Reckoning with reality
Below is an excerpt of Monika Schafer’s 2015 resignation letter. In it she lays out her reasons for no longer wanting to be part of the Green Party of Canada. Basically Ms. Schaefer accuses Ms. May of betraying her promise to speak truth to power. Ms. Schaefer accuses Ms. May of knowingly going along with what the Green Party leader well understands is a fraudulent interpretation of what really happened on 9/11. The effect of Ms. May going along with the lies of 9/11 is to maintain in positions of power those most responsible for perpetrating the crimes that have lea to millions of deaths in the still-continuing 9/11 wars and the ongoing torrent of false flag terror events.
To: Elizabeth May, Leader of the Green Party of Canada
Subject: why I am cancelling my membership
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2015 14:38:38 -0600
Dear Elizabeth May,
After many years of loyal Green Party involvement, including attending the founding convention of the GPC in 1983, and being the Yellowhead candidate in the last three general federal elections, not to mention the thousands of dollars of donations which I have made over the years, it is with a heavy heart that I am officially cancelling my Green Party membership effective immediately.
I have learned over the past year that even the Green Party of Canada is a controlled opposition party. There is no room for speaking the truth about current events in the Green Party of Canada. At first I gave the benefit of the doubt to you and others, because I understood that everyone is on their own learning curve, just as I was. We have all been subjected to a lifetime of training, indoctrination, education, mind-control, call it what you will, we have been brainwashed. I tried very hard to give you and others the information that would lead to your understanding of who is really pulling the strings of our government representatives, playing them like puppets.
At risk of repeating myself, I will again quote Voltaire who said: “To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” Indeed, did Stephen Harper not say that anyone who criticizes Israel is anti-semitic? Being labelled anti-semitic is akin to being labelled terrorist. And we know what Bill C-51 can do to anyone with that label!
Elizabeth May, I have enjoyed our friendship. I have had such deep respect for your wisdom and intelligence. However, I am extremely disappointed that you have allowed political expediency to compromise your integrity and cloud your vision, when you were always the one who said you would speak truth to power, uncompromisingly.
9/11 is the litmus test. It is the defining event of our times. It is what triggered the fraudulent War on Terror. It was a false-flag event! If you (and all the other MPs) are not able or willing to talk about it, then that proves that you (and all the other MPs) are controlled by the very cabal of people that brought us that event.
The frequency of subsequent false flag events is increasing. London, Bali, Madrid, Boston, Ottawa, and Paris. These events are always followed by a ratcheting-up of restrictions on freedoms and rights. Bill C-51 is a case in point.
The Zionist New World Order agenda does not bode well for the future of our species let alone all life on this beautiful Mother Earth. If we truly want to implement the Green Vision which you and I both care about so deeply, we need to get to the root of who is in control of our media, our banks and our governments. We need to expose and bring down the criminal cabal now in charge in order to take back our future…….
The Jewish Holocaust occupies a unique position in modern Western society, in that questioning the facts of the Holocaust is suppressed and vilified on a global scale as no other topic of human history. Why is research into the Holocaust so problematic? Why is it that serious research by scientists, historians and other academics is rejected out of hand as immoral? Why is the suppression of research into ANY aspect of history acceptable?
At present there are 14 countries that criminalise ‘Holocaust denial’, i.e. publicly questioning, or disseminating research that questions, any aspect of the approved Holocaust narrative: Canada plus 13 European countries including Germany, Austria and France. In many of these countries legislation was passed decades after the end of WWII, in France only in 1990. As recently as 2015 a German court convicted 87 year old Ursula Haverbeck of ‘Holocaust denial’ and sentenced her to 10 months prison. Other revisionists who have served jail sentences include the German publisher Ernst Zündel and the British historian David Irving, who was arrested, sentenced and imprisoned in Austria in 2005. Academic Robert Faurisson was convicted in France of holocaust denial in 2006 and given a three month suspended sentence. In Germany convictions are rising steadily: in 2000 there were more than 2,666 violations of the Holocaust denial law STGB 130, as compared with 437 in 1987.
Even where Holocaust revision is legal, those who are involved in it or support it in any way are liable to be vilified, persecuted and generally treated as lepers. British academics like Irving and Nicholas Kollerstrom saw their careers destroyed, and every effort is made to deny revisionists any sort of platform; it goes without saying that they are subjected to vindictive trolling on social media. Some, like Faurisson and Zündel, have been physically assaulted on more than one occasion. After pro-Palestine activist Paul Eisen wrote an article ‘The Holocaust Wars’ in which he suggested there were questions to answer about the Holocaust, he experienced an extraordinary campaign of vilification and ostracism, especially from the pro-Palestine movement he had given so much to. That he was Jewish himself was no defence against the charge of antisemitism. As Eisen himself says, ‘I had metamorphosed into that lowest of animal life forms, the maggot at the bottom of the food chain – a Holocaust denier’.
Paul Eisen saw an unexpected rise in his profile during the 2015 campaign for election of the leader of the UK Labour Party. It was discovered that Jeremy Corbyn had had some links with Eisen in the past, including appearing on the same platform as him. The media, who had hardly been supportive of Corbyn’s candidature, had a field day accusing Corbyn of associating with a Holocaust denier. Jeremy Corbyn’s response to accusations of an association with Eisen was unequivocal : ‘had I known he was a Holocaust denier I would have had nothing to do with him […]. Obviously Holocaust denial is vile and wrong’. (From 2.47 mins in the following)
There are two principle assumptions relating to the Holocaust, both implicit in Corbyn’s denial of Paul Eisen:
- It is an an indisputable fact that Adolf Hitler planned to exterminate the Jews of Europe, that he did so by gassing them with cyanide in specially constructed gas chambers, and that he was thus responsible for the deaths of 6 million Jews
- People who question any of these premises, do so ONLY because they are neo-Nazis and white supremacists, who wish to conceal the crimes of the Nazis while at the same time sharing their ideology. They are ‘Holocaust deniers’, and all Holocaust deniers are of necessity antisemitic.
The immutability of these two premises leads to another, that anyone who questions any aspect of the Holocaust or who supports the right of others to question the Holocaust, is at best morally compromised, and probably downright evil, deserving responses ranging from suspicion, condemnation, vilification, isolation, hate mail, through to arrest and imprisonment, sometimes for many years. Those who accept unreservedly the two premises are automatically morally superior to anyone who smells a rat.
In 2012 Piers Morgan interviewed the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and asked him about his attitude to the Holocaust. I say ‘asked’, but Morgan puts his own position very clearly.
Morgan states that ‘it is an indisputable fact’ that over 6 million Jews were annihilated by Adolf Hitler and the Nazis. ‘Do you dispute that 6 million Jews died or no.’ Although Ahmadinejad tries to voice his suspicions about the narrative, aroused principally because so much effort goes into suppressing research, Morgan is unmovable: the Holocaust is a fact: either you believe in it or not (subtext: and if you don’t it’s because you choose to, because you are a bad person).
The biologist Richard Dawkins sees Holocaust debate in precisely the same terms as Piers Morgan:
So according to Richard Dawkins, too, the Holocaust’ is an immutable fact, and those who question it are intellectually on a par with people who think the earth is flat, and morally on a par with racists. Again, the Holocaust is presented as just one fact, a single package – you either believe in it or you don’t.
What is particularly interesting about Dawkins’ position is that he is one of the leaders of the New Atheist movement, ostensibly dedicated to pointing out all that’s wrong with religion. One might have thought he would be sensitive to the features of the Holocaust narrative and the protectors of its memory that are evocative of the most intolerant religions, for example Catholicism in medieval times. Criminalising Holocaust denial is like burning Bruno Giordano at the stake for claiming that the earth goes round the sun.
A number of writers have in fact analysed the parallels between the Holocaust and religion, most notably the Israeli writers Yeshayahu Leibowitz, Shraga Elam, Gilad Atzmon, and Yoshua Shalev. Their arguments have been summarised as follows: Most Jews today are either atheists or shun the religion of Judaism. Therefore, the Jewish people had to adopt belief in the ‘Holocaust’ as their new religion. They have spread this religion all over the world. ‘Holocaust’ museums are the new houses of worship and are present in most major cities. The new religion has its commandments, its decrees, its prophets, its high priests, its circle of saints, its rituals and its pilgrimages. It knows neither mercy, nor forgiveness, nor clemency but only the duty of vengeance. The Holocaust religion is coherent enough to define the new ‘antichrists’ (the Deniers) and it is powerful enough to persecute them (Holocaust denial laws).
The ‘Ten Commandments’ of this ‘Holocaust Religion’ have been enunciated as follows:
- Remember what Amalek (the Non-Jews) has done to thee.
- Thou shalt never compare THE HOLOCAUST with any other Genocide.
- Thou shalt never compare the Nazi crimes with those of Israel.
- Thou shalt never doubt the number of 6 million Jewish victims.
- Thou shalt never doubt that the majority of them died in gas chambers.
- Thou shalt not doubt the central role of SATAN Hitler in the extermination of the Jews.
- Thou shalt never doubt the right of Israel to exist as the Jewish state.
- Thou shalt not criticize the leading Jewish organizations and the Israeli government.
- Thou must never criticize Jewish organizations and the Zionist leadership for abandoning the European Jewry in the Nazi era
- Thou shalt take these commandments literally and never shew mercy to them that doubt!
So what if you question this Holocaust religion? There is an almost universal assumption that if you don’t believe in the Holocaust it is not because you have an inquiring mind, it’s because you are innately evil. The belief underlying the draconian legislation relating to Holocaust denial would seem to be that the Holocaust is only questioned by neonazis, whose ‘denial’ is motivated by hate and so they should be locked up before they contaminate anyone else.
I have to confess that when I recently learned of the existence of Ursula Haverbeck and her prison sentence for ‘Holocaust denial’, in a European country in the 21st century, for carrying out, as I saw it, serious research into history, I was shocked to the core. I mentioned this to various acquaintances here in Wellington, who were equally horrified, not at the imprisonment of Ursula Haverbeck, but at the thought that I appeared to be questioning the Holocaust narrative. I was quickly made to understand that if I thought there was something worrying, something odd about this punitive response to historical research, it indicated a moral flaw in my makeup.
Soon after I had a twitter exchange with one Daniel Finkelstein, peer of the British realm, ex-editor of The Times. I came across his savage indictment of a prolific tweeter, who had defended David Irving, the notorious ‘Holocaust denier’. When I commented that the said person ‘opposes land theft (in Palestine), ethnic cleansing and child abuse – what’s not to like? Finkelstein, twitter handle ‘Dannythefink’, responded by asking me what I thought of the Holocaust. The exchange continued as follows:
It comes as no surprise that Daniel Finkelstein, who is in total support of dispossession, ethnic cleansing and cruelty in Palestine, assumes morally superiority to me, since I have spoken in defense of a man who has spoken in defense of a man who does research into a field of history. And of course I have refused to commit myself to the undeniability of the Holocaust package …
One can assume that all these experts on the Holocaust, who know enough to be confident of the immutable truth of the Holocaust narrative, whether it be Piers Morgan, Dawkins, or Daniel Finkelstein, would also know another immutable truth about the Holocaust, that the Director of Auschwitz, Rudolf Höss was tortured for three days and three nights, and that his testicles were smashed beyond repair,as happened to 137 out of 139 Germans ‘interrogated’ before the Nuremberg trials. One can assume that this makes no difference to their perception of the Holocaust narrative, and they will remain confident of their moral superiority to those of us who are distressed and alarmed by the knowledge that German witness statements at Nuremberg were obtained under the most brutal torture. (From Höss’s confession was derived the figure of 4 million deaths at Auschwitz; the figure was later revised down to 1 million.)
‘Holocaust denial’ is generally conflated with antisemitism, ‘Jew hate’ or racism, and so automatically deserving of vilification. However, even if revisionism is considered to be intrinsically antisemitic, protectors of the Holocaust narrative like to bolster their case by pointing to more general indicators of racism in the culprit.
To the uninitiated the best-known Holocaust revisionist is probably the British historian David Irving, who was convicted of Holocaust denial in an Austrian court and sentenced to three years in prison. Irving was interviewed by Tim Sebastian on the BBC’s Hardtalk in 2000. The programme’s style is intended to be aggressive, but when I watched the programme in 2000, knowing nothing about either Irving or Holocaust denial, I was repelled by Sebastian’s overt hostility to Irving, and I believe that any other impartial person would be too. (Sebastian underlined his antagonism by refraining from shaking Irving’s hand at the end of the interview.)
Sebastian suggests that to deny the gas chambers is hurtful and tasteless (Holocaust denial is immoral per se). But like many others he feels the need to shore up this assumption by showing that there is other evidence that David Irving is a racist, and though he has few examples to work with he is relentless on this point. Irving’s suggestion that he is no more racist than millions of other people is brushed aside with the rather strange claim from the interviewer that there is no evidence for this whatsoever (so only Holocaust deniers are racist). Furthermore, it would appear that honest but naive David Irving confessed in an interview with the Independent that he once called someone a ‘nigger’, something he immediately regretted and remained bitterly ashamed of. As someone put it in the comments below the YouTube video, David Irving is probably the most honest person on the planet.
Another protector of the Holocaust narrative is Max Blumenthal, an American Jew who has a profile as a supporter of the rights of Palestinians. Blumenthal has attracted criticism from some pro-Palestine activists, who see him as an ‘antizionist’ zionist (AZZ), or gatekeeper, due to his attacks on other activists such as Alison Weir and Gilad Atzmon, his opposition to criticism of Jewish power, his prioritising of antisemitism and Holocaust denial, and his peddling of the NATO narrative on Syria; Gilad Atzmon sees him as racist, agressive and supremacist. In 2008 Blumenthal attended a meeting by David Irving when he was touring the States, and created this video:
The video is interesting for several reason. Blumenthal has interspersed his footage with clips from old German propaganda films promoting Germans superiority – of course if you question the Holocaust you must be a Nazi and white supremacist. Like Piers Morgan he presents the question of the Holocaust in bald holistic terms, with no allowance for individual aspects, or degrees of doubt. ‘Are you a Holocaust denier’, he asks, pretty much as one might ask ‘are you a paedophile?’
And as Holocaust denial is such a heinous crime, Blumenthal is justified in first finding out the location of the meeting (given freely to him by David Irving), and then outing Irving to the Vicar of the church hosting the meeting as a ‘Holocaust denier’. The smugness, the self-satisfaction of Blumenthal are palpable; he clearly sees himself as a hero, where others might just see a manipulative sneak. In any case we are left in no doubt that Max Blumenthal, the anti-German racist, the Palestine activist who along with Israel promotes the destruction of Syria, is morally superior to the ‘Holocaust denier’ David Irving, regardless of the latter’s transparent integrity.
The claim that ‘Holocaust denial’ is innately antisemitic was blown out of the water when Netanyahu, prime minister of Israel, took into his head to declare that the Holocaust was the brainchild of the Palestinian grand mufti of Jerusalem Haj Amin Husseini (so not Hitler afterall), that Hitler only wanted to expel the Jews, not exterminate them (thereby breaking Commandment 6, see above). There was anger and ridicule in Israel and amongst Jews abroad and Netanyahu was forced to climb down. Although Netanyahu was in general accused of ‘playing into the hands of Holocaust deniers’, he was actually guilty of Holocaust denial as it is defined, ie questioning an aspect of the Holocaust discourse – any German who made Netanyahu’s claim would be arrested. If one accepts the ruling that says ‘Holocaust denial’ is antisemitic, Netanyahu must be antisemitic. Which is clearly nonsense – Netanyahu’s racism does not lie in antisemitism, but in an overweening belief in Jewish exceptionalism.
It could be that those protecting the approved version of the Holocaust with such intolerance, aggression, and hate are absolutely right, that 6 million Jews died, in gas chambers, according to a plan drawn up by Adolf Hitler. I wouldn’t know – I haven’t done the research necessary for me to form an opinion.
However it is manifestly clear that those who question or deny the Holocaust are not united by a common neo-Nazi philosophy, of a type that on the one hand insists that Hitler was not guilty of the crimes attributed to him and on the other claims ‘Hitler was right’ to commit these crimes. Mainstream Holocaust revisionists are academics, philosophers, German patriots or Palestine activists. They do not necessarily support the far-right – many of them probably vote for left of centre parties. Some of them are notable for their immense compassion, such as Paul Eisen, who has always been a strong advocate of justice for Palestine. All of them have shown great courage and integrity, and are prepared to look for the truth and to speak it as they see it.
Regardless of the facts of the matter, criminalisation of responsible research into the Holocaust, and the vilification and isolation of those who carry it out, or even those who simply support their right to do so, is an outrageous denial of academic endeavour and historiography as a discipline. Anyone who supports such criminalisation, vilification and isolation is NOT morally superior but in fact morally and intellectually compromised. Furthermore, any honourable person with a modicum of intelligence and a modicum of courage will fight for the right of all people to carry out research into any branch of history, without treating one particular aspect as sacred and therefore exempt from scrutiny.
Recently, General Petr Pavel, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee, admitted that,
“It is not the aim of NATO to create a military barrier against broad-scale Russian aggression, because such aggression is not on the agenda and no intelligence assessment suggests such a thing.”
Decoded, this means that intelligence reports indicate that Russia is not a threat to the West.
Since Russian aggression is not a threat, then increased NATO deployments to encircle Russia are a threat — to Russia.
Decoded again: We are the bad guys, Russia is not.
But this hasn’t stopped Canada’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, from confirming, according to CBC news, that
“Canada will send a battle group of soldiers to Latvia by early 2017 as part of a NATO plan to counter fears of Russian aggression in eastern Europe.”
So, Canada’s decision to provoke Russia is based on groundless fears.
Since reasonable foreign policy decisions are few and far between, Canadians might want to pay heed to a recent observation made by Paul Craig Roberts:
“ … only an absolute idiot could think that three or four thousand troops constitutes a defense against the Russian Army. In June 1941 Operation Barbarossa hit Russia with an invasion of four million troops, the majority German component of which were probably the most highly trained and disciplined troops in military history, excepting only the Spartans. By the time that the Americans and British got around to the Normandy invasion, the Russian Army had chewed up the Wehrmacht. There were only a few divisions at 40% strength to resist the Normandy invasion. By the time the Russian Army got to Berlin, the German resistance consisted of armed children.”
Decoded? We’re idiots.
Our now broad-based idiocy is based on the fact that we are being fed a constant diet of lies, and stories, and toxic myths.
The fake Russian threat is consistent with the fake terrorist threat. It is very well documented, with sustainable, Western-based evidence, for example, that NATO and its allies support terrorism. The terrorists currently invading Syria are Western proxies/”strategic assets”, employed to effect illegal regime change.
It is also well documented that the illegal Western sanctions besieging Syria are impacting the legitimate, secular, pluralist, democratic government of Syria, and liberated areas, not the foreign terrorist- plagued areas that are replenished from surrounding NATO countries, especially Turkey.
So, the “Russian threat” is fake; there never was a “Syria threat” (except that Syria insists on its sovereignty and territorial integrity); and the “terrorist threat” is a hoax, because we support the terrorists.
The “humanitarian bombing” strategy is also a hoax, because ISIS territory expands when the U.S illegally bombs Syria.
Basically, everything we’re hearing is fake. The government, and Soros et al.–funded “non- government organizations” (NGOs) – are fake, not only because they aren’t “non-governmental”, but also because they’re embedded with the terrorist invaders.
The fakery of the news stories is doubly protected by laws embedded in the National Defense Authorization Act which blur the lines between reality and spectacle. The author writes,
“According to an amendment to the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), the House Bill H.R 5736 (now law), the federal government of the United States can now legally propagandize the domestic public.
Arguably, this makes staged theatrical presentations, featuring crisis-actors, and purporting to be ‘reality’, legal. “
And, as if that isn’t enough, Don North writes in “US/NATO Embrace Psy-ops and Info-War” that,
“As reflected in a recent NATO conference in Latvia and in the Pentagon’s new ‘Law of War’ manual, the U.S. government has come to view the control and manipulation of information as a ‘soft power’ weapon, merging psychological operations, propaganda and public affairs under the catch phrase ‘strategic communications.’ “
We can also reasonably assume that much of the terrorism afflicting the West is also fake, in the sense that it is synthetic/false flag terrorism. This doesn’t mean that innocent people aren’t being killed — thousands were murdered during the 911 false flag — but it does mean that deep state operatives are likely orchestrating much of the domestic terrorism with a view to blaming “ISIS”, advancing imperial war plans, and institutionalizing domestic police state legislation that protects the neo-con war criminals responsible for the mass-murdering barbarity.
Seemingly, all of these “Gladio-style” crimes demonstrate the dirty hand of intelligence operatives – who should be the first suspects — but rarely are.
All of this fakery provides cover for imperial conquest and the advancement of a predatory economic model called “neoliberalism”. The name itself is fraudulent, because it isn’t new, and it isn’t “liberal”. It’s a predatory economic model of bailed-out, deregulated, parasitical privatization schemes that preys on the commons, the people, and protects the transnational oligarch criminals who capture legislative bodies, and advance transnational corporate empowerment faux “deals” (deceptively labeled “free trade”).
Spectacle and deceit is everything, since democracy, justice for all, and freedom, are incompatible with this predatory system.
We are being trained and brainwashed to willingly accept, even embrace, our enslavement.
Syrians are at the forefront of those who are effectively opposing this globalized, unipolar model of enslavement, poverty, and barbarity. Those who are currently being demonized – Syria, Russia, Iran, Hezbollah and their allies – are paying with their blood, but they are fighting for all of us, and for our freedoms.
As Canadians, we should be opposing our country’s foreign policy idiocy, and we should be supporting the heroics of Syria and its allies. Warmongers have successfully managed our perceptions to view Syria, Russia, and Iran etc. as “threats” or “enemies”, but beneath the lies and deceptions, evidence demonstrates that they are neither.
Canadians who hoped the federal election last October 19 would usher in change to the aggressive, foreign policy of the defeated Conservative government are wondering what happened to their wishes. The transition in imperialist foreign policy from the Harper Conservatives to the Justin Trudeau-led Liberals has been utterly seamless, if not predictable.
In the Middle East, Canada’s support to ‘regime change’ in Syria stands. The Liberals stirred controversy during the election when they promised to end Canada’s participation in the U.S.-led military intervention in northern Iraq. But surprise: while the Liberals did carry out a promised withdrawal of the six fighter jets that weren’t doing much anyway in the skies over Syria and Iraq, they ended up tripling the presence of Canadian soldiers on the ground in Iraq, to approximately 200.
And the new government made unpleasant waves when it upheld the export permit approval by the Conservatives for the U.S. arms manufacturer General Dynamics to sell $15 billion worth of the armoured personnel transport vehicles it manufactures in London, Ontario to the dictatorship in Saudi Arabia.
Sabre rattling by the new-same-old government in Ottawa has been expressed most fully during and after the NATO summit meeting held in Warsaw, Poland on July 8 and 9.
Canada and the NATO war summit meeting in Warsaw, Poland
The NATO summit approved a final communiqué which places the military alliance on a collision course with Russia. The communiqué voices NATO’s determination to escalate its threats against Russia, using the pretexts of an alleged “annexation” of Crimea by Russia and military intervention by it in eastern Ukraine.
Clause five of the 138 clauses in the communiqué reads:
Russia’s aggressive actions, including provocative military activities in the periphery of NATO territory and its demonstrated willingness to attain political goals by the threat and use of force, are a source of regional instability, fundamentally challenge the Alliance, have damaged Euro-Atlantic security, and threaten our long-standing goal of a Europe whole, free, and at peace.
Clause ten details the alleged transgressions of Russia:
Russia’s destabilising actions and policies include: the ongoing illegal and illegitimate annexation of Crimea, which we do not and will not recognise and which we call on Russia to reverse; the violation of sovereign borders by force; the deliberate destabilisation of eastern Ukraine; large-scale snap exercises contrary to the spirit of the Vienna Document, and provocative military activities near NATO borders, including in the Baltic and Black Sea regions and the Eastern Mediterranean; its irresponsible and aggressive nuclear rhetoric, military concept and underlying posture; and its repeated violations of NATO Allied airspace. In addition, Russia’s military intervention, significant military presence and support for the regime in Syria, and its use of its military presence in the Black Sea to project power into the Eastern Mediterranean have posed further risks and challenges for the security of Allies and others.
Ottawa announced at the summit it will send hundreds of additional soldiers to eastern Europe to join the latest NATO provocation: it will lead one of the four, new, proto-combat brigades being established by NATO in countries bordering Russia. Canada will land some 450 troops in Latvia.
Ottawa is also re-equipping its entire army, including its soon-to-be Latvia force on the Russian border, with anti-tank missiles.
Canada’s voice has been one of the loudest amidst NATO’s anti-Russia rhetoric as first the Conservatives, now the Liberals pander to the extremist minority among the estimated 1.2 million Canadians of Ukrainian origin. That pandering was on full display in Ukraine when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau paid a visit to the country immediately following the NATO summit.
Ongoing intervention in Ukraine
The Latvia intervention adds to Canada’s existing military presence in Ukraine. Since last year, Canadian, British and U.S. soldiers began an intervention into the country consisting, in the first instance, of training the Ukrainian army and extremist paramilitaries at the so-called International Peacekeeping and Security Center in western Ukraine. Canada has 200 troops in the country.
The military training is designed to improve Ukraine’s capacity to wage the civil war it launched against the populations of the Donbass region in the east of the country in April 2014. There, the large majority of the population rejected a violent seizure of power by a right-wing coalition of conservatives, extreme-rightists and neo-Nazis in February 2014. When the new regime in Kyiv sent soldiers and extremist paramilitaries to eastern Ukraine to quash civil resistance against the ‘Maidan coup’, self-defense forces were hastily thrown up and military conflict ensued.
Prime Minister Trudeau visited the military training center on July 11. His media entourage reported a disturbing insight into what the foreign soldiers are up to there. A July 13 article by the Canadian Press‘ Lee Berthiaume wrote:
Trudeau flew into Lviv in western Ukraine before driving to a nearby military base for a first-hand look at the work of 200 Canadian soldiers who have been training the Ukrainian army since last summer.
From a distance, Trudeau, his son Xavier and defence chief Gen. Jonathan Vance watched through binoculars as a Soviet-era armoured personnel carrier led a group of Canadian and Ukrainian soldiers toward a wooden building. The air shook as the vehicle’s cannon fired several bursts in quick succession.
The troops then moved away from the vehicle and spread out in a line facing the building. Four Canadians followed close behind as the eight Ukrainians slowly closed on the building while firing their rifles before placing an explosive inside and setting it off.
The exercise was the type of attack those Ukrainian soldiers could soon be conducting on their own in the east of their country, where the army has been fighting Russian-backed separatists for more than two years.
Trudeau’s son Xavier is nine years old. It’s not known what the “building” in the training exercise represents in real life. Ukraine’s ‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’ in the east heavily targets residential neighbourhoods. In addition to houses and apartment buildings, schools, daycare centers and even medical centers have been struck by Ukrainian tank and other artillery shelling. The ongoing reports of the Donetsk International News Agency document the havoc. (Latest report, dated July 11, is here).
Effective anti-aircraft defense on the rebel side is the only reason why Ukraine has not employed fighter aircraft against its nominal citizens, as NATO-member Turkey is doing in its civil war against the Kurdish population in the east of that country.
Earlier the same day, Trudeau addressed Canadian soldiers about their work in Ukraine. He said, “It has been a long time since Canada had to defend our valour and defend our territory. But we need to continue to work with those who are fighting for democracy and their territorial integrity.”
Trudeau voiced the usual NATO stories about Russia’s actions in the region since the Maidan coup. “Russia has not been a positive partner,” he told his hosts in Ukraine, speaking of the situation in eastern Ukraine. “It has not been moving appropriately on things like ceasefires and international observers.”
While in Ukraine, Trudeau also signed a “free trade” agreement with Ukraine. The agreement is unlikely to change much in the small amount of trade between the two countries. According to the Canadian government, Canada exported some $210 million in goods to Ukraine in 2015, including pharmaceuticals, fish and seafood and coking coal. Ukraine sent to Canada some $67 million the same year, including fertilizers, iron and steel and anthracite coal.
Meanwhile, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion trundled off to Latvia following the Warsaw summit to voice his own harsh language. He told a press conference in Riga, “A neighboring country [Russia] chooses to throw its weight around and cause trouble and international instability. Latvia and Canada, together with our NATO allies, answer the call both for strong deterrence and strong dialogue [sic].
“We will stay strong as long as the relationship has not been changed for something positive – as long as Russia is a troublemaker in the region we need to be strong together and Canada will be part of it.”
Dion said Ukraine, too, has been “confronted directly with aggression from our shared neighbour.”
What about the Minsk-2 ceasefire?
As with its NATO partners, Canada’s government tells lies when it comes to the ongoing violations by Kyiv of the ceasefire agreement for eastern Ukraine that was signed in Belarus on February 12, 2015.
Ukraine has failed to live up to all of the 13 clauses of Minsk-2. This was noted (though understated) in the aforementioned Canadian Press report when it said, “[Trudeau] called Russia’s recent actions in the region “illegitimate” and “illegal”, and voiced strong support for NATO members in Eastern Europe as well as Ukraine, despite rampant corruption in Ukraine and its failure to implement parts [sic] of a peace deal with Russia and the rebels.”
Ukraine continues its military attacks against Donetsk and Lugansk (the two former provinces of Ukraine which make up the historic region called Donbass). It does not recognize the elected authorities of the people’s republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, and so no progress has been made on a political settlement, including a regional election. Prisoner exchanges have been very partial. And so on. (Text of Minsk-2 ceasefire here.)
Canada, the U.S. and the rest of NATO have nothing to say about Ukraine’s dereliction of duty with the ceasefire. On the contrary, they accuse Russia of failing to live up to the agreement, even though Russia, with France and Germany, is but a guarantor, not a signatory, of the agreement. As the Russian government has patiently explained for the past 18 months, only the Ukrainian government and the rebel side against which it is fighting can and should decide what happens on Ukrainian soil.
The criticism of Russia by Canada is carefully orchestrated to shield the true state of affairs. In 2014, following the Maidan coup, Russia stood by the people in Crimea and then in Donbass who rose up to oppose the coup. This is what has infuriated the NATO countries. According to their script, Russia is supposed to act like the other countries of the region and meekly accept NATO diktats. In this case, Russia was supposed to stand aside and allow an illegal, right-wing regime in Kyiv to wage a violent campaign against civil dissent opposing the new regime’s pro-Europe, anti-Russia and pro-austerity course to proceed. Oh, and Russia was supposed to meekly give up its historic, centuries old naval base in Crimea and turn the keys over to NATO.
The NATO powers are not used to defiance. They don’t like the “bad” example that Russia’s defiance sets for people or countries in Europe who may wish to battle EU-dictated austerity and violations of national sovereignty, as, for example, the people in Greece and, more recently, in Britain are trying to do.
The other large, longstanding factor at play in eastern Europe is the historic, U.S.-led drive by NATO to weaken and dismantle first the Soviet Union and now the Russia Federation. Events in Ukraine and Crimea have given the U.S., its allies and pliant media new propaganda ammunition to bamboozle world opinion and renew the post-WW2, not-so-cold-anymore war.
Media and Parliamentary opposition in Canada join the pro-war chorus
The obfuscation over Minsk-2 and the dangerous, ‘new cold war’ backdrop rely on a compliant mainstream media to dissuade questioning if not opposition by ordinary citizens. As in the U.S. and Europe, mainstream media in Canada does little or nothing to accurately inform the public of the true state of affairs in Ukraine and Crimea and the broader region. Instead, it is increasingly parroting whatever line emanates from NATO country capitals while adding its own unique stamp to the mix.
The national daily Globe and Mail editorialized on July 13 in favour of the Liberal’s latest moves. It wrote, ” The risk of a new cold war, let alone a third world war in Eastern Europe, is small, but Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, and its thinly disguised subversion of order in eastern Ukraine, shows how willing President Vladimir Putin is to make serious mischief…
“The risk of leaving a whole set of countries [the Baltic region] virtually undefended would be most unacceptable.”
The same compliance goes for Canadian Parliamentarians. A case in point is an op-ed commentary by Thomas Mulcair published on July 12 in the Toronto Star, Canada’s largest-circulation daily newspaper.
Mulcair is the leader of Canada’s social democratic party, the New Democratic Party, the third largest party in Parliament. He writes in the Star, “There can be no doubt Russia poses a significant threat to the people of Eastern Europe. In March, the United Nations estimated that at least 9,160 civilians have died in Ukraine since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.” Note the writer’s named starting date of the tragic deaths of thousands in eastern Ukraine: not the launching of Ukraine’s civil war (‘Anti-Terrorist Operation’) in April-May 2014 but the Crimea referendum in March.
Mulcair writes further, “Russian President Vladimir Putin has shown himself to be a volatile leader, not above searching for any pretext to escalate into violence.”
The op-ed expresses some unease with the decision of Canada to join and head up one of NATO’s projected combat brigades. Parliament has not been consulted, Mulcair complains. And he worries, “If military buildup becomes our only way of communicating with Russians, there is a real risk that falling into a permanent deterrence mode will lead to escalation and the re-emergence of a dangerous Cold War-style deadlock.”
But the headline to the commentary summarizes the essence. It reads, ‘Military-only response to Russia is dangerous’. In other words, a military posture against Russia is needed, yes, and so are additional measures. To wit, Mulcair says Canada should extend its sanctions against Russia’s economy. He urges adoption of a version of the ‘Magnitsky Act’ which was adopted in the United States in 2012 and which extended the freezing of assets and banning of travel by Russian political and business leaders. The law is named after Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian accountant working in the financial industry who died while in prison in Russia in 2009.
Evidently, Mulcair has not viewed the new documentary film exposing the propaganda campaign behind the U.S. law. The film is titled ‘The Magnitsky Act. Behind the Scenes’. The Russian filmmaker began his documentary quest by presenting the accepted story of Magnitsky as a fighter against endemic corruption and favouritism in the Russian government. But along the way, he discovered a very different view of events in which the Russian government happened to be battling, not coddling, corruption, in this case by going after a set of foreign and Russian businessmen who had hired Magnitsky to manage their books.
Mulcair concludes his commentary with a repeat that it is “the Russian threat” which is at fault for escalating tensions in eastern Europe and that more than military means alone are needed to meet the “threat”.
Such is the state of official political opposition in Canada today on the Ukraine file, where ‘opposition member of Parliament’ means ‘compliant member of Parliament’.
Oppose war and militarism
Since last year’s election in Canada, the language coming out of Ottawa with respect to Russia has shifted ever so slightly. Stéphane Dion has been speaking of the need for “dialogue” with Russia. But nothing with respect to policy has changed. Canada is stepping up its military intervention in Ukraine and eastern Europe. It maintains the U.S. and EU-led sanctions targeting Russia’s political leaders and business men and women. It still calls Crimea’s referendum vote in 2014 to rejoin the Russia Federation a Russian “annexation”. It still accuses Russia of conducting a military intervention into eastern Ukraine.
The larger danger in all of NATO’s war posturing is the threat of nuclear war. Three of the countries ganging up against Russia are nuclear powers–the United States, France and Britain. Each of them are busily renewing and improving their nuclear arsenals, led by the estimated trillion dollars which the U.S. is slated to spend on new nuclear arms technologies, which it hopes might provide it with a cherished, first-strike nuclear capacity.
Progressive social and political forces in Canada that should be opposing the war posturing in eastern Europe have been largely silent. That’s because they have dug themselves into a hole during the past two and a half years by ignoring events in and around the Maidan coup in Ukraine or, worse, by buying into the NATO rhetoric of ‘aggressive Russia’ and ‘imperialist Russia’. Ignorance and prejudice about Russia, rather than factual analysis, rules the day.
As Canadians begin to rebuild an antiwar movement out of the ashes of the old, three key demands should come to the fore. One is to end the sanctions, threats and outright attacks by NATO and Ukraine against Russia, Crimea and eastern Ukraine. Two is to demand that the government in Kyiv implement the terms of the ceasefire agreement it signed in Minsk in February 2015.
Thirdly and fourthly, it is high time to renew two historic demands of the peace and antiwar movements over the decades which, sadly, have a new urgency:
Abolish nuclear weapons!
Canada out of the NATO alliance!
 On March 16, 2014, the people of Crimea voted overwhelmingly to secede from Ukraine and rejoin the Russian Federation. The vote was conducted by the elected, autonomous assembly of Crimea. The March 2014 referendum was prompted by the violent overthrow one month earlier of the elected president of Ukraine. Victor Yanukovych had received the large majority of votes in Crimea in Ukraine’s 2010 presidential election.
Crimea was annexed to then-Soviet Ukraine in 1954 by a decision of the government of the USSR in order to facilitate post-WW2 reconstruction. But the Crimean people were given no vote on the matter.
 Clause ten of the NATO communiqué introduces a novel concept into international diplomacy: not only do nation states and countries (or parts thereof) have “borders”; apparently, self-proclaimed military alliances have borders, too. Clause ten of the NATO communiqué refers to “NATO borders [sic], including in the Baltic and Black Sea regions and the Eastern Mediterranean”.
 With one exception–the Toronto Star–the entirety of Canada’s print mainstream media supported the re-election of Stephen Harper’s Conservatives in the October 19, 2015 election.
Stung by Brexit, the EU bureaucrats seem intent on showing just how undemocratic they can be. Here are two examples just in the last seven days.
The Glyphosate License
On June 24, EU member states again refused (for a third time this year) to approve a renewal of the license for the weed-killer glyphosate manufactured by Monsanto and other corporations involved in GMO crop cultivation. That should have meant that the license would expire by the end of June, and Monsanto’s Roundup and other glyphosate weed-killers would have to be withdrawn from Europe by the end of this year.
Instead, on June 29 the European Commission (EC) decided “unilaterally” to extend the glyphosate license for another 18 months. 
The decision “drew heavy criticism from the Greens in the European Parliament, who said the decision showed the Commission’s ‘disdain’ for the opposition by the public and EU governments to the controversial toxic herbicide.”  Belgian Green Member of the European Parliament Bart Staes said, “As perhaps the first EU decision after the UK referendum, it shows the [EC] executive is failing to learn the clear lesson that the EU needs to finally start listening to its citizens again.” 
Many were simply shocked that an unelected body of bureaucrats would cater so blatantly to the corporate sector’s last-minute lobbying.
The EC claims that, because of member nations’ indecision on the matter, its own decision about glyphosate was based on assessments made by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), prolonging the authorisation until a new scientific review is concluded before the end of 2017, but Greenpeace has called the EFSA study “a whitewash.” 
Lawrence Woodward, co-director of Beyond GM, has called the EC’s unilateral decision “reckless.”  It comes at the same time that dozens of individuals and organizations have signed an open “Letter from America,” urging European citizens, politicians and regulators to not adopt a “failing agricultural technology” and sharing examples of glyphosate and GMO repercussions across North America. 
At virtually the same time that the EC made this controversial decision on glyphosate, it made another that is even more undemocratic.
On June 28, a German news agency reported that European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told EU leaders the Commission is planning to push through a controversial free trade agreement between Canada and the EU – known as CETA, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement – without giving national parliaments any say in it.  According to the German press, Juncker argued that allowing national parliaments to vote on the agreement would “paralyze the process” and raise questions about the EU’s “credibility.” Juncker claimed that CETA “would fall within the exclusive competence of the EU executive” and therefore doesn’t need to be ratified by national parliaments within the 28-nation bloc, sources in Brussels told the Germany news agency DPA. 
Most EU members, however, view CETA as a “mixed” agreement, meaning “that each country would have to push the deal through their parliaments.” 
In late June 2016, the EC’s Juncker was reported as saying that he “personally couldn’t care less” whether lawmakers get to vote on CETA. 
Millions of Canadians and Europeans have fought against CETA for the past six years. Like the TPP and TTIP, it is a draconian agreement that would hand multinational corporations immense power to overrule elected local governments on numerous fronts. In Canada, CETA was supposed to be voted on by every Canadian provincial and territorial government before any ratification could take place, but in September 2014 (during the reign of Stephen Harper) the CETA deal was signed without there having been any public consultation whatsoever in Canada. The 2014 announcement was also the first time people in Canada and Europe were allowed to see the official text, which had been kept secret during the years of negotiations.
Unfortunately, Canada’s International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland is enthused about what the EU is doing. According to The Globe and Mail newspaper (July 3), “The British vote to exit the European Union has refocused
Europe’s attention on the need to send a message to the world that liberalized trade is the path to greater prosperity, Ms. Freeland said.” 
She also explained that once the European Parliament approves CETA, “a great deal of the agreement would come into force immediately, more than 90 per cent,” she said, “those portions deemed to be within the European Union’s jurisdiction, those go into force right away.” 
Freeland told The Globe and Mail that concerns about CETA’s investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism – which allows multinational corporations to sue governments over regulations that harm their future profits – had been addressed by a rewrite of the treaty’s investment chapter.  But according to Council of Canadians, those changes “actually make [the provisions] worse. The reforms enshrine extra rights for foreign investors that everyone else – including domestic investors – don’t have. They allow foreign corporations to circumvent a country’s own courts, giving them special status to challenge laws that apply equally to everyone through a [private] court system exclusively for their use.” 
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will be in Europe this week for a NATO summit, and officials “say he will lobby hard for other European leaders not to stand in the way of [CETA’s] ratification.” 
Reportedly, the pushback in Europe has been immediate, with Germany and France wanting “their national parliaments to be involved” in CETA ratification. On July 5, Deutsche Welle reported that “Juncker appears to be backtracking,” and would propose at a July 5 EC meeting that CETA would require “both the approval of the European parliament and national legislatures.” 
The Globe and Mail reported on July 5 that Juncker’s “new recommendation… could call for applying those EU parts of the treaty while the ratification process [by national legislatures] is under way.”  That would mean (as Canada’s Chrystia Freeland had earlier explained) more than 90% of CETA could be approved by the EU as part of its “jurisdiction” and needing no national legislative approvals. Such a process would make a mockery of democratic rights on both sides of the Atlantic.
That appears to be what is happening.
Following the July 5 EC meeting in Strasbourg, France, the CBC reported: “Legal opinions advanced by the commission suggest that most of the agreement – perhaps as much as 95 per cent – falls comfortably with the European Union’s jurisdiction… ‘This is an agreement that Europe needs,’ EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said in a statement. ‘The open issue of competence for such trade agreements will be for the European Court of Justice to clarify, in the near future. From a strict legal standpoint, the commission considers this agreement to fall under exclusive EU competence. However, the political situation in the council is clear, and we understand the need for proposing it as a ‘mixed’ agreement, in order to allow for a speedy signature’.” 
But as nations gear up to wrangle with the EU (in the European Court of Justice) over what parts of the CETA treaty fall within their jurisdiction, and what parts “fall under exclusive EU competence,” the EC could approve 95% of CETA before elected legislatures even vote.
The Council of Canadians warns on its website (July 5): “One important concern to note, ‘The commission may recommend provisionally applying the EU-parts of the Canada deal while full ratification is pending.’ The French newspaper Le Monde has previously reported that even if CETA is deemed to be a ‘mixed’ agreement, the deal could enter into force ‘provisionally’ even before EU member state parliaments vote on it. It notes, ‘If EU ministers agreed at the signing of the CETA on its provisional application, it could come into effect the following month. Such a decision would have serious implications. Symbolically, first because it would send the message that European governments finally [have] little regard for the views of parliamentarians and thus of European citizens strongly against the agreement’.” 
Council of Canadians National Chairperson Maude Barlow stated after the EC meeting in Strasbourg, “Like many Canadians, Europeans are worried about CETA’s attacks on democracy, its weakening of social and safety standards, its contribution to privatization and attacks on public services. After the Brexit vote, policy makers on both sides of the Atlantic would be better counseled to listen to voters, rather than pushing discredited [trade] solutions down people’s throats.” 
Global Justice Now director Nick Dearden has called CETA a “toxic deal” and says that the way the EC is acting “reinforces the widely held suspicion that the EU makes big decisions with harmful consequences for ordinary people with very little in the way of democratic process,” he said. “Rather than take a step back and question why there is hostility to the EU, they try to speed up this awful trade deal.” 
Union members, environmentalists, social activists and “fair trade” groups say CETA is just as dangerous as the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal between the EU and the U.S., which hands massive power to multinationals and is a direct threat to democracy on both sides of the Atlantic. The way the EC is handling CETA is a stark clue to what’s in store for TTIP.
 “European Commission Extends Glyphosate License without Real Restrictions,” Sustainable Pulse, June 29, 2016.
 Frederic Simon, “EU muddling on glyphosate fuelled Brexit populism,” EurActiv.com, July 1, 2016.
 Quoted in ibid.
 Katie Pohlman, “Neil Young: Say No to GMOs on ‘Behalf of All Living Things’,” EcoWatch, July 1, 2016.
 Quoted in ibid.
 “EU Commission Seeks to Push Through Free Trade Agreement with Canada (CETA) without Parliamentary Approval,” Deutsche Welle, June 28, 2016.
 Reuters, “EU Commission to opt for simple approval for Canada deal: EU official,” June 28, 2016.
 “EU Commission: CETA should be approved by national parliaments,” Deutsche Welle, July 5, 2016.
 Robert Fife, “Despite Brexit vote, key EU powers vow to ratify CETA deal,” The Globe and Mail, July 3, 2016.
 Council of Canadians, “CETA changes make investor-state provisions worse,” February 3, 2016.
 Fife, op cit.
 “EU Commission: CETA should be approved by national parliaments,” Deutsche Welle, July 5, 2016.
 “EC set to scrap plans to fast-track CETA deal: report,” The Globe and Mail, July 5, 2016.
 “Canada gets clarity on how Europe will ratify trade deal,” CBC, July 5, 2016.
 Council of Canadians, “CETA to be considered a ‘mixed’ agreement, now more vulnerable to defeat,” July 5, 2016.
 Council of Canadians, “CETA vulnerable to defeat: Council of Canadians,” July 5, 2016.
 Lamiat Sabin “Brexit ‘Might Not Stop Awful Ceta’,” Morning Star, July 5, 2016.
Joyce Nelson is an award-winning Canadian freelance writer/researcher working on her sixth book.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was called on to retract his statement made on Canada Day calling the country “one nation”, as it insults Québécois.
Parti Québecois leader candidate Martine Ouellet said in a video posted her Facebook page Saturday that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s recent statement calling Canada “one nation” is “reinventing history”.
“It’s a direct insult to the Quebec nation, an insult to everything our heritage represents,” Ouellet wrote on Facebook.
On Canada Day, July 1st, Justin Trudeau said “today, we celebrate the day, exactly 149 years ago, when the people of this great land came together, and forged one nation, one country — Canada.”
Ouellet called for Trudeau to retract his statement and recognize Quebec as a nation.
Quebec, the largest and second most populated province of Canada, has a long record of struggle for independence that can be traced at least to 1960, when several diverse political groups coalesced in the formation of the Parti Québécois, which is now a primary mainstream political vehicle for the Quebec sovereignty movement.
Quebec’s current status allows it a high degree of autonomy, including its own property legislation, civil legislation, justice, healthcare and education regulation.
Justin Trudeau is known for his anti-separatism position. In 2006, then prime minister Stephen Harper introduced a motion calling on the House of Commons to recognize that “Québécois form a nation within a united Canada.” Trudeau, who was not an MP at the time of events, backed Gerard Michael Kennedy, a Liberal Party leader candidate who opposed the motion.
Trudeau had reportedly claimed that his father, the late prime minister, would never have supported recognition of Quebec as a nation.
Canadian troops during a NATO drill in Ukraine.
Canada will send 1,000 troops to Latvia to join one of NATO’s battalions that are being assembled in Eastern Europe in a show of force against Russia.
The Canadian Defense Ministry said in a statement on Thursday that the country will “establish and lead” a high-readiness brigade that will “contribute to NATO’s enhanced forward presence in Eastern and Central Europe.”
The statement also said that further details regarding the deployment will be provided at the upcoming NATO summit in Poland.
The Canadian soldiers will be part of a 4,000-strong NATO force that will be deployed to the Baltic States and Poland in order to deter what is claimed to be Russian threats.
The US, Germany and Britain will also send soldiers to join NATO’s four battalions in Eastern Europe.
“As a responsible partner in the world, Canada stands side by side with its NATO allies working to deter aggression and assure peace and stability in Europe,” said Canadian Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan.
Canada’s decision reportedly came after US President Barack Obama urged Canada to contribute more to NATO in a speech in the Canadian Parliament on Wednesday.
NATO plans to expand its military presence in Eastern Europe amid the conflict in Ukraine and has held numerous war games recently.
Some 2,000 NATO forces began a large-scale military exercise in western Ukraine earlier this week which will last until July 8.
Last month, NATO held another 10-day military drill, involving some 31,000 troops from Poland, the US and 17 other nations in Poland.
Russia, wary of the increased presence of NATO troops close to its borders, threatened to take unspecified measures to respond to the increased activities by the Western military bloc.
NATO has stepped up its military build-up near Russia’s borders since it suspended all ties with Moscow in April 2014 after the Black Sea Crimean Peninsula re-integrated into the Russian Federation following a referendum.
Moscow has repeatedly repudiated NATO’s expansion near its borders, saying such a move poses a threat to both regional and international peace.
The survivors of the 1948 massacres in and expulsions from Palestine are everywhere. Scattered to the four corners of the earth, we have only to look in our own communities to find them. Seven million Palestinians live outside Palestine, compared with five million inside. At least half a million live in Chile alone. Why, then, should we bring Palestinians from the refugee camps in Lebanon to tell their stories in North America?
Many have said that we should not. They say that these Palestinians are toxic, that they are hardliners, resistance fighters, fanatics and terrorists, and that there is no benefit in trying to engage them. We believe the opposite, that because they have a different viewpoint, the full Palestinian story cannot be told without their voices, and that, in fact, they speak for many other Palestinians who think as they do.
The western groups that invite Palestinian speakers from Palestine inevitably act as a filter. It is easy to find Palestinians that preach nonviolence and reconciliation, but how often have we heard from the rest? How many speakers from Hamas and Islamic Jihad have been on speaking tours of North America? Do they not have a viewpoint and should we not hear it?
That is, of course, impossible. Our societies will not allow it. So we decided instead to bring sympathetic voices of people who are from these societies but have no affiliation to any of the political parties or resistance groups. Unlike Palestinians in other countries, their societies have been frozen in refugee camps since 1948, because they are considered foreigners and refugees in Lebanon, without permission to work, own land, or partake in the life of the country. They are stateless, with no citizenship of any kind and few, if any, opportunities to travel. It was something of a miracle to get their US visas. In many ways, their condition has not changed since the time of their expulsion.
The North America Nakba Tour, sponsored by the Free Palestine Movement, the Northern California chapter of the International Solidarity Movement and Al-Awda Palestine Right to Return Coalition, brought 86-year-old Mariam Fathalla from the Ein el-Helweh camp in southern Lebanon and 22-year-old Amena Ashkar from the Bourj el-Barajneh camp near Beirut to San Francisco at the beginning of April, 2016. In the next nine weeks they logged more than 11,000 miles by car and spoke at 26 events throughout North America. Sadly, their Canadian visa did not arrive in time, so those five events were conducted by electronic connection.
The tour was an acclaimed success. More than seventy organizations sponsored the events, including Christian, Jewish and Muslim groups, as well as university, social justice and community organizations. Astonishingly, there were few confrontational situations. The primary outcome was greater understanding.
Mariam and Amena delivered a message that they want all their rights restored: their lands, their properties and their country. Everyone in the camps has lost everything they ever had in Palestine. There is nothing left to preserve. The issues at the “peace talks” are meaningless to them. They don’t want a Palestinian state. They want Palestine. They don’t want land in Palestine. They want their land in their village in Palestine. They don’t even want equality with Israelis. They want justice.
One questioner asked, “What is the solution? Two states? A single state for all? A binational state?” Amena responded, “I don’t accept any of those, because none of them restores what we lost, and doesn’t give us our rights. International law is on our side.” Her message was understood, with sympathy, and there was no confrontation.
• If you missed the live presentation, you can see one filmed in Denver on May 20, 2016 at The North American Nakba Tour: Exiled Palestinians living in Lebanon
Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the Free Gaza and Free Palestine Movements and an organizer in the International Solidarity Movement.
Production from western Canada’s oil sands is expected to increase by 1 million barrels daily in the next decade above the current output of about 2.75 million barrels, as extraction becomes more cost-efficient, the global consulting firm IHS said in a report on Monday.
“IHS anticipates oil sands investors will focus their investments onto the most economic projects: expansions of existing facilities,” the report stated. “IHS expects that over 80 percent of future activity in our outlook will be underpinned by expansions of existing facilities.”
The report noted that the existing facilities are well understood, quicker to first oil and cheaper to construct.
“This all equates to less risk at a lower cost,” the report added.
A press release accompanying the report explained that a price of about $50 is required for oil-sands projects to break even.
Since 2012, the oil-sands region in the Canadian province of Alberta has increased from 1.75 million barrels per day to its present level of about 2.75 million barrels, according to the report.
The defense contractor attempted to extort one of the most powerful sovereign countries in the world, warning that as many as 10,000 jobs would be lost if the country did not commit to purchasing a fighter jet that ‘does not work.’
This weekend, American defense contractor Lockheed Martin threatened to exclude Canadian companies from production of the much maligned F-35 fighter jet if the Trudeau government decides to instead purchase a fleet of Boeing’s Super Hornet fighter jets.
“The F-35 does not work and is far from working,” said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau during a June 7 parliamentary debate, blasting the fighter jet that has cost the Pentagon over $1.5 trillion. Despite this exorbitant price tag, the jet continues to spontaneously shut down mid-flight due to software glitches.
The fighter jet that cost US taxpayers more than the gross domestic product of Canada will not face an initial operational test and evaluation (IOT&E) until mid-2018, according to Pentagon reports. Due to this delay, Lockheed Martin will not complete production of a full fleet of F-35s until 2019 at the earliest and the aircraft may not be combat ready until nearly 2021.
Lockheed Martin attempted to mislead the public about the fiscal and battlefield realities surrounding the costly warplane, conducting a publicity tour across Canadian TV over the weekend to threaten the country’s people with economic reprisals amounting to several hundred million dollars and nearly 10,000 jobs.
“I don’t want it perceived as a threat, but we will have no choice: If Canada walks away from F-35, expect to relocate work in Canada to other purchasing nations,” Steve Over, Lockheed’s director of F-35 internal business told the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
Canadian Defense Ministry spokeswoman Jordan Owens blasted the defense firm’s flagrant attempt at intimidation, maintaining that the government will decide on a fighter jet based on security needs.
“Despite Lockheed’s eagerness to send a spokesperson from Texas to Ottawa in order to game out hypothetical scenarios in the media, Canada remains a member of the Joint Strike Fighter program,” said Owens.
The Joint Strike Fighter program is a development and acquisition alliance of the US, UK, Turkey, Italy, Australia, the Netherlands and Canada, under which the member states selected the F-35 Lightning II to replace various tactical aircraft.
The program has brought $610 million in contracts to Canadian defense contractors, but Ottawa argues that the JSF agreement does not tie them irrevocably to the F-35 in order to receive program benefits.
“According to the agreement, as long as Canada remains a JSF partner it is fully entitled to have its industry bid and get contracts,” said Alan Williams, the former assistant deputy minister at Canada’s Department of National Defense. “There is no stipulation that Canada has to purchase the F-35.”
Williams returned the threat to Lockheed Martin saying that any attempts to disenfranchise Canadian firms while the country remains a JSF partner and contributes its payments into the effort will result in immediate legal action against the defense contracting firm.
Lockheed Martin spokeswoman Cindy Tessier shot back that the defense firm’s position was that Canada’s involvement in the Joint Strike Fighter program was predicated upon “Canada’s stated commitment to the procurement of 65 jets.”
The previous Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper initially committed to purchasing 65 F-35s, but attempted to back out of the arrangement citing unforeseen costs and technical issues with the aircraft that made the acquisition impractical.
What is wrong here? While Canadian companies exploit African resources for their own benefit this country’s charities call on us to join Africa “hope” walks.
Last week Toronto-based Lundin Mining hired the Bank of Montreal to help it decide what to do with its stake in the massive Tenke Fungurume copper-cobalt mine in Eastern Congo (Kinshasa). Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for Toronto firms to make economic decisions that affect hundreds of thousands of Africans and for Canadian companies to exchange African mineral assets among themselves.
A number of companies based and traded here have even taken African names. African Queen Mines, Tanzanian Royalty Exploration, Lake Victoria Mining Company, African Aura Resources, Katanga Mining, Société d’Exploitation Minière d’Afrique de l’Ouest (SEMAFO), Uganda Gold Mining, East Africa Metals, Timbuktu Gold, Sahelian Goldfields, African Gold Group and International African Mining Gold (IAMGOLD) are all Canadian. With a mere 0.5 percent of the world’s population, Canada is home to half of all internationally listed mining companies operating in Africa.
Active in 43 different African countries, Canadian mining firms have been responsible for dispossessing farmers, displacing communities, employing forced labour, devastating ecosystems and spurring human rights violations. And, as I detail in Canada in Africa: 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation, numerous Canadian mining companies have been accused of bribing officials and evading taxes. Last year TSX-listed MagIndustries was accused of paying$100,000 to tax officials in a bid to avoid paying taxes on its $1.5-billion potash mine and processing facility in Congo (Brazzaville). In April a Tanzanian tribunal ruled that Barrick Gold organized a “sophisticated scheme of tax evasion” in the East African country. As its Tanzanian operations delivered over US$400-million profit to shareholders between 2010 and 2013, the Toronto company failed to pay any corporate taxes, bilking the country out of $41.25 million.
While Canadian companies loot (legally and illegally) African resources, government-funded “charities” (aka NGOs) and the dominant media call on Canadians to walk for “hope” in Africa. Last weekend the Aga Khan Foundation Canada organized the World Partnership Walk in 10 cities across the country. In an article titled “How the World Partnership Walk” lets Canadians bring hope to African communities the organization’s International Development Champion, Attiya Hirj, writes about visiting Aga Khan Foundation and Global Affairs Canada sponsored projects in Tanzania and Mozambique. Hirj says her “trip really opened my eyes to what rural communities truly need, which is a sense of hope.” She suggests the situation can be remedied if enough Canadians come “together to fundraise and generate awareness through activities such as the World Partnership Walk.” There is no mention of the need for African resources to be controlled by and for Africans.
Hirj’s article reflects an extreme example of Canadian paternalism towards Africans. But it’s deeply rooted in our political culture. Gripped by a desire to rid “darkest Africa” of “nakedness” and “heathenism”, Canadian missionaries helped the European colonial powers penetrate African society. In 1893 a couple of Torontonians founded what later became the largest interdenominational Protestant mission on the continent and by the end of the colonial period as many as 2,500 Canadians were proselytizing across Africa.
Today, all the media-anointed Africa “experts” promote a similarly paternalistic version of ‘aid’ and largely ignore Canadian companies’ role in pillaging the continent’s wealth. But, Canadians concerned about African impoverishment should point their fingers at the Canadian firms controlling the continent’s resources and offer solidarity to those sisters and brothers fighting for African resources to be controlled by and for Africans.
A Canadian court has awarded $13 million in non-diplomatic assets seized from Iran to the families of Americans who died in several attacks globally, which had allegedly been sponsored by Tehran between 1983 to 2002.
The judgment by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, obtained by AFP on Friday, found Tehran responsible for financing and training Hamas and Hezbollah operatives, who carried out eight bombings or hostage-takings in Buenos Aires, Israel, Lebanon and Saudi Arabia over a period spanning nearly 20 years.
“Terrorism is one of the world’s greatest threats,” Ontario Superior Court Justice Glenn Hainey said in his decision. “The broad issue before the court is whether Iran is entitled to immunity from the jurisdiction of Canadian courts for its support of terrorism.”
The ruling for the $13 million payout does not affect Iran’s diplomatic property in Canada but does touch non-diplomatic properties and a list of frozen bank accounts. Tehran did not immediately comment on the court judgment.
The suit was heard under the 2012 Justice for Victims of Terror Act, which allows the families’ victims to collect damages from state sponsors of terror groups. In Canada, Iran is designated a sponsor of terrorism.
The judgment on June 10 mirrors a recent American court ruling against Tehran that was also won by families of the terrorist attack victims in the United States in Spring. Iran has promised to battle the decision in international courts.