February 13, 2016 - No. 7

No to the Use of Force to Solve Problems!
No to the Program of Regime Change!

Do Not Permit the Politics of the
Big Powers to Decide the Fate of the World

Canada's "Changing ISIS Mission"
Expands Aggressive Military Presence

Get Canada Out of NATO! Dismantle NATO!
  - Enver Villamizar -
Militarization Will Not Resolve Refugee Crisis
  - Margaret Villamizar -
Increasing Arms Sales Underscore Aggressive Foreign Policy
  - Sam Heaton -

Our Resources Are Not for War!

Action Opposes Calgary Convergence of War Contractors
and Energy Monopolies

No Harbour for War
The New Trudeau Liberal Government Is Not Anti-War
- Charles Spurr -

The Rule of Private Military and Security Interests
U.S. Military Spending Continues to Soar
The Internet of Things to Come

The Hypocrisy and Double Standards of the Imperialists

Success in Combating Extremism Requires Commitment to
Relevant UN Resolutions Says Syrian Envoy to UN

DPRK Successfully Launches Satellite into Orbit

February 14 -- 26th Annual Women's Memorial March

Justice for Missing and Murdered Women and Girls!

No to the Use of Force to Solve Problems!
No to the Program of Regime Change!

Do Not Permit the Politics of the Big Powers to
Decide the Fate of the World

Since the Liberal Party and Justin Trudeau took over the Government of Canada following the October 19 federal election, it has become very clear that this government, like the Harper government before it, is a war government. At a time the U.S. imperialists are readjusting their policies to make sure their striving for world hegemony succeeds, once again Canada is hitching itself to the U.S. imperialist war chariot, especially the measures they are taking to control what goes on in Europe and to dominate Asia. In light of the dangerous developments which are taking place, it is important to remember that while the policies of the big powers have always played a significant role, the decisive role belongs to the working people.

A brief review of the history of the world since the Russian people successfully carried out the Great October Revolution confirms this fact. They established an anti-war government which took Russia out of the First World War and resolved the inter-imperialist contradictions of the period in favour of the people.

The coalition which was formed during the Second World War against fascism also needed to be strengthened with the vital role played by the working people. This too is a fact. It is also true that following the war, the decisive role played by the people in winning the victory over fascism receded slowly into the background. This is because the coalition formed to fight fascism was made up of countries which had systems diametrically opposed to one another and it was to split no sooner than the war ended. Two distinct problems became mixed up. One was the resolution of the major contradictions of the period; the other, the problem of the geopolitical interests of the big powers.

The Soviet Union played a colossal role in the liberation of the peoples during the Second World War. Its assistance to the wars of national liberation in Europe and Asia created a distance between it and its former allies, especially the U.S., Britain and France. These big powers pursued their geopolitical interests to cover up that they refuse to address the major contradictions of the time. The geopolitical aspect, the politics of the big powers to decide the fate of the entire world, brought these powers into a collision course with the USSR within a matter of two years after the war. To justify their abandonment of the cause for which the peoples had sacrificed so much, they launched the Cold War and argued the need for inter-state imperialist blocs. They portrayed Soviet support for anti-fascist national liberation wars and for anti-colonial struggles and for the working class movement for emancipation as a communist conspiracy to take over the entire world. This crusade by the U.S., Britain, Canada and other countries against communism and the Soviet Union was unleashed on an even more reactionary basis than before the war. Besides the use of covert wars and black ops to overthrow communism, they adopted the disinformation methods pioneered by the Hitlerites during the war to justify the crimes they started committing against the peoples of the world in the post-war period.

Since the latter part of the 1950s to this day, the big powers have established their stranglehold over the affairs of the world which they monopolize. But despite their efforts to keep the peoples of the world under their dictate, and the crimes they have committed, the peoples of the world have continued to wage wars of national liberation and resistance struggles. Time and again these struggles have proven, both when they have been successful and when they have failed, that the role of the people in establishing their own aims and organization to achieve them is vital if the outcome is to favour their interests.

Today, instead of renewing the principles which govern international relations so as to achieve the peoples' cherished desire for peace, the big powers persist in blocking the path to progress by imposing their geopolitical outlook. This outlook first emerged at the end of the 19th to the beginning of the 20th centuries, once the era of laissez-faire capitalism had come to an end and the world became monopolized ushering in the era of imperialism and proletarian revolution.[1]

As a political doctrine, geopolitics seeks to justify imperialist expansion with references to economic and political geography. As a strategic doctrine it was taken up by fascist states and their intellectuals in the Second World War to justify territorial conquests. After the Second World War it became the domain of U.S. imperialist acolytes who took up the geopolitical "Heartland Doctrine"[2] and its variations in U.S. presidential doctrines to justify the "Containment of Communism" and the national liberation struggles.

Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the former people's democracies in the 1989-90 period, the big powers have persisted in promoting this geopolitical outlook which puts the competition between imperialist blocs or between the big powers and regional powers in the primary position and mobilizes their resources accordingly. They seek to explain this competition, war and aggression through external factors such as the need for this or that power to control key strategic geographical zones in the name of high ideals.

With the onset of the retreat of revolution, geopolitical analysis has gained prominence not only in the official ruling circles but even among left-wing and independent analysts of international affairs. The main feature of this geopolitical outlook is to see the primary factor in imperialism or international conflict generally as the competition between imperialist blocs, between imperialist blocs and world and regional powers and their need to control key territories, strategic zones, markets, energy, trade and security corridors where the peoples must not be allowed to play any independent role whatsoever and their resistance must be crushed.

Above all else, it rejects the dialectical and historical materialist outlook which recognizes the internal basis of change, development and motion in society and the vital role of the people in defining the outcome, including on the crucial questions of war and peace. In opposition to the need of the peoples for anti-war governments, theories are adopted which put the initiative in the hands of the big powers. In this regard, geopolitical analysis denies that the epoch of imperialism also contains within it, as its integral part, the proletarian revolution. This is to present imperialism as all-powerful and deny the necessity for the Proletarian Front to establish anti-war governments which ensure the cause of peace prevails. On the basis of a geopolitical analysis of unfolding events, theories of multipolarity in the post-Cold War period are presented as an alternative to the U.S. imperialist striving to become the sole superpower on the basis that Might Makes Right.

A geopolitical outlook is pushed to make sure the people hand over the initiative to the big powers to bring about peace, even if the pursuit of geopolitical interests leads to war. Everything is done to embroil the people to take up the geopolitical outlook of the big powers so that they cannot play their vital role. It is for this reason that the disinformation of the new Liberal government and all its agencies, as well as the monopoly-owned media and official think tanks, no matter whether they are from the official left or the right, presents events which unfold not within the context of the major contradictions of the period and how to resolve them in favour of the peoples, but in the context of the geopolitical interests of the big powers. The role reserved for the people is to support the big power politics of one side or the other and everything is done to deprive them of their own thinking and ability to build a united front to realize their striving for an anti-war government which will make sure their interests are defended.

It is important for Canadians who cherish the cause of peace to discuss these matters and make sure they do not permit the war preparations of the new Liberal government to go unopposed.


1. The geopolitical outlook which viewed countries as organisms struggling for Lebensraum or living space, was first put forward by a German geographer named Friedrich Ratzel shortly before the First World War. Its other proponents at that time were Halford Mackinder (Britain) and Admiral Alfred Mahan (USA).

The term Geopolitics was subsequently used by Rudolf Kjellen, a Swedish scholar, who, in his Staten som Lifsform used the arguments of Malthusianism to justify the imperialist approach to geographical space. In 1923-27 a study group organized by the German journal Geopolitik proclaimed Geopolitics a special science distinct from conventional political geography. Karl Haushofer and Erich Obst, the leaders of this group, applied Geopolitics to the political objectives of Nazism.

After the 2nd World War, Geopolitics won adherents in the United States (Nicholas J. Spykman, etc), Canada (Thomas Greenwood), and particularly in Federal Germany (Carl Schmitt, Hans Grimm, Alfred Hettner, Adolf Grabowski, etc.)

(Dictionary of Philosophy. Moscow: Progress Publishers, 1st ed. 1967)

2. The "Heartland Theory" was expressed by Halford Mackinder as follows:

"Who rules East Europe commands the Heartland;
who rules the Heartland commands the World-Island;
who rules the World-Island commands the world."

Gerald Roe Crone explains Mackinder's contribution as follows in The Encyclopaedia Britannica:

"Studying the prerequisites for a stable peace settlement during World War I, [Mackinder] developed a thesis in political geography that he had first outlined in a paper read to the Royal Geographical Society in 1904, 'The Geographical Pivot of History.' In it he argued that interior Asia and eastern Europe (the heartland) had become the strategic centre of the 'World Island' as a result of the relative decline of sea power as against land power and of the economic and industrial development of southern Siberia. His extended views were set out in a short book, Democratic Ideals and Reality, published early in 1919 while the Paris Peace Conference was in session. The role of Britain and the United States, he considered, was to preserve a balance between the powers contending for control of the heartland. As a further stabilizing factor, he urged the creation of a tier of independent states to separate Germany and Russia, much along the lines finally imposed by the peace treaty. The book included, apart from the main theme, many farsighted observations -- e.g., his insistence on the 'one world' concept, the need for regional organizations of minor powers, and the warning that chaos in a defeated Germany would inevitably lead to dictatorship. The book attracted little attention in Britain but rather more in the United States. There was an unexpected sequel, however, for the concept of the heartland was seized upon by the German geopolitician Karl Haushofer to support his grand design for control of the World Island. Thus, during World War II there were suggestions that Mackinder, through Haushofer, had inspired Hitler. More sober evaluation disposed of this absurd notion, and, though developments have affected some of the arguments, the thesis is recognized as an important view of world strategy. In 1924, mindful of the lessons of World War I, Mackinder published his prophetic theory of the Atlantic community that became reality after World War II and assumed military form in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). In his hypothesis -- which remained largely unnoticed -- Mackinder argued that the power of the Eurasian heartland could be offset by western Europe and North America, which 'constitute for many purposes a single community of nations.' [...]

"In 1919 Mackinder went as British high commissioner to southern Russia in an attempt to unify the White Russian forces and was knighted on his return in 1920."

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Canada's "Changing ISIS Mission" Expands Aggressive Military Presence

On February 8, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an expansion of Canada's military posture which the government claims will enhance the prospects of achieving peace and security in the Middle East. Trudeau was flanked by Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan, Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion, Minister of International Development Marie-Claude Bibeau as well as Alexandra Bugailiskis, Assistant Deputy Minister for Europe, Middle East and Maghreb and Chief of Defence Staff Jonathan Vance.

Here is the Department of National Defence's "in a nutshell" account of that announcement:

"On February 8, 2016, the Government of Canada announced a new approach to respond to the ongoing crises in Iraq and Syria and their impact in the region. As part of this refocused strategy, Canada will extend its military engagement under Operation IMPACT, increase our complement of military personnel at various coalition headquarters and triple the size of our current train, advise and assist mission to help Iraqi security forces plan and conduct military operations against ISIL. While Canada will cease air strike operations no later than February 22, 2016, aerial refuelling and surveillance activities will continue."

The announcement was couched in the language of peace and security, all of it to cover up the war aims of the U.S. and aggressive NATO alliance to realize their striving for hegemony in the region. The fact that Canada has long-since hitched itself to the U.S. war chariot is covered up in the language of high ideals and there is no frank discussion of the how the U.S. is attempting to once again get the upper hand in the Middle East and who this serves. Far from helping to realize the aspirations of the Canadian people and the peoples of the world for peace, the announcements of the Trudeau government signify a dangerous expansion of an aggressive military presence in not only Iraq but now also Jordan and Lebanon.

With these developments Canadians have a lot to worry about, none more so than those whose families and loved ones still live in the targeted countries and others in the region which have suffered and continue to suffer massive human and material losses. The peaceful resolution of conflicts requires the affirmation of the post-war arrangements where all nations have the right to self-determination, but Trudeau and his ministers never mention such things. Trudeau simply declared that in the October 19, 2015 federal election "Canadians gave our government a mandate to implement a policy that is more effective and is better able to capitalize on uniquely Canadian areas of expertise including: our military's training of security forces; the provision of humanitarian assistance and social services; the promotion of diplomacy and good governance; and, the rebuilding of infrastructure."

The announcement referred to two missions, a "Train, Advise, Equip" mission involving Canadian ground troops and military aircraft in Iraq, and a "capacity building mission in Lebanon and Jordan." Those Canadians that lived through the buildup of the Vietnam war understand the language of aggression and what it means to send advisors, equipment and forces to train others. In this case, Canada's "Train, Advise, Equip" mission is said to revolve around the Kurdish forces but may include others. Chief of Defence Staff Vance said the government has "yet to determine what will become of our work to scope out our capacity building mission," which will be done as a joint effort between the military and Global Affairs Canada. Vance said that Canadians can expect soldiers to be deployed to Lebanon and Jordan but could not provide figures beyond noting that the number of personnel will be "easily 100."

When asked about the nature of the missions and whether they are consistent with the Liberals' promise to "end Canada's combat mission in Iraq," Vance said that Trudeau "has clearly described the mission as non-combat. I know there is a penchant by many to want to parse those words. We are not the principal combatant on the ground, therefore it's non-combat."

The Prime Minister's Office (PMO) later announced that "the six CF-188 Hornets, along with associated aircrew and support personnel will be redeployed in a phased approach." No mention was made of where they would be redeployed. Canada's military mission will be extended for two years to March 2017, with the "humanitarian and development" component lasting three years. The initial announcement said that Canada will deploy around 400 additional ground troops including Special Forces in Iraq (not counting additional aircraft operators), at least 100 soldiers to Lebanon and Jordan, and will double its "intelligence-gathering assets" in the region.

The PMO said that Canada would allocate more than $1.6 billion over the next three years to the "new approach to security, stabilization, humanitarian and development assistance in response to the crises in Iraq and Syria, and now adding their impact on Jordan and Lebanon." Trudeau explained that Canada is reorienting its mission to "put additional efforts in targeting so we can directly support the Coalition in finding targets for aircraft to strike" and to "intensify the effort on ground ops versus ISIL."

Before a meeting of ministers from NATO member states February 10-11 Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion emphasized Canada's interest in deployment in Lebanon and Jordan. Dion claimed that the two countries are "at the tipping point" and that "We need to help them, because if Lebanon and Jordan are not stable countries it will be very bad for the region, for all our allies, including Israel." Dion said this is why Canada will increase its "military and diplomatic presence" in the two countries.

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Get Canada Out of NATO! Dismantle NATO!

Defence ministers of NATO member states met in Brussels, Belgium from February 10-11. This was the first NATO ministerial meeting attended by Canada's new Minister of Defence, Harjit Sajjan. The meeting revealed that NATO is completing a shift of the militaries under its command to the east as part of the U.S. "Pivot to Asia" directed against China and its encirclement of Russia. NATO also announced provocative moves towards Russia and Syria in the midst of a growing conflict between the big powers over how the war in Syria will be resolved.

The new Liberal war government is directly embroiling Canada in these war preparations, not only through NATO but also by placing Canada's military at the service of aggressive military actions which do not contribute to peace. These developments re-affirm the importance of getting Canada out of NATO and dismantling the aggressive military alliance.

Meeting Agenda

A main priority of the meeting was to secure agreement on boosting NATO's military presence around Russia's borders and on moving the forces under its control further east. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the defence ministers "agreed on an enhanced forward presence in the eastern part of our Alliance." According to NATO this will boost its "defence and deterrence" posture by placing military forces under its command, including Canadian forces, closer to Russia as well as Turkey and Syria.

On February 13 the Anatolia News Agency of Turkey confirmed that Turkey had shelled Syrian government forces in Aleppo and Latakia provinces. Turkish attacks on Kurdish forces of the People's Protection Units (YPG) were also reported in northern Syria.

The "enhanced forward presence" will be "multinational, to make clear that an attack against one Ally is an attack against all Allies, and that the Alliance as a whole will respond," Stoltenberg said. Of concern is that this is related to requests by Turkey for support for its operations on the Syrian border and inside Syria, which included the unprovoked downing of a Russian fighter jet on November 24, 2015. NATO member Turkey has also been revealed as a major source of funding for ISIS through its illicit oil trade.

Defence ministers also discussed NATO's "Readiness Action Plan," which is part of the move eastward, in particular towards Turkey and Syria. Stoltenberg said:

"We have increased NATO's presence in the eastern part of the Alliance, with enhanced air policing, maritime patrols and robust exercises. We have agreed assurance measures for Turkey -- with Patriot [missile] batteries, [Airborne Warning and Control System (AWACS)] surveillance planes,[1] and an enhanced maritime presence in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the Black Sea. We have tripled the size of the NATO Response Force to more than 40,000 troops, with the new Spearhead Force at its core. And we have activated six small headquarters in our eastern Allies, and are setting up two more."

The locations of the "six small headquarters" are all in states bordering Ukraine, Russia or Belarus, namely Bulgaria, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Romania. The NATO Response Force is an "advanced multinational force made up of land, air, maritime and Special Operations Forces (SOF) components that the Alliance can deploy quickly, wherever needed." The enhanced maritime presence in the Eastern Mediterranean refers to the movement of three warships, including one Canadian ship, from the Black Sea to the Aegean under the guise of stopping human trafficking of migrants fleeing Turkey for Greece and Europe by sea.

During the meeting Stoltenburg also reaffirmed NATO's commitment to helping Georgia move towards membership in the Alliance. "Our commitment to Georgia is strong. We help building Georgia's defences. We encourage its reforms, and we support its Euro-Atlantic aspirations," he said.

Mass protest in Podgorica the capital of Montenegro, December 15, 2015,
opposing the country's bid for NATO membership. (RT)

A joint statement by NATO defence ministers issued February 10 declared "initial operational capability for NATO's Joint Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (JISR) initiative." This is said to centre on "enhancing the situational awareness of the NATO Response Force through heightened proficiency in collecting, processing, and exchanging intelligence."

"This is a key capability for the NATO Response Force. And it enables quick and informed decisions by our commanders and our political leaders," Stoltenberg said. Defence ministers called the announcement of initial operational capability for the JISR a "milestone" that is helping lay the groundwork for "integrating Alliance Ground Surveillance into NATO."

NATO defence ministers also agreed to support Germany's bid for the head of the Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe as part of its efforts to reform the Vienna Protocol which provides means for NATO and non-NATO members such as Russia to observe one another's military exercises ostensibly to defuse tensions. Concerns were raised by NATO recently when Russia invoked the Protocol in order to observe NATO's massive war exercise, Operation Trident Juncture. This recent exercise in Portugal involved more than 36,000 troops and aimed to train and certify the "NATO Response Force (NRF) Headquarters" for 2016 and test "the functions of the new very-high readiness Spearhead Force."

A news release from NATO stated that the military alliance remains committed to "transparency and risk reductions" and "that is why we agreed to do all we can to support Germany as the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE this year and its efforts for a full modernization of the Vienna Document which governs military transparency."

Other Developments

Following the meeting the U.S. indicated that NATO may officially join its coalition fighting ISIL in Syria and Iraq. At this point all of NATO's 28 members are individually part of the U.S.-led coalition of 63 countries that has been conducting air raids in Syria and Iraq since 2014. If NATO joins officially it may be a mechanism to place these same countries' forces under NATO command for the purposes of the mission.

"Thanks to the leadership of NATO's Jens Stoltenberg we are exploring the possibility of NATO joining the coalition as a member itself," U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said following the NATO meetings.

The fact that the U.S.-led coalition still aims for regime change in Syria was underscored by the announcement of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia on February 11 that it had made a "final" and "irreversible decision" to send its soldiers into Syria. This comes at the same time as the so-called International Syria Support Group (ISSG) is pushing for a ceasefire between Syrian parties in order to facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid and the progress of UN-sponsored peace talks.

Saudi Arabia's Deputy Crown Prince and Defense Minister Mohammed bin Salman visited NATO headquarters in Brussels during the NATO defence ministers' meeting and conducted bilateral meetings with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter.

While still in Brussels, Carter told media February 12 that the entrance of Saudi troops is part of an effort to "to give opportunities and power to [...] particularly Sunni Arabs in Syria who want to re-seize their territory back from ISIL." Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir, speaking at the Munich Security Conference on the same day stated that removing Syria's elected president, Bashar al-Assad, is the prerequisite to defeating ISIL. Removing Assad is "our objective and we will achieve it," al-Jubeir said.

Canada's Participation

Carter is said to have "thanked" his counterpart Sajjan for Canada's expansion of the mission while in Brussels. Carter "told Sajjan the Canadian response is what the U.S. wants to see from other coalition members to step up the fight against ISIL on the ground, said Canadian officials," the Canadian Press reported.

"Having made this announcement and now being able to speak face to face, and have it reinforced how positively the U.S. views our contribution, is definitely significant for this government," said a Canadian official.

On the sidelines of the NATO defence ministers' meeting, Minister Sajjan also participated in a meeting of the five principal nations currently training Ukraine's neo-Nazi-linked "defence and security forces" (the U.S., U.K., Canada, Poland and Lithuania). A news release from the Department of National Defence following the meeting said that Sajjan "highlighted Canada's significant contributions to the modernization of Ukraine's military, noting the important work being carried out by CAF's personnel under Operation UNIFIER."

It is clear from Canada's participation in the meeting that the Trudeau government is fully integrated into the U.S.-led push to use military might to sort out differences between countries and within them. It is a troubling development indeed given that many Canadians, especially youth, participated in the recent federal election on the basis of trying to remove a government that was seen to be pro-war and tied to the aims of U.S. imperialism.


1. Stoltenberg announced in late January that the U.S. has requested NATO provide surveillance planes to facilitate bombing targets in Syria and Iraq. Canadian AWACS may be used in this endeavor as they are not being re-deployed as in the case of CF-18 jets. Stoltenberg said that the request was being looked into and would be considered at the February 10-11 meeting. NATO agreed with the U.S. request "in principle" at the meeting.

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Militarization Will Not Resolve Refugee Crisis

The Canadian frigate HMCS Fredericton has joined a NATO flotilla deployed to the Aegean Sea between Greece and Turkey to carry out "reconnaissance and surveillance operations" that NATO claims are to counter human trafficking. The flotilla is led by the German navy's flagship, the Bonn, and also supported by Turkey's frigate Barbaros. The deployment was agreed to at the February 10-11 NATO defence ministers' meeting at which Canada was represented by Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan.

According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 70,365 migrants have arrived by sea to Greece from Turkey as of February 7, an average of 2,000 a day. The IOM also reported that during the same period, 409 people had died attempting the trip. Turkey hosts more than 2.5 million Syrian refugees. Germany has been the main destination for those leaving Turkey for Europe. Although the flotilla is under German command, U.S. Air Force General Philip Breedlove, NATO's Supreme Allied Commander for Europe, is responsible for defining the mission and related considerations.

Much is made of these tragic deaths and movement of people from war-torn countries calling the situation a refugee crisis rather than a crisis caused by U.S. striving for domination in the region and efforts at regime change.

Now to add insult to injury, the NATO powers which bear responsibility for the crisis are further militarizing the waters through which refugees are attempting to find safe passage with no discussion of how this will protect the rights of refugees much less resolve the crisis itself. The decision was announced on February 11 by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who cited concern over the movement of people from Turkey to Greece who are seeking asylum. The mission is said to be in response to a request from NATO members Germany, Greece and Turkey. NATO says it seeks to focus on monitoring the refugee flows and carrying out surveillance as well as gathering intelligence to help Greece and Turkey end human trafficking.

"The goal is to participate in the international efforts to stem the illegal trafficking and illegal migration in the Aegean," Stoltenberg said. "This mission is not about stopping or pushing back refugee boats," but about contributing "critical information and surveillance to help counter human trafficking and criminal networks," he said. Stoltenberg claimed that the refugee crisis poses a major security threat to the 28-member NATO alliance.

The three ships deployed are said to be backed up by planes. It is not clear if this is in relation to NATO agreeing to send Airborne Early Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) surveillance aircraft to patrol the Syrian-Turkish border, which was requested by the U.S. at the NATO meeting.

How the mission will function and who will do what and under whose authority is still not known despite the ships already being deployed. This is a troubling situation as these most vulnerable refugees will now be tracked by NATO warships as they try to flee Turkey. General Breedlove said, "This mission has literally come together in about the last 20 hours, I have been tasked now to go back and define the mission, define the rules of engagement, define all of what we call special operation instructions, all of the things that will lay out what we are going to do." He declined to comment on whether the NATO crews would join local coast guards in rescuing migrants whose boats had sunk or were failing. "We had some very rapid decision-making, and now we have to go out to do some military work," Breedlove said.

Greece and Turkey have reportedly agreed that any migrants they intercept will be sent back to Turkey. However Greece is also individually deciding whether to declare Turkey a "safe third country." This is significant as it would enable Greece to return to Turkey any asylum seekers it picks up. Going further, German Defence Minister Ursula Von der Leyen indicated that "there is a clear accord with Turkey that any refugees picked up will be sent back to Turkey." Clearly these are self-serving considerations not based on any humanitarian concern for these victims of imperialist destruction of their homeland and what NATO now declares to be criminal networks who traffic in people.

The mission is also taking place in the midst of a dispute that has broken out between Turkey and the European Union over the migrant crisis. The EU as a whole is also reportedly considering labelling Turkey a "safe third country" in order to be able to have its members "legally" send back tens of thousands to Turkey without due process or access to asylum application procedures, something that would blatantly violate both European and international law. Under international law, vulnerable people fleeing conflict and persecution must not be denied access to protection and have a right to have their asylum claims considered. Dutch social-democrat leader Diederik Samsom is said to be leading the push to send migrants to Turkey, as the Netherlands currently holds the EU Presidency.


1. The HMCS Fredericton is a Halifax-class frigate with a crew of approximately 250 personnel of all ranks, and includes a CH-124 Sea King helicopter and air detachment. The HMCS Fredericton was deployed with NATO's Maritime Standing Group 2 as part of Canada's contribution to NATO's "Operation REASSURANCE" which is aimed at threatening Russia in various ways. The ship was already in the eastern Mediterranean where the NATO Standing Group is based. According to the Department of National Defence, REASSURANCE's mission is "support to NATO assurance measures in Central and Eastern Europe." However the Fredericton was not in Central or Eastern Europe as part of its operations, but was in fact already prowling Syria and Turkey's coastal waters.

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Increasing Arms Sales Underscore
Aggressive Foreign Policy

Picket outside ConvergX conference in Calgary, February 10, 2016.

Much is made of the notion that the $14.8 billion contract to sell Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia represents an aberration from Canada's otherwise controlled arms exports, and that additional measures are required to ensure such countries are not the destination of Canadian-made arms or that such arms will not be used to violate human rights. This covers up the fact that more than half of Canada's arms exports are not officially reported and are bound for the U.S. war machine while more than half of non-U.S. exports go to members of the aggressive NATO alliance.

The preeminence of the U.S. as a destination for Canadian-made weapons of all types excludes the idea pushed by the government that Canada's arms sales "are not prejudicial to peace, security or stability." Although the Canadian government's 2012-2013 report on its arms sales concludes by pointing out that "all states share a right to legitimate self-defence," the primary destinations for Canadian exports, including the U.S., Britain, France, Australia, Germany, Italy, south Korea, Saudi Arabia among others, are not involved in any self-defensive action. All are involved in aggressive and provocative actions including the invasion and occupation of sovereign countries.

The made-in-Ontario LAV III.

The Canadian Commercial Corporation, a Crown corporation, brokered a deal in 2014 to sell Saudi Arabia an undisclosed number of Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV) for $14.8 billion. The contract is said to be Canada's largest (recorded) military export of all time. The contract was secured by General Dynamics Land Systems (GDLS), which produces the LAV III currently used by the armed forces of Canada, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia and Colombia. A similar vehicle sold by GDLS, the Stryker, is in use by the U.S. The LAV III typically has a chain gun or autocannon as its main armament and a machine gun as its secondary armament, as well as grenade launchers. They can also be outfitted with anti-tank and anti-aircraft missile systems and other devices. Saudi Arabia is known to use LAVs for the violent suppression of mass protests of Saudi citizens fighting for their rights, and is also conducting with U.S. support a brutal bombing campaign in Yemen, and has announced it is preparing to invade Syria for the purpose of regime change.

Global Affairs Canada (formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development) announced in early February that the sale of LAVs to Saudi Arabia would not be subject to the protocols of the Arms Trade Treaty. The purpose of this multilateral treaty is to establish "the highest possible common international standards for regulating or improving the regulation of the international trade in conventional arms" and "Prevent and eradicate the illicit trade in conventional arms and prevent their diversion" for the purpose of "contributing to international and regional peace, security and stability;" "reducing human suffering;" and "promoting cooperation, transparency and responsible action to States Parties in the international trade in conventional arms [...]" In his mandate letter to Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion, Prime Minister Trudeau instructed Dion to accede to the treaty as part of the effort to "Reenergize Canadian diplomacy and leadership on key international issues and in multilateral institutions."

"The Arms Trade Treaty does not apply to this specific contract as Canada is not yet a state party to the Arms Trade Treaty," Global Affairs spokesman François Lasalle told media. Others have pointed out that it is standard practice for states to begin compliance with treaties once the intent to accede to them has been announced. Former diplomat Paul Meyer who told the Globe and Mail the government's statement "doesn't make sense." The Arms Trade Treaty is said to be "stronger" than Canadian regulations on military exports, which give the government broad discretion to make decisions on which exports are permitted. Another Global Affairs spokesperson told media that "Canada already meets most of the obligations of the Arms Trade Treaty."

Reports from the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development say that Canada exported $4.15 billion worth of arms from 2007 to 2013. Exports to the U.S. are governed by the Defence Production Sharing Agreement signed by the U.S. and Canadian governments in 1956 and most "Group 2"[1] exports to the U.S. do not require permits. As a result, the government does not report statistics on military exports to the U.S. Reports in previous years have noted that Canadian arms sales to the U.S. likely matched or exceeded sales to all other countries combined. Besides the U.S., Saudi Arabia was the largest single purchaser of Canadian-made arms from 2012-2013, a combined $575 million. Over the same period Canada's officially-reported arms exports increased by 22 per cent.

A 2012 study by accounting firm KPMG for the Canadian Association of Defence and Security Industries, Economic Impact of the Defence and Security Industry in Canada gives a more complete picture. It says for 2011 the defence and security industry generated $12.6 billion in revenue, more or less evenly split between domestic and foreign sales. In Canada, the Department of National Defence was the biggest purchaser representing 84.3 per cent. The estimated foreign sales of $6.4 billion are higher than the federal government's estimates for the six years of recent reports combined, and only slightly lower when the number is halved to account for the lack of U.S. figures in official reports.

The latest, 2012-2013 federal government report says, "A key priority of Canada's foreign policy is the maintenance of peace and security. To this end, the Government of Canada strives to ensure that Canadian military exports are not prejudicial to peace, security or stability in any region of the world or within any country." Nothing could be further from the truth. This statement and the similarly-worded claims in the Reports on Exports of Military Goods from Canada going back to 2000 or earlier are a good example of the government's hypocrisy. The reports even pride themselves in claiming that more than 95 per cent of arms exports go to "Very High Human Development Index" countries as if to show that these big powers, warmongering states, are paragons of virtue.

The latest report states that Canada "closely controls the export of military goods and technology" to countries which, among other things, "pose a threat to Canada and its allies;" "are involved in or under imminent threat of hostilities;" and "whose governments have a persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens, unless it can be demonstrated that there is no reasonable risk that the goods might be used against the civilian population."

A look at the states Canada favours for its military exports shows that this is completely untrue. Not only are they all involved in aggressive actions outside their own territories, countries such as France are presently amending their constitutions to implement a permanent state of emergency to violate the rights of their citizens. The self-serving justifications for Canada's arms sales are not only in denial of the experience of humankind as to how peace is actually won and maintained, but show how outright falsehoods are presented to cover up what is taking place.


1. Group 2 Items:

2-1: Smooth-bore weapons with a calibre of less than 20 mm, other arms and automatic weapons with a calibre of 12.7 mm or less and accessories;

2-2: Smooth-bore weapons with a calibre of 20 mm or more, other weapons or armament with a calibre greater than 12.7 mm, projectors and accessories;

2-3: Ammunition and fuse-setting devices, and specially designed components;

2-4: Bombs, torpedoes, rockets, missiles, other explosive devices and charges, and related equipment and accessories specially designed for military use;

2-5: Fire control, and related alerting and warning equipment, and related systems; test and alignment and countermeasure equipment specially designed for military use; and specially designed components and accessories;

2-6: Ground vehicles and components;

2-7: Chemical or biological toxic agents, riot control agents, radioactive materials, and related equipment, components, materials;

2-8: Energetic materials and related substances;

2-9: Vessels of war, special naval equipment and accessories, and components specially designed for military use;

2-10: Aircraft, lighter-than-air vehicles, unmanned airborne vehicles, aero-engines and "aircraft" equipment, related equipment and components, specially designed or modified for military use;

2-11: Electronic equipment, military spacecraft and components not controlled elsewhere;

2-12: High-velocity kinetic energy weapon systems and related equipment, and specially designed components;

2-13: Armoured or protective equipment and constructions and components;

2-14: Specialized equipment for military training or for simulating military scenarios, simulators specially designed for training in the use of any firearm or weapon controlled in 2-1 or 2-2, and specially designed components and accessories;

2-15: Imaging or countermeasure equipment, specially designed for military use, and specially designed components and accessories;

2-16: Forgings, castings and other unfinished products the use of which in a controlled product is identifiable by material composition, geometry or function, and which are specially designed for any products controlled in 2-1 to 2-4, 2-6, 2-9, 2-10, 2-12 or 2-19;

2-17: Miscellaneous equipment, materials, libraries and specially designed components;

2-18: Equipment for the production of products referred to in the Munitions List;

2-19: Directed energy weapon systems, related or countermeasure equipment and test models, and specially designed components;

2-20: Cryogenic and superconductive equipment, and specially designed components and accessories;

2-21: Software;

2-22: Technology.

(Report on Exports of Military Goods from Canada, 2012-2013. Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada; Ibid. 2010-2011;  Ibid. 2007-2009; Economic Impact of the Defence and Security Industry in Canada. KPMG Advisory Services. May 2012; Project Ploughshares)

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Our Resources Are Not for War!

Action Opposes Calgary Convergence of War Contractors and Energy Monopolies

A lively picket was held outside the ConvergX 2016 Conference in Calgary on February 10 to give a resounding NO! to the meeting of some of the largest war contractors and energy monopolies in North America. The conference discussed how both sectors can collaborate to increase their profits. Listed alongside the numerous armament monopolies sending delegates to the conference were two federal departments, Industry Canada and Western Economic Diversification.

U.S. war contractors Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, General Electric, Raytheon, General Atomics were present at the conference, as well as British firms Babcock and Meggitt and the French monopoly Thales. Participating U.S. energy monopolies included Suncor, Halliburton, Enbridge, ConocoPhilips, Weatherford and MEG Energy, as well as Norway's StatOil and Cofely Fabricom/GDF-Suez of France. The Canadian government's full support and participation in ConvergX also included the involvement of Public Works and Government Services which is responsible for acquiring goods and services on behalf of the departments and agencies of the Government of Canada.

Picketers chanted "War Profiteers Not Welcome," "Our Resources - Not for War," "Canada Needs an Anti-War Government," "Get Canada out of NATO," "Hands Off Syria, Hands Off Iraq." and "Sun and Wind Not Blood on Sand." which created a lively atmosphere and drew the attention of passers by. The Raging Grannies also enlivened the action with peace, anti-war and social justice songs.

To conclude the action, Peggy Askin spoke on behalf of the Calgary Forum for People's Empowerment (CFPE) which organized the picket. She congratulated everyone for their work to make the action a success. "We want Canada to be a force for the peaceful resolution of conflicts, not a country with an agenda of aggression and war," Peggy said. "This conference is a part of war preparations and further integrating Canada into the U.S. war machine. It is against the interests of the Canadian and world's peoples. The Canadian people do not accept that the federal government or any level of government in Canada give their support to the aims of war contractors and their partners in the energy industry to profit from the death, destruction and suffering that war and aggression create," she said.

Peggy pointed out that during the recent federal election the Liberal Party presented itself as opposed to the Harper government's extremism. Their platform included, "We will end Canada's combat mission in Iraq." Yet now that they are in power, the Trudeau Liberals are actually stepping up Canada's involvement in the U.S.-led aggression aimed at regime change in Syria and aggression and interference in the Middle East, she pointed out. "Canadians will not stand for increased warmongering under the hoax of responsibility to protect," Peggy said, concluding with "Canada Needs An Anti-War Government!"

The CFPE distributed a leaflet which explained, "According to the main organizer, who has family connections to CSIS and the military, the central aim of ConvergX is to bring war contractors and oil monopolies together so as to make oil and gas executives more aware of the Canadian government's offset program, which is managed by the Department of Industry. The offset policy, created in 1986, requires that foreign war contractors place sub-contracts and investments in the high-tech sectors of the Canadian economy in an amount usually equal to the value of the war contract won. This obviously could include the energy industry.

"Offset agreements are legal trade practices in the aerospace and military industries even though in other contexts they would be called bribery. It is quite obvious that such contracts can improperly influence the need for a particular defence acquisition in the first place, influence the competitive decision for the main contract, and allow favours to be repaid to corrupt government officials via the offset contracts. Further, offset contracts may be greatly distanced from the weapons being sold. For example, Lockheed Martin sold $6.4 billion worth of F-16 jets to the United Arab Emirates, then satisfied its offset requirement by investing $160 million in the UAE's petroleum-related 'investment portfolio,'" CFPE said.

"It is no accident that the vast majority of the war and energy monopolies attending ConvergX are from the U.S. The U.S. military is the largest institutional consumer of oil in the world, burning up more than 100 million barrels of oil annually to power their ships, vehicles, aircraft, and ground operations. ConvergX is just one more step in integrating Canada further into the U.S. imperialist war machine whereby Canada's military and security apparatus are taken over by private interests, mainly from the U.S., with no opposition from any level of government. This is all completely against the interests of the working people and only meant to benefit the largest monopolies and their insatiable demands for security and maximum profits," CFPE pointed out.

The conference included a session entitled "From the Battlefield to the Oilfield" and another about drones called "Unmanned Systems." The session "From the Battlefield to the Oilfield" was moderated by a representative of General Dynamics Canada. This U.S.-owned weapons manufacturer has concluded a $14.8 billion contract with the Canadian government to provide armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, an amount equal to more than 95 per cent of all Canadian military exports in 2013-2014. The deal, brokered under the Harper government by the Crown corporation Canadian Commercial Corporation, has been endorsed by the new Trudeau government. Saudi Arabia and its allies are currently waging a brutal war against Yemen and are interfering in Syria as well.

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No Harbour for War

The New Trudeau Liberal Government
Is Not Anti-War

Following the October 19, 2015 federal election, many Canadians have been celebrating the end of the mean-spirited, arrogant and war-mongering Harper regime.

The Trudeau Liberals have been doing everything to encourage this celebration and convince people that things have really changed. But is this new government the anti-war government that many, including Halifax's anti-war organization No Harbour For War, have been demanding?

The monopoly media has been crowing about how the Liberals are refusing to back away from the promise to stop the Canadian bombing missions in Iraq and Syria, and instead, to concentrate their efforts on training Iraqi and Kurdish troops and police. This is supposed to be the foreign policy of a peacenik. The Conservative opposition, and others, are complaining that the bombing has to continue especially in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris. Well, the Canadian bombing missions have not ceased and may even be increasing, while the Liberals claim that training troops is the Canadian forté and a better contribution to the war effort than bombing.

The Liberal government is still committed to the aggressive, U.S.-led military alliances, NATO and NORAD, relics of the Cold War. Not only does this hitch Canada to the war chariot of the U.S. Empire in the Middle East, it also continues the Harper-era commitment to supporting the fanatically anti-Russian, neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine. It keeps Canada in Afghanistan helping the U.S. to fight the Afghan resistance fighters who are collectively labelled "Taliban" after the pre-invasion government. Despite the U.S. bombing of hospitals such as the Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital in Kunduz, in northern Afghanistan on October 3 and the ongoing scandal about Canadian complicity with U.S. torture and ill treatment of captives, the Liberal government continues Canadian involvement in that country.

The new Minister of Defence Harjit Singh Sajjan was deployed three times to Afghanistan. An intelligence officer, he is reported to have been instrumental in re-orienting and focusing the campaign to wipe out the resistance in Afghanistan. This resistance is referred to as "the Taliban," "thugs" or "drug dealers" to cover up the real nature of the conflict in that country and that the "thugs" and "drug dealers" are really creations of the foreign invaders or in their pay. Meanwhile, what emerges are stories of murder, torture and dehumanization of the Afghan people, especially those who dare to say No! to the U.S.-led invasion and resist it.

Then there is the continuing support for a Canadian blue-water navy. Amongst the promises made by the Liberals during the recent federal election was a commitment to the naval ship-building and procurement program of Stephen Harper. The Liberals said, "These investments will ensure that the Royal Canadian Navy is able to operate as a true blue-water maritime force, while also growing our economy and creating jobs." This means a navy which is not simply dedicated to guarding Canadian territory, but could be deployed anywhere in the world as part of U.S.-led imperialist military operations.

There is nothing about the new Trudeau government that is truly anti-war. It represents the same belligerence as before, only more low-key than the Harperites, and with the pretense of moving towards peacekeeping.

Hands Off Syria, Iraq, and Ukraine!
Bring Our Troops Home!
Canada Needs an Anti-War Government!

(No Harbour For War, February 2, 2016)

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The Rule of Private Military and Security Interests

U.S. Military Spending Continues to Soar

U.S. President Barack Obama said in his final State of the Union address on January 12 that the U.S. spends "more on our military than the next eight nations combined." In a February 12 commentary entitled, "Military Spending and Profit" for the Strategic Culture Foundation, Brian Cloughley calls it "a startling and yet repulsive boast." Cloughley says, "What is less surprising is the U.S. decision to refocus military spending, thus boosting shares in military industry companies."

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) calculates that in 2014 (the most recent year for full figures), the U.S. spent three times as much as China and more than seven times as much as Russia. It also says that U.S. military spending was higher than the next seven countries combined, rather than eight, "but the message is still there," Cloughley points out. According to SIPRI, in 2014 the U.S. was responsible for 34 per cent of the world's military spending.

Following the President's address, on February 2, his Defense Secretary Ashton Carter gave a speech on defence affairs at the Economic Club in Washington, DC. The Economic Club says that "For over 25 years [it] has provided a forum for prominent business and government leaders who have influenced economic and public policy both here and abroad. Members represent over 600 businesses and organizations [in Washington, DC] that are at the forefront of the private sector economy."

Carter told the Economic Club that "the Pentagon would seek a $582.7 billion budget next year and reshape spending priorities to reflect a new strategic environment marked by Russian assertiveness and the rise of Islamic State."

"It is Mr. Carter's own country that is indulging in confrontational military 'assertiveness' all around the world, in every region and ocean, using hundreds of military bases that are thousands of miles away from its own borders," Cloughley writes.

He says Carter was reported as saying that "the Pentagon would ask for $3.4 billion to boost military training and exercises aimed at reassuring European countries concerned about Russia, which seized Ukraine's Crimean peninsula in 2014 and has worried NATO allies with its strategic bomber flights," and adds:

"He ignores his own spokesman's declaration that 'We conduct B-52 [strategic nuclear bomber] flights in international air space [around China] all the time,' and that the US operation Polar Growl of B-52 jaunts is aimed specifically against Russia in 'demonstrating the credible and flexible ability of our strategic bomber force.'"

Polar Growl "saw B-52s complete simultaneous, round-trip sorties from Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota, and Barksdale Air Force Base, Louisiana, to the Arctic and North Sea regions," Cloughley says.

"Obama said the request, a four-fold increase from last year's $789 million, would enable the United States to strengthen the US military posture in Europe. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called the move a 'clear sign' of the US commitment to European security," Cloughley reports.

Defense Secretary Carter was reported to have said in his February 2 speech that "the Pentagon plans to spend about $2 billion over the next five years to buy more Raytheon Company Tomahawk missiles and upgrade their capabilities, bringing the US inventory of the missiles to above 4,000."

At midday on February 2, Raytheon shares were valued at $123.47 each. By 4 pm the next day they had increased to $128.07.

This is an example of the politicization of private interests. It is no coincidence that the U.S. Defense Secretary was previously a "a consultant to defence contractors and when he went back to the Pentagon in 2009, he had to get a special waiver because of his work for companies like Mitre Corp, and Global Technology Partners, a defence consulting firm," Cloughley points out. Carter was also a Senior Partner in Global Technology, "a specialized group of investment professionals who have formed a strategic relationship with DLJ Merchant Banking Partners to acquire and invest in technology, defence, aerospace and related businesses worldwide."

Reuters reported that following his speech to the Economic Club, Carter then "flew to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake in California to get updates on new high-end weapons being developed and tested there, including precision Long Range Anti-Ship Missiles built by Lockheed Martin Corp. He said the [defense] department would spend nearly $1 billion over the next five years to buy the new missiles."

This announcement had an effect on Lockheed shares as well, Cloughley writes. "At 10 am on February 2, just before the Carter statement, they were at $208.87 -- and by 2:30 pm on February 3 they had shot up to $213.53. It's interesting to reflect on who might have made a profit."

In conclusion, Cloughley argues that "Russia wants to trade with Europe. It wants mutual prosperity. Russia wants to flourish and thrive, economically and socially. Its government knows that it can't achieve this objective for its people if it doesn't have full, open, mutually beneficial trade with surrounding countries and with all of Europe. [...]

"US-NATO warnings about threats to 'European security' are a bogus justification for the war drums to be pounded and for the armed forces of US-NATO to be given even higher priority in their confrontational stance against Russia. And this is welcome news for the big spenders on military equipment in Washington, where members of the Economic Club will be rejoicing in their wealth and ever-increasing profits. But they and the other warmongers had better be careful: what goes around, comes around."

The full article by Cloughley can be found here.

(Graphics: Strategic Culture, SIPRI)

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The Internet of Things to Come

Director of U.S. "National Intelligence" James Clapper, during a February 9 testimony before the U.S. Senate Armed Services and Intelligence Committee, said that "American spy agencies might use a new generation of smart household devices to increase their surveillance capabilities," news agencies report.

Clapper was specifically referring to the "Internet of Things" -- the networking of electronics, appliances, vehicles, buildings and other items equipped with hardware and software that enables them to collect and exchange data.

"In the future, intelligence services might use the [Internet of Things] for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials," Clapper said.

PressTV reports that Clapper did not specifically name any intelligence agency as involved in the surveillance of household devices. However, technology experts and privacy advocates examining the Internet of Things believe that U.S. surveillance agencies will intercept the signals the networked devices emit, much as they do with those from mobile phones.

Thousands of completely unsecured web-connected devices are currently in use by consumers, experts say.

The U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) has previously come under fire for secretly spying on U.S. citizens' phone calls and internet communications. The NSA's mass espionage program was first revealed in 2013 by the agency's former contractor Edward Snowden.

During the Senate hearing, Clapper also warned that fast-moving cyber and technological advances "could lead to widespread vulnerabilities in civilian infrastructure and U.S. government systems."

"In my 50-plus years in the intelligence business I cannot recall a more diverse array of crises and challenges than we face today," Clapper said.

Attacks by "homegrown" extremists are among the most imminent security threats facing the United States in 2016, Clapper argued.

The terrorist group ISIS poses the biggest danger among militant groups because of the territory it controls in Iraq and Syria, and is determined to launch attacks on U.S. soil, Clapper said, adding that ISIS has also demonstrated "unprecedented online proficiencies."

Clapper also cited threats from Russia's increasingly assertive international policies, saying, "We could be into another Cold War-like spiral."


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The Hypocrisy and Double Standards of the Imperialists

Success in Combating Extremism Requires Commitment to Relevant UN Resolutions
Says Syrian Envoy to UN

Syria's Permanent Envoy to the UN Bashar al-Jaafari said that successfully combating terrorism and violent extremism can only come through commitment to the relevant UN resolutions and avoiding double standards in dealing with these phenomena.

Al-Jaafari, speaking at UN General Assembly's special session on February 12 to discuss the Secretary-General's Action Plan to Prevent Violent Extremism, specifically cited UN Security Council resolutions Nos. 1624, 2170, 2178, 2199 and 2253, in addition to the UN strategy for combating terrorism. Governments which violate these resolutions and support terrorism must be punished, he said.

He added that efforts to combat terrorism will not succeed without ending the Israeli occupation of the Syrian Golan and the occupied Arab territories in Palestine and Lebanon, and putting an end to Israeli settlers' extremism against the Palestinian people.

Al-Jaafari also called for putting an end to violations of International law and the UN Charter, including illegitimate foreign military interventions, unilateral economic coercive measures and discrimination based on religion, race, ethnicity or nationality.

Regarding the Secretary General's report and action plan, al-Jaafari raised the question of how criteria can be established through which international law can determine whether a person's extremism is violent or not and in which cases the violent extremism might be considered terrorism.

Al-Jaafari said that some countries refer to the foreign terrorists and mercenaries who were brought from all over the world to Syria and Iraq as "moderate opposition groups," calling this situation "surreal" and "absurd."

"The report, just like previous ones issued by the General Secretariat, deliberately ignores the Jabhat al-Nusra terrorist organization, aiming at legitimizing this organization and depicting it as 'moderate armed opposition,'" said al-Jaafari.

He pointed out that while the report states that the extremists recruited more than 30,000 foreign terrorists from more than 100 UN member states to head to Syria and Iraq, the actual number is much higher.

Al-Jaafari called into question the role of governments which fund, arm and facilitate the transit of terrorists and suggested that those mercenaries may then have gone on to recruit thousands more terrorists.

He noted that while the Secretary-General's report says the ISIS terrorist organization and other extremist groups have benefited from the armed conflict in Syria and the instability in Iraq and Libya, it deliberately disregards the major reason behind the terrorists' emergence which is the illegitimate military interventions in UN member states.

"Syria has taken a number of measures to confront extremism, violence and terrorism. The Action Plan includes important and effective recommendations and proposals, but we are worried about the commitment of other states which may not [fulfill] their commitment to the Security Council resolutions relevant to counter-terrorism which are publicly violated by some member states," al-Jaafari said.

(Syrian Arab News Agency. Photos: Xinhua, C. LaBash)

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DPRK Successfully Launches Satellite into Orbit

The National Aerospace Development Administration of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) issued a report on February 7 on the successful launch of earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong-4.[1]

In response, the Canadian government joined the Japanese militarists and others in the U.S.-led imperialist system of states in making a big fuss about the DPRK's successful launch. Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion issued a statement February 7 in which he did his utmost to divert from the sovereign right of the DPRK to put a satellite into orbit for peaceful purposes. Instead Dion referred to the achievement as a "long-range missile launch" which "constitutes a grave threat to international peace and security and to stability on the Korean Peninsula."

The DPRK's first successful orbital launch took place on December 12, 2012 with the deployment of the Kwangmyongsong-3 Unit 2 satellite. It is one of only 10 or so countries to have achieved this scientific feat. Despite this, Foreign Minister Dion declared the DPRK's second successful orbital launch of a satellite "disruptive and provocative" as well as "unwarranted, irresponsible and dangerous." Dion stated that Canada will support efforts underway in the UN Security Council "to agree to significant measures to hold [the DPRK] accountable for its actions."

Anti-Korea Hysteria in Japan

The ruling imperialist elite in Japan are waging anti-Korea hysteria that has reached the level of a war crime. Under the hoax of opposing the right of the DPRK to launch a satellite into orbit, the Japanese ruling elite have done everything to prepare the people for war against Korea.

The Japanese mass media, led by the state-controlled broadcaster NHK, have given non-stop coverage to government leaders calling for war against the DPRK. The ruling imperialist elite in Japan are seeking to avenge their defeat at the hands of the heroic resistance of the Chinese, Korean and other Asian peoples in the Second World War.

The Japanese military deployed three of its six Aegis-equipped destroyers to waters under the space launch path that the DPRK had announced in accordance with international standards. The Japanese military also set up U.S.-supplied Patriot PAC-3 interceptor units around Tokyo and the southern Okinawa islands saying they would shoot down the missile if it came near. This was coupled with well-publicized military "drills in the event of a nuclear attack," further generating deep concern amongst the people.

The Japanese military actions were particularly intense in Okinawa where the people are engaged in a heroic battle to end the U.S. military occupation of Japan and send back to the U.S. its tens of thousands of occupying soldiers and weapons of mass destruction. The war hysteria is meant in part to rationalize the continuing U.S. military occupation of Japan, for according to the Japanese ruling elite only in a war alliance with the U.S. imperialists can they hope to conquer, dominate and occupy Korea and China and the rest of Asia which has been their dream for centuries.

Fight to Establish Anti-War Governments

Those who follow the medieval line of "Might Makes Right" such as the U.S., Canada, and Japan reveal their hypocrisy and double-standards when they denounce the Korean satellite launch, while the U.S. military has thousands of military satellites, and the Japanese ruling elite has the audacity to announce a satellite launch of their own set for February 12.[2] Japan has in orbit more than 100 satellites including many spy satellites the Japanese militarists have launched since 1970.

The Japanese militarists have no qualms in assisting the U.S. military to wage constant war games around the Korean Peninsula directly threatening the DPRK and China and the peoples of south Korea and Japan. The U.S. imperialists and Japan both use their many satellites to spy on the DPRK, China, Russia and other targets they consider enemies, routinely showing photographs taken from their spy satellites, which betrays their hostile intentions.

The Japanese militarists and U.S. imperialists and their flunkies in the Canadian government have no right to deprive the DPRK or any others of the sovereign right to launch satellites and defend themselves against the threats and provocations of the U.S.-led imperialist system of states. The peoples of the world should stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the DPRK in exercising this right. In Canada, Japan and other countries it is an urgent necessity for the people to establish anti-war governments that can act as a force for peace by withdrawing from all aggressive military blocs and removing the U.S. military presence in their territories and regions.


1. The report by the DPRK National Aerospace Development Administration said:

"Scientists and technicians of the DPRK National Aerospace Development Administration succeeded in putting the newly developed earth observation satellite Kwangmyongsong-4 into its orbit according to the 2016 plan of the 5-year program for national aerospace development.

"Carrier rocket Kwangmyongsong blasted off from the Sohae Space Center in Cholsan County, North Phyongan Province at 09:00 on February 7, Juche 105 (2016). The satellite entered its preset orbit at 09:09:46, 9 minutes and 46 seconds after the lift-off.

"The satellite is in a polar orbit at 494.6 km perigee altitude and 500 km apogee altitude at the angle of inclination of 97.4 degrees. Its cycle is 94 minutes and 24 seconds.

"Installed in Kwangmyongsong-4 are measuring and telecommunications apparatus needed for observing the earth.

"The complete success made in the Kwangmyongsong-4 lift-off is the proud fruition of the great Workers' Party of Korea's policy of attaching importance to science and technology and an epochal event in developing the country's science, technology, economy and defence capability by legitimately exercising the right to use space for independent and peaceful purposes.

"The captivating vapour of the Juche satellite trailing in the clear blue sky of February on the threshold of the Day of the Shining Star [February 16, the birth date of Kim Jong Il -- TML Ed. Note], the greatest national holiday of Kim Il Sung's Korea, is a gift of most intense loyalty presented by our space scientists and technicians to the great Comrade Kim Jong Un, our dignified party, state and people.

"The National Aerospace Development Administration of the DPRK will in the future, too, launch more satellites of Juche into space, true to the great Workers' Party of Korea's policy of attaching importance to science and technology."

2. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) has not shied away from its own enthusiastic announcement of an imminent satellite launch. It writes: "Launch date set for ASTRO-H on H-IIA F30! The launch date and time for the H-IIA Launch Vehicle No. 30 (H-IIA F30) with the X-ray Astronomy Satellite 'ASTRO-H' onboard was decided to be at around 5:45 p.m. thru 6:30 p.m. (JST) on February 12 (Fri.,) 2016 (Japan Standard Time)."

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February 14 -- 26th Annual Women's Memorial March

Justice for Missing and Murdered Women and Girls!

Women's Memorial Marches 2016

25th annual march in Vancouver, February 14, 2015.


Tens of thousands of people in Canada, the United States and elsewhere will take part in the 26th Annual Women's Memorial March Honouring Missing and Murdered Women on February 14. These marches commemorate the thousands of friends, sisters, daughters, mothers, aunties and grandmothers who have gone missing or been murdered in the last few decades in Canada.

The conditions facing girls and women which lead to them being treated as second class citizens and subject to all manner of indignities and violence is an indictment of the state of human rights in Canada. That a high proportion of these women and girls are Indigenous is an indictment of Canada's ongoing colonial relationship with Indigenous peoples. Amongst other injustices, this colonial relationship denies them their culture and thought material in which the role of women is one of honour and leadership in their communities. Women actively resist the state's attempt to portray them as helpless victims. The February 14 actions are an occasion to not only reject this disinformation but to affirm that women are leaders in the front ranks of those fighting in defence of the rights of all and for a society that guarantees the rights and security of everyone. Join in!

This year the Memorial March takes place in the context of the federal Liberal government's announcement on December 14, 2015, that "after years of the inaction from the previous government," it is launching a National Inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. The demand for an inquiry has been raised for decades by Indigenous women and their organizations, human rights groups, as well as Canadians from coast to coast to coast as a matter of national importance and a priority. It was also highlighted as a grave concern by former UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples James Anaya in his report to the UN Human Rights Council in 2014. It was this concerted political action that forced the Trudeau Liberals to call the Inquiry, lest they find themselves in the same camp as the previous Harper government which refused to even acknowledge the problem and simply blamed the victims. This arrogant intransigence only encouraged even more acts of racist violence against Indigenous women and girls.

A definite struggle is being waged to ensure that the Canadian state now represented by the Trudeau Liberals does not usurp the Inquiry for self-serving purposes. Many individuals and organizations in the thick of the fight for justice have expressed concern at the problematic nature of the "design phase" of the inquiry, where they have not been given sufficient time to present their concerns and experience in accordance with the gravity of the crimes. In some cases, those who are fighting on this issue have been entirely excluded from the consultations.

A symposium organized by the Native Women's Association of Canada (NWAC), the Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action and the Canadian Journal of Women in Law was held in Ottawa from January 30 to 31, precisely to ensure that the Inquiry meets the objectives demanded by the victims, their families and those on the front lines of this fight. Also participating were international human rights experts from the United Nations and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, both organizations that have previously reported on the issue of missing and murdered Indigenous women in Canada.

"This is an historic meeting. Never before has Canada hosted an international group of this nature to discuss the rights of Indigenous women and girls. We look forward to exploring the ways in which a national inquiry can work as a practical, effective mechanism for holding Canada to account and finding real ways to make systemic change happen," said NWAC President Dawn Lavell-Harvard to the conference. She added, "Canada has obligations here, we're talking about human rights issues, we're talking about a human rights crisis in the country and consequently the human rights framework that we bring to this inquiry is extraordinarily important." The symposium will present its conclusions and recommendations in a report which will be forwarded to the federal government.

The concerns of participants in the symposium and others about the sincerity of the government are justified given the historic tendency of the Liberals in power to promise one thing and do the opposite.

Honour the memory of the missing and murdered sisters and the lives of women and girls today by joining in actions on February 14. Demand that the Canadian government do its duty and uphold the aim of the National Inquiry as a mechanism to end state violence against women and girls, in particular Indigenous women and girls, once and for all!

Our Security Lies in the Fight for the Rights of All!
No More Missing and Murdered Indigenous Girls and Women!

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