Archive | North America

Mexican Oligarchs And Other Nations Need To Fix Own Economy And Stop Dumping People On USA

NOVANEWS

Image result for Mexican FLAG

Americans must demand that the super wealthy oligarchs of foreign nations like Mexico dumping their people illegally into the USA must be held accountable for the destruction that they wreak, not just the poor people who have no choice but to flee.

The very sad news emanating out of San Antonio Texas today relates to a semi-tractor trailer filled to the brim with scores of illegal aliens from Mexico who literally died from heat exposure where their heart rates were reported to be over 130 beats per minute and their bodies were “hot to the touch” as reported by Texas law enforcement.

How is this possible?

Why do we read stories countless times per year about countries such as China, Vietnam, Mexico, or other nations having people who would literally risk death and dismemberment to illegally cross over their borders/shores to enter the United States and Europe?

While countries like Libya, Syria and Yemen have an immediate excuse in that their countries were recently bombed to demolition by the evil forces behind NATO and other greedy Western Intelligence agencies who wanted to stunt those countries’ growth, movement toward sovereign non-IMF/World Bank currencies, or to topple their duly elected sovereign leaders, what excuse does Mexico and other nations, not having been immediately attacked or demoted by the Western nations have?

The answer is no excuse, whatsoever.

Mexico, for example, is literally loaded to the brim with cash – much of it ill-gotten gains from their massive illegal opioid, cocaine, marijuana, ecstasy, crystal meth, and painkiller trade – but also the vast majority of their economy is in the legal trade such as through coffee, avocados, produce, building materials, minerals, aerospace, electronics, food, beverages, tobacco, chemicals, iron, steel, petroleum, mining, textiles, clothing, motor vehicles, consumer durables, and tourism.

The economy of Mexico is the 13th largest in the world in nominal terms and the 11th largest by purchasing power parity, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Their GDP is $1.5 trillion (nominal 2016) and $2.5 trillion (PPP 2016).

Their GDP has been growing at 3% per year and is stable.

In 2016 Mexico exported $359.3 billion in drugs, automobiles, electronics, televisions, computers, mobile phones, LCDs, oil and oil products, silver, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton, all over the world.

So where is all this money going?

Why are their people routinely being forced to “jump the border” and literally risk their lives, and the lives of their small children, to illegally enter the United States and other nations?

The answer can be found in the Mexican oligarchy/plutocracy, which is obviously greedy and selfish beyond reproach.

Mexico should be a lesson to the United States and other nations which allow their internal oligarchs/plutocrats to grow without any pruning or trimming by their general population, or their corrupted governmental agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”).

While the Mexican upper class literally “swims” in money, their poorest classes must die like animals within trailer trucks in places like San Antonio Texas, or languish in prisons both in Mexico (or in the United States) trying to desperately escape their horrific poverty and hellish living conditions.

The USA must not only punish and jail those illegal aliens who brave the elements to escape into the USA by jailing them or turning them back to Mexico, but also come down like a hammer on the heads of those greedy bastard oligarchs in Mexico who do not give a damn about their own people and young children, rather allowing (and encouraging) them to sneak into the USA and other countries to risk their freedom, and very lives.

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Canadian media misleads public about country’s role abroad

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Global Affairs Canada

Imagine if the media only reported the good news that governments and corporations wanted you to see, hear and read about. Unfortunately, that is not far from the reality of reporting about Canada’s role internationally.

The dominant media almost exclusively covers stories that portray this country positively while ignoring or downplaying information that contradicts this narrative. The result? Canadians are ignorant and confused about their country’s role in the world.

In a recent example of the ‘benevolent Canada’ bias, the Globe and Mail reported uncritically about a trip International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau made to the Congo. In a story last week headlined “Canada commits $97-million to Congo under feminist foreign-aid policy”, the Globe reported that “Canada has committed nearly $100-million to the Democratic Republic of the Congo to support women’s economic empowerment, protect street children and provide humanitarian assistance.”

A week earlier Canada’s ‘paper of record’ decided a relatively insignificant Canadian project to help miners in eastern Congo was front-page news. “New gold standard emerges for Congo’s miners, Canada’s jewellery buyers”, detailed an Ottawa-funded initiative to promote legal exports and to standardize the price paid to miners.

While Partnership Africa Canada’s ‘fair trade’ gold initiative is an interesting project and the International Development Minister’s announcement was newsworthy, the narrowness of the two articles gives readers the impression Canada helps improve the lives of people who live in a country where 87% live on less than $1.25 a day. But, an abundance of evidence suggests Canada has actually impoverished the central African nation.

What follows is a brief outline of the context within which the “good news” about Canada’s role in the Congo should be seen:

Over a century ago Royal-Military-College-of-Canada-trained officer William Grant Stairs participated in two controversial expeditions to expand European influence over the Congo. In 1887, Stairs was one of ten white officers in the first-ever European expedition to cross the interior of the continent, which left a trail of death, disease and destruction. A few years later the Halifax native led a 1,950-person mission to conquer the resource-rich Katanga region of the Congo on behalf of Belgium’s King Leopold II. Today Stairs is honoured with a street, island and multiple plaques, even though he was openly racist and barbarous and added 150,000 square kilometres to the Belgium’s King’s monstrous colony.

During this period Hamilton, Ontario’s William Henry Faulknor was one of the first white missionaries to establish a mission station in eastern Congo. Between 1887 and 1891 Faulknor worked under the ruler of the Yeke kingdom, Mwenda Msiri, who would later meet his death at the hand of Stairs. Faulknor’s Plymouth Brethren explicitly called for European rule (either Belgian or British) over Katanga and like almost all missionaries sought to undermine local ways.

Following Faulknor, Toronto-born Henry Grattan Guinness II established the Congo Balolo Mission in 1889. Congo Balolo missions were located in remote areas of the colony, where King Leopold’s Anglo-Belgian Rubber Company obligated individuals and communities to gather rubber latex and chopped off the hands of thousands of individuals who failed to fulfill their quotas.

Faced with the violent disruption of their lives, the Lulonga, Lopori, Maringa, Juapa and Burisa were increasingly receptive to the Christian activists who became “the interpreter of the new way of life”, writes Ruth Slade in English-Speaking Missions in the Congo Independent State. Not wanting to jeopardize their standing with Leopold’s representatives, the Congo Balolo Mission repeatedly refused British-based solidarity campaigners’ appeals to publicly expose the abuses they witnessed.

In the 1920s the Canadian trade commissioner in South Africa, G.R. Stevens, traveled to the Congo and reported on the Katanga region’s immense resources. In de-facto support of Belgian rule, a Canadian trade commission was opened in the colony in 1946. In response to a series of anti-colonial demonstrations in 1959, Canadian Trade Commissioner K. Nyenhuis reported to External Affairs that “savagery is still very near the surface in most of the natives.”

Ottawa backed Brussels militarily as it sought to maintain control of its massive colony. Hundreds of Belgian pilots were trained in Canada during and after World War II and through the 1950s Belgium received tens of millions of dollars in Canadian NATO Mutual Aid. Canadian Mutual Aid weaponry was likely employed by Belgian troops in suppressing the anti-colonial struggle in the Congo.

Immediately after independence Canada played an important role in the UN mission that facilitated the murder of anticolonial Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in 1961. Canadian Colonel Jean Berthiaume assisted Lumumba’s political enemies by helping recapture the popular independence leader. Lumumba was handed over to soldiers under military commander Joseph Mobutu.

Canada had a hand in Mobutu’s rise and Ottawa mostly supported his brutal three-decade rule. Then, Canada also helped get rid of Mobutu.

Ottawa supported Rwanda and Uganda’s invasion, which ultimately drove Mobutu from power. In 1996, Canada led a short-lived UN force into eastern Zaire (Congo) designed to dissipate French pressure and ensure pro-Mobutu Paris didn’t take command of a force that could impede the Rwandan-led invasion. As Rwanda has unleashed mayhem in the Congo over the past two decades, Ottawa has backed Kigali.

In 2002 a series of Canadian companies were implicated in a UN report titled “Report on the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and other Forms of Wealth in the Congo”. Ottawa responded to the report by defending the Canadian companies cited for complicity in Congolese human rights violations.

At the G8 in 2010, the Canadian government pushed for an entire declaration to the final communiqué criticizing the Congo for attempting to gain a greater share of its vast mineral wealth. Earlier that year Ottawa obstructed international efforts to reschedule the country’s foreign debt, which was mostly accrued during Mobutu’s dictatorship and the subsequent wars. Canadian officials “have a problem with what’s happened with a Canadian company,” Congolese Information Minister Lambert Mende said, referring to the government’s move to revoke a mining concession that First Quantum acquired under dubious circumstances during the 1998-2003 war.

With about $4.5 billion invested in the Congo, Canadian mining companies have been responsible for numerous abuses. After a half-dozen members of the little-known Mouvement revolutionnaire pour la liberation du Katanga occupied Anvil Mining’s Kilwa concession in October 2004 the Canada-Australian company transported government troops who killed 100 people. Most of the victims were unarmed civilians.

In recent months a number of individuals have been killed at Banro’s mines in eastern Congo. Over the past two decades the secretive Toronto-based company has been accused of fuelling conflict in a region that’s seen incredible violence.

Of course one cannot expect a detailed history of Canada’s role in impoverishing Congo in a story about a government ‘aid’ announcement or a 1,300-word article about an initiative to standardize pay for some of the world’s most vulnerable miners’. But, the Globe’s failure to even mention the broader story reflects its bias and helps to explain why Canadians are so confused about their country’s role in the world.

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Ottawa Must Seek Justice for Hassan Diab

NOVANEWS
‘By forcing Hassan Diab into legal purgatory, Canada is seriously undermining its commitment to due process’
 

GR Editor’s Note We bring to the attention of our readers the following opinion article published in theToronto Star. What this analysis raises and which requires further investigation:  Was the Harper government elected in 2006, in any way unduly pressured by the Canadian Jewish Congress (CJC) and B’nai Brith.  

*    *    *

With the welcome news of the $10-million apology for the travesties committed against Omar Khadr, a decade after the Canadian government apologized and awarded a similar sum to Maher Arar for his tragic ordeal, we know that Canada doesn’t always get it right. Now is the time for Canada to seek justice in the case of Hassan Diab.

Both of us were involved in the Canadian and Ottawa Jewish community in 2008 when French authorities accused Diab of having been involved in a 1980 terrorist attack on a Paris synagogue, a heinous act that killed four and injured scores more.

As Diab’s ordeal hit public consciousness, one of us (Mira Sucharov) was a columnist for Ottawa’s Jewish newspaper and later wrote for the Canadian Jewish News, and was (and remains) a professor at Carleton University where Diab taught. The other (Bernie Farber) was CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress.

At the time, neither of us questioned Canada’s decision to extradite Diab to France. In fact, a spokesperson for Farber’s organization had said that CJC was “very pleased” that law enforcement authorities were “never giving up in the fight against terrorism,” noting that the decision “brings comfort to the victims of terrorism as well.”

Nine years later, we realize we were wrong in not speaking out.

Casting a Canadian citizen out of the country to languish, without trial, in a foreign prison may help Canada adhere to the Extradition Act. And it may bring comfort to some, as the CJC spokesperson suggested. But we suggest that this comfort is misplaced. Most importantly, such a decision brings justice to no one.

The evidence against Diab is shaky at best. It appeared to rest on handwriting analyses that experts had discredited. The French authorities had tried to include “secret intelligence” from unidentified sources — evidence that Canadian authorities threw out. There is evidence that Diab was in Lebanon, not Paris, on the day of the attack. Fingerprints at the scene of the crime don’t seem to match those of Diab.

Robert Maranger, the Ontario Superior Court judge who agreed to the extradition, even admitted that “the prospects of conviction in the context of a fair trial seem unlikely.”

Nine years later, with absolutely no movement in sight, it is clear that Hassan Diab is not receiving justice by Canadian standards. This must change.

It is time for Canadian authorities to insist that France take proper judicial action or send him home. By forcing Diab into legal purgatory, Canada is seriously undermining its commitment to due process — one of the bedrock responsibilities of a democratic society to its citizens.

Some of you may be reading about this case for the first time. Others may have received requests to sign petitions. Some of you may have signed them; others may have deleted the email, feeling burdened by the details of an extradition case surrounding a citizen’s alleged involvement in a crime that occurred decades ago.

Neither of us is a trained lawyer. One of us is a social worker and community relations organizer; the other is a political scientist. But it doesn’t take an expert in criminal law to know when a government is falling down on its contract to its citizens. Both of us well understand the impact of false accusations on communities in any multicultural society, something all Canadians can intuitively grasp.

In the case of Hassan Diab, we have now concluded that it was all too easy to unquestioningly accept the decision to leave it in the hands of France, a fellow democracy. But a decade later, justice has not been served. Now we must get this right.

Doing so will help ensure that our country avoids living by the ugly rules of innuendo, unproven assumptions and discredited evidence — and instead protects the core values of democracy, including a robust adherence to the principles of justice.

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Zionist racist accused rapper of uttering hate speech

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The Montreal police hate crimes unit is looking for 35-year-old rapper Jonathan “Madd Cold” Azaziah, accused of promoting ‘anti-semitism’.
The hate crimes unit of the Montreal police department says the search for a rapper accused of hate speech is a top priority.

Zionist racist B’nai Brith, which has been tracking ‘anti-Semitic’ incidents for 35 years, said rapper Jonathan Azaziah (aka Madd Cold), uses his music to promote antisemitism.

“We are pleased that the Montreal Hate Crimes Unit is taking this matter very seriously,” said Zionist racist Michael Mostyn, Chief Executive Officer of Zionist B’nai Brith Canada. “Azaziah has not only proclaimed his desire to murder Jews but encourages others to do the same. This is perhaps the most clear-cut case of incitement to violence against the Jewish people in Canada that we have seen in a long time.”

“An investigation is under way and findings will be sent to our prosecution,” Commander Caroline Cournoyer said. “We will try to find this person. This is really important for us. It is serious.”

Azaziah spends a lot of his time in Montreal and has written songs called “Death to Israel” and “Overthrow the Saudis.”

Zionist B’nai Brith’s CEO says there is no place in Canada for people with such inflammatory views.

“At a time where incitement to violence is one of the leading causes of terrorism worldwide, Azaziah is using online global music platforms to spread his Jew-hate,” said Zionist Mostyn.

Steven Slimovitch, a lawyer with B’nai Brith, said while hate speech is illegal in Canada, intent has to be proven and in this case Slimovitch thinks the intent is evident.

“When you make it a concerted effort, and I would have to believe that a song which are not composed overnight, time and thought went into this and I would assume, in order to promote it,” said Slimovitch.

Zionist B’nai brith has also voiced its concerns to the Minister of Justice and Public Safety and the Centre for Prevention of Radicalization Leading to Violence, which has launched its own investigation.

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Canadian court upholds $1.7 billion ruling against Iran

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Image result for IRAN CANADA FLAG CARTOON

A Canadian court has accused Iran of supporting terrorism, upholding a previous ruling that requires the Islamic Republic to pay around $1.7 billion in damages to “American victims of terrorism.”

Ontario’s Court of Appeal rejected Iran’s request to reconsider the ruling on Monday night, arguing that doing so would amount to a breach of Canada’s Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act (JVTA).

The JVTA allows victims of terrorism to sue foreign states for damages.

The accusation came despite Iran’s firm response to similar cases in the past, where various American and European courts had taken punitive measures against Tehran over unproven claims of complicity in terror.

The new case was brought by families of American citizens who had been killed in a series of attacks between 1980s and 2002, mostly blamed on Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movements Hamas and Hezbollah.

The families claimed that the Iranian government supported the two organizations and was therefore responsible for their actions.

The complaints were first filed in the US but the claimants turned to Canada after finding out that the Iranian government had more properties and bank accounts there.

A one-story house in Toronto, an industrial building in Ottawa and two bank accounts were among the assets that were sought in the case.

Without offering further elaboration, the court also claimed in its ruling that Iran was seeking to “frustrate” the JVTA’s implementation.

The Iranian government had reportedly told the court that it had immunity in the case. It had also argued that the judgment was against international law and exceeded the maximum damages allowable in Canadian law.

Tehran also argued that the victims had to prove Iran’s role in each attack instead of just repeating the US government’s baseless allegations.

The court said Iran was only immune in terrorism cases that had occurred before January 1985, when Canada’s State Immunity Act was passed.

A recurring trend

Last year, the US Supreme Court ruled that around $2 billion had to be turned over to the American families of the people killed in a 1983 bombing in Beirut and other attacks blamed on Iran.

Likening the act to “highway robbery,” Iran said back then that it would seek reparations.

The trend of the unfair rulings continued in March, when a New York court ordered Iran to pay $7.5 billion in damage to families of victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks and $3 billion to a group of insurers over related claims.

The ruling surprised many since Washington had clearly blamed the attacks on the al-Qaeda terror group and even investigated members of Saudi Arabia’s royal family who had proven ties to the terrorist organization.

Various investigations have revealed that 15 of the 19 plane hijackers involved in the attacks were Saudi nationals and some of them had received large sums of money from Saudi royals.

The ruling lost even more weight in September, after the US Congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act (JASTA), clearing the path to sue Saudi Arabia for the tragic death of over 3,000 people.

It was reported in March, however, that a judge in Luxembourg had quietly put a freeze on $1.6 billion in assets belonging to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) to compensate the 9/11 victims.

The Canadian court’s ruling came days after yet another anti-Iran ruling by a US court, which allowed the American government to seize an Iranian charity’s office tower in New York City over claims that it was used to breach Iran sanctions.

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Canadian Government to Pay Former Guantanamo Child Prisoner $10 Million

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  • Omar Khadr, Guantanamo Bay
    Omar Khadr, Guantanamo Bay’s youngest prisoner, wins case with the Canadian government paying at least $10 million in compensation. | Photo: Reuters
Omar Khadr will also receive an apology from the Canadian government for wrongful imprisonment.

A man who spent a decade in a U.S. jail in Guantanamo Bay for the death of a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan will receive an apology and payout from the Canadian government for failing to protect a Canadian citizen.

RELATED:Undocumented Immigrant to Get $190k From San Francisco

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau when speaking with Irish reporters refused to discuss the details of the agreement with Omar Khadr, simply confirming that justice will be done.

“There is a judicial process underway that has been underway for a number of years now, and we are anticipating like I think a number of people are, that that judicial process is coming to its conclusion,” he said.

In a firefight during the United States invasion of Afghanistan on July 27, 2002, 15-year-old Khadr was severely wounded. He was subsequently sent to the infamous Guantanamo Bay’s jail, where he was the facility’s youngest detainee.

Following his release in 2015, Khadr and his lawyers filed a CAD$20 million wrongful imprisonment lawsuit against the Canadian government claiming the country had violated international law by failing to protect its own citizens and conspiring with the United States by sharing evidence from the investigation.

According to reports from the Star, Khadr will not receive the CAD$20 million, however, his settlement will be at least CAD$10 million. Canadian authorities and Khadr’s team of lawyers negotiated the deal last month, AP reports.

RELATED:Terror Suspect Waterboarded 83 Times by CIA to Testify About Gitmo

In 2010, Canada’s Supreme Court ruled that its intelligence agents had obtained evidence through “oppressive circumstances” during the then 15-year-old Khadr’s incarceration in 2003.

His case gained international attention when Canadian-born Khadr traveled with his father to fight in Afghanistan. After Khadr’s capture, the child soldier was later charged with the death of U.S. Army Sergeant Christopher Speer.

Khadr, accused of throwing the grenade that killed Speer, was convicted of war crimes and sentenced to 10 years in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

With two years left on his sentence, Khadr was released on bail pending appeal to the Canadian Supreme Court, serving out the remainder of his sentence in his home country in 2015.

The former prisoner apologized to the families of the victims, stating his total rejection of violence. Khadr announced his engagement to the human rights activist responsible for his release and said he wanted to start fresh, finish his education and work in health care.

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The lies that are told to justify Canadian foreign policy

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Image result for canada flag cartoon
By Yves Engler 

Lies, distortions and self-serving obfuscations are to be expected when political and business leaders discuss far away places.

In a recent Toronto Star column Rick Salutin observed that “foreign policy is a truth-free, fact-free zone. When leaders speak on domestic issues, citizens at least have points of reference to check them against. On foreign affairs they blather freely.”

Salutin vividly captures an important dynamic of political life. What do most Canadians know about our government’s actions in Afghanistan or Haiti? Most of us have never been to those countries and don’t know anyone living there, from there or even who’ve been there. We are heavily dependent on media and politicians’ portrayals. But, as I detail in A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Exploitation, international correspondents generally take their cue from the foreign policy establishment or diplomats in the field.

Journalists are prepared to criticize governments and corporations to a certain extent on “domestic” issues, but the spirit of “challenging power” largely disappears regarding foreign policy. One reason is that nationalism remains an important media frame and the dominant media often promotes an “our team” worldview.

Another explanation is the web of state and corporate generated ideas institutes, which I review in A Propaganda System, that shape the international discussion. In a forthcoming second volume I look at the Canadian Left’s contribution to confusing the public about international policies.

The state/corporate nexus operates largely unchallenged in the Global South because there is little in terms of a countervailing force. Instead of criticizing the geo-strategic and corporate interests overwhelmingly driving foreign policy decisions, the social democratic NDP has often supported them and contributed to Canadians’ confusion about this country’s international affairs. The NDP endorsed bombing Serbia and Libya and in recent years they’ve supported military spending, Western policy in the Ukraine and the dispossession of Palestinians. The NDP has largely aligned with the foreign policy establishment or those, as long time NDP MP Libby Davies put it, who believe a “Time Magazine version” of international affairs.

Closely tied to the NDP, labour unions’ relative indifference to challenging foreign policy is another reason why politicians can “blather freely” on international affairs. On many domestic issues organized labour represents a countervailing force to the corporate agenda or state policies. While dwarfed by corporate Canada, unions have significant capacities. They generate hundreds of millions of dollars in annual dues and fund or participate in a wide range of socially progressive initiatives such as the Canadian Health Coalition, Canadian Council for Refugees and Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives. But, unions rarely extend their broader (class) vision of society to international affairs. In fact, sometimes they endorse unjust international policies.

To the extent that politicians’ “blathering” is restrained it is largely by other countries. The recent political conflict in the Ukraine provides an example. Canadian politicians have aggressively promoted a simplistic, self-serving, narrative that has dominated the media-sphere. But, there is a source of power countering this perspective. Moscow financed/controlled media such as RT, Sputnik and others have offered a corrective to the Western line. A comparatively wealthy and powerful state, Russia’s diplomats have also publicly challenged the Canadian media’s one-sided portrayal.

An important, if rarely mentioned, rule of foreign policy is the more impoverished a nation, the greater the gap is likely to be between what Canadian officials say and do. The primary explanation for the gap between what’s said and done is that power generally defines what is considered reality. So, the bigger the power imbalance between Canada and another country the greater Ottawa’s ability to distort their activities.

Haiti provides a stark example. In 2004 Ottawa helped overthrow Haiti’s elected government and then supported an installed regime that killed thousands. Officially, however, Ottawa was “helping” the beleaguered country as part of the “Friends of Haiti” group. And the bill for undermining Haitian democracy, including the salaries of top coup government officials and the training of repressive cops, was largely paid out of Canada’s “aid” to the country.

A stark power imbalance between Ottawa and Port-au-Prince helps explain the gulf between Canadian government claims and reality in Haiti. Describing the country at the time of Jean-Bertrand Aristide’s ouster, former Globe and Mail foreign editor Paul Knox observed, “obviously, in the poorest country of the Americas, the government is going to have fewer resources at its disposal to mount a PR exercise or offensive if it feels itself besieged.”

With a $300 US million total budget for a country of eight million, the Haitian government had limited means to explain their perspective to the world either directly or through international journalists. On the other hand, the Washington-Paris-Ottawa coup triumvirate had great capacity to propagate their perspective (at the time the Canadian International Development Agency and Foreign Affairs each spent 10 times the entire Haitian budget and the Department of National Defence 60 times). The large Canadian embassy in Port-au-Prince worked to influence Canadian reporters in the country and their efforts were supplanted by the Haiti desks at CIDA and Foreign Affairs as well as the two ministries’ communications departments and Canadian military officials.

While an imbalance in communications resources partly explains the coverage, there is also a powerful ideological component. The media’s biased coverage of Haiti cannot be divorced from ‘righteous Canada’ assumptions widely held among the intelligentsia. As quoted in an MA thesis titled “Covering the coup: Canadian news reporting, journalists, and sources in the 2004 Haiti crisis”, CBC reporter Neil McDonald told researcher Isabel McDonald the Canadian government was “one of the most authoritative sources on conflict resolution in the world.”

According to Isabel McDonald’s summary, the prominent correspondent also said, “it was crazy to imagine Canada would be involved in a coup” and that “Canadian values were incompatible with extreme inequality or race-based hegemony”, which Ottawa’s policies clearly exacerbated in Haiti. (Neil Macdonald also said his most trusted sources for background information in Haiti came from Canadian diplomatic circles, notably CIDA where his cousins worked. The CBC reporter also said he consulted the Canadian ambassador in Port-au-Prince to determine the most credible human rights advocate in Haiti. Ambassador Kenneth Cook directed him to Pierre Espérance, a coup backer who fabricated a “massacre” used to justify imprisoning the constitutional prime minister and interior minister. When pressed for physical evidence Espérance actually said the 50 bodies “might have been eaten by wild dogs.”)

The Canadian Council on Africa provides another example of the rhetoric that results from vast power imbalances and paternalist assumptions. Run by Canadian corporations operating on the continent, the council said it “focuses on the future of the African economy and the positive role that Canada can play meeting some of the challenges in Africa.”

Similar to the Canadian Council on Africa, the Canadian American Business Council, Canada China Business Council and Canada-UK Chamber of Commerce also seek to advance members’ profit-making potential. But, the other lobby groups don’t claim humanitarian objectives. The primary difference between the Canadian Council on Africa and the other regional lobby organizations is the power imbalance between Canada/the West and African countries, as well as the anti-African paternalism that dominates Canadian political culture. A group of Canadian corporations claiming their aim was to meet the social challenges of the US or UK would sound bizarre and if they said as much about China they would be considered seditious. (Ironically the US-, Britain- and China-focused lobby groups can better claim the aid mantle since foreign investment generally has greater social spinoffs in more independent/better regulated countries.) But, paternalist assumptions are so strong — and Africans’ capacity to assert themselves within Canadian political culture so limited — that a lobby group largely representing corporations that displace impoverished communities to extract natural resources is, according to the Canadian Council on Africa’s previous mission statement, “committed to the economic development of a modern and competitive Africa.”

To counter the “fact free zone” individuals need to educate themselves on international issues, by seeking alternative sources of information. More important, we should strengthen internationalist social movements and left media consciously seeking to restrict politicians’ ability to “blather freely”.

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Zionist Trudeau does not Conflate Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism

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Prime Minister Trudeau does not Conflate Anti-Zionism and Anti-Semitism
 

Earlier this month, Israel and its friends around the world celebrated the 69th anniversary of Israel’s unilateral declaration of independence. Among them was our Prime Minister who issued the following statement: “while we celebrate Israel’s independence, we also reaffirm our commitment to fight anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism.” The fact that anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism were mentioned separately is significant because they are very different phenomena, which many mistakenly conflate. Such a conflation would be historically incorrect and politically dangerous.

Anti-Semitism, like all racial hatred, is prohibited in Canada. Originally, anti-Semitism was as a reaction to social, cultural and economic integration of Jews in the wake of the Emancipation. It then spread around the world, including Canada. Jews used to be routinely discriminated against in many spheres of public life. In Germany, anti-Semitism produced an ideology that ended in the systematic murder of millions of Jewish civilians during the Second World War.

Another consequence of anti-Semitism was the emergence, in the late 19th century, of Jewish nationalism, a political movement known as Zionism. It aimed at forging out of the Jews a nation in the European sense of the word, getting these “nationalized Jews” to settle in Palestine and ensuring the Zionists’ political and military control over the country, which was inhabited by diverse ethnic and confessional groups.

Zionism was a revolution in Jewish life, and its founders were proud of it. To quote Shlomo Avineri, a prominent political scientist and historian who also served as Director General of Israel’s Foreign Office,

“Zionism was the most fundamental revolution in Jewish life. It substituted a secular self-identity of the Jews as a nation for the traditional and Orthodox self-identity in religious terms.”

In his words, Zionism was

“a clear break with the quietism of the religious belief in messianic redemption that should occur only through divine intercession in the mundane cycles of world history.”

Avineri also believes that it would be “banal, conformist and apologetic” to link Zionism to the traditional Jewish longing for the Land of Israel.

No wonder Zionism provoked massive opposition among the world’s Jewish population. However surprising this may seem today, many Jews accused Zionists of anti-Semitism. Edwin Montague, a prominent British statesman and a Jew, vigorously protested the Balfour declaration that promised in 1917 to support the Zionist project in Palestine. He titled his public rebuke “Memorandum on the anti-Semitism of the Present government.” In fact, Balfour himself severely limited the immigration of Jews fleeing pogroms in the Russian Empire in 1905 while favouring their settlement in Palestine.

Image result for Theodor Herzl

Indeed, Zionists argued – and continue to argue – that Jews constitute an alien body within non-Jewish nations, and that they really belong to Israel. This is precisely what anti-Semites believed, and what many continue to believe. This confluence of ideas and interests did not escape the intrepid founder of political Zionism, Theodor Herzl (image on the right). In his diary, Herzl acknowledged that the anti-Semites would be instrumental in helping carry out the Zionist program.

History proved Herzl right. The Zionist movement found grace in the eyes of anti-Semites during over one century of its history. Not only did they believe that Jews constitute a foreign element in their countries, they also wanted them out. This is how Zionist training camps were allowed to operate between the world wars in several countries of Europe, including Fascist Italy and Nazi Germany, which also facilitated the transfer of thousands of German Jews and their capital to Palestine.

It is now clear that conflating anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism is historically incorrect. It is also politically dangerous to confuse the two, since legitimate opposition to Jewish nationalism may be branded anti-Semitic. This would go against Canada’s commitment to free expression by lumping criticism, boycott, sanctions and other forms of peaceful protest with anti-Jewish bigotry. As any Canadian, Prime Minister Trudeau is free to support or oppose Zionism. And as the highest elected official in the country, he deserves credit for distinguishing between political opinion and racial hatred.

The author is professor of history at the Université de Montréal. His recent book is What is Modern Israel? (University of Chicago Press, 2016). His previous book A Threat from within: a Century of Jewish Opposition to Zionism has been translated into over a dozen of languages and shortlisted for the Governor General Award.

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Update: New Mexico rape kit crisis gets worse

NOVANEWS

Six months ago Liberation News reported that New Mexico had the greatest number of untested rape kits in the country.

Since then despite a statewide audit, the crisis has worsened not improved. With over 6,000 kits left untested over the course of 30+ years, justice for victims of sexual assault continues to be blatantly disregarded by state officials.

Despite the so-called efforts made to decrease the number of untested kits, the problem is worsening. Tim Keller, state auditor, reported that the backlog of untested kits is growing bigger—some decades old, while new ones are added each day. Over 20 new kits are admitted to the Albuquerque Police Department each month with only four being processed every 30 days. This means 16 new kits are being added to the backlog monthly. State officials have failed to account for the tragic rape kit crisis in New Mexico—some implying that the urgency for accountability is overdramatic.

Albuquerque Police Department has only two fully trained DNA analysts capable of processing kits. Additionally, there are only two crime labs in the state for processing. Since the public announcement of the state’s egregious epidemic, hard-hitting solutions have only been proposed, while concrete changes remain unseen.

The lack of priority given to funding testing for the backlog of rape kits is especially disgusting when we consider that Albuquerque residents have been forced to dole out $30 million for civil law suits since 2010 because of routine police violence: Albuquerque Police shot and kill people, per capita,  at twice the rate of Chicago Police.

Outrageously, state auditors found that one-fifth of the kits were left untested because of a perceived lack of credibility on the part of the victim. This fact exemplifies how this crisis denies justice to victims of sexual assault and reinforces rape culture.

Victims that courageously report rape and abuse are put through further traumatizing and humiliating processes just for evidence to collect dust for up to decades. Some older rape kits will never be able to be tested or used in court cases leaving rapists and perpetrators free to harm more women in the future. Leaving kits untested discourages victims from reporting instances of sexual assault.

The New Mexico rape kit crisis represents how violence against women is disseminated by the U.S. justice system and how this violence is a symptom of women’s continued subordinate status in capitalist society.

Sexual assault is only one symptom of the violence women face under capitalism. Women lack access to basic services like healthcare, affordable housing and education, and face higher rates of poverty than men.

We need a new system that ends all violence against women—one that protects the people and not rapists.

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Canadian companies caught with hands in African colonial cookie jar

NOVANEWS
Image result for Canadian FLAG
By Yves Engler 

The recent seizure of phosphate from a Moroccan state company in South Africa and Panama is a blow to corporate Canada and a victory for national independence struggles. It should also embarrass the Canadian media.

This month courts in Port Elizabeth and Panama City okayed requests by the POLISARIO Front asking South Africa and Panama to seize two cargo ships with 100,000 tonnes of phosphate from Western Sahara, a sparsely populated territory in north-western Africa occupied by Morocco. Ruled by Spain until 1975, Moroccan troops moved in when the Spanish departed and a bloody 15-year war drove tens of thousands of Sahrawi into neighbouring Algeria, where they still live in camps.

No country officially recognizes Moroccan sovereignty over Western Sahara. The UN calls it “occupied” and the Fourth Geneva Convention as well as the Rome Statute prohibit an occupying power from exploiting the resources of territories they control unless it’s in the interest of, and according to, the wishes of the local population. In 2002 the UN Under-Secretary-General for Legal Affairs Hans Corell described the exploitation of Western Sahara’s natural resources as a “violation of the international law principles applicable to mineral resource activities in Non-Self-Governing Territories.”

Saskatoon’s PotashCorp and Calgary’s Agrium, which are merging, have a partnership with Moroccan King Mohammed VI’s OCP Group to export phosphate mined in Western Sahara. The two Canadian companies buy half of Western Sahara phosphates and it was an Agrium shipment that was seized in Panama.

To deflect from its complicity in violating international law, PotashCorp says OCP’s operations benefit the Sahrawi people. A 2014 PotashCorp statement claimed: “OCP has established a proactive affirmative action campaign to the benefit of the local people and, importantly, is making significant economic and social contributions to the entire region. As a result, we believe those who choose to make a political statement about OCP are effectively penalizing Saharawi workers, their families and communities.”

International solidarity activists have called on businesses to stop exploiting Western Sahara’s resources, which has led the Ethical Fund of Vancity credit union, four pension funds in Sweden and Norway’s $800 billion pension fund to divest from PotashCorp. A number of fertilizer companies have also severed ties to OCP, Morocco’s largest industrial company. The POLISARIO Front national liberation movement and African Union claim deals with OCP to export Western Sahara phosphate contravene international law and prop up Morocco’s control.

While only preliminary, the recent court decisions are important for national independence struggles. The South Africa case is thought to be the first time an independence movement has won legal action to intercept the export of state property.

Aside from a handful of stories in the business press, the Canadian media has basically ignored PotashCorp and Agrium’s role in violating international law. In the lead-up to the 2015 Saskatoon launch of Canada in Africa: 300 Years of Aid and Exploitation I submitted a piece about PotashCorp’s role in buying the non-renewable resources of Africa’s last remaining colony. The Saskatoon Star Phoenix opinion editor, who I’d communicated with on a few occasions when writing op-eds for a union, told me he was considering it and then responded a week later. “Hi Yves, Thanks, but I will pass on your op-ed. This issue has been on our pages in the past, with both sides of the debate making their points.” But when I searched the Star Phoenix database for articles on the largest publicly traded company in Saskatoon ties to Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara there was a single 264-word letter to the editor criticizing PotashCorp’s policy two and a half years earlier (and a rebuttal from a company representative). Apparently, the Saskatoon business titan’s role in violating international law only warrants 264 words.

As part of writing this story, I searched Canadian Newsstream for coverage of PotashCorp and Agrium’s ties to Western Sahara. I found eight articles (a couple appeared in more than one paper) in major dailies on the subject, as well as three letters to the editor, over the past six years. Yet, as if violating international law is only of interest to those making investment decisions, all but one of the articles appeared in the business pages. When the Sisters of Mercy of Newfoundland brought a resolution to PotashCorp’s 2015 shareholder meeting about Western Sahara, the Canadian Press reported on it but only a few news outlets picked up the wire story.

While the Sahrawi struggle is unfamiliar to Canadians, it is widely known in African intellectual circles. An international solidarity campaign, with a group in Victoria, has long highlighted corporate Canada’s ties to the Moroccan occupation. I wrote about it briefly in my Canada in Africa and in an article for a number of left websites. In September 2015 Briarpatch did a cover story titled A Very Fertile Occupation: PotashCorp’s role in occupied Western Sahara and last week OurSask.ca published a long article titled Why a Segment of Saskatchewan’s Economy, and Our Ethical Compass, Hinges on an Undeveloped, War-Torn African Nation. An activist in Regina has been crowd funding for a documentary project titled Sirocco: Winds of Resistance: How the will to resist a brutal occupation has been passed on to two women by their grandmothers.

As my experience with the Star Phoenix suggest, the mainstream media is not unaware of the subject. Rather, there is a deeply held bias in favour of the corporate perspective and unless activists politicize the issue editors will ignore corporate Canada’s complicity in entrenching colonialism in Africa.

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