TML Monthly Supplement

No. 22

November 8, 2021


International Tribunal on Human Rights Abuses
Against Black, Brown and Indigenous Peoples --
New York City, October 22-25

Opening Celebration

Executive Summary Verdict: Guilty on All Counts!

- Spirit of Mandela Coalition -

Matters of Concern at United Nations

General Assembly Debate Reveals Urgent Need to Uphold Principles of UN Charter to Solve Problems

Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations Steps Up Work for the Rights of All

Opposition to Imperialist Conceptions of "Responsibility to Protect" and "Rules-Based International Order"

All Out to Make Canada a Zone for Peace!

Canada's Integration into U.S. War Economy

Supplying Critical Minerals to U.S. War Economy

- Fernand Deschamps -

Essence of Roadmap for a "Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership"

For Your Information

United States-Canada Critical Minerals Cooperation

Brown University Project -- Cost of War

• State of Insecurity: The Cost of Militarization Since 9/11

International Tribunal on Human Rights Abuses Against Black, Brown and Indigenous Peoples -- New York City, October 22-25

Opening Celebration

The important International Tribunal on U.S. Human Rights Violations was held in New York City from October 22 to 25. The initiative brought together the most experienced forces involved in the fight for justice within the United States. Its spirit was positive and forward-looking. Informative and moving testimony permitted warranted conclusions to be drawn, which will now be taken to the United Nations charging the U.S. with genocide.

The opening celebration introduced members of the coordinating committee of the program and representatives of the Malcolm X and Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, the main venue for the proceedings. Organizers spoke to the role of the Tribunal as an organizing tool to unite forces and develop new institutions of the people, like the People's Senate that is planned as part of continuing the Tribunal's work. Holding the event at the Center was part of honouring the life and work of Malcolm X who, like Paul Robeson, William L. Patterson and W.E.B. Du Bois, also brought the charge of U.S. genocide. As the Tribunal's banner emphasized, "We Still Charge Genocide."

There were poems and music, all with a theme of resistance and liberation of Black, Brown, Indigenous and all oppressed people. An Indigenous drummer played and spoke of the brutal incarceration of Leonard Peltier, still in jail after more than 44 years at the age of 77. Like other political prisoners, Peltier refuses to renounce his stand in defence of the rights of Indigenous peoples and all those fighting for justice.

A trailer for a two-hour documentary, Radical Conversations, was introduced by the director Edwin Stokes. It will be released at the African Diaspora International Film Festival online from November 26 to December 12. It includes conversations with former political prisoners, a number of them present in the room. There was a video message from Pete and Charlotte O'Neal, former Black Panthers who have been in exile in Tanzania since the '70s, with a song and a tribute to all political prisoners. There was a powerful series of readings from works by U.S. political prisoners, titled Through the Walls.

Several speakers, including two of the emcees, Dequi Kioni-Sadiki and Matt Meyer, emphasized the fight to free all political prisoners and to put an end to police brutality, state oppression and genocide against Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples. They also spoke of the international crimes against Cuba and Venezuela in particular.

Oscar López Rivera spoke about the history of U.S. colonization and repression in Puerto Rico and of his experience in U.S. maximum security prisons with Puerto Rican and Black prisoners. He made clear that despite solitary confinement and efforts to take everything from him, as also occurred with other political prisoners, he persisted by ensuring the state could never take his mind and spirit. He spoke to his work in Puerto Rico and the U.S. alongside U.S. fighters for justice for a free, independent and sovereign Puerto Rico.

Pam Africa, advocate for Mumia Abu-Jamal and other political prisoners, spoke about the effect people outside the prisons have on changing conditions and letting the public know about the conditions and attacks on prisoners. She gave the example of securing treatment for hepatitis C, which was won through national and international demands on the U.S. prison system. She brought out that political prisoners often work to assist and educate other prisoners, something they are punished for, using solitary confinement. She and Dequi Kioni-Sadiki vigorously denounced the U.S. state, state governments like New York, and the prison system at all levels for protecting police killers and torturers while criminalizing and imprisoning freedom fighters.

There was an audio message from Mumia Abu-Jamal, still in prison, who applauded the holding of the Tribunal. He spoke of the iron grip of slavocracy, which sees to it that the many efforts at legislative progress, against lynchings and police impunity, die in Congress. The government's white supremacy today wears the face of neo-liberalism, which wages war on the poor and Black communities, he said. Neo-liberalism has brought new life to the industry of oppression, where the Clinton period saw the greatest increase in the building of jails for youth. He called for increased resistance inside and outside of the prisons.

All of them spoke of the Tribunal as an opportunity to expose state repression, call for freedom of Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples, an end to mass incarceration and the abolition of the prison system.

The main speaker was Jihad Abdulmumit of the National Jericho Movement (to free all political prisoners) and the Spirit of Mandela Coalition, and a political prisoner himself for 23 years. He said that the Tribunal is going to do what Paul Robeson and William L. Patterson did in taking a petition opposing U.S. genocide to the UN. His main theme was "We are our own liberators." Colonialism is real and oppression is normalized until every once in a while, like with the killing of George Floyd "it pricks our dead consciousness" and we are in the streets, he said.

With other genocides, such as the Holocaust, there was a beginning and an end, Jihad pointed out, but the genocide in the U.S. has been going on for 400 years, today in the form of political repression, mass incarcerations, lack of health care and social services. He said that the imperialists "have taught us how to hate each other" and, in spite of changes in various laws, the system is still the same. We hold meetings and rallies -- which we should -- but we also have to do things differently, starting from the point that we are our own liberators. We are not fighting for the slave masters to treat us better but to do what Malcolm said, to clean our own house.

Jihad said that this Tribunal, two years in the making, is an opportunity to do that because there is organization, a disciplined process. In the spirit of "Dare to Struggle, Dare to Win," he said, "I dare you," to participate in establishing the People's Senate and join work to build new institutions by building the movement with family and neighbours and communities. He called for rejecting the institutions of the slave masters and their constitution because what we need is our own new constitution.

The emcees, performers and speakers all set a militant tone for the weekend program and in various ways affirmed that there is no doubt of the genocide being committed by the U.S., revealed in the testimony over the following days. They emphasized the need to keep fighting together.

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Executive Summary Verdict: Guilty on All Counts!

After hearing from over 30 witnesses and receiving hundreds of documents, the Panel of Jurists found the U.S. government and its subdivisions GUILTY of Genocide and Gross Human Rights Violations. The Executive Summary Verdict which follows is their preliminary report, with a detailed and cited ruling to appear in the near future.

Executive Summary Verdict in the Case of Black, Brown and Indigenous Peoples

Charging Human Rights Abuses and Genocide Against the United States of America as represented by its President, Department of State,federal and state policing agencies, and other governmental institutions,

As collected in evidence at the 2021 International Tribunal on U.S. Human Rights Abuses Against Black, Brown and Indigenous Peoples October 23-25, 2021, New York, NY, Turtle Island, Lenape land, USA


 The Context of Our Work and Why We are Here

The fact that the United States has committed an array of human rights abuses against Black, Brown, and Indigenous Peoples should be as uncontroversial as it is incontrovertible. There is widespread agreement that settler colonialists committed genocide and other crimes against the Indigenous populations while taking their lands. No one would disagree that enslaved Africans were forced to work the settler colonial lands for hundreds of years in subhuman conditions.

The historical record tells the story of additional human rights abuses committed against Mexicans and other groups as the U.S. expanded West and colonized countries like Puerto Rico. No one doubts that Japanese were forced into concentration camps during World War II or that Blacks were lynched and brutalized during Jim Crow. The current President of the United States acknowledges these crimes. His Secretary of State recently confirmed this while stating, "great nations such as ours do not hide from our shortcomings; they strive to improve with transparency."

If laudable, such sentiments ring hollow unless met by action. The Spirit of Mandela Coalition petitioned for the creation of this Tribunal because they believe that not only are U.S. human rights abuse "shortcomings" not being fully acknowledged, but that the U.S. has sought to bury a number of these crimes. The Coalition enlisted a prosecutor, Nkechi Taifa, to argue their case. Their indictment on behalf of Black, Brown, and Indigenous Peoples in the U.S. charges the U.S. government and its state and local political subdivisions with crimes committed in five areas: police racism and violence, mass incarceration, political prisoners/prisoners of war, environmental racism, public health inequalities. Further, they argue that the U.S. has committed genocide.

In 2021, the International Tribunal on U.S. Human Rights Abuses against Black, Brown, and Indigenous Peoples convened as an independent body to hear the case. We did so as a quasi-legal body in the tradition of People's Tribunals dating back to the Russell Tribunal and Permanent People's Tribunal, among others. While evaluating the charges in terms of international and domestic human rights law and practice, we also recognize that such legal structures have limitations that can reinforce racism and deny voice and redress to Black, Brown, and Indigenous peoples as the prosecution in this case alleges.

To assess the merits of the case, the Tribunal convened from October 23-25, 2021. Over the course of two days, the Jurists heard eighteen attorneys and students of law solicit evidence from thirty witnesses from across the U.S.


The Panel of Jurists heard testimony emphasizing the millions upon millions of Indigenous and African peoples murdered, disappeared, and nearly exterminated over a period from 1492 through the present. Further the witnesses and prosecution argued that the wrongs have been historic and deliberate, with colonization, racism, militarism, imperialism, materialism, criminalization, patriarchy, neocolonialism, and internal colonialism as part of the larger process that now manifests itself in medical and digital apartheid, chemical warfare, environmental violence and racism, divestment, and a pandemic of accessible guns and drugs -- with the majority of gun violence perpetrated by police and security forces in the false claim of upholding law and order. Statements were made testifying to new forms of colonialism which include the Prison Industrial Complex, the Military Industrial Complex, and the commercialization of our health and privatization/commodification of all social services.

The testimonies include substantial evidence of the erasure of histories; distortion and cultural misappropriation contributes to and exacerbates the attempted invisibilization and denial of People's basic humanity. The profound impacts of all of these realities extend beyond the erasure and attempt to exterminate Black, Brown and Indigenous lives. Hence, as one witness stated, "the colonization of the spirit and mind continues to this day."

The testimonies of this Tribunal reaffirm the traditional wisdom and knowledge of Black, Brown, and Indigenous Peoples. Strong evidence was presented on the indomitable, unbreakable resistance and resilience of the peoples' struggle for justice and dignity. In the face of egregious human rights violations and crimes against humanity, this spirit of collective survival shone through.

The 2021 International Tribunal on U.S. Human Rights Abuses Against Black, Brown and Indigenous Peoples was initiated by a U.S. coalition, In the Spirit of Mandela. Its own recognized legacy, based on efforts dating from the 1951 "We Charge Genocide" petition to the present, rests on the idea that any examination of U.S. human rights must be done in an international context. The Panel of Jurists came together as an independent body made up of legal scholars, human rights advocates and activists, and community leaders. Utilizing the International Criminal Law on Genocide and other instruments, the Panel convened to hear and review the testimony organized by Spirit of Mandela Legal Team. The Accused, though informed, did not respond to the charges and indictment against them, nor did they appear as invited to present a defense.


The following is a summarized and preliminary presentation of the testimony.

Police Killings

Testimony was heard regarding an alarming pattern and practice of police murdering Black, Brown, and Indigenous people with impunity. We were informed that a recent Commission of Inquiry found that "Black people are 3.5 times more likely than white people to be killed by police when Blacks are not attacking or do not have a weapon." Disaggregated data for other Peoples is lacking.

Mass Incarceration

Testimony emphasized that in the case of U.S. Constitutional law, while the 13th Amendment promised the abolition of the process of chattel slavery, it in fact created an exception incentivizing the incarceration of people of African descent and other peoples. Further they argued that a school-to-prison pipeline has been set in motion by the racialized policies and programs of the U.S. federal and state governments. One testimonial noted, "the law is used as a weapon of war" against Black, Brown and Indigenous Peoples. Further testimony indicates that there are U.S. policies of wars on poverty, wars on drugs, wars on terror, and others -- amounting to a war on Black, Brown, and Indigenous Peoples as they disproportionately criminalize their youth and communities.

Political Prisoners/Prisoners of War

Arguments were made presenting the criminalization of legitimate political struggles, most particularly of Black, Brown and Indigenous Peoples. One witness testified that it is like a "Counter-Intelligence Program on steroids." Several witnesses testified that with regard to traditional torture techniques, there is ample evidence of solitary confinement lasting for decades, which go so far beyond the UN constituted definitions of torture that they defy any modern standard of humane government. Further testimony was presented arguing that decades-long sentences have been imposed for those imprisoned for their political beliefs. One witness stated, "the U.S. is the only industrialized nation in the world that denies the existence of political prisoners."

Environmental Racism

Testimony was received arguing the impact of environmental violence. They asserted that the climate crisis disproportionately impacts Black, Brown and Indigenous Peoples, constituting environmental violence. The Prosecution contended that there is a deliberate and callous poisoning of land, water, air, and soil, reflecting the valuing of profits over peoples which threatens the survival of the planet and impacts most devastatingly the lives of Black, Brown and Indigenous peoples.

Public Health Inequities

The testimony highlighted deep public health inequities including both physical and mental health manifestations. Further assertions were made that the COVID-19 pandemic and an "inadequate and incompetent Federal response to this crisis" magnified the disparate impact of structural racism affecting access to health care. Moreover, testimony was heard regarding indifference to the suffering of groups of people considered expendable due to the profit model of U.S. health care, leaving behind those most vulnerable. The Prosecution argued that, from forced sterilization to "food deserts" and chemical contamination, from toxic stress based on the environment in which one lives to the criminalization of mental illness, Black, Brown, and Indigenous people are neglected and left out of any illusion of the human right to health.

While these crimes are well-documented, they have more rarely been acknowledged, remedied and addressed with some very distant from public knowledge.


Despite the need for further deliberation on the extensive submissions and documents from varied expert witnesses, a deep analysis from the Jurists found that the process did sufficiently cover the scope and elements of all five counts in the indictment as having legal standing and hence legitimacy.

The Jurists further establish that the grounds for each of the five counts in the indictment presented the basis for successful intervention due to the extensive testimonies of both witnesses and expert witnesses.

A full and detailed judgement will follow regarding our findings on these counts. Any minority position of the Jurists will be developed, with collective consensus on each count asserted to further advance our recommendations for remediation, reparations, and future actions.

After having heard the testimony of numerous victims of Police Racism, Mass Incarceration, Environmental Racism, Public Health Inequities and of Political Prisoners/Prisoners of War, together with the expert testimonies and graphic presentations, as well as the copious documentation submitted and admitted in the record, the Panel of Jurists find the U.S. and its subdivisions GUILTY of all five counts. We find grounds that Acts of Genocide have been committed. 

Signed, 25 October 2021, Panel of Jurists

Church Center of the United Nations

Chief: Her Honorable Magdalene Moonsamy (South Africa), former Member of Parliament (ANC); Deputy Chair of the African Peer Review Mechanism, an instrument of the African Union; attorney-director of the Women's Justice Foundation; Admitted Attorney of the South African High Court; lecturer of the Law Society of South Africa's Legal Education and Development (LEAD) school

Deputy Chief: Wilma E. Reveron Collazo (Puerto Rico), long-standing member and leader, Colegio de Abogados de Puerto Rico (Puerto Rican Bar Association); former Executive Director of the Puerto Rico Center for Research assigned to the United Nations Office of Information on the Right to Self Determination; former Senior Staff Attorney, American Civil Liberties Union

Dr. Vickie Casanova-Willis (USA), Executive Director, U.S. Human Rights Network; past president, National Conference of Black Lawyers (NCBL); founding member of Black People Against Police Torture; Co-organizer of the UN Working Group of Experts on People of African Descent and Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (U.S. Visits); co-author of multiple historic policy-shaping reports including the first UN Universal Periodic Review raising the issue of U.S. Political Prisoners and COINTELPRO

Kassahun Checole (Eritrea/USA), CEO and publisher, Africa World/Red Sea Press; renowned Pan Africanist and Pan American scholar; lifetime advisor of the Association of Concerned African Scholars and the African Studies Association

Sherly Fabre (Haiti/USA), International Fellowship of Reconciliation United Nations Representative; member, Muslim Peace Fellowship/Community of Living Traditions; co-founder, Proyecto Faro

Professor Mireille Fanon Mendès-France (France), former Chair of the United Nations Working Group on People of African Descent; former Commissioner of the 2020 International Commission on Inquiry (Systemic Racist Police Violence against U.S. People of African Descent); Judge of Permanent Peoples Tribunal; Co-Chair of the Frantz Fanon Foundation

Dr. Alexander Hinton (USA), Director of the Center for the Study of Genocide and Human Rights, Rutgers University; UNESCO Chair on Genocide Prevention; Distinguished Professor of Anthropology

Chairman Brian Moskwetah Weeden (Mashpee Wampanoag), Chairman of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribe; Bear Heart from Eel Clan; Co-President/Trustee of the United National Indian Tribal Youth (UNITY); Co-Vice President of the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) Youth Commission

Binalakshmi "Bina" Nepram (Manipur/Northeast India), Founder-Director, Manipur Women Gun Survivors Network; Founder-Director, Global Alliance of Indigenous Peoples, Gender Justice and Peace; Board member of the International Peace Bureau (1910 Nobel Peace Laureate)

Special Advisor to the Panel of Jurists: Matt Meyer, Secretary-General, International Peace Research Association

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Matters of Concern at United Nations

General Assembly Debate Reveals Urgent Need to Uphold Principles of UN Charter to Solve Problems

The 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly opened on September 14, with Abdulla Shahid of the Maldives sworn in as the General Assembly President. The high-level General Debate by government leaders began on September 21 and concluded September 27. Many of the interventions were pre-recorded due to pandemic restrictions but over 100 Heads of State or Government attended in person.

Vaccine access and equity of distribution, the disproportionate burden of climate change that falls upon the underdeveloped nations of the world and the sovereign right of nations to determine their own course without coercion, acts of violence and threats of war dominated much of the debate. It is an expression of two worlds in collision: one headed by U.S. imperialism striving to impose upon the world the will and dictate of the oligopolies it represents; the other calling for new relations based on cooperation, collaboration, mutual respect and mutual benefit for all the world's countries and peoples, large or small; and for their right to be and to chart their own course.

Biden's Remarks

U.S. President Joe Biden was one of the first heads of government to address the General Assembly on September 21. He stood before the world assembly desperate to hide the utter failure of U.S. imperialism to control Afghanistan after 20 years of war by declaring the U.S. was opening a new chapter of diplomacy to impose its dictate upon the world.

"We've ended 20 years of conflict in Afghanistan. And as we close this period of relentless war, we're opening a new era of relentless diplomacy; of using the power of our development aid to invest in new ways of lifting people up around the world; of renewing and defending democracy. And as the United States seeks to rally the world to action, we will lead not just with the example of our power but, God willing, with the power of our example."

"Instead of continuing to fight the wars of the past," Biden said, "we are fixing our eyes on devoting our resources to the challenges that hold the keys to our collective future: ending this pandemic; addressing the climate crisis; managing the shifts in global power dynamics; shaping the rules of the world on vital issues like trade, cyber, and emerging technologies; and facing the threat of terrorism as it stands today."

To that end, Biden declared: "We're back at the table in international forums, especially the United Nations, to focus attention and to spur global action on shared challenges. We are re-engaged at the World Health Organization and working in close partnership with COVAX to deliver lifesaving vaccines around the world. We rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement, and we're running to retake a seat on the Human Rights Council next year at the UN." He said his administration will make the United States a leader in public climate finance, mobilizing $100 billion to support climate action in developing nations.

At the same time he made it clear the U.S. is not limited by international law and the principles of the United Nations. It sets its own rules, such as the U.S. definition of "freedom of navigation" that includes U.S. naval forces engaging in brinksmanship against friend and foe alike.

"Make no mistake," Biden said, "The United States will continue to defend ourselves, our Allies, and our interests against attack, including terrorist threats, as we prepare to use force if any is necessary, but -- to defend our vital U.S. national interests, including against ongoing and imminent threats."

Biden's arrogance is such that before the UN General Assembly itself, the U.S. President shows his utter contempt for the principles of the UN and for international law by declaring that the U.S. will continue to use military power as "our tool of last resort" to enforce its interests.

Korean Peninsula

Clever crafting of words and phrases does nothing to change the reality of the kind of world order the U.S., its allies and client states seek to perpetuate. For example, Moon Jae-in, President or the Republic of Korea, in his intervention, repeated a call to formally end the 1950-1953 Korean War. In the present condition of ongoing U.S. hostilities against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) such declarations have no meaning, except to confuse the gullible as to what is the trouble and who is the troublemaker on the Korean peninsula.

Ri Thae Song, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK, answered this non-serious remark in a press statement issued on September 23. He said it would be truly remarkable "if peace comes to the Korean Peninsula just by relevant parties holding a ceremony while having photos taken with the declaration document on the termination of war of no legal binding force."

"The whole world knows," he said, "that the Minuteman-3 ICBM test-launch in Vandenberg air force base in California in the U.S. mainland in February and August this year, the hasty declaration of the termination of the U.S.-south Korea missile guidelines in May this year and the U.S. approval for the sale of billions of dollars worth of military hardware to Japan and south Korea are all targeted against the DPRK. We are also following with alarm the U.S. recent decision to transfer a nuclear-powered submarine building technology to Australia."

Ri Thae Song continued: "The U.S. forces and a huge number of its latest war assets which have already been deployed or are in the state of movement on the Korean Peninsula and in its vicinity, including the ground, waters, air and underwater, and war drills annually held with various code names all point to the U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK getting vicious day by day."

"The DPRK's just measures to bolster up the capability for defence to cope with the U.S. military threat to bring us down by force are described as 'provocations' while the arms buildup escalated by the U.S. and its vassal forces to threaten the DPRK is justified as 'deterrent.' Such American-style double-dealing attitude is also a product of the hostile policy toward the DPRK."

The DPRK Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs concluded: "What's clear is that as long as there remains the U.S. hostile policy towards the DPRK, the biggest stumbling block in ending the war, the termination of the war will merely be nominal even though it is declared. It should be clearly understood that the declaration of the termination of the war is of no help at all in stabilizing the situation of the Korean Peninsula at the moment but can rather be misused as a smokescreen covering up the U.S. hostile policy. The U.S. withdrawal of its double-standards and hostile policy is top priority in stabilizing the situation of the Korean Peninsula and ensuring peace on it."

Cuba: U.S. Aggressiveness Exceeds All Limits

Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel also addressed the high-level debate in the opening days of the 76th Session of the UN General Assembly, refuting the fairy tale spun by President Biden that the U.S. has turned the page on its history of war, aggression and dictate against humanity. Díaz-Canel pointed out that the Biden administration has not lifted even one of the 243 coercive measures adopted by the Trump administration, including Cuba's inclusion in the spurious and immoral list of countries allegedly sponsoring terrorism.

"For more than 60 years," Díaz-Canel said, "the U.S. government has not ceased for a single minute in its attacks against Cuba. However, at this crucial and challenging moment for all nations, its aggressiveness exceeds all limits.

"A dangerous international schism, permanently headed and instigated by the United States, is being promoted.

"Through the pernicious use and abuse of economic coercive measures, which have become the instrument defining the foreign policy of the United States, the government of that country threatens, extorts and pressures sovereign States so that they speak and act against those it has identified as adversaries.

"It forces its allies to create coalitions to overthrow legitimate governments; break trade agreements; abandon and prohibit certain technologies and adopt unjustified judicial measures against citizens from the countries that refuse to submit.

"It often uses the term 'international community' to refer to the small group of governments that tend to irretrievably follow Washington's dictates. The rest of the countries, which account for the overwhelming majority of this Organization, seem to have no place in the 'international community' definition advocated by the United States.

"It is a kind of behavior associated to ideological and cultural intolerance, with a remarkable racist influence and hegemonic ambition. It is neither possible nor acceptable to identify the right of a nation to economic and technological development as a threat; nor is it possible to question the right of every State to develop the political, economic, social and cultural system that has been sovereignly chosen by its people.

"In short, today we are witnessing the implementation of unacceptable political practices in the international context that go against the universal commitment to uphold the Charter of the United Nations, including the sovereign right to self-determination. Independent and sovereign states are being driven under multiple pressures to force them to subordinate to the will of Washington and to an order based on its capricious rules."

Vaccine Equity, Climate Justice, Debt Relief

Issues related to vaccine equity, climate justice and debt relief were addressed by scores of leaders in their remarks during the debate.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres said that while most wealthier countries are vaccinated against coronavirus, more than 90 per cent of Africans are awaiting their first dose. Things are "moving in the wrong direction," he said.

Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera, President of Malawi, cited reports that developed states now possess 500 million COVID-19 vaccines set to expire in 90 days, while innoculation rates are less than two per cent among least developed countries and 16 member states of the Southern African Development Community. He also held the developed nations who pollute the planet to account that they must now pay the $100 billion "cleaning fees" they pledged in the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Namibia's President, Hage G. Geingob, said the state of affairs is so severe it amounts to "vaccine apartheid," with many developing countries left out of the equation. "It is a pity that we have a situation where, in some countries, citizens are at a stage of receiving booster shots, while in other countries, many are still waiting to receive their first doses."

President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa said that 82 per cent of vaccine doses have been acquired by wealthy countries, while less than one per cent have been sent to low-income ones. He urgently called for a temporary waiver of some Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights provisions, which would allow low-income nations to produce vaccines.

Luis Alberto Arce Catacora, President of Bolivia, likewise condemned the continued inequality in distribution between the main capitalist countries and those on the periphery. He said, "Capitalism has transformed all areas of social life into merchandise, and health has not escaped its tentacles." Stressing that no one should seek to profit from health during a pandemic, he called for transnational companies to lift their patents and the United Nations and governments to work in solidarity to avoid hoarding vaccines.

Mohamed Irfaan Ali, President of Guyana, said the burden of emission reduction was not shared equitably. For example his country was one of the lowest emitters of greenhouse gas emissions yet it would be among the first countries to suffer from climate-change-related disasters. He said Guyana expects binding commitments and contributions from the wealthiest countries to the most vulnerable economies to build up resilience against climate events. He called for debt rescheduling, a moratorium on debt servicing and for the United States to normalize relations with Cuba for the benefit of the entire Caribbean.

Vietnam's President Nguyen Xuan Phuc also expressed deep concern over the adverse impacts of climate change. Speaking on September 23 at a UN Security Council forum on climate change, he proposed that the UN should establish a comprehensive database system on multi-dimensional impacts of sea-level rise in support of global response policy formulation. He proposed three concrete measures to be taken: First, the UN Security Council must uphold its leading role in establishing mechanisms for assessment, forecast and warning of climate security risks at the early stage and while they are still distant; second, that the people's interest, especially that of vulnerable groups, needs to take centre stage in order to harmoniously address the inseparable relationship between security, development and humanitarian activities; and third, that it is necessary to continue to safeguard the sovereignty, key role and resilience of nations in climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts.

After the high-level General Debate concluded on September 27, attention turned to reports of the various UN standing committees.

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Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations Steps Up Work for the Rights of All

First ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends, held on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, September 23, 2021.

On July 6 representatives of 18 countries met virtually to officially launch the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations. Most of the countries are subject to unilaterally imposed U.S. economic "sanctions" and blockades, considered acts of war under the UN Charter and international law.[1] In October, Zimbabwe became the 19th member.

Opening remarks were made by the Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, Samuel Moncada whose country played a key role during its presidency of the 120-member Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in getting the UN to celebrate the first ever International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace in April 2019. To mark the occasion, over two days a high level plenary of the General Assembly became a platform for demanding adherence to the rule of law and condemning the unilateral coercive measures and other forms of unlawful warfare engaged in by the U.S. in particular against the peoples of Cuba, Iran, Venezuela, Syria and other targeted countries.[2]

After Ambassador Moncada spoke, brief remarks were delivered by representatives of the Presidency and Cabinet of the UN General Assembly welcoming the new group, followed by statements of the ambassadors of member countries. The meeting concluded with the reading out of a joint declaration and a call to other members of the international community to consider joining the Group of Friends at their earliest convenience. Among other things the Declaration stated:

"We reaffirm our determination to fulfill our promise with "We the Peoples of the United Nations," as well as our pledge of leaving no one behind, while stressing the need to ensure the prevalence of legality over force. In this regard, we vow to spare no effort in preserving, promoting and defending at all relevant fora the prevalence and validity of the Charter of the United Nations, which, in the current international juncture, has a renewed and even more important value and relevance. We also underscore the need to avoid selective approaches and call for the full compliance with and strict adherence to both the letter and spirit of the tenets contained in the Charter of the United Nations, which are at the core of multilateralism and serve as the basis for modern day international law."

A Concept Note published in advance of the Group's official launch recalls that the experience of two destructive world wars led nations and world leaders to work together towards the establishment of multilateral formulas that would allow for overcoming the approach that had prevailed up to then in international relations: large vs. small; strong vs. weak.[3] It says that after a failed attempt with the League of Nations, the United Nations emerged out of the ashes of World War II with a firm purpose, expressed in the Preamble of its founding Charter, of "saving succeeding generations from the scourge of war while ensuring the maintenance of international peace and security, the development of friendly relations among nations, the promotion of human rights, and the achievement of international cooperation."

It notes that the UN Charter, the first international legally-binding agreement of a multilateral nature, contains within it the tenets and pillars of modern-day international law and expressly forbids war as an instrument of foreign policy. It expresses concern that the multilateralism at the core of the UN Charter is under unprecedented attack at this time, with the imposition of unilateral coercive measures by some UN member states against others one manifestation of this. It also decries the systematic violations of the norms of international law, and the "non-existent exceptionalism" that certain powers seem to claim for themselves as they disregard the principles enshrined in the Charter such as the sovereign equality of states, among others.

The Group's stand is that even though the UN has not always lived up to expectations, it remains the best option to face the complex and emerging threats and challenges faced by humanity, making compliance with and strict adherence to the purposes and principles of its Charter indispensable for "preserving and promoting peace and security, the rule of law, economic development and social progress, and all human rights for all."

The objective of the Group is to serve as a platform for promoting the prevalence of legality over force and for discussing possible means and coordinating joint initiatives for fostering respect for the principles of sovereignty, the equality of States and non-interference in their internal affairs, the peaceful settlement of disputes, and to refrain from the use or threat of use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any State, as enshrined in the UN Charter. As well it intends to promote the values of dialogue, tolerance and solidarity, "mindful of the fact that these are all at the core of international relations and necessary for the peaceful coexistence among nations."

Since the Group was launched in July it has held three more meetings.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia speaks in a press conference following Group's September Meeting

The foreign ministers of its 18 member countries met on the sidelines of the High-Level Debate at the 76th Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York in September to assess recent developments internationally, including challenges and threats to the Charter of the United Nations, and adopted a political declaration.[4] In it they conveyed their support to nations and peoples subjected to unilateral and arbitrary approaches that violate both the purposes and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations and the basic norms of international law, and called for full respect for "the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination, as well as the territorial integrity and political independence of all nations." They also resolved to expand the work of the Group of Friends beyond the United Nations Headquarters in New York to Offices of the UN in Geneva, Nairobi, and Vienna and the Headquarters of other UN Specialized Agencies.

At the General Assembly Debate, presidents, prime ministers and foreign ministers of countries belonging to the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter used their interventions to draw attention to their mutual concerns and the need for all UN members to be held to the same standards of international law.

The Group held two meetings in October. One was at the Commemorative Meeting in Belgrade, Serbia marking the 60th anniversary of the First Conference of the NAM on October 11. The other one took place on the sidelines of the General Assembly in New York when the annual report of the UN Human Rights Council was delivered. A statement issued at that meeting reiterated Group members' "serious concern at the current and growing threats against the Charter of the United Nations," zeroing in on "attempts to ignore and even substitute the purposes and principles contained in the UN Charter with a new set of so-called 'rules' that have never been discussed in an inclusive or transparent manner; and to selective approaches or accommodative interpretations of the provisions of the UN Charter." These practices, the statement said, have resulted in "massive violations of human rights and other tenets of international law, which, in many instances, remain unpunished to this very date."

It further said that the Group rejected "all kinds of double standards that undermine human rights and prevent a harmonious environment and progress in this field and expressed concern at the proliferation of unilateral mechanisms that pretend to conduct an impartial assessment of the human rights situation in specific States, especially when that is done without the due consent and participation of their governments.

The statement called for an end to the politicization of human rights and preventing the name of the United Nations being misused for objectives contrary to the purposes and principles of its founding Charter.

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) considers the initiative taken by member countries of the Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations, in opposition to the flouting of international law in a hundred and one ways, especially by the U.S. and those appeasing it, to be an important one deserving of everyone's support. The momentum building on many fronts of international affairs to expose the concocted "rules-based order" for what it is -- an attempt by the U.S. to impose its "rule" on everyone else out of a desperation to maintain the fiction of it being the world's "indispensable" nation -- is encouraging.

Proceedings of the July 6, 2021 Virtual Launch of the Group of Friends in Defence of the UN Charter can be viewed here


1. The founding members are Algeria, Angola, Belarus, Bolivia, Cambodia, China, Cuba, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Nicaragua, the State of Palestine, Russia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Syria, and Venezuela.

2. "Non-Aligned Movement Calls for Reaffirmation of Fundamental Principles of International Law and an End to Unilateral Coercive Measures," TML Weekly, April 27, 2019 

3. Concept Note - Group of Friends in Defence of the Charter of the United Nations 

4. Political Declaration Adopted During the First Ministerial Meeting of the Group of Friends in Defense of the Charter of the United Nations 

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Opposition to Imperialist Conceptions
of "Responsibility to Protect" and
"Rules-Based International Order"

Venezuela's Ambassador to the United Nations, Samuel Moncada, made an intervention earlier this year explaining why Venezuela opposed inclusion of a resolution in support of "The Responsibility to Protect and Prevent Genocide, War Crimes, Ethnic Cleansing and Crimes Against Humanity" put forward by Canada and others on the agenda of the 75th session of the General Assembly. The Ambassador made clear the need to oppose attempts to introduce concepts into international relations to justify undermining the purposes and principles of the UN. Specifically he denounced the "instrumentalization and selective use of the Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as a tool of colonial intervention that has resulted in the suffering, death and destruction of countries subjected to its false protection, citing the case of Libya in 2011."

The same powers that promised the salvation of nations but actually destroyed them under the banner of R2P, he said, are using the same discourse today, threatening to destroy the independence, territorial integrity and peace of the Venezuelan nation with the use of armed force.

He pointed out that in Colombia, where the president attacks the civilian population as if they were a military target; where dozens of peaceful protesters have been assassinated in its cities; where hundreds of social, community, Indigenous and political leaders and human rights defenders are systematically assassinated; and where those who have been disappeared number in the thousands, the interventionist powers never speak of the R2P. The U.S. military bases in that country are not for protecting Colombians, he said, but the government, while the people are left to fight for their human rights alone. Nor do the powers pushing R2P feel any obligation to apply it when Israel, the occupying power, perpetrates war crimes and ethnic cleansing against Palestinians.

Moncada concluded by pointing out that unilateral coercive measures are acts of economic aggression which violate the human rights of hundreds of millions of people in more than 29 member countries of the United Nations. The first responsibility to protect consists of stopping the use of the economy as a weapon of mass destruction against the peoples, he stated.

At the virtual launch of the Group of Friends in Defence of the UN Charter on July 6, Vassily Nebenzia, the Permanent Ambassador of the Russian Federation, focused on attempts by the same group of powers to "replace the UN Charter-based system of international law with ambiguous concepts such as 'rules-based international order' or 'rules-based multilateralism,' when the 'rules' are being elaborated by a narrow group of states and adjusted on a case-by-case basis." He said this can be seen in their arbitrary labeling of the sovereign internal processes in different countries as "democratic" or "authoritarian," their undermining and even overthrowing of legitimate governments, and their imposition of illegal coercive measures against those who do not comply with the "rules" formulated by "closed groups of allegedly democratic nations."

Russia's position was further elaborated in the High-Level Debate at the 76th UN General Assembly in September by its Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, who devoted a good part of his intervention to the same topic. He said, "Lately we have witnessed persistent attempts to diminish the role of the UN in solving today's key problems, to sideline it, or transform it into a malleable tool that furthers someone's selfish interests." These attempts, he said, were clearly visible in the so-called "rules-based order" concept that the West is persistently introducing into political discourse in opposition to international law.

Cuba's president, Miguel Díaz-Canel, used the same venue to expose who is behind the notion of a "rules-based international order" and why, saying, "Today we are witnessing unacceptable practices and policies in the international context, which go against the universal commitment to defend the Charter of the United Nations, including the sovereign right to self-determination. Independent and sovereign states are being led by multiple pressures to subordinate themselves to the will of Washington and to an order based on its capricious rules."

Others singled out some of the most pernicious examples of the U.S. applying its "rules" in violation of the principles of the UN which its members, particularly those that sit on the Security Council are charged with upholding. Many called for the U.S. to honour the unequivocal will of the international community expressed in 29 consecutive General Assembly resolutions by ending its blockade on Cuba and by ending the use of unilateral coercive measures generally, understood to be a preferred form of so-called non-violent warfare practiced mainly by the U.S. against the peoples of countries whose governments it targets for destabilization and regime change.

Similar messages were conveyed at meetings of different UN Committees and bodies held since the opening of the current session of the General Assembly, thanks to the efforts of those who have come together to wage the necessary fight to defend the UN Charter and international law against U.S.-led attempts to impose its own "rules" in a modern day version of might makes right.

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All Out to Make Canada a Zone for Peace!

Canada's Integration into U.S. War Economy

Anti-War Events November 19-20
All Out to Oppose the Halifax International Security Forum!

Friday, November 19 – 8:00 pm AT
Rally: Saturday, November 20 – 1:00 pm AT
For details click here

 The militarization of the U.S. economy has gone beyond the pale, as has the activity of the government of Canada to integrate Canada into the U.S. war economy and suggest it is done to further the cause of peace. The channelling of trillions of dollars into the militarization of the economy and society and its culture to serve the rich are well documented and have increased dramatically since the tragic events of September 11, 2001. They are important exposures of how far the U.S. has descended into a war economy and militarized society.

In the U.S., the use of violence is out of control because of the usurpation of the decision-making power by narrow private interests that profit from it.

The result is a war economy dominating not only the U.S. but drawing Canada and others into its clutches. Through treachery and deception, no matter which cartel party forms the government, they have integrated Canada into the U.S. war machine and economy and contributed to the expansion of the NATO and NORAD military alliances and to U.S.-led wars of aggression for global hegemony. The danger of a conflagration of worldwide proportions is palpable.

In this supplement, TML Monthly exposes the role Canada is playing by supplying critical minerals to the U.S. war machine. Excerpts from two reports from the Institute for Policy Studies and the Brown University Cost of War Project show the extent of U.S. militarization and degeneration of social life into corruption and violence. The reports reveal how important and urgent the anti-war movement and movements for rights continue to be to build the New on the basis of modern definitions in opposition to the limitations imposed by the ruling oligarchy.

The people's opposition to solving problems through the use of force and their striving to bring into being the necessary changes as demanded by the peoples of the U.S. and of the world are crucial.

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Supplying Critical Minerals to the
U.S. War Economy

Canada is increasing its supply of critical minerals to benefit the U.S. war economy. Canadians are not consulted when agreements are reached between the U.S. and Canada and they are opposed to the exploitation and plunder of natural resources to benefit war production. A lot of this is done in the name of a "green economy" and high ideals about creating jobs and economic development which favours the regions, but the truth lies elsewhere.

Canadian provinces and territories and Quebec are already the sites for the extraction of critical minerals for the U.S. war industry including nickel, cobalt, scandium, uranium, etc. or will soon start production of other critical minerals including lithium, rare earth elements (REE) and graphite, in such places as the Yukon, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland.

Provincial and territorial governments, along with the federal government, are already bending over backwards to supply the mining oligopolies with the infrastructure, subsidies and tax breaks these rich private interests are seeking. This was referred to in a presentation made in February by Simon Moores, CEO of Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, to the House of Commons' Standing Committee on Natural Resources:

"Pricing is simply a function of supply and demand. It doesn't matter if the market is 10 times the size in the future or if it's the size it is now. Lithium, for example, is going through a period of shortage right now, so the price is going up. In the last four years, when the EV [electric vehicle] demand increased 30 per cent for lithium, the price was coming down at that time.

"What happens when lithium's price stays down, and the same for cobalt? If it stays too low for too long, you just don't get investments in new mines. There's always an incentive price to bring on a new supply. As a result, at the moment, because it's left to the capital markets, you're not getting the money for those new mines, and that's really where there could be a role for the government to play and underpin that."[1]

In other words, it will be up to the Canadian state and different levels of government to take all the risks and subsidize these mining companies through all kinds of pay-the-rich schemes. Here is what Liz Lappin, President of the Battery Metals Association of Canada (BMAC) said to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources that same day:

"The first area of focus is support for critical minerals project development. The World Bank and a host of forecasters anticipate greatly increased global demand for critical minerals in the years ahead. While Canada has an abundance of resources, they have been slow to develop due to a variety of challenges. Examples include high volatility in emerging pricing, competition for capital against established critical minerals jurisdictions, the highly complex nature of battery metals production, and delays in regulatory and policy development. Canada needs to move swiftly to support the needs of its domestic economy.

"To support critical minerals development, BMAC recommends financial support for qualified domestic battery metals companies that are capable of demonstrating viable prospective projects; promoting exploration and identification of resources by amending the Income Tax Act to ensure that lithium brine resources are eligible for flow-through shares; encouraging provinces to rapidly develop responsible yet industry-friendly mineral policy and regulations to accelerate critical mineral resource development; and promoting streamlined tenure and regulatory frameworks to incentivize responsible development. Finally, we recommend prioritizing innovation funding for industry cluster applications, which would incent Canadian collaborations and strengthen connections along the supply chain."[2]

The House of Commons' Standing Committee on Natural Resources issued a report in June entitled "From Mineral Exploration to Advanced Manufacturing: Developing Value Chains for Critical Minerals in Canada." It states:

"Critical minerals are essential components of many new technologies, from low-greenhouse gas energy sources to electric vehicles to advances in cutting-edge sectors such as medicine, electronics, aerospace and defence."

In the same report the Committee underscored the importance of "securing a supply of critical minerals ... because access to these resources is not entirely stable and production is concentrated in a few countries, notably China." In addition, it said that "Canada could also pursue a 'continental' approach to guarantee a supply of critical minerals in cooperation with the provinces and territories, as well as the United States," in order "to compete with other regions that are major players in the sector, namely, Asia and Europe."[3]

The Committee made important key recommendations that are a call for more pay-the-rich schemes and the further integration of Canada into the "continental" U.S. war economy. The first two recommendations are:

"That the Government of Canada work with the provincial and territorial governments, Indigenous communities and governments, the mining industry and research and education institutions to develop a strategic vision for developing Canada's critical minerals industry;"


"That the government of Canada renew its support for the Canadian mining sector so that it can take advantage of the many opportunities offered by developing critical minerals and recognize their unique contribution to advanced technologies and the energy transition by:

- increasing its capacity to carry out geoscience work...;
- expanding the scope of financial and tax measures...; and
- investing in transportation and communication infrastructure in remote and Northern regions...."

The natural and social environment cannot be harmonized unless the people oppose government pay-the-rich schemes, as they are presently doing in actions from coast to coast to coast. By relying on themselves, Canadians can achieve a sustainable economy that provides for all, respects their rights and is human-centred.

No to Pay-the-Rich Schemes in the Name of a "Greener Economy"!
No to the Integration of Canada into the U.S. War Economy!


1. Simon Moores, CEO, Benchmark Mineral Intelligence, presentation to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources Committee of the House of Commons, Feb. 22, 2021. 

2. Liz Lappin, President, Battery Metals Association of Canada, presentation to the Standing Committee on Natural Resources of the House of Commons, Feb. 22, 2021. 

3. "From Mineral Exploration to Advanced Manufacturing: Developing Value Chains for Critical Minerals in Canada," Report of the Standing Committee on Natural Resources, Ottawa, June 2021

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Essence of Roadmap for "Renewed
U.S.-Canada Partnership"

Five months after Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden agreed to implement the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership (Roadmap) the Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars hosted a webinar on July 23 to provide an update.

The two invited guests for the one-hour webinar were Arnold Chacon, Acting U.S. Ambassador to Canada, and Kirsten Hillman, Canada's Ambassador to the United States, who were both, in the words of the moderator, "at the heart of implementing [the Roadmap] agenda." They were asked "to explain how the Roadmap fits into U.S.-Canada relations" and to "give some background on how we go from here."[1]

As described by Ambassador Chacon, the Roadmap "touches on nearly every aspect of our bilateral relationship and our multilateral relationships too." Reporting on "the progress made over the last five months," Chacon recalled the exchanges that had taken place between Canada, the United States and Mexico on the trade front since the signing of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (CUSMA), all part of "building a robust and sustainable economy" where supply chains are an important aspect of this trade agreement.

Chacon said "accelerating climate ambitions" and "combating the climate crisis," are "a top priority for both our countries," adding that "the measure of our ambition and achievement will undoubtedly be linked to the measure of our cross-border collaboration." In that same vein he added that "the United States has set an economy-wide target for 2030 to reduce our net greenhouse gas emissions by 50 to 52 per cent below 2005 levels."

As part of their "cross-border collaboration," the U.S. administration is working closely with the Canadian government to attain three objectives. In Ambassador Chacon's words, these objectives are "to increase climate ambition globally," "to innovate and deploy low and zero-emissions technologies and create jobs" and "to enhance adaptation and resilience to climate impacts." He went on to say that "an essential element in our transition into a net-zero economy is the adoption of electric vehicles." Chacon then added that "we are going to need raw materials for batteries such as cobalt and lithium. We will also need to establish in North America the necessary supply chains and build production facilities." He reminded the audience that the U.S.-Canada Critical Minerals Working Group was to meet on July 28, reiterating that "our two governments must align on priorities and policies on critical minerals to spur research, development and innovation necessary to make North America competitive and secure in this pivotal sector."[2]

Listening to Ambassador Chacon was like hearing a script taken from the Roadmap itself, which was agreed to by the Biden administration and the Trudeau government on February 23. Under it different measures are being taken by both the Canadian and U.S. governments to establish what is now referred to as a "Value-Added Critical Minerals Strategy."

On the same day that the Roadmap was announced, the Biden administration issued Executive Order 14017 on America's Supply Chains, which amongst other things states:

"The Secretary of Defense (as the National Defense Stockpile Manager), in consultation with the heads of appropriate agencies, shall submit a report identifying risks in the supply chain for critical minerals and other identified strategic materials, including rare earth elements (as determined by the Secretary of Defense), and policy recommendations to address these risks. The report shall also describe and update work done pursuant to Executive Order 13953 of September 30, 2020 (Addressing the Threat to the Domestic Supply Chain From Reliance on Critical Minerals From Foreign Adversaries and Supporting the Domestic Mining and Processing Industries)."[3]

The report of the Secretary of Defense was to be part of what is described in this Executive Order as the "100-Day Supply Chain Review." To undertake this comprehensive review, the Biden administration established an internal task force spanning more than a dozen federal departments and agencies, including the Secretaries of Commerce, Energy, Defense, and Health and Human Services.

In the 250-page follow-up report entitled "Building Resilient Supply Chains, Revitalizing American Manufacturing, and Fostering Broad-based Growth, 100-Day Reviews under Executive Order 14017," the White House writes on the issue of critical minerals:

"Given the importance of lithium batteries to the warfighter, assured sources of critical minerals and materials and both domestic and allied capability for lithium cell and battery manufacturing are critical to U.S. national security. The supply chain security of minerals, materials, cells, and battery components is of concern today.

"Yet the rising demand and diversity of applications for lithium battery technologies within DOD [Department of Defense], the decreasing role of defense in driving commercial lithium battery markets, and the prominence of adversary influence over supply make the future strategic concern even graver. To meet surface, undersea, space, air, and ground operational requirements, DOD will need reliable and secure advanced storage technologies."[4]

This issue of "adversary influence over supply" of lithium battery technology as part of the U.S. military apparatus, as well as "reliable and secure advanced storage technologies" is not something new. It is integral to the striving of U.S. imperialism for world domination, in contention with China, Russia and other countries which refuse to submit to its dictate. Canada is part and parcel of that plan.[5]

This military use of natural resources is worrisome to Canadians who aspire to end the climate crisis by setting a new direction for the economy. The plunder of natural resources to benefit war production is both unacceptable and unsustainable.


1. Arnold Chacon was appointed Acting Ambassador to Canada by the Biden Administration in May 2021. In late July David Cohen was nominated as United States Ambassador to Canada, confirmed by the U.S. Senate on November 2, 2021.

2. Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership, Woodrow Wilson International Centre for Scholars, July 23, 2021. 

3. Executive Order 14017 on America's Supply Chains, Presidential Actions, White House, February 24, 2021

4."Building Resilient Supply Chains, Revitalizing American Manufacturing, and Fostering Broad-based Growth, 100-Day Reviews under Executive Order 14017," a report by The White House, June 2021, page 129.

5. See also: "Summit Between Canadian Prime Minister and U.S. President: Further Integration into U.S. Economy and War Machine Will Not Resolve Canada's Lack of a Nation-Building Project," by K.C. Adams, TML Monthly, March 7, 2021

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For Your Information

United States-Canada Critical Minerals Cooperation

As part of Executive Order 14017 on America's Supply Chains, issued on February 23, the "100-Day Supply Chain Review" was published by the White House in June. This led to the formation of the U.S.-Canada Critical Minerals Working Group that held its third meeting on July 28, co-chaired by U.S. Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Laura Lochman, and Assistant Deputy Minister of the Land and Minerals Sector of Natural Resources Canada, Jeff Labonté.

A July 31 media communication on the U.S. Department of State's website, entitled "United States and Canada Forge Ahead on Critical Minerals Cooperation," notes the following:

"The working group discussed implementation of President Biden and Prime Minister Trudeau's commitment to strengthen cooperation on critical minerals supply chains as outlined in the Roadmap for a Renewed U.S.-Canada Partnership. ... They also shared perspectives on strengthening supply chains that utilize critical minerals, and reviewed President Biden's Executive Order on America's Supply Chains and the related 100-day supply chain review of critical minerals and materials and other key sectors issued in June."[1]

When the U.S. State Department refers to "strengthening supply chains" it has in mind, amongst other things, what Marc D. Gietter, a retired industrial engineer with the Tactical Shelters Branch of the U.S. Army Communications-Electronics Command (CECOM) termed "priming the pump." In an article entitled "Viewpoint: Offshore Battery Production Poses Problems for Military," published in the November 8, 2018 issue of the U.S. magazine National Defense, he writes:

"Lithium batteries -- both rechargeable and non rechargeable -- have become ubiquitous in almost every weapon system used by the Defense Department. Although it is a relatively small consumer of lithium battery technologies when compared to the commercial market, the importance of these technologies cannot be understated.

"Just about every piece of man-portable electronic equipment crucial to the success of U.S. warfighters on the battlefield is powered by some form of lithium battery. The reliance on them is expected to grow exponentially as the next generation of weapons -- such as new tactical ground vehicles, unmanned systems and directed energy weapons -- are designed around the high energy density and low weight of a lithium battery technology. [...]

"The lithium-ion battery market, alone, is expected to reach $26 billion in less than 10 years. With electric vehicles, clean energy storage and mobile electronics requiring ever-more advanced batteries, the overall market for batteries is only just emerging, and is expected to reach $150 billion in just the next two years.

"With a relatively minimal investment the Defense Department can not only secure domestic sources for critical technologies, but 'prime the pump' to enable these same suppliers to capture and hold large international market shares. For example, the Defense Logistics Agency has procured batteries with a total value of more than $1.1 billion to support the military power source supply chain.

"This does not include batteries that each of the services buy directly from vendors and manufacturers, or batteries purchased by prime contractors to integrate into various weapon systems."[2]

In other words, the role of the U.S. Defense Department is to enable these same private suppliers of critical minerals "to capture and hold large international market shares" by developing processing facilities and advanced manufacturing here within North America, countering what the U.S. Department of Defense calls the "decreasing role of defense in driving commercial lithium battery markets."

This is why, in the case of permanent rare earth magnets used for civil and military applications, there is presently a bill before the U.S. House of Representatives (Bill HR 5033 -- Rare Earth Magnet Manufacturing Production Tax Credit Act of 2021) that would give private companies tax credits of $20 per kilogram for magnets manufactured in the United States or $30 per kilogram for magnets that are both manufactured in the U.S. and for which all components made up of rare earth material are produced and recycled or reclaimed wholly within the United States. It also means that to be eligible for these subsidies, the rare earth magnets must not include any "component rare earth material" that was "produced in a non-allied foreign nation," meaning countries opposed to U.S. imperialist world domination, such as the "Russian Federation, People's Republic of China, Democratic People's Republic of Korea and Islamic Republic of Iran."[3]

The "component rare earth material" refers to six rare earth elements (REE) known as neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium, terbium, samarium, and gadolinium, along with cobalt. These are the primary REEs used to manufacture the world's two most powerful permanent magnets, known as samarium cobalt magnets and neodymium-iron-boron magnets. Their applications are numerous and diverse -- from electric vehicles to radar, precision-guided missiles and "smart bombs."[4]


1. United States and Canada Forge Ahead on Critical Minerals Cooperation, U.S. Department of State, July 31, 2021

2. "Viewpoint: Offshore Battery Production Poses Problems for Military," in National Defense, November 8, 2018

3. Bill HR 5033, Rare Earth Magnet Manufacturing Production Tax Credit Act of 2021, U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, DC, 2021

4. Rare Earth Elements in National Defense: Background, Oversight Issues, and Options for Congress, Valerie Bailey Grasso, Congressional Research Service, Washington, DC, December 23, 2013

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Brown University Project -- Cost of War

(Excerpts from Summary)

Over 929,000 people have died in the post-9/11 wars due to direct war violence. Many times more have died indirectly in these wars, due to ripple effects like malnutrition, damaged infrastructure and environmental degradation.

Over 387,000 civilians have been killed in direct violence by all parties to these conflicts.

Over 7,050 U.S. soldiers have died in the wars.

We do not know the full extent of how many U.S. service members returning from these wars became ill or were injured while deployed.

Many deaths and injuries among U.S. contractors have not been reported as required by law, but it is likely that approximately 8,000 have been killed.

38 million people have been displaced by the post-9/11 wars in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia and the Philippines.

The U.S. federal price tag for the post-9/11 wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, and elsewhere totals about $8 trillion. This does not include future interest costs on borrowing for the wars.

The U.S. government is conducting counter-terror activities in 85 countries, vastly expanding this war across the globe.

The wars have been accompanied by violations of human rights and civil liberties in the U.S. and abroad.

The post-9/11 wars have contributed significantly to climate change. The Defense Department is one of the world's top greenhouse gas emitters.

The human and economic costs of these wars will continue for decades with some costs, such as the financial costs of U.S. veterans' care, not peaking until mid-century.

Most U.S. government funding of reconstruction efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan has gone towards arming security forces in both countries. Much of the money allocated to humanitarian relief and rebuilding civil society has been lost to fraud, waste and abuse.

The ripple effects on the U.S. economy have also been significant, including job loss and interest rate increases.

Pentagon spending has totaled over $14 trillion since the start of the war in Afghanistan, with one-third to one-half of the total going to military contractors.

A large portion of these contracts -- one-quarter to one-third of all Pentagon contracts in recent years -- have gone to just five major corporations:

Lockheed Martin,
General Dynamics,
and Northrop Grumman.

The $75 billion in Pentagon contracts received by Lockheed Martin in fiscal year 2020 is well over one and one-half times the entire budget for the State Department and Agency for International Development for that year, which totaled $44 billion.

Weapons makers have spent $2.5 billion on lobbying over the past two decades, employing, on average, over 700 lobbyists per year over the past five years. That is more than one for every member of Congress.

Numerous companies took advantage of wartime conditions -- which require speed of delivery and often involve less rigorous oversight -- to overcharge the government or engage in outright fraud. In 2011, the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan estimated that waste, fraud and abuse had totaled between $31 billion and $60 billion. 

As the U.S. reduces the size of its military footprint in Iraq and Afghanistan, exaggerated estimates of the military challenges posed by China have become the new rationale of choice in arguments for keeping the Pentagon budget at historically high levels. Military contractors will continue to profit from this inflated spending.

The report Cost of Militarization is available here.

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State of Insecurity:
The Cost of Militarization Since 9/11

The following excerpts are from a report produced by the Institute for Policy Studies.

The Pentagon budget is higher than at the height of the Vietnam War or the Cold War, and growing, accounting for more than half of the federal discretionary budget in typical years.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) formed in 2003 [has become] a mammoth new government agency.

The formation of DHS also marked the creation of the now-infamous Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency and Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which have drawn attention for terrorizing immigrant communities, suppressing protests, and tearing children from their parents.

At a time when awareness of police brutality and militarization has skyrocketed, militarism has reached new heights in two other long-standing wars: the war on crime and the war on drugs.

Over 20 years, the U.S. has spent more than $21 trillion on militarization, surveillance, and repression -- all in the name of security.

But the COVID-19 pandemic, the January 6 Capitol insurrection, wildfires raging in the West, and even the fall of Afghanistan have shown us that these investments cannot buy us safety.

Twenty years after 9/11, the response has contributed to thoroughly militarized foreign and domestic policies at a cost of $21 trillion over the last two decades.

Of the $21 trillion the U.S. has spent on foreign and domestic militarization since 9/11, $16 trillion went to the military (including $7.2 trillion for military contractors), $3 trillion to veterans' programs, $949 billion to Homeland Security, and $732 billion to federal law enforcement.

U.S. Militarized Spending Over 20 Years, (FY 2002 - FY 2021)
Military $16.26 trillion
Veterans $3.07 trillion
Homeland security $949 billion
Federal law enforcement $732 billion
Total $21.02 trillion

The military is one of the most costly government functions. For our purposes, military expenses include the Department of Defense (DoD) and all direct costs of war, nuclear weapons activities at the Department of Energy and elsewhere, intelligence expenses including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), international military assistance, military retiree benefits and the selective service system, and smaller military-related expenses at the National Science Foundation, Maritime Administration, and other federal agencies.

We include the cost of veterans' benefits because military service and military activities give rise to the need for these benefits.

We include most programs in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) because of the agency's origins in the post-9/11 response.... Although the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is situated within DHS, we exclude it from this analysis.

Federal law enforcement programs are included because counterterrorism and border security are part of their core mission, and because the militarization of police and the proliferation of mass incarceration both owe much to the activities and influences of federal law enforcement. Federal law enforcement agencies use the same militarized tactics to combat terrorism, crime, and narcotics, with frequently violent and racially inequitable results. Federal law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Drug Enforcement Agency, and U.S. Marshals operate both in and outside of the U.S., frequently cooperating with the Department of Defense (DoD).

Unless otherwise noted, all figures in this report are based on Office of Management and Budget (OMB) budget authority data and are inflation-adjusted to FY 2021.

According to the Department of Justice (DoJ), 88 per cent of its budget goes toward counterterrorism, border security and violent crime goals, while 12 per cent goes toward its goal of promoting the rule of law and good government.

Over the span of 20 years, the War on Terror has expanded to dozens of countries, claimed 900,000 lives, and has cost trillions of dollars.

Beyond the forever wars, the U.S. military has more than 750 outposts in around 80 countries, with about 220,000 U.S. troops stationed permanently abroad as of June 2021. Military operations extend well beyond the confines of the War on Terror, and in some cases, actions billed as military exercises have been fronts for real military operations.

As part of its supposed shift from the War on Terror to "great power competition," the military is looking to reinvest in nuclear weapons.... The U.S. has far more nuclear weapons than any other country, and far more than can be justified based on theories of nuclear deterrence. The U.S. also has the distinction of being the only country to use a nuclear weapon on human beings -- which it has done twice. The danger of these weapons far outstrips rationales for their continued deployment. Yet the military has planned a $1.5 trillion renewal program to keep U.S. nuclear weapons in service.

Recently, the U.S. military has also been active within U.S. borders, with deployments to the southern border, where 3,000 troops remain today in a surveillance role. Some states have also sent National Guard troops to the border. From 2016-17, National Guard soldiers were deployed to suppress Indigenous-led protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation, and in June 2020 were called into Washington, DC, to suppress Black Lives Matter protests. National Guard troops also stepped in after the Capitol insurrection on January 6, 2021.

Altogether, military expenditures over the last 20 years totalled more than $16 trillion, including the budget for the DoD, nuclear weapons and activities, and certain intelligence and military retirement costs.

We also include aid to foreign militaries, and much smaller civil defense expenses including the selective service, military cemeteries, and others.

Military Spending, FY 2002 - FY 2021
Department of Defense -- $14.14 trillion
Military retirement and other programs -- $1.27 trillion
Nuclear weapons programs -- $460 billion
Aid to foreign militaries -- $267 billion
CIA and Intelligence* -- $28 billion
Total -- $16.26 trillion

Note*: CIA and Intelligence costs here are far from complete. The total appropriated for national and military intelligence in FY 2020 alone was $85.8 billion. Most of that is likely hidden in the military budget, but not identifiable through public documents.

The calculus of 9/11 led to runaway growth in military spending. From FY 2001 to FY 2002 (the fiscal year that began on October 1, 2001), military spending increased by 5.8 per cent. By the following year, FY 2003, military spending had increased by 30 per cent over FY 2001 levels. It would eventually peak at nearly a trillion dollars in 2010 before falling moderately due to budget sequestration, and then rising again. Today, military spending is higher than at the height of the Vietnam War, the Cold War, the Korean War, and the first Gulf War.

Forever Wars

The U.S. invaded Afghanistan in 2001, followed by Iraq in 2003. These occupations represent the longest active occupations in U.S. history -- the forever wars. Even as U.S. troops are exiting Afghanistan, the War on Terror continues in multiple countries, taking different forms.

The costs of the global War on Terror have been staggering: about 900,000 lives lost to violence, many thousands more gone due to the loss of critical infrastructure like hospitals, and 37 million people displaced, according to Brown University's Costs of War project.

In 2019, pro-government airstrikes (including U.S. airstrikes) killed the highest number of Afghan civilians in any year since the start of the war. In Afghanistan alone, 47,000 civilians have been killed since the start of the War on Terror.

A study from Brown University's Costs of War project has estimated total War on Terror costs at $8 trillion through 2021, including $800 billion in non-war DoD spending increases from 2001 to 2020 that were attributable to the War on Terror. From 2002 to 2019, about $127 billion in aid to foreign militaries went to the two main targets of U.S. occupation: Afghanistan ($91 billion) and Iraq ($36 billion).

From 2018 to 2020, the U.S. conducted counterterror operations in 85 countries, including combat operations in 12 countries, and air and drone strikes in seven. This represents more than half the countries on earth.

The Pentagon and Military Aid

Spending on the DoD totalled $14 trillion over the last 20 years, including $1.9 trillion in funds appropriated specifically for wars through the Overseas Contingency Operations fund. Even though in recent years the fund was increasingly used for routine military expenses (or "base requirements"), this total falls short of estimating the true costs of the War on Terror.

More than 70 per cent of the Pentagon's $14 trillion in spending over the last 20 years was for operations, purchasing and research and development. Operations and maintenance ($5.7 trillion) includes costs for operating, deploying, and maintaining weapons systems, including the military's nearly 300 ships and more than 13,000 aircraft, and facilities, as well as training and other costs.

Procurement ($2.8 trillion) includes the purchases and upgrades of major weapons systems such as ships and aircraft, as well as land vehicles, missiles, and ammunition.

Just $3.3 trillion, or 23 per cent of the total, went to compensation for military personnel. Entry-level pay for an enlisted service member in 2021 was just over $20,000, the equivalent of a $10.30 hourly wage. Service members also receive housing or a housing allowance, but that isn't designed to cover the full cost of housing.

The three biggest recipients of foreign military assistance, Afghanistan ($91 billion), Israel ($57 billion), and Iraq ($36 billion) accounted for nearly 70 per cent of all military assistance. But the U.S. gave military aid to the majority of countries on earth during the years of 2002-2019.

Military Contracts

In a typical year, around half of the DoD budget goes to contractors. Over the last 20 years, the contractors took in more than $7.2 trillion in DoD funds, compared to only $4.7 trillion in the 20 years before that, which included the peak years of the Cold War and nuclear arms race. In FY 2020, with a total DoD budget of $753 billion, $422 billion went to military contractors.

The top Pentagon contractors bring in more in one year than many government agencies. In FY 2020 alone, Lockheed Martin took in more than $75 billion in DoD contracts. By comparison, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) budget was only $16 billion in 2020, including emergency COVID funding.

The War on Terror has been a huge profit generator for these companies. Stocks in the top five defense companies that were worth $10,000 when the War on Terror began are worth nearly $100,000 today, versus only $61,000 for the overall stock market.

Military Equipment and the Police

The Pentagon provides military equipment to state and local law enforcement agencies through its 1033 program. Today, state and local law enforcement agencies are in possession of $1.83 billion worth of military equipment transferred since 9/11, including mine resistant vehicles, aircraft, drones, military weapons, and ammunition. DoD also transfers equipment to federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Department of Justice (DoJ).

Military equipment transfers skyrocketed (in 2012), peaking at $386 million in 2014. Today, transfers are still far higher than they were early in the War on Terror, totalling $152 million in 2020 and $101 million in just the first half of 2021.

This equipment is used by local police for SWAT raids, which are often used indiscriminately, most often for suspected drug crimes, and disproportionately targeting people of colour. In one incident, a Georgia toddler was critically injured when a SWAT team's flash-bang grenade landed in his playpen. Military equipment has also appeared as part of police responses to protest, notably during the uprisings against police killings in the summer of 2020 and previously. Indigenous people are the racialized group most likely to be killed in confrontations with police.


The services that the U.S. provides to military veterans have totalled $3 trillion over the last 20 years. Of course, these services are provided to veterans of many wars, not just the wars on terror. There are 19 million veterans in the U.S., 14 million of whom served during wartime, and 3.5 million of whom served during the global War on Terror.

Veterans of the War on Terror have been subject to nonstop deployments over the last 20 years, taking a toll on physical and mental health, family stability, and civilian career opportunities. Veterans suffer from high risks of suicide, homelessness, and family violence, among other long-lasting consequences of serving in U.S. wars.

The Costs of War project at Brown University has estimated that future costs to care for veterans of the War on Terror alone will total $1 trillion through FY 2059.

Veterans' Programs, FY 2002 - FY 2021
Income security -- $1.26 trillion
Veterans' Health -- $1.26 trillion
Other -- $254 billion
Readjustment benefits -- $196 billion
Pensions -- $103 billion
Total -- $3.07 trillion

Homeland Security

The formation of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been characterized as "the largest, most important restructuring of the federal government since the end of World War II." The creation of DHS in 2003 rolled all or part of 22 different federal departments and agencies into a single department. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, immigration agencies, and others were all brought under DHS.

Despite the ostensible founding of DHS as a response and preventative against terrorism, it has instead become an agent of repression. DHS has surveilled political groups and infiltrated communities, violently repressed protest, and waged a war on immigration, often in direct coordination with the military and other law enforcement agencies.

Transforming the apparatus of border and immigration enforcement, the department also absorbed the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), formerly housed in the Department of Justice, and transferred its functions to three new agencies within DHS:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and Customs and Border Protection (CBP).

The DHS immigration agencies have militarized the border and disrupted immigrant communities even where there is no claim of a terrorist threat, in what has been coined as a "war on immigrants," beginning as early as 2003. From 2002 to 2019 (the most recent year with complete data), 5.8 million people were deported. Annual deportations in 2019 were double the number in 2002.

The militarization of ICE and CBP has been well-documented, with cases of excessive force and racial profiling. ICE has an "Office of Firearms and Tactical Programs" that provides equipment and training to its agents, while Border Patrol agents are supplied with weapons of war including M4 rifles with silencers and night vision sights and tactical vehicles, and borders are patrolled by Predator drones. In extreme cases, overzealous deportations have even targeted American citizens. Recent reports suggest that CBP drones have been used to surveil Indigenous activists. The war on immigration has become a lightning rod for white supremacy and violence, feeding growing white supremacist movements including those that carried out the January 6, 2021 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. And, much like in local law enforcement, white supremacists have held positions of power in federal immigration agencies.

Homeland Security and Selected Programs, FY 2002 - FY 2021
U.S. Customs and Border Protection -- $267 billion
U.S. Coast Guard -- $232 billion
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement -- $125 billion
Transportation Security Administration -- $109 billion
U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services -- $64 billion
Secret Service -- $43 billion
Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency -- $33 billion
Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction Office -- $6.5 billion
Federal Law Enforcement Training Center -- $6.2 billion
Total -- $949 billion (excludes FEMA)

Since 2002, spending for DHS has totalled $949 billion, primarily for militarized border and immigration operations: CBP, the U.S. Coast Guard, and ICE together account for 65 per cent of the total.

Homeland Security Spending, FY 2002 - FY 2021 -- $392 billion

ICE, Customs and Border Protection

Customs and Border Protection (CBP), the agency tasked with borders and customs enforcement includes the Border Patrol, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), the agency tasked with punitive immigration law enforcement, such as immigrant detention and deportation operations. Together they accounted for more than $392 billion over the last 20 years -- nearly half of DHS's spending (excluding FEMA).

Almost every year, Congress approves massive funding increases to these agencies that profile, jail, and deport immigrants. Combined spending on ICE and CBP was more than six times greater than the $64 billion spent on Citizenship and Naturalization Services since FY 2002.

Over the span of 20 years, spending on ICE and CBP more than doubled, from $12 billion in FY 2002 to more than $25 billion in FY 2021. During that period, spending on ICE and CBP was more than twice the funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (even accounting for pandemic spending in 2020 and 2021), and four times the funding for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, even as the opioid crisis became a matter of national concern, causing more than 49,000 deaths in 2019.

CBP, which includes the Border Patrol, is among the largest law enforcement organizations in the world. Even as the number of migrants crossing the southern border has decreased, the number of border patrol agents has grown alongside CBP's swelling budget. With just over 10,000 agents in FY 2002, by FY 2020 the Border Patrol had more than 19,000 agents. Contributing to the militarized ethos of Border Patrol policing, nearly one-third of CBP agents are military veterans.

There have been at least 177 fatal encounters with CBP since 2010. Despite this violent history of misconduct, little to no oversight or accountability measures have been put in place to hold the agency accountable for excessive, deadly use of force and abuse of power.

The United States maintains the world's largest immigration detention system, which has ballooned in recent decades. Every year, hundreds of thousands of immigrants are locked up in over 200 ICE detention centers, where they often face abusive conditions while they await determination of their immigration status. A majority of these detention facilities are operated by private, for-profit companies. Immigrant detention has grown in recent decades alongside the mass incarceration of non-immigrant Black and Brown communities in the United States. In fact, local, state, and federal police often coordinate with ICE and CBP, creating pipelines between criminal punishment and immigration enforcement systems.

Despite mass protests and its prominence as an issue in the presidential campaign, the number of immigrants held in detention more than doubled under the Biden administration since the end of February 2021.

The Border Wall

In recent years, the notorious border wall became emblematic of the militarization of the United States' southern border region. Under the Trump administration, taxpayers spent a whopping $16.3 billion on border wall construction -- including nearly $10 billion that the administration diverted from the military budget.

The Biden administration pledged not to build "another foot of wall" and has characterized its support for border surveillance and technology funding as a gentler alternative to Trump's border wall. But high tech surveillance systems, known as "smart borders" or "virtual walls," don't represent the softer approach their proponents claim. Surveillance technologies are environmentally destructive, threaten privacy and civil liberties, and can lead to more migrant deaths as individuals are funnelled into more dangerous routes. Far from "humane," these technologies only perpetuate militarization and mass surveillance in the borderlands and beyond.

Federal Law Enforcement

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS)'s militarized approach to the border is echoed internally by federal law enforcement's activities as part of the war on immigrants, the war on drugs, and the war on crime. Federal law enforcement activities have led to violent police tactics, indiscriminate surveillance practices, racial profiling and racist outcomes, and mass incarceration.

According to a 2018 report to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, 34 per cent of federal sentences were for immigration offenses, marking the federal prosecution system as a key component of the war on immigrants. Another 28 per cent of sentences were for drug crimes. Federal arrests were also dominated by immigration offenses, which made up 56 per cent of all federal arrests in FY 2018. Just 1.9 per cent of federal arrests were for violent offenses.

Black and Latinx people bear the brunt of federal law enforcement. Hispanic people were the subjects of 54 per cent of federal sentences in 2018, and Black people another 20 per cent. Black people make up 38 per cent of the federal prison inmates, far greater than their share of the population.

The recent uprisings in response to the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others have brought the nation's police forces under close examination. While local police have received the lion's share of scrutiny for violent tactics, recent investigations have found that U.S. Marshals are more likely to use their guns compared to local police. Yet the Department of Justice (DoJ) has refused to publicly release information on Marshal-involved shootings that major police departments are obligated to publish.

Federal law enforcement also hands down its tactics to local police. The FBI both trains chief executive officers for local police departments, and develops a firearms training curriculum for police officers.

Most federal law enforcement activities are overseen by the DoJ, whose four strategic goals are to 1) "enhance national security and counter the threat of terrorism;" 2) "secure the borders and enhance immigration enforcement and adjudication;" 3) "reduce violent crime and promote public safety;" and 4) "promote rule of law, integrity, and good government." According to the Department of Justice, 88 per cent of its budget goes toward the first three goals: counterterrorism, border security and violent crime.

Agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and the U.S. Marshals have long been at the forefront of the wars on crime and drugs, and have played an increasingly large role in the war on immigrants.

Federal prosecutors (U.S. Attorneys) and federal prisons carry out aggressive prosecutions and harsh prison sentences. These agencies do not just operate inside the U.S. The FBI has more than 90 offices overseas, and nearly half of its spending ($84 billion) over the past 20 years was considered defense-related. Likewise, the DEA has 91 overseas offices in 68 countries, the U.S. Marshals have three foreign field offices, and ATF has at least eight foreign offices.

Federal law enforcement's foreign exploits have often been associated with local violence. In 2012, DEA agents in Honduras were involved in an incident in which four civilians were killed, including two pregnant women and a child. DEA agents left the scene without aiding the killed and injured civilians. They subsequently attempted to cover up their role to Congress. In Haiti, a former DEA informant was one of the suspects arrested in the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.

Federal law enforcement spending, FY 2002 - FY 2022
Federal law enforcement and litigation -- $445.4 billion
Federal Bureau of Investigation -- $174 billion
Drug Enforcement Administration -- $53 billion
U.S. Attorneys -- $44 billion
Assets forfeiture -- $35 billion
Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives -- $26 billion
U.S. Marshals -- $24 billion
Federal Prisoner Detention -- $15 billion
Executive Office for Immigration Review -- $8 billion
Other -- $66 billion
Federal prison system -- $146 billion
State and local law enforcement assistance -- $138 billion
Other, defense-related -- $2 billion
Total -- $732 billion

The War on Terror

With major expansions of a number of bureaus following the passing of the Patriot Act and the Protect America Act during the Bush administration, the DoJ claimed a mandate for "unrelenting focus and unprecedented cooperation" in service of counterterrorism -- claiming to protect civil liberties while in fact violating them through aggressive law enforcement tactics and expansion of surveillance powers.

Even prior to 9/11, federal law enforcement agencies like the DEA had for decades collected information on all U.S. phone calls to 116 countries. Post-9/11, the surveillance of ordinary citizens exploded, giving law enforcement access to phone records for tens of millions of Americans. The FBI has monitored political and religious groups exercising their First Amendment rights, including the anti-war Quakers. In the aftermath of the January 6, 2021 attempted insurrection, the DoJ is now seeking new powers in the name of combating domestic terrorism, raising concerns of an expanded surveillance and security state that targets even more sectors of the population -- without meaningfully curtailing terrorist attacks.

Meanwhile, a number of purported foiled terrorist plots have been revealed as cases of entrapment, diverting law enforcement resources from pursuing real threats and instead coaxing vulnerable individuals into participating in plans manufactured by FBI agents.

Some analysts have concluded that the nature of the FBI's counterterrorism strategies seems to create "terrorists" out of ordinary citizens -- certainly not the purpose for which funds were legislated.

An investigation by The Intercept found that of the almost 1,000 prosecutions for terrorism-related offenses since 2001, many of whom were caught in FBI sting operations, the majority had never committed a violent crime, did not have the means or opportunity to commit acts of violence, and had no direct connections to terrorist organizations.

The War on Immigrants

More than half of all federal arrests, and more than one-third of all federal sentences, have been for immigration crimes in recent years. The five districts that handed out the most federal sentences were all in border states: two in Texas, one in Arizona, one in New Mexico, and one in Southern California. More than 40 per cent of sentences were for non-citizens, almost all convicted of immigration offenses.

While ICE and CBP round up immigrants, it is the DoJ that prosecutes immigration cases. Federal law enforcement agencies including the FBI, DEA, ATF, and U.S. Marshals Service all formally collaborate with ICE and CBP.

Federal law enforcement's early approach to the War on Terror provided some of the opening shots in the war on immigrants. In the year after the 9/11 attacks, the Bush administration created a program administered by DoJ called the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS), which registered non-citizen visa holders, and disproportionately targeted Arab and Muslim people. The program was widely regarded as a failure at leading to terrorism convictions, and was suspended during the Obama administration. In 2017, the Trump administration revived an open policy of targeting Muslims with a travel ban from seven Muslim-majority nations, a decision defended by the Trump Justice Department.

Racial and Ethnic Profiling

The targeting of Muslims has not been limited to immigration, and Muslims have not been the only group targeted. An ACLU report found that a Michigan FBI office initiated an effort to collect information on all Muslims and people of Middle Eastern descent in Michigan, without any evidence of criminality by individuals or groups. These FBI tactics both alienate many Muslim Americans from the government and feed systematic negative views of Muslims, that have contributed to xenophobia and ongoing immigration restrictions.

The same report noted an effort by the FBI office in Knoxville, Tennessee to map mosques; an FBI effort in Atlanta, Georgia to track overall Black population growth in pursuit of "Black Separatist" groups; and plans to monitor entire Chinese communities in San Francisco for organized crime. None of these efforts were tied to specific evidence or crimes. Rather, they were based primarily on race, ethnicity, or religion.

Racist patterns of surveillance and harassment are also reflected in arrests and prison sentences. In the 10 years before 2019, 179 people were arrested in reverse-sting incidents (often considered entrapment) by the DEA's Southern District of New York. Not a single one of them was white.

Mass Incarceration

The war on drugs is a major driver of mass incarceration. In federal prisons, more than 67,000 people, accounting for nearly half the federally incarcerated population, are serving time for drug charges. Federal policy and spending have been drivers of mass incarceration at the local and state levels as well. In 1986, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act enshrined the now-infamous imposition of harsh mandatory minimum sentences for crack cocaine. The passage of the 1994 crime bill created new federal funding streams that encouraged states to pass "tough on crime" sentencing laws and to build more prisons. Many of these programs are still active today.

Federal prison funding has increased by more than 11 times since 1976, exploding from $901 million in 1976 to $10 billion in 2021. During that time, the number of people incarcerated in federal prisons increased ninefold, from 24,000 in 1980 to more than 219,000 by 2013, though the number has been steadily declining since. Over the past 20 years, the federal prison system has cost $146 billion, and federal prison funding has increased by 23 per cent, despite the recent downturn in the number of federal prisoners.

The report Cost of Militarization is available here.

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