africa.
Girouard’s efficiency in the Sudan and South Africa impressed British under-secretary of state Winston Churchill who promoted the rail expert to high commissioner of Northern Nigeria in 1906. Two years later Girouard became governor of the colony, sparking a Toronto Globe headline that read: “Northern Nigeria: the country which a Canadian will rule”.
Girouard enjoyed lording over the 10 to 20 million Africans living in the 400,000 square mile territory. In a letter to his father, Girouard described himself as “a little independent king.”
The Montréal born “king” justified strengthening precolonial authority by stating, “if we allow the tribal authority to be ignored or broken, it will mean that we… shall be obliged to deal with a rabble, with thousands of persons in a savage or semi-savage state, all acting on their own impulses.”
Local chiefs provided forced labour to construct Girouard’s signature project, a 550-km railway stretching from the city of Kano to the port of Baro. Designed to strengthen Britain’s grip over the interior of the colony, the rail line also provided cheap cotton for the textile industry in England.
After Northern Nigeria, Girouard became governor of British East Africa from 1909 to 1912. Girouard’s unchecked zeal for efforts to turn today’s Kenya into a “white man’s country” eventually prompted the Colonial Office to relieve him of his duties. When a prominent British settler confessed to the murder of an African suspected of stealing a sheep, a white jury rejected the judge’s counsel and acquitted the killer after five minutes of deliberation. London wanted the assailant deported, fearing political fallout in the UK from the judicial farce. Girourd not only refused to condemn the murder and the jury’s decision, he attempted to block the deportation.
Girouard’s indifference to this crime caused a rift with London, but it was his underhanded abrogation of the sole treaty the East African protectorate had ever signed with an African tribe that spurred his political demise. Weakened by disease and confronting an ascendant Britain, in 1904 the Masai agreed to give up as much as two thirds of their land. In exchange, the cattle rearing, semi-nomadic people were assured the fertile Laikipia Plateau for “so long as the Masai as a race shall exist.” By Girouard and Britain’s odd calculation, the agreement expired fewer than seven years later. About 10,000 Masai, with 200,000 cattle and 2 million sheep, were forced to march 150 km southward to a semiarid area near German East Africa. An unknown number of Masai and their livestock died on this “trail of tears”.
In Origins of European Settlement in Kenya, M. P. K. Sorensen describes the Montréaler’s effort to sell London on scrapping the agreement. “Girouard had to abrogate the 1904 Masai treaty and pretend to the Colonial Office that the Masai wanted to move south. At the same time he had to disguise the fact that he was acting in the interests of the settlers, some of whom had been promised land on Laikipia.” Girouard’s deception and abrogation of the treaty caused tensions with the Colonial Office, which would be his downfall.
The son of a long serving Member of Parliament and Supreme Court of Canada judge, Girouard remained honorary lieutenant colonel of the Chicoutimi-based 18th (Saguenay) regiment throughout his time in Africa. In 1903, Montreal Herald readers ranked Girouard seventh among “the ten greatest living Canadians.” A mountain in Banff National Park, as well as a plaque and building at the Royal Military College, are named in his honour. In 1985 the Gazette published an article headlined “Maybe Africa needs another Percy Girouard”.
Perhaps it is time to consider Girouard again, but in a less laudatory fashion.
Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.
Here it goes again! The same old tired and predictable tune, the same recognizable chorus. Once again the world is told what to think and what to believe. The world is also given both rhythm and leitmotif, so the grotesque and crooked dance could begin.
Who could resist, really? The lyrics of the tune are recited in perfect English, and with that air of moral and cultural superiority, which is supposed to disperse all doubts.
On February 19, 2017, RT published the following:
The Telegraph, as a favored mouthpiece for British intelligence service disinformation, is a part of psychological warfare operation against Russia, said independent journalist Martin Summers. Another accusation is being thrown at Russia as a British newspaper published a story about Moscow being allegedly behind a plot to kill Montenegro’s Prime Minister last October… According to the article, Russia wanted to overthrow the country’s government to stop them joining NATO.
So now it is Montenegro. Yesterday it was Crimea, Donbas, and the US elections. Evil Russia again! Evil China, evil socialist Latin American countries, evil Syria, Eritrea, Zimbabwe, South Africa, North Korea, Philippines, evil all those who are laughing at the notion of Anglo-Saxon superiority.
This time I’m actually not intending to write some long, philosophical essay on the subject of “shamelessness of British propaganda”. I’m just taking a short break from my 10 thousand-word ‘paper’ for the China Academy of Social Sciences (CASS); a paper analyzing the impact of the 1917 Soviet Revolution on the world.
I just want to state what I believe should be so obvious, but somehow isn’t, at least to billions of people all over the world: “Those British blokes running the mainstream media outlets and global propaganda network really cannot be trusted. For centuries, no other country brought more grief to the planet, destroyed more lives, ruined more nations and cultures, and stole more natural resources from the ‘natives’, than the United Kingdom.” All this was done with a straight face, all explained and justified by the most advanced propaganda apparatus on earth, all ‘morally defended’. The entire twisted concept of British-style ‘justice’ was first introduced at home, and then exported to many corners of the globe.
It went on for several long centuries, and it goes on until now: the rapists are introducing globally accepted moral codes. Mass murderers are running international courts of justice. Notorious liars and thieves are teaching the world about ‘objectivity’. Gurus of disinformation are even ‘educating’ their own children, as well as the children of elites from all parts of the world, in their ‘prestigious’ factories of indoctrination – schools and universities.
Of course there are some countries that have tried very hard to outdo the UK in terms of brutality, greed and tactics of deception. It is worth mentioning such candidates for genocidal world leadership like France, Germany, Spain and lately the United States. They really have been competing determinately and zealously, but despite all their efforts, they never truly managed to come close to the forerunner.
Please, just think about all this, if you haven’t already done it for years. Then wash your eyes thoroughly, and look anew at those tabloids and ‘serious publications’ that are printed in the UK. Look at the indoctrination television channels. If you are still able to retain at least some detachment and common sense, please compare what they are saying and writing and showing, with the reality outside your own window, wherever on this Planet you may be.
For many years I worked all over the world, on all continents, in some 160 countries. For many years, I was told stories, shown evidence, about the most monstrous and barbaric crimes that the Brits have been committing almost everywhere on this Planet.
To compile even some semi-complete list, one would need to compose at least a sizable brochure, if not an entire book. Let’s just mention a few of the most obvious horrors that ‘Great’ Britain is responsible for: Slave trade and destruction of entire huge parts of Africa with tens of millions people directly or indirectly killed. Monstrous occupation of the ‘Sub-continent’, with tens of millions of lives lost (including those in several artificially triggered famines). Ransacking of large parts of China, murdering and participating in breaking the most populous nation on earth. Brutal attacks against the young Soviet state. Horrid treatment of colonized peoples of the island nations, from Oceania (South Pacific) to the Caribbean. Gassing, bombing, literally exterminating people of the Middle East, from what is now Iraq and Kuwait, to Palestine. There were invasions of Afghanistan and the ‘reign of terror in Kabul’ in 1879. There were many other things, many nightmarish crimes, of course, but today I’m being brief…
In the “New World”, consisting of countries like the US, Canada and Australia, the most terrible massacres of the native people were committed by the first and second generation of Europeans, mainly the Brits.
Britain actually never ceased to commit crimes against humanity. Since WWII it has been tutoring the United States, strategically and ideologically, in the art of how to run the Empire and how to manufacture unanimity inside the West itself, and even among the population of the colonized nations (in the neo-colonialist context).
It has also been involved in some of the vilest acts in modern history, related to countries like Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Congo as well as entire areas of Asia Pacific and the African Great Lakes.
Again, that’s only a brief and incomplete summary.
Having experience with occupying huge parts of the world for centuries, knowing first-hand how to ‘pacify’ the natives, the Brits gradually developed and then passed on to the rest of the Western world their highly effective and successful indoctrination methods. These were eventually spread further – mainly among the elites of the colonized nations. As a result, fully standardized global perceptions evolved, and were implemented and upheld until this very moment. They included the general worldview, ‘principles’ and ‘moral standards’, law and justice (including such concepts as ‘human rights’), and even the set of overall values.
The English language (especially well articulated; spoken with certain recognizable and ‘acceptable’ accents) became the main linguistic tool embodying both truth and authority.
News presented in a certain ‘objective’ way and with a certain accent (or acceptable set of accents) became subconsciously, for the great majority of people, much more trustworthy than that which would be delivered by individuals whom a great Polish journalist, anthropologist and philosopher Ryszard Kapuscinski used to define as ‘the others’.
This ‘perfect’, seemingly bulletproof system produces intellectual laziness, submissiveness, even servitude. It is successfully upholding the status quo.
Lies are mounting on top of lies, and even the most obvious fabrications lately do not get challenged, except in some marginal and ‘extremist’ (defined by the Western regime) outlets.
The colonialist empire managed to survive. It is now fully in charge. It dominates the psyche of both the colonizers and the colonized. Advances that were made by liberation and independence struggles, by the anti-colonialism fighters during the post-WWII era, have been skillfully annulled. Then, it was officially declared, “colonialism is over”.
At some point, the Anglo-Saxon demagogues invented ‘political correctness’, one more highly effective tool designed to neutralize and ‘pacify’ any serious resistance. Political correctness claims that all nations and races are equal; it is even glorifying those ‘little people’ and almost all ‘cultures of the under-developed nations’, at least verbally, while in reality the Empire keeps plundering and manipulating the planet, as it has been doing for ages. In the colonies, the only individuals who are gaining are the elites; those morally corrupt rulers of the deprived and still enslaved world.
As in the past, the regime pragmatically chooses its enemies, and it then applies the most proven and spiteful tactics, launching defamation campaigns, dehumanizing citizens and leaders of adversary states, creating often phantasmagoric but highly effective conspiracy theories.
The British media, the British propagandists, in fact the entire British establishment, had reached absolute perfection in the field of mind-control and brainwashing.
How else, otherwise, would anyone in his or her sane mind trust the words of those who are responsible for tens of millions, perhaps for hundreds of millions of lost human lives in all corners of the world?
How could the primary architects of our insane global arrangement be taken seriously, unless they managed to fully indoctrinate their ‘subjects’?
Some would suggest that we are living in a world where the ‘normality’ could be found only in an insane asylum; where the only place for a decent man or a woman could be behind some barricade, or behind bars.
However, not many would have such thoughts, as even reflections are now almost fully standardized and controlled. So much glorified freedom has been reduced to just a handful of personal, very limited, often self-serving choices that one is still allowed to make while being generally fully locked within the existing system.
This British, European, in fact Western obsession with controlling, with ruling over everything in this world, has actually fully derailed natural human evolution. Instead of much higher aspirations, instead of optimistic attempts to build an egalitarian, compassionate and joyful society, our humanity is once again stuck in some master-slave morass, in something that appeared to be on its way out even during some periods of the 19th century, and definitely later, in the 20th century.
How to fight this nightmare? I wrote it many times before, and I have to repeat it again: To change things, one has to first understand reality. But it is not only about knowing the facts; it is mainly about how to analyze them, how to perceive the world and essential events.
We are being bombarded, in fact flooded with information, data and ‘facts’. What is missing is a totally new approach towards sorting and analyzing the reality within which we live.
The Empire is not withholding the facts. It is doing something much more sinister: it is depriving people of learning how to analyze them in the most logical ways.
Let us begin with absolute basics: “Mass murderer cannot be a judge”. “Indoctrinator and brainwasher cannot be a teacher”. “Those who are shackling, enslaving billions, should not be allowed to preach about freedom.”
The reality is: we have a handful of deranged, mentally disturbed nations and cultures that have been subjugating, raping and robbing entire nations and continents, still in charge of our beautiful but already terribly scarred Planet.
These morally defunct nations have no compassion left, and no real rationality. This fact they have proven again and again. One million victims, tens of millions of victims – it means nothing to them, as long as they can continue to rule. Ruined nature, disappearing islands, poisoned air, it matters nothing to them. People turning into indoctrinated, intellectually and emotionally uniformed cattle; good, who cares?
It is an extremely unsettling reality, but reality it is. The sooner we recognize it for what it is, the better.
‘Great’ Britain should sit down on its ass and cry in horror, recalling all crimes it has been committing, imagining the concentration camps it built in Africa and elsewhere, recalling the famines it triggered in India and elsewhere, remembering all those innocent people it murdered on each and every continent. It should be howling from shame, because of the nihilism it has been spreading, while ruining enthusiasm, beautiful dreams and hopes of our human kind.
It should stop and weep in horror, picturing instructions it provided to countries like South Africa, the United States or Rwanda – instructions that brought terrible bloodbaths, instead of harmony and progress to our world.
Why all this terror? Just so the UK and its cohorts could continue to rule! It is not about greed only, or natural resources, it is about control.
I don’t want their analyses, anymore. I don’t want their news, their films, their books, and their propaganda materials. Even in the dark solitude of some cave, one could understand the world much better than when reading their disinformation sheets, or when watching their indoctrination channels. All this is just designed to confuse people, to make them passive and submissive. Their announcers as well as their writers are like some sad lobotomized robots: there is no life, nothing new, nothing daring or revolutionary in their words. They function, somehow: they move, they eat, shit, repeat what they are expected to say, but they are not alive.
They only smear, but don’t inspire. If there is any optimism, it is always false, pre-approved, and mass-produced.
If you think about it, it all actually makes sense: A torturer cannot be a visionary, or an idealist.
Compared to China or Iran, the UK is a relatively young culture. But it feels old, tired, spent, and obsolete. Too many crimes and too many lies can exhaust and depress even a young person.
Were England a person, operating in a normal society, it would be either in prison or in a mental institution. The same could be said about the rest of the West.
We have nothing to learn from some murderous maniac, do we? The only concern should be: how to put a straightjacket on such an individual, how to prevent him from killing and harming others, and how to do it as quickly as possible.
I also highly doubt that with such a background and monstrous track record, our dangerous maniac should be allowed to interpret the world publicly, to teach people, and to even participate in the discussions touching the most essential issues facing our planet!
Can you trust any media outlet to tell the truth about foreign affairs? Or are they all part of some propaganda system? Perhaps the best we can do to understand what’s really happening in the world is read/listen/watch a variety of sources, but assume they are all biased in one way or another?
These questions came to mind after a recent Montréal event about Syria.
In a La Presse article, international affairs reporter Agnès Gruda essentially dismissed a presentation by a freelance journalist who has covered the war in Syria by writing: “for who does Eva Bartlett really work? During her conference, she confirmed that she wrote commentaries for Russia Today — a Russian propaganda organ.”
Gruda isn’t the only reporter to highlight Bartlett’s ties to RT when discussing her Syria work. A Hamilton Spectator story about her talks in that city noted, “Bartlett maintains a blog for the state-funded media outlet Russia Today” while Pulse reported that she contributed to the “Kremlin broadcaster Russia Today.” (Bartlett has published five articles about Syria for RT.)
Of course, the question of where journalists publish or who employs them and the interests of the owners/funders of said media does deserve attention. It is not unreasonable to be skeptical of a Russian media outlet’s reporting on Syria. While I’m not current with RT, it’s hard to imagine that a station set up by the Russian government wouldn’t be biased in favor of Moscow’s position in a conflict it is a major player in.
But, does Gruda describe herself as an employee of the billionaire Desmarais family that is heavily involved in Canadian and other countries’ politics? How does Gruda describe journalists who’ve written for Al Jazeera, which is owned by a Qatari monarchy that has backed armed opposition to Assad? Or how about the BBC, CBC and other media outlets owned by governments?
Does Gruda offer readers similar background on journalists who’ve worked on a National Film Board documentary? Created as part of the Canadian government’s World War II propaganda arsenal, the 1950 National Film Board Act calls for it to “promote the production and distribution of films in the national interest.”
Or, does she mention journalists’ ties when they have freelanced for Radio Canada International, a “Canadian government propaganda arm”? Initially focused on Eastern Bloc countries, beginning in 1945 RCI beamed radio abroad as part of “the psychological war against communism”, according to external minister Lester Pearson. Early on External Affairs was given a copy of the scripts used by commentators and it responded to criticism of Canada’s international policies. Into the 1990s RCI’s funding came directly from External Affairs.
Or what about the Canadian Press ? The influential media institution has significant historic ties to official Canadian international policy. During World War I Ottawa helped establish the Canadian Press to increase pro-war coverage and strengthen national identity. A predecessor newswire disseminated Associated Press stories in Canada but the war spurred criticism of the US news agency, which did not cheerlead British/Canadian policy loud enough for some (Washington had yet to join the fighting). “In effect, an arm of the British Foreign Ministry”, Reuters offered Canadian newspapers free wire copy during the war. But, the British press agency would only deliver the service to Ottawa. If the federal government “wanted to ensure that this pro-war imperial news service was distributed effectively across the country”, it had to subsidize a telegraph connection to the West Coast. To support CP the federal government put up $50,000 ($800,000 in today’s dollars) a year, which lasted for six years.
CP “cemented” itself as Canada’s national news service during World War II. “To accomplish this,” Gene Allen writes in a history of the organization, “CP cultivated unprecedentedly close relations with Canada’s military authorities — who had reasons of their own for wanting extensive coverage of the national war effort — and thereby moved some distance away from traditional notions of journalistic independence.” In an extreme example, CP recruited a Canadian Forces public relations officer who led reporters into battle zones. Bill Boss remained with the same unit but began reporting for the news service and would become one of Canada’s most famous war correspondents.
Nationalism remains an important media frame at the CP. “As a warcorrespondent in the 1990s”, former CP reporter Stephen Ward describes facing nationalist pressures. “I came under pressure to be patriotic when reporting on Canadian soldiers or peacekeepers in the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere [Iraq] … I should not embarrass Canada by reporting on mistakes in the field; I should not quote soldiers puzzled about their mission; I should do ‘feel-good’ pieces about soldiers watching hockey via satellite in warring Bosnia.”
Most Canadian media face similar pressures in their international coverage, as I detail in A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation.
Certainly Russia’s foreign affairs machinery isn’t the only one that shapes international coverage. Highlighting Russia’s “propaganda system” to a Canadian audience without mentioning the one at home indicates either a journalist’s ignorance or that she is part of it.
The most recent poll regarding Canadian’s attitudes towards Israel has just been released and the results are telling. Quite strikingly, far more Canadians have a negative view of the government of Israel than a positive one. Even more remarkable, Quebec respondents have a far harsher view of the government of Israel than their fellow Canadians.
Some have argued that Quebecers have always been more critical of the Israeli government, and more sympathetic to the Palestinians. This assumption was up in the air, however, when a survey by Crop-La Presse issued in 2014 during the Gaza conflict between Israel and Hamas found that the majority (64 per cent) of Quebecers chose not to pick sides in the messy flare up.
With this most recent poll sponsored by my organization, it is clear that regardless of what happened in 2014, Quebecers remain wary of the Israeli government. Of those who expressed an opinion, 57 per cent of Quebecers had a negative opinion of the Israeli government, as compared to 46 per cent overall in Canada. Only 16 per cent of Quebecers had a positive opinion, as compared to 28 per cent overall in Canada.
While this doesn’t tell us whether Quebecers are pro-Palestinian, it does show that they are far more negative than other provinces when it comes to the Israeli government.
With survey results like these, one would expect Quebec politicians to be guarded with respect to relations with the Israeli government. This could not be more wrong. With Montreal mayor Denis Coderre’s recent economic mission, Premier Philippe Couillard’s upcoming one and a recent statement on Israel by CPC leadership candidate Maxime Bernier, it is easy to feel as if our political elite are detached from the population’s concerns over Israel’s human rights abuses.
Rather than asking Israeli leaders tough questions about violations of international law, Quebec leaders only seem to idolize Israel for being such an innovative and business-friendly country. This is especially the case for the particularly effusive Coderre, who came back full of praise for Israel following his economic mission to Israel and (symbolically) the West-Bank.
While having a negative perception of the Israeli government does not mean that Quebecers want their leaders to be anti-Israel, they still might prefer a more balanced approach.
Nobody can deny the fact that Israel has managed to achieve an impressive economic success and that their innovation sector is quite enviable. However, considering the fact that this country is repeatedly cited for violations of international law, and that Netanyahu’s right-wing coalition government continues the illegal colonization of Palestinian territory, many Quebecers may believe that our politicians should not engage in a “business as usual” economic approach with Israel.
In China, Philippe Couillard experienced firsthand the difficulty of pursuing economic relations while being under pressure to denounce human rights violations. It is especially hard for premiers since because of the Constitution, Canadian provinces cannot lead their own international policies and diplomacy.
However, Quebec has found a way to circumvent this by engaging in various economic and cultural missions and investing in permanent delegations throughout the world. This broader role undertaken by Quebec political elites is not exempt from responsibilities — and leaders like Couillard and Coderre need to find a way to achieve both: pursue economic motivations while making sure violators of international law are held accountable.
In the current international political climate, such proposals may seem like wishful thinking: economic incentives are almost always prioritized to the detriment of human rights issues. However, Western leaders are becoming more and more vocal about their disapproval of Israel’s increasing settlements expansion, and ongoing disregard for Palestinian human rights.
It’s time that Quebec leaders find a way to do the same, and these new poll results should give them all the incentive they need.
Tehran has rejected a recent ruling issued by Canada’s Ontario Superior Court of Justice against Iran, saying the verdict violates international law.
“This ruling contravenes the basic principles of the legal impunity of governments and their assets, and is unacceptable,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi said on Sunday.
Justice Glenn Hainey ruled on February 8 that the Islamic Republic had to pay $300,000 in legal costs to those who claim to be victims of Iranian support for resistance groups.
The plaintiffs had sought compensation in the Ontario court under Canada’s Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act. The verdict has given Iran 30 days to pay the sum.
Qassemi said the Islamic Republic has already conveyed its expression of formal protest to the Canadian government and reserved the right to take political and legal measures in that regard.
In June 2016, the same court ordered $13 million in non-diplomatic Iranian assets to be given to three groups of plaintiffs.
The decision was similar to US Supreme Court’s ruling in April 2016 to hand over $2 billion in Iran’s frozen assets to American families of those killed in the 1983 bombing of US Marine Corps barracks in Beirut and other attacks.
Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced at that time that the country had filed a lawsuit against the US with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) – the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.
Earlier this month, Iran’s Presidential Office said in a statement that the lawsuit had been officially put in motion.
Washington’s seizure of Iran’s assets is against the Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations, and Consular Rights which was signed by the two countries in August 1955 – referred to as the 1955 Treaty – and is “still effective,” the statement added.
A Canadian court has ruled that the government harmed thousands of indigenous children who were robbed of their cultural heritage when it took them from their families. Launched eight years ago, the lawsuit could cost the government US$1bn.
Ruling on the case on Tuesday, Justice Edward Belobaba said Canada breached its “duty of care” when the Ontario-led program forcibly removed 16,000 aboriginal children from their families and relocated them to non-indigenous homes between 1965 and 1984.
The federal initiative, which aimed to educate children on Euro-Canadian and Christian values, became known as the ‘Sixties Scoop’. An investigation into the program produced the Kimelman Report, which described it as “cultural genocide.”
“The uncontroverted evidence of the plaintiff’s experts is that the loss of their Aboriginal identity left the children fundamentally disoriented, with a reduced ability to lead healthy and fulfilling lives,” Belobaba said, as quoted by CBC.
“The loss of Aboriginal identity resulted in psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, unemployment, violence and numerous suicides.”
“There is … no dispute that great harm was done,” the judge added.
The case had stuttered for several years until Prime Minister Justin Trudeau came to power, fulfilling an election promise that it would be revived to better the country’s relationship with its indigenous population. Tuesday’s ruling is expected to have an impact on a number of similar cases across the country.
Damages have yet to be decided upon.
National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations Perry Bellegarde welcomed the decision, telling Reuters: “Children have the right to speak their language and stay connected to their heritage. Today’s decision is a step towards reconciliation.”
Marcia Brown Martel, who was taken from her native family aged four, began the class-action lawsuit against the federal government when she began searching for her roots. No information had been provided to Martel’s adoptive family on her original home, leaving her to try tracing her past from her limited memories.
Reacting to the ruling, Colleen Cardinal, who was also taken as part of the program when she was just two years old, said she was surprised with the ruling but is now confident that similar lawsuits will go the same way.
“I think the rest of the country has been waiting for this class action to be resolved, and I’m pretty sure that the rest will follow suit,” she told CBC.
Cardinal said this was a “monetary victory” but that those taken still needed support to help them heal.
A number of children taken during the program were adopted by US families, including Sydney Dion, who was denied entry to Canada when he attempted to return home as he did not have a Canadian birth certificate. He was eventually allowed to enter the country after border patrol acknowledged he was a minor when taken to the US and did not consent to becoming a US citizen.
The media is unfair to the military, according to the Chief of Defence Staff. During a speech to the Greater Vancouver Board of Trade last week General Jonathan Vance slammed “very toxic narratives” in reporting on the Canadian Forces.
“If you’re paying attention to the news today, there are some very toxic narratives about the armed forces,” Vance said. “The narrative that seems to prevail right now is if you join the armed forces, you are going to be sexually assaulted, raped or you’re going to suffer from PTSD at some point and may commit suicide.”
Reporting the truth is toxic?
With the largest PR machine in the country, the CF aggressively always protects its image and promotes its worldview. As I detail in my latest book A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation, the military runs a slew of journalistic, academic and cultural initiatives. The military produces dozens of publications and its numerous websites make articles, speeches, reports and other types of information easily accessible to the public. The Canadian Forces also employs YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms to promote its positions and recruit new members.
In 2010-11 the Canadian Forces admitted to spending $354 million on public relations and related military commemorations. Six hundred and sixty-one staff members worked on this effort. According to another 2011 report, the Department of National Defence’s Public Affairs department had 286 staff. Public Affairs Officers’ write press releases, organize press conferences, monitor the news, brief journalists, befriend reporters and editors, or perform various other media-related activities. A large proportion of the news stories about the military are based on CF statements and events.
But that clearly isn’t good enough for the Chief of Defence Staff. After taking charge of the CF, Vance immediately sought to reinforce their influence over news coverage of military affairs. In fall 2015, Ottawa Citizen military reporter David Pugliese revealed Canada’s top soldier’’ call for the “weaponization of public affairs.” Vance proposed a plan to induce positive coverage and deter critical reporting. Journalists producing unflattering stories about the military were to be the target of phone calls to their boss, letters to the editor and other “flack” designed to undercut their credibility in the eyes of readers and their employers.
While the “weaponization of public affairs” slogan was novel, Pugliese pointed out in a blog that “Vance isn’t the first to attempt to bring pesky journalists to heel. It was quite common for officials working for then Defence Minister Peter MacKay to phone editors of various publications to complain about reporters.”
The CF didn’t stop at complaining to journalists’ bosses. The top brass repeatedly asked the military’s National Investigative Service (NIS) to investigate reporters’ sources. In 2011 NIS investigated prominent CTV journalist Robert Fife after he uncovered documents about Chief of Defence Staff Walt Natynczyk spending over $1 million in public funds flying to hockey games and a Caribbean vacation. Pugliese described this as a blatant “intimidation tactic by the NIS against a journalist who was clearly not playing military cheerleader.”
In a similar incident, NIS spent more than a month investigating how Pugliese obtained information about a major Pacific Ocean military exercise in spring 2012. While the Ottawa Citizen defence reporter said the information came from a U.S. Navy release, which the NSI investigation ultimately supported, DND officials believed Pugliese was tipped off by a friendly Public Affairs Officer. Esprit du Corp editor Scott Taylor pointed out that the investigation had nothing to do with operational security. “No classified information was divulged. No operational security jeopardized. No Canadian sailors’ lives were put in peril as a result of Pugliese’s rather innocuous story, but [defence minister Peter] MacKay’s timetable for release [of the information] had not been strictly adhered to.”
According to Taylor, NIS was employed on at least four occasions to investigate the source of information for stories. Yet in none of these instances was classified material reported.
The military is sensitive about embarrassing leaks. A July 2014 Embassy story titled “DND points to ‘challenges’ with former soldiers talking to media” reported on ministerial briefing notes concerning the problem of “leaks.” A year earlier the CF required soldiers wounded in Afghanistan to sign a form saying they wouldn’t criticize senior officers on Facebook or other social media. Former soldiers are a concern since active CF members are restricted in what they can say publicly or post online.
An extremely centralized organization, the people at the top of Canadian Forces want to control everyone and everything.
To paraphrase a widely circulated quote: when you’re accustomed to shaping coverage, a bit of criticism can feel like a “toxic” media environment.
The massacre of Muslims in Canada at a Quebec City mosque on Sunday, January 29, raises a number of questions about what happened but also raises deep questions of morality and justice since the massacre of Muslims in Canada is rightly condemned but another massacre of Muslims, in Yemen, is shamefully and criminally condoned. In one situation, a suspect faces trial for murder and is condemned by public opinion, while in the other the guilty are treated as heroes and will receive medals. Let’s deal with the Canadian situation first.
Instead of facts we have confusion since first reports are of two figures, wearing ski masks, blasting away with Ak-47’s. Now the two are declared to be one. We have a conversation on a bridge between a “suspect” and the police, after the “suspect” is alleged to have called them “because he feels bad,” to tell them he “was involved.” What that means is not stated but is played in the press as a confession, but there is no confession. At his bail hearing on Monday, the sole accused Alexandre Bissonnette, entered no plea and said not a word.
He is portrayed in the press as a right wing oddball, a loner type. Friends and family never saw it coming. Much is made of his mundane “likes” on his Facebook site as if these indicate his guilt or innocence any more than my “likes” indicate mine. Was he a hidden ideological time bomb and killed with an objective in mind, to make a cruel statement, to create terror for political objectives? If so, and after so brazen a massacre, where were the shouts of defiance, of bragging, from this terrorist madman? Instead, a man shuffled and hung his head and dared not look anyone in the eye, tried to keep a low profile when all eyes were focused on him. Why? Is he one of the shooters? Were there two or just one?
The Toronto Star reported on the Sunday, January 30, that,
“Two attackers carried out a shooting at a Quebec City Mosque…”
Quoting Radio-Canada, the Star stated that,
“One man who was at the mosque told Radio-Canada that there were two attackers wearing ski masks who burst into the building and opened fire. The man, who didn’t want to be identified by name, said they had strong Quebecois accents, but added that he believed them shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’… The man said he narrowly escaped when a bullet whizzed over his head. He said the gunmen took aim at those who were still praying.”
There we have it, a recent direct witness statement that there were two shooters, not one, as the police now claim. The witness talks in the plural all through his statement. There can be no doubt this event is seared in his mind. He was there. There can be no doubt there were two men involved. But now one has disappeared from the official narrative. I am not surprised he feared to give his name because if killers can disappear witnesses can too.
Even the CBC, on Tuesday January 31, in reference to a witness who was arrested as a suspect by mistake, quoted that witness as stating, “I found a victim near the door. I didn’t know if he was alive or dead… when I gave him my jacket to keep warm, I saw the image of someone with a firearm. I didn’t know it was the police. I thought it was a shooter who’d returned.”
He refers to “a” shooter not “the” shooter implying there were more than one. He even thought the police officers were the shooters. But clearly he misunderstood why they were there. And the CBC article also cited the witness who saw two attackers and repeated the Radio-Canada story.
The police now state there was only one shooter. Yet the police statement from the Surete de Quebec on January 30 said, “The Surete de Quebec confirms that only one of the individuals arrested yesterday evening is connected with the attack in Quebec and is considered a suspect.” That does not exclude other attackers and does not say that Bissonnette is the only attacker. Now the press are quoting witnesses saying there was one attacker but the police state they have two long guns used in the crime. Witnesses described them as AK 47’s. They also say that a shooter also used a 9 mm pistol after his rifle jammed. The 9mm could hold 15 rounds and since more than 20 people were shot the question of two shooters does not go away.
What is the motive? Not a word on that from anyone though the media is heavy with speculation it is because of alleged right wing views. But many people in Quebec and Canada share these opinions. This is not evidence. If it was Bissonnette, was this a hate attack against Muslims and if so how did this come about? If it wasn’t, is he insane so that now he is arrested we no longer need worry? Very different scenarios cause different reactions and consequences. But we are left with the word “terrorism” as if saying it explains things. Where and how did he or they get the automatic weapons they used? Was CSIS, the Canadian Security and Intelligence Service aware of any of this developing? If not, why not?
Who benefits from this crime? We know that President Trump issued an executive order banning entry of Muslims from certain countries on Friday. The Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau, in reaction to the Trump travel ban, stated on Saturday,
“To those fleeing persecution, terror and war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of faith. Diversity is our strength.”
One day later, on Sunday, came the message in the form of the attack that Muslims better forget Canada as a safe place to be. So, was there a political objective? If so, was it to damage Trump through the murder of innocents? Was it to slap down Trudeau and damage Canada’s reputation? Will it be another in a long string of such incidents the past few years which have been used to excuse even more draconian security laws and loss of civil rights and freedoms?
The anti-Trump media, political opponents and commentators are using it to link Trump to right wing murderers, while Trump has tried to use it to call for more security and offered Canada the help of American security services.
The Canadian media are in a frenzy putting out stories about Canada as a welcoming country that is horrified by this crime and condemning violence against Muslims. The only thing the public knows is that we do not know the whole story.
But the massacre in Quebec City was not the only massacre that took place on that Sunday. That same day American special forces invaded Yemen and carried out a series of “raids,” in reality a series of invasions of a sovereign country to kill its citizens. One of these raids was against a man they claim was a “suspected Al-Qaeda leader” their code phrase for anyone they want out of the way in the Middle East, since Al-Qaeda does not exist; it is just a label attached to any group in the middle east that resists US hegemony, or in Yemen, is part of the resistance to the US-UK sponsored war conducted by Saudi Arabia against Yemen.
This invasion of Yemen, an act of aggression against a member of the United Nations, was planned by President Obama and approved by President Trump, showing the seamless continuity of American imperialism. It was supposedly to “gather intelligence,” in the form of a computer hard drive. To obtain that hard drive, the Americans slaughtered dozens.
In one version in the US media, the American soldiers descended from their helicopters, surrounded a house, and then killed everyone in it. They then began to meet resistance and more violence ensued as the Yemenis tried to resist the American invaders. A US helicopter was shot down, and as is often the case with them, the Americans fired and bombed indiscriminately and killed, according to local media, 30 people including civilians, 8 women and children among them, and bombed a school, a medical facility and a mosque. It was reported that the Americans killed more people in Yemen in other raids that day.
This is a war crime under international law, a crime against humanity, to invade a country and kill its citizens who have every right to resist the attack. Yet where is the condemnation of President Obama for planning this operation and for President Trump for carrying it out? Where are the arrests of these two men and the soldiers who carried out this atrocity? Are they not as guilty as Alexandre Bissonnette, if indeed he is one of the attackers in Quebec? Why is it insignificant that Muslims are murdered in their homes and mosques in Yemen by a powerful state but a world tragedy when Muslims are murdered in a mosque in Canada?
Yet, as the Surete de Quebec and the other Canadian police forces and intelligence agencies carry out their activities to determine what happened in Quebec City and as the Canadian and world media put out wall to wall coverage of the massacre in Canada, the same media do nothing more than regret the death and wounding of the American murderers who carried out the massacre in Yemen and excuse this mass slaughter while the prosecutor of the ICC sits at her desk and wonders why she and the court she represents have become totally irrelevant to what seems to be a hopeless quest to prevent war crimes and the wars from which they arise and which have led directly to the crimes in Canada and Yemen.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto. He is known for a number of high-profile war crimes cases and recently published his novel “Beneath the Clouds. He writes essays on international law, politics and world events.