When after eight days of heroic resistance the Communards succumbed before the all-out assault of the Versailles troops, the slaughter of the defenceless men, women and children which had been raging all through the week on an increasing scale, reached unprecedented proportions. Thousands upon thousands of unarmed workers were massacred by the bourgeoisie. While the bourgeoisie presents itself as "humanitarian," "reasonable," "just" and "civilized," the Paris Commune showed the extent of frenzied barbarism to which the bourgeoisie will go to crush the revolutionary struggles of the proletariat, thereby highlighting the importance for the proletariat once it has seized power to resolutely exercise its dictatorship over the exploiters so as to be able to consolidate its victories and provide democracy for the large majority of the working people.
During its brief existence this is the invaluable lesson
the Paris Commune
gave the world proletariat -- a lesson of profound importance in the
struggle of the proletariat to build the new socialist society. In the
the 1872 edition of the Communist Manifesto, Karl Marx and
Frederick Engels wrote: "One thing especially was proved by the
Commune, viz., that the working class cannot simply lay
hold of the
ready-made State machinery, and wield it for its own purposes. [...]"
The Paris Commune, which demonstrated in deeds what the dictatorship of the proletariat means, also provided lessons on the necessity to have a revolutionary political party of the proletariat to lead it through the complicated twists and turns of the class struggle, on the necessity to build and strengthen the worker-peasant alliance, and other invaluable lessons which were reconfirmed by the Great October Socialist Revolution of 1917 and the other revolutionary struggles of the proletariat.
Today, the importance of Marxist-Leninist parties that are capable of providing the class struggle of the working class and oppressed people with the orientation and leadership they require so as to have their own independent politics and provide the problems they and society face with solutions is in essence the same fight for which the Communards fought and blazed a trail with such great heroism. The example of the Paris Commune will ever inspire the working people everywhere who can never forget the invaluable lessons provided by the Communards written in blood. The Paris Commune was indeed a glorious harbinger of the new society which the working and oppressed people everywhere are striving to bring into being.
A New Direction for the Economy
Canada's Economic Existential Crisis
Part One: Problems in the Manufacturing Sector
A modern economy is a complicated organism. Without all its parts functioning in harmony, the organism collapses in crisis. Canada's economy cannot survive and meet the needs of the people when any one or more of its basic sectors are not in good shape. With this in mind, the consistent downturn in Canadian manufacturing for several decades, amongst other issues, is signalling that the economic organism is in serious trouble and needs repair and a new direction.
No one would argue that a heart attack must be addressed with medical care or otherwise the patient may die. The heart attack requires scientific medical attention. The patient may need radical medical intervention and a conscious new direction in lifestyle to repair the damage to the heart and guarantee survival.
The economy is our most precious collective asset serving the well-being of the people and their security and survival. The data on Canada's manufacturing sector indicate the economic organism is suffering something similar to a heart attack that requires scientific care and intervention, and a conscious new direction to repair the damage if it is to survive.
Austerity Is Not a Solution
In the face of the economic problems, the neo-liberal calls for austerity are not solutions; the people cannot consider austerity a serious proposal. Austerity and its measures to attack the well-being of the people and the economy arise both from a subjective desire on the part of the owners of social wealth to retain their hold on power and class privilege and from the objective conditions of the concentration of wealth and power in fewer hands. Owners of social wealth use their power, control and class privilege to serve narrow private interests rather than deal with the problems faced by the economy in a broad, objective and scientific manner.
The owners of social wealth want their private interests protected and served, and dominate the state institutions to fulfil their aim. They do not see or want to see the organic connection between their particular problems and those in other sectors of the economy. They do not want science and the human factor intervening with remedies for any part of the economy that may be seriously sick and affecting the whole. Public meddling in the economy with real solutions that restrict monopoly right is unjustified they say, because it interferes with their private ownership of the various parts of the overall organism and their aim to send privately-controlled social wealth all over the world in search of the greatest returns. The organs of the economy and its social wealth are owned privately, the neo-liberals bleat, and should serve private interests not public interests. Those different parts or organs have to fend for themselves. Privately-owned social wealth demands the highest return without any broad view for the health of the whole. Privately-owned and controlled social wealth does not want restrictions on monopoly right nor any application of private social wealth to solve economic problems or those of society.
If the heart or the liver fails, to use an analogy, the body will just somehow carry on without it goes the neo-liberal refrain and fantasy. Of course, this would be ridiculed if it pertained to a human organism but somehow justified and given serious consideration when dealing with our most precious collective asset, our economic organism. This has to change; our lives depend on our brains analyzing and intervening to cure the collective economy and its interrelated parts, and set the whole on a new consciously pro-social direction. Real problems require real solutions not monopoly right and its demand for austerity that just makes the situation worse.
Manufacturing Sector in Consistent Decline
An item in Blacklock's Reporter, entitled "End Of The Factory 'Heyday'" reports, "Canada has lost so many bread-and-butter factory jobs it's flattened incomes for the entire middle class, says the country's former chief statistician. The research follows a bleak Employment Canada report that concluded 'the "Canadian dream" is a myth' for millions of households.
"Factory closures in the past sixteen years have cost nearly 477,000 jobs that paid under $12 an hour, according to a report by the University of Calgary's School of Public Policy. 'This was the heyday of the low-wage model of Canadian manufacturing when a low Canadian dollar fuelled rapid growth in low-wage industries such as textiles, clothing and furniture,' said the report Caught in the Middle.
"The research noted only high-paying manufacturing work, with wages over $20 an hour, has grown since the 1990s. [...]
"Caught in the Middle said the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs disproportionately hurt factory workers with 'lower skill and education' — typically high school graduates — resulting in lower middle class income overall: 'Growth in middle class incomes in Canada has not kept pace with growth in higher incomes over the past three decades.'
"'In the post-war era people with only a high-school education had a chance of factory employment at average pay,' the study noted; 'The largest source of downward pressure on middle-class incomes has been the decline of Canada's manufacturing industry.' [...]
"Statistics Canada earlier reported that, for the first time, retail sales eclipsed manufacturing as the nation's leading job creator in 2013."
The relative growth of the retail sector means more than just replacing low-paying manufacturing jobs. Retail jobs are notoriously insecure and without benefits. Also, anecdotal evidence from the working class in industrial areas would dispute the findings that only low-wage manufacturing jobs have disappeared. Factory after factory with jobs paying over $20 per hour have closed. Some of those lost jobs in the basic industries of steel, auto, forestry manufacturing, heavy industry and food production may have been replaced with an increase in high tech manufacturing, especially in research and development and in construction of energy projects and condos. This possibility does not change the reality for thousands of workers in higher-paying manufacturing jobs who have lost their livelihoods and have not found new employment in similar paying jobs for various reasons, one of which is simply location.
Apart from the individual pain from loss of livelihood, the transfer of higher paying manufacturing jobs from one sector to another combined with absolute losses in the low-wage manufacturing sector have pushed down the relative strength of manufacturing within the economy and the value workers produce. The decline in manufacturing is a factor in intensified and longer-lasting economic crises.
This series of articles will explore the decline of manufacturing and compare it with the relative rise in importance of the resource, financial and retail sectors. The lack of development of a harmonious all-sided economy rooted in internal exchange with vibrant manufacturing, resource extraction and construction sectors, and public services and social programs to meet the needs of the people and economy does not bode well for Canadians' security and well-being, and may well pose an economic existential crisis.
"Are Canadian Factory Doors Being Locked for Good?"
An item in PressProgress also notes the long-term downturn in the manufacturing sector. The article called "Canadian manufacturing jobs plummet to near record low: Statistics Canada" asks, "Are Canadian factory doors being locked for good? The country lost 20,000 manufacturing jobs in February -- the single-largest decrease in any sector. This plunge drove total employment in manufacturing down to 1,690,700 -- the second-lowest level ever recorded by the Statistics Canada Labour Force Survey, which dates back to 1976. [...]
"United Steelworkers economist Erin Weir explains: 'Many had hoped that lower energy prices and a lower exchange rate would boost manufacturing. While no one expected these factors to instantly create more manufacturing jobs, it's hardly encouraging that manufacturing employment is now pushing a record low. A possible explanation is that Canada allowed its manufacturing capacity to erode so much in recent years that it will take not only time, but also supportive public policy, to rebuild.'
"According to Weir's analysis of StatsCan data, Canada's manufacturing employment levels have only dipped below 1.7 million during six months since 1976 -- the lowest month being 1,689,200 in October 2011.
"The new Labour Force Survey is reinforced by RBC's latest Canadian Manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index -- a comprehensive indicator of manufacturing sector trends -- which, in March, recorded its lowest level in the history of the survey.
"Craig Wright, chief economist of Royal Bank of Canada, told the Globe and Mail, [manufacturing] 'staffing levels have now declined for two months in a row, and the rate of job shedding accelerated to its fastest pace in almost 4 ½ years.' [...]
"Last October, Bank of Canada governor Stephen Poloz gave Canadians a "national the-dog-has-died-talk," explaining that capacity in the manufacturing sector 'has simply disappeared': 'Permanent structural damage has been done. It can't be rebuilt, it needs to be replaced -- and that's a harder, longer, less certain task. It's why the Bank of Canada is so adamant about the importance of getting businesses back investing in new capacity -- that's how we replace what we've lost.'
"But the latest numbers indicate that rebuilding the sector might not happen without concerted political will, money and time: As Canadian Labour Congress economist and Broadbent Institute fellow Angela MacEwan points out: 'Most surviving manufacturing exporters are still operating at or below capacity... This permanent loss of capacity isn't truly permanent, we can rebuild, but doing so will take more time, and will wait until conditions are much more certain. This has disastrous consequences for workers.'"
(Next: Part Two -- What Statistics Canada Says About the Downturn in Canadian Manufacturing)
NAFTA Again Enforces Monopoly Right
On March 27, CBC News reported that the Harper government will introduce amendments to Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015, citing anonymous Conservative sources. Bill C-51 faces broad opposition across the country, as well as from witnesses at the House Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security where it is presently under a limited review. The Conservative sources said that the amendments to the bill will be proposed during the clause-by-clause review of the bill at the committee on March 31. The Senate begins its own study of the legislation Monday, March 30, before the House of Commons has even cast its final vote. The fraud being perpetrated is that by making these amendments to an extremist bill the government can claim it is reasonable, listens to its critics and is concerned with putting forward "common sense" legislation to deal with the threat of terrorism.
Some examples of amendments the Conservative committee members will reportedly introduce include changing wording around the responsibility of airlines to prevent terrorist attacks and clarification that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) does not have the power to make arrests.
The most widely discussed amendment leaked to the press relates to a section of Part 1 of the bill, the Security of Canada Information Sharing Act. The section in question changes information sharing practices so that when government departments or agencies decide that something constitutes "activity that undermines the security of Canada" they can freely share information on individuals they claim are involved, without other restrictions applying such as those in the Privacy Act. Following a list of examples of what could be considered "activity that undermines the security of Canada" the bill states, "For greater certainty, it does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression." The "leaked" amendment would remove the word "lawful" from that sentence, according to the CBC.
This is the exact same amendment made by the Liberal government to their 2001 Anti-Terrorism Act. When that bill was introduced it specified that "lawful" protests or other activities would not be considered terrorism. It was then pointed out that violating the most petty municipal or other codes would constitute unlawful activities and be targeted by the Act, even though they are clearly not terrorist activities. The Liberal government eventually acknowledged this and then used the removal of the word "lawful" as evidence that they were concerned about the rights of protestors and political movements.
There was significant debate surrounding the first "anti-terrorism" laws to exist in Canada and the Harper government is no doubt familiar with the issue and the implication of including the word "lawful" in Bill C-51, how it would be interpreted and how the removal of the word was used in 2001 to ease fears about the sweeping laws and new national security regime.
So what gives with the amendments to Bill C-51? Is this a trick or a set up to disarm people from organizing to empower themselves and defend their rights?
Canadians can find no salvation in such frauds. Even worse, the government's amended legislation will no longer seek to divide the people on the basis of what is "lawful" protest and dissent but what is protest and dissent period! By removing the word "lawful," the amended bill will actually increase government and police arbitrariness and impunity to decide whether something constitutes legitimate protest or dissent or something else entirely, such as terrorism. There is also a well-documented and long-standing practice of governments in Canada to use black-ops against its own citizens that Bill C-51 now aims to codify in law. These include ongoing targeting of protestors, political activists and those who oppose the status quo by government, RCMP and CSIS; sharing their information between departments and with their counterparts in other countries, as well as accessing private information; stalking and harassment; and "disruption" of their activities.
When the state and security forces do not operate according to the rule of law and act with impunity it is a sure sign that the people cannot rely on the Constitution and Charter of Rights and Freedoms with its "reasonable limits" as mechanisms that can protect them and defend their rights. The fact that Canadians have no recourse but to wage determined resistance reveals the clash between authority and conditions. The authority is in contempt of the conditions and clings to definitions from the past, definitions of democracy and rights that exist and function to the extent that they are self-serving for those who have usurped power. To carry forward their resistance to victory and beyond, Canadians must mobilize to fight for political renewal and a modern constitution and definition of rights consistent with the needs of the 21st century.
The Bill C-51 amendment fraud being pushed by the Harper government is further evidence of the importance of the active stand of tens of thousands of Canadians protesting to defeat, not amend the Anti-Terrorism Act.
To advance the resistance movements of Canada, the First Nations and Quebec and to block the attacks on rights means stepping up our efforts to defeat Bill C-51 and the Harper government!
Pam Palmater is a Mi'kmaq lawyer, professor and Chair in Indigenous Governance at Ryerson University, a noted media commentator, activist and advocate for the rights of First Nations people, women and children. Ms. Palmater appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Safety and National Security on the morning of March 24 as a witness to speak to her concerns about Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Act, 2015. TML Weekly is reproducing her testimony below which reveals the extent to which people are already targeted by security forces for being political in Canada and how Bill C-51 aims to go further. Palmater also provides an example of the refusal to be intimidated by state forces and why it is necessary to stand up for rights.
Thank you for inviting me here today to speak. I want to first acknowledge we are on the traditional territory of the Algonquin Nation. That's not just the polite acknowledgement, that's the very reason why all of you get to sit here today. Were it not for the cooperation, generosity, kindness and political alliances, Canada wouldn't be what it is. If it wasn't for the peace treaties between our nations that are now constitutionally protected and form part of the foundational aspects of Canada none of us would be sitting here today. I think that goes to the very heart of Bill C-51 and why I am opposed to it.
Prof. Pam Palmater speaks at Toronto Day of Action against Bill C-51, March 14, 2015. (OFL)
Canada has placed Bill C-51 before Indigenous peoples without any information, analysis, details on how it will impact our nations, any consultation or consent from our part. It is a gross violation of our nation-to-nation relationship. I don't have time to go through all of the technical legal details, and problems with this bill, except to say that I echo all of the concerns that have already been brought and will be brought by the thousands of lawyers in this country, security experts, former prime ministers, and former Supreme Court of Canada justices.
My main concern is how this bill will impact me, my family and Indigenous peoples all over Canada and our treaty partners, other Canadians. Canada has a long history of criminalizing every aspect of Indigenous identity. From the scalping bounties in 1749, which nearly wiped out my Mi'kmaq nation, to the Indian Act which has outlawed our culture, our right to educate our own children, and even excluded Indigenous women from our communities. Every aspect of our identity has been criminalized both historically and continues in the present day. In every single instance, we've had to resist all of these laws, keeping in mind these were all validly enacted laws. It was legal to take Mi'kmaq scalps. It was legal to confine us to reserves. It was legal to deny us legal representation. All of these things were law in Canada.
We had to be criminal, as in we had to break the law in order to preserve our lives, our physical security, and our identity. We are being faced with this very problem again with Bill C-51.
Over the years, these laws have morphed into provincial and municipal regulations which deal with even our traditional means of providing subsistence, hunting, fishing, gathering, have all been so criminalized for Indigenous people that we end up skulking around in the forest just to be able to provide food for our families. Every single court case that has been won at the Supreme Court of Canada has been a battle between Indigenous peoples trying to live their lives and exercise their rights and identities facing some kind of criminal or regulatory charge.
In every single instance we have been labelled as
criminals, treated as
criminals, and one need only look at the current prison population to
understand that this is still the case. Not just the case, but, as
from the Office of the Correctional Investigator has indicated, a
and embarrassment. And why? Not because we're actually terrorists. Not
because we're more culturally predisposed to being criminals, but as a
result of Canada's discriminatory laws and policies. There have been
inquiries which have pointed to the infection in our Canadian justice
of racism. The Donald Marshall wrongful prosecution inquiry, the
justice inquiry, the Ipperwash inquiry, say that every aspect of our
system, from the arresting officers, to the lawyers, to the judges, to
system, overtly and systemically discriminate against Indigenous
our current reality.
Bill C-51 proposes to take that to the last and final step. All we have left now as Indigenous people are our thoughts. And our thoughts, our private thoughts will now be criminalized. It will now be possible to be considered a terrorist for storing alleged terrorist propaganda on our own personal computers. My declaration of sovereignty, and I'm going to say it before Bill C-51 passes: I am part of the Sovereign Mi'kmaq nation. That kind of material on my computer could be considered terrorism, a threat to national security because it's a threat to Canada's sovereignty.
Welcome to the new terrorist. My name is Pam Palmater. I'm a lawyer, I'm a professor, I'm a mom, and I'm a social justice activist. I've won numerous awards for my work in social justice, women's equality, children's rights. Depending on who's "radicalized" view you speak of, I have also been called a radical, a bad Indian, eco-terrorist, enemy of the people, top five to fear Canadian, dangerous militant, and whacko extremist.
My biggest concern isn't how I'm presented in the media or by government officials. I'm stronger than that. My biggest concern is how this impacts me right now: the level of government surveillance for a law-abiding, peaceful social justice activist who's never been arrested or convicted of any crime.
In my ATIP [Access to Information and Privacy request] to CSIS, they explained that they have a right to prevent hostile and subversive activities against the Canadian state, which is why they have a file on me. However, they don't offer any reason why I would be considered subversive and hostile. In fact, everything I do couldn't be more public. In my ATIP to Indian Affairs they would not confirm that they monitor me. However, they said they do conduct an analysis of me and my activities because I am an active voice. That "analysis" comprised 750 pages of documents which track all of my whereabouts, cities I was traveling to, where I was speaking and the dates and times. They could not provide my security file because it was destroyed, however.
When I attend gatherings, rallies, protests or public or private events, I often cannot make cell phone calls, send texts or access my social media, my bank cards or my credit cards. I can be at an Idle No More rally or protest and text my children but I cannot communicate with the very chiefs who are at the same protest. This causes me great concern for my safety. How am I supposed to help ensure the comfort and safety of the people at rallies and myself if I can't communicate with anyone. And I don't have to remind this committee the staggering statistics of vulnerability of Indigenous women in this country.
I contacted the RCMP as well. They never responded to my ATIP. However, individual RCMP officers at various events have confirmed that they were there to monitor me. At numerous protests I have been informed by RCMP and provincial police that I had to keep my protest peaceful. Sometimes they didn't identify themselves, and at speaking engagements the host First Nation would demand that any undercover RCMP or Ontario or other police officers identify themselves. And in many cases they did.
What's more concerning is the number of government officials that follow me around from speaking engagement to speaking engagement and often identify themselves when called upon to do so. Probably the most shocking is when I travel internationally in countries like Samoa, Peru, England and Switzerland, only to be informed by local law authorities that Canadian officials are there to monitor me. That's very frightening in a country where I have committed no crime but to advocate peacefully on behalf of my people.
In the prairie provinces, the RCMP are very active. They will often call ahead to the university or First Nation where I'm speaking and ask them to identify what my "target" will be or where I plan my protests. This isn't just a problem for me; we've all heard about Cindy Blackstock and others.
Skipping to what my recommendations are, because I can see that I am out of time: Bill C-51 must be withdrawn. There is no way to fix it. There must be proper public information consultation, specific consultation for Indigenous peoples, and a proper parliamentary study. Directing Justice Canada to rubber-stamp the bill as compliant, even if it has a 95 per cent chance of being overturned in court is not democratic.
We need an independent review body to report on the ongoing surveillance of Indigenous peoples that will take complaints, do proper investigations and offer redress. And finally, we are in desperate need of a special First Nation advocate to be appointed for any and all court processes in all provinces and territories whenever applications are made in secret for court warrants. This person would be an amicus, a friend of the court who would be independent and could speak to all of the various constitutional and Indigenous rights at stake.
This is absolutely essential, especially if Bill C-51 is to be passed.
It doesn't just impact Indigenous peoples, it impacts the rest of Canada: environmentalists, unions, women's groups, children's advocates. We have to get real about what is the clear and present danger here. How many Canadians on Canadian soil have died from acts of terrorism? Compare that with how many thousands of murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls there are. Where is the Bill C-51 to protect them? How many thousands have killed their wives? How many serial killers have we had? Yet we're focusing on C-51.
The problem is this bill isn't really about terrorism. If you do an analysis of this omnibus bill the focus is just as you said, less about being anti-terrorism, and more about protecting the status quo -- the status quo in terms of power relations, in terms of economic relations. This "new" national security law focuses on threats to sovereignty, territorial integrity, diplomatic relations of all things, economic stability, critical infrastructure. All of these things are an essential part of the daily lives of Canadians and First Nations.
Passing this bill for any activity, any person, any purpose that threatens national security so defined as financial stability, and territorial integrity, makes us all suspects. Canada won't even have to pass the bill -- the terrorists will have won. What is terrorism? Fundamentally, it is the denial of life, liberty and security of the person. If Canada goes ahead and takes those rights away, terrorists just have to sit back. Job done. And we worked far too hard in our treaty negotiations, far too hard in the development of the Charter and the Constitution, and all of the international laws that protect core fundamental human rights to allow that to happen because we wanted to protect some corporate economic interests.
Bill C-51 as currently written would capture everything under Idle No More. Imagine, Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come of the Grand Council of the Cree offered a quote for my submission as well, which said that had their activities been done today as opposed to back then, there wouldn't be the negotiation of the James Bay Agreement. They would all be in jail.
The Idle No More movement, which was a historic coming together of First Nations and Canadians peacefully, dancing, singing and drumming, would now all be monitored, if not already, as the media has indicated, maybe arbitrarily detained. All of these things are very frightening for this country, and keeping in mind the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples protects us, grants us, recognizes as international customary law that we can act autonomously, we can occupy our land.
In the Department of National Defence's manual, occupying our land, advocating for our autonomy, advocating for political rights, is described as insurgency alongside "Jihadists." It is no comfort that there is a proviso saying that "lawful" activity, "lawful" dissent, "lawful" protest "lawful," art, whatever that is, won't be captured by this bill, because the second you do a round dance in the street without a permit, it very quickly becomes unlawful.
And we have to remember, I already went over all of the very validly-enacted laws that Canada has had that have killed, ended up in killing, murders, rapes, sterilization, scalping of our people. Those were valid laws. The only way to protect ourselves was to act unlawful in resistance. What we're saying now is that the clear and present danger to First Nations and Canadians is the environmental destruction and contamination of our water, and we have a right to defend our life, liberty and security to protect our future generations. Under this bill, that will all be captured as a threat to national security and/or terrorism.
To stay up to date with unfolding developments on Bill C-51, see Renewal Update, online bulletin of the Marxist-Leninist Party of Canada.
(Photos: OFL, TML)
Parliament Resumes Debate on Anti-Communist Bill S-219
On March 25, Bill S-219, the Journey to Freedom Act passed second reading and was referred to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage by the House of Commons. The bill was debated in the House on March 23 and 25.
Bill S-219 was originally introduced in the Senate by Conservative Senator Thanh Hai Ngo and entitled the Black April Day Act. In the face of opposition to his outrageous bill, Senator Ngo changed its name to the Journey to Freedom Act. The entire procedure used to push the bill through the Senate has been severely criticized for the undemocratic and biased practices used by the Conservative majority. Several Vietnamese community organizations and Viet Nam's Ambassador to Canada, who asked to present their concerns about the bill to the Senate committee, were not allowed to testify. The change in the name of the bill cannot hide the extremist anti-communist mentality of its Conservative sponsors which has given rise to a wide-scale expression of anger and concern from people in many different communities in Canadian society.
During debate on the bill in the House of Commons, many MPs -- whether for or against the bill -- stated that they had received many e-mails and phone calls from people who were upset about many aspects of the bill and hurt by the manner in which their voices were silenced by the actions of Conservative Senators. They all expressed the desire that the House of Commons have a full and democratic debate.
The debate clearly showed that the change in the name of the bill does not in any way change the extremist views of the Harper Conservatives as they attempt to falsify history and denigrate the great victory won by the Vietnamese people on April 30, 1975.
Conservative MP Mark Adler reminded the House that the
of the bill was to "mark April 30 as a day to commemorate the fall of
when the communist forces of the north invaded the south and took over
country." He went on to say, "April 30 is a significant day for the
people. It is also a significant day because it marks a time when
ended for a group of people around the world, and our young people need
The rabid anti-communism of the Harper Conservatives is such that they are intent on distorting historical facts for their own narrow goals. They don't want our young people to know anything about the more than fifteen years of military aggression by U.S. imperialism against the Vietnamese people. They don't want them to know of the billions of pounds of bombs dropped in carpet bombing north and south Viet Nam; the use of agent orange to poison the countryside, from which generations of Vietnamese people still suffer; and the heroic struggle waged by the Vietnamese people at the cost of millions of lives. Mr. Adler was right that on April 30, "freedom ended for a group of people around the world." That day the freedom to exploit and dominate the people of Viet Nam ended for the U.S. imperialists and their accomplices in Saigon. This great victory was celebrated all over the world by millions of people who stood on the side of Ho Chi Minh and North Viet Nam and the National Liberation Front of South Viet Nam in their struggle for the reunification of Viet Nam and their national liberation struggle against U.S. military occupation.
During the debate, Rathika Sitsabaiesan, NDP MP for Scarborough -- Rouge River, spoke about the views she received from the Vietnamese community in Toronto who are insulted that this bill is being put forward in their name. She received a brief from the community that she has submitted to the Standing Committee on Canadian Heritage for their consideration. She said, "The brief points out that the bill offends and marginalizes most of the people it purports to honour by assuming that they would join former Saigon military officers in commemorating the fall of Saigon on April 30. The majority of Vietnamese Canadians will never join that commemoration. I read this directly from a brief I was given, which clearly shows there is a divide in the community. As responsible legislators, we need to ensure that all voices are heard, and that did not happen in the Senate. I hope that in the committee phase we will be able to ensure that all voices are heard."
Ms. Sitsabaiesan added, "The second main point identified in the brief is that the bill exploits the boat people and the Canadians who helped them by using them to justify having a national day to commemorate the fall of the Saigon military regime, a divisive, partisan, political event that most of them will not participate in." She pointed out that there were several waves of immigrants from Viet Nam and not all of them had the same motivation to leave Viet Nam as the Saigon regime which was defeated on April 30, 1975. The views received from the community are not in favour of commemorating April 30. They recommended adopting another date -- July 27, 1979 -- because that was the first date that refugees from Viet Nam were brought into Canada. She concluded, "The bill says it is about giving gratitude, but it is called the Journey to Freedom Day bill. Which journey to freedom does the bill actually talk about? That is the real question."
Stéphane Dion, Liberal MP for Saint-Laurent -- Cartierville, expressed his reluctance to support a bill that is creating "divisions within the Vietnamese community," which he said he sincerely regrets. Mr. Dion's remarks reflect the amount of reaction he has received from his constituents about the content of Bill S-219. He said: "Some Vietnamese Canadians have written to us, their parliamentarians, to tell us that they do not like the date chosen for the commemoration, April 30; others do not like the title; still others are afraid this commemoration will lead to a historical interpretation that makes them uncomfortable. To that I say that it is important for the people of the Vietnamese community to talk to each other. This commemoration must not be a divisive issue."
He concluded: "We, as Canadian parliamentarians, need to clearly understand and send a message that, above all, our intention with this bill is not to dictate an official, unilateral version of the history of another country. We cannot even do that when it comes to Canada."
In changing the name of Bill S-219 to the Journey to Freedom Act, one of the main distortions of history being repeated is that Canada has always been a land of refuge for all oppressed peoples. This has never been the case. The immigration policy of the Canadian government as far back as the 1900s has been openly discriminatory and has always been based on the foreign policy and the political needs of the government at the time.
For instance, during debate on this bill and on many other occasions the example has been given of the MS St. Louis and the 915 European Jewish refugees it carried escaping from Nazi Germany in 1939. The ship was not allowed to dock in Halifax and it was forced to return to Europe where more than one-third of the passengers eventually died at the hands of the Nazis. The refusal of the Canadian government to accept the Jewish refugees has been wrongly attributed to so-called anti-Semitism prevalent in Canada at that time. This is a facile explanation designed to cover up the true nature of the Mackenzie-King government and its allies the U.S. and Britain. It is a well-known fact that not only was the Prime Minister of Canada a great admirer of Hitler and his policies, but together with the U.S. and Britain and other Western governments, encouraged Hitler to turn his armies to the east to destroy the Soviet Union. That was the consideration guiding the thinking of the Canadian government and why the passengers of the MS St. Louis were not allowed to land in Canada.
Oakville, Ontario monument to the
Galicia SS division, Ukrainian
collaborators with the Nazis.
After the war the same Canadian government did not hesitate to welcome into Canada thousands of survivors of the Galicia Division of the 14th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS. The Galicia Division was a Ukrainian military formation within the German Nazi army, created in Western Ukraine (specifically the Galicia District of the German-occupied areas) to fight on the Eastern front against the Soviet Red Army. The Galicia Division has been accused of killing many Polish, Ukrainian and Yugoslav partisans who fought to liberate their countries from Nazi German occupation. The Soviet Red Army crushed the unit in the battle of Brody in 1944; it was rebranded as the First Division of the Ukrainian National Army before surrendering to the allied forces in 1945. In 1947 thousands of members of the SS Galicia were allowed to immigrate to Canada, the U.S. and Britain. They have their own memorial in Oakville, Ontario (see right).
In autumn of 1956, instigated by the U.S. and other western powers, students launched a series of protests against the Hungarian government. This very quickly turned into an armed revolt when a significant section of the army, including high ranking officers who opposed the socialist government, mutinied and full-scale armed conflicts were launched in Budapest and other cities across the country to overthrow the elected government. This was one of the first attempts of the U.S. following WWII to undermine any of the People's Democracies that had been established in Eastern Europe and the Hungarian government asked the Soviet Union for assistance to control the situation. Once the Hungarian authorities succeeded in restoring order many of the conspirators were arrested and put on trial.
During the period of upheaval thousands of people, especially members of the army who had committed serious crimes, escaped across the border into Austria. The U.S. mainstream media used all its resources to create disinformation about the events, refusing to explain the role of the U.S. and others and taking the opportunity to attack the Soviet Union and spread an endless stream of anti-communist propaganda all around the world. The notorious anti-communist, Richard Nixon, Vice-President of the U.S. at the time, made a special trip to Austria for a photo-op with the criminal Hungarian army defectors who were also rabid anti-communists and congratulated them for their "contribution to freedom and democracy in the world."
As a result, all western governments, including Canada, opened their doors to the refugees from Hungary who had escaped "from the evils of communism." Once again, the foreign policy of Canada was dictated by the actions of the U.S. which was actively interfering in the internal affairs of countries all over the world. Already the U.S. had conspired to overthrow the elected governments of Iran in 1953 and Guatemala in 1954.
U.S. imperialism has created one crisis after another in its drive for world domination -- the very reason why millions of people have been uprooted and displaced and forced to seek refuge away from their own lands -- and then shamelessly pats itself on the back for providing "refuge." This is the ultimate hypocrisy to which the Harper government also subscribes and calls its "humanitarianism towards immigrants." In the name of high ideals, backwardness and distortions are being put forward in contempt of the Vietnamese people who were the victim of the most vicious aggression that history has ever witnessed.
The current plight of the Roma people leaves no doubt that the Harper government, far from being concerned about the dangers facing people and providing aid and safe refuge to those in need, are motivated strictly by their extremist and narrow-minded objectives.
The Roma are Europe's largest minority with an estimated 8 to 12 million, the majority living in Central and Eastern Europe. Throughout their long history in Europe they have been subjected to slavery, exiled, killed, used as scapegoats and marginalized in almost every country where they have settled. During the Second World War the Roma living in Nazi-occupied countries were rounded up and sent en masse to concentration camps. Seven thousand Roma lived in the Czech Republic before the Second World War; less than 600 survived. Today they suffer low employment rates, low education levels, lack of access to government services and health care, poverty, segregation and violent crimes perpetrated by neo-Nazis and skinheads.
Faced with racial discrimination, persecution and neo-Nazi attacks in countries like Hungary and the Czech Republic, Roma applications to immigrate to Canada drastically increased in the late 1990s. In 1998 the Immigration and Refugee Board (IRB) introduced unprecedented procedures which they used to deny the applicants refugee status. On March 27, 2006, the Federal Court of Appeal overturned one of the cases denied by the IRB on the basis that in the opinion of the Court the procedure used by the IRB was designed solely to limit the number of Hungarian Roma accepted as refugees in Canada. This was an important decision because it should have put an end to IRB practices which resulted in more than 10,000 Hungarian Roma refugees, whose applications were rejected, being deported back to Hungary during the period 1998 to 2006.
However, with the appointment of Jason Kenney as Minister of Immigration in 2006, the Harper Conservatives, in violation of the decision of the Federal Court of Appeal, began a systematic campaign to undermine the legitimate claims of the Roma for refugee status. Kenney made public statements which described the Roma as "bogus refugees" because they were living in "democratic countries," and denied the racism and persecution they faced on a daily basis.
In June 2012, the Harper Conservatives passed Bill C-31, the Protecting Canada's Immigration System Act. This was an omnibus bill which allowed the detention of "irregular arrivals," without a warrant or right to appeal. The bill gave the Minister sole authority to set a list of "safe countries" which it claimed were able to protect their own citizens. This severely limited the residents of these countries applying for refugee status and revoked their right to appeal a rejection.
Kenney's targeting of Roma refugees sparked legal action
in the Roma
community. Toronto-based lawyer Rocco Galati and the Czech
Roma community launched a lawsuit against Kenney, accusing him of
blatantly undermining the Immigration and Refugee Board's independent
tribunal process by spreading bias against the Roma.
Syed Hussan, an organizer with the immigrant and refugee rights organization No One is Illegal, argued that "safe country" legislation is linked to economic factors and trade agreements that Canada has signed or is negotiating. He pointed out that placing these countries on the "safe country" list gives the Canadian government the power to turn away large numbers of refugees: "We call this bill the Refugee Exclusion Act." Hussan said, "This bill gives [immigration officers] massive powers of detention [of] anyone who is not a citizen and demolishes all the key pillars of a permanent refugee system. If citizenship can be taken away at the whim of a government we are in deep trouble."
Clearly the "humanitarianism" of the Harper government is selective. The dire situation of the Roma in Eastern Europe provides no opportunity to mount a tirade against communism or for any geo-political purposes to suit Harper's extremist agenda in the region. In fact the Roma are being persecuted and attacked by the very right-wing governments and their neo-fascist allies in Eastern Europe which the Harper government is supporting in order to instigate war in Ukraine and demonize Russia. The appeals of the Roma for help are falling on deaf ears as far as Harper and Kenney are concerned.
With the debate on the Journey to Freedom Act, the Harper Conservatives are hell-bent on falsifying history and reviving old controversies to promote anti-communism and to glorify fascist forces and the dregs of society on whom history has already passed judgment. The extremist position of the Harper government and its agenda to further concentrate state power in the executive at the expense of public institutions and public interest stands exposed for all to see!
1. "Roma Refused -Changes to refugee law shut doors to persecuted minority," Kristyna Balaban, The Dominion, April 20, 2014
(Photos: Wikipedia, ACORN)
Temporary Foreign Workers Face April 1 Deportation
On April 1, many temporary foreign workers will be forced to leave Canada. Others will become undocumented workers, even more vulnerable to illegal practices of all kinds by employers. Those who face deportation have been living and working in Canada for at least four years and many for much longer. This brutal action by the Harper government shows the kind of "land of refuge" it considers Canada to be.
In 2011 the Harper government announced that after working for four years in Canada, temporary foreign workers (TFWs) and live-in caregivers would have to return home and would not be eligible to re-enter Canada for four years. The clock started ticking April 1, 2011. The human toll of this anti-worker, anti-immigrant policy is enormous. Many workers owe huge sums to labour brokers who operate with impunity offshore. Children will be forced to leave school mid-year and families will abruptly lose their health care coverage.
The Migrant Workers Alliance for Change states: "These changes are effectively a mass deportation. These rules will tear apart families, friends and communities across the country. Migrant workers pay tens of thousands of dollars to come to Canada and work at minimum wage jobs to provide an opportunity for their family; so that their children can go to school; and to have a better life. The 4 & 4 rule strips away migrant workers' dignity, forces workers already in precarity into further uncertainty, and imposes discriminatory and arbitrary barriers on how long workers can stay here.
"That these migrants have worked in Canada for four years proves that their jobs are permanent, not temporary. These friends and community members deserve permanent residence, not deportation. This 4 and 4 rule entrenches a revolving door immigration policy, employers can simply replace current with new workers."
The fact that the government is deliberately entrenching a revolving-door migrant labour program to keep workers as vulnerable as possible was confirmed by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) in response to complaints from the mushroom industry that they could not recruit workers under prevailing wages and working conditions. "There is nothing stopping mushroom producers from applying for new temporary foreign workers," ESDC responded in an email to the mushroom growers association.
A broad movement has developed to demand an end to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program (TFWP) and permanent residency for all TFWs now in Canada. The slogans "Good Enough to Work -- Good Enough to Stay!"; "Status for All!" and "Immigration Yes -- Deportation No!" have won wide support amongst Canadians and migrant workers have vigorously defended their rights with courage and dignity.
In contrast to this just stand, the Harper government
has exposed itself as
thoroughly racist and unfit to rule. In an extremely ugly attempt to
against each other and blame the people for racism, the Harper
trying to present this inhuman policy of deportation as a response to
widespread opposition to the TFWP.
Employment Minister Pierre Poilievre stated that most Albertans support reduced numbers of TFWs. "With all that is happening in the Alberta economy, people right now feel it is especially important that people who live there get the available jobs," Poilievre said, as though TFWs are not people who live here. New Brunswick Southwest MP John Williamson left no doubt that it is the state which is racist when he told delegates at the Manning Networking Conference that it makes no sense to pay "whities" to stay home while companies "bring in brown people."
The Harper government also tries to sow the false idea that the demand that TFWs be granted permanent residency constitutes "queue jumping" to cover up the fact that avenues to permanent residency, especially for low-skilled workers, have been closed.
In 2002, Jean Chrétien's Liberal government enacted the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (IRPA) to replace the Immigration Act. The legislation was designed to accept highly educated and skilled economic immigrants to Canada. Workers accepted to fill low-skilled jobs would not be granted permanent residency and citizenship, but would come as "guest workers" with no permanent status in Canada. A Low-Skilled Pilot Project was created and has grown since that time. The pretence of filling "temporary" jobs evaporated as the TFWP was used to fill low-waged jobs in fast food, hospitality, meat-packing and other sectors.
In theory workers who had their employers' approval could apply for permanent residency through Provincial Nominee Programs (PNP) or federally mandated immigration programs, including the Canadian Experience Class. But of 104,160 TFWs in Canada on December 31, 2013, only 6,457 TFWs were accepted for permanent resident status in 2013.
There are 10,000 applications pending for permanent residency through the Alberta PNP alone. These workers have been waiting to have their applications processed, with many streams closed and no new applications accepted since 2013. Of these, only 1,000 one-year extensions have been granted and the workers still don't know who will be granted an extension or how they are chosen. Everyone else will be subject to deportation.
Immediate steps towards the creation of an immigration policy that serves the public good include halting the deportations and approving permanent residency for TFWs now working in Canada. Employers who connived with offshore brokers should be forced to repay the huge debts acquired by the workers to come to Canada and all forms of worker trafficking should be eliminated. The TFWP should be replaced with an immigration policy administered by the public authority to serve the public good.
A "Cross Canada Day of Action" has been organized by the Migrant Workers Alliance to protest the 4 & 4 rule on March 29 organized by the Migrant Workers Alliance. The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) calls on Canadians to go all out to support it. Immigration Yes! Deportation No!
1. Facts and Figures, Citizenship and Immigration Canada
(With files from TML, iPolitics, Edmonton Journal)
On January 1, the "Express Entry" system for economic immigration came into force. Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) describes Express Entry as a new way of managing applications for economic immigration programs. Citizenship and Immigration Minister Chris Alexander presented the changes as a matter of efficiency and speeding up the application process. In fact they are a form of privatizing economic immigration to Canada in which the public authority is no longer in charge of selection, having only limited veto power. Another very significant feature is the integration of the economic immigration streams with the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.
In brief, CIC creates a pool of workers, and employers choose from the pool. A candidate can enter the pool provided they are eligible for one of Canada's federal economic immigration programs. These programs are the Federal Skilled Worker Program, the Federal Skilled Trades Program and the Canadian Experience Class. Quebec does not use the Express Entry system, and has its own selection process and criteria. Quebec has a Skilled Worker stream and Quebec Experience program, both of which are scheduled to reopen on April 1, 2015.
Under "Express Entry," potential immigrants deemed to meet the criteria for one of these programs will be placed into a pool of candidates. Candidates must meet eligibility and admissibility requirements under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act including minimum language requirements in one of Canada's "official languages." Potential immigrants can also be denied inclusion for reasons of "security."
Employers are expected to show why they cannot hire a Canadian citizen or resident before they select from the pool, using the same fraudulent process used for temporary foreign workers (TFWs), that is by obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA). If the worker is already working in Canada as a TFW in a position for which the employer already acquired an LMIA, that LMIA will be accepted. If the position or person was previously exempt from an LMIA, (that is, they are working under one of the International Mobility Programs), then an LMIA will be required.
Express Entry candidates (those who make it into the pool) who have a job offer supported by an LMIA from a Canadian employer will be invited to apply for permanent residence the next time the system draws applicants from the Express Entry pool. The government sets the quotas, so not all employers will be successful. Which employers will be successful and which will not is not transparent, and can be decided entirely through the use of arbitrary powers. It is another indication of the rule by private interests and destruction of a public authority.
Provincial and territorial governments, and Canadian employers will be able to select people from this pool through provincial and territorial nominee programs. These programs are driven by employers and in most cases require employer sponsorship, so once again it is the employer who chooses.
According to CIC, a job offer is not a requirement for a successful application. This is an extremely deceptive statement. Selection involves a point system where a job offer counts for half of the points needed to qualify, and selection is in any case mainly employer driven.
CIC states that only the candidates "most likely to succeed" will be permitted to make an application. The concept of what it means to declare that an immigrant is "most likely to succeed" is never defined. Canada has no definition of the rights and duties of citizens, so such statements are entirely self-serving and mean whatever the Harper government wants them to mean. They are completely arbitrary and a grave violation of a modern definition and concept of citizenship.
1. Federal Skilled Worker Program: Candidates eligible under this program must have work experience in a skilled occupation and reach a certain points threshold based on their human capital factors. Occupation must be in designated management, professional, technical and skilled trades occupations.
Federal Skilled Trades Program: Candidates eligible under this program must have two years of qualified work experience in a skilled trade in the last five years.
Canadian Experience Class: Candidates eligible under this program must have at least one year of skilled, professional or technical work experience in Canada within the last 36 months.
70th Anniversary of Liberation of Poland
It took place in March 1945 or 70 years ago. The 1st Ukrainian Front launched the Upper Silesian Offensive which actually was the continuation of the Vistula-Oder Operation to liberate the Polish territory west of Vistula.
Poland was liberated by the 1st Belorussian, 2nd Belorussian, 1st Ukrainian and 4th Ukrainian fronts of the Red Army. Liberating Europe from Nazism the fronts were carrying out a number of interrelated missions. The Red Army was delivering final blows to the enemy in Poland to push the enemy out of the country and pave the way for the offensive against Berlin. It had to help the Allies who were begging for help. They were in trouble as a result of the Ardennes and the Vosges offensive launched by the remaining German SS units and the "incapable" formations transported from the German rear to create a bulge in the Allied front line. Having achieved a success in the west, Hitler's command set the mission to hold Poland and its capital at any price.
The 30 most capable divisions, two brigades and the powerful Warsaw garrison (four infantry battalions) were concentrated near Serock and Jaslo. There were up to 50 separate battalions located elsewhere. Seven fortification areas were erected between the Vistula and the Oder. The Germans believed them to be unassailable. The first area near the Vistula was the strongest to be defended by the main forces of Army group "A."
No matter all the efforts to fortify the positions, the forward defensive line was broken by the 1st Belorussian Front at the start of the January offensive. In five days the Soviet forces liberated Warsaw and broke the 500 km long frontline to advance 150 km deep into the enemy's defense lines. British Prime Minister Winston Churchill wrote to Josef Stalin on January 27, 1945, "We are delighted by your glorious victories ... Accept our warmest thanks and congratulations on the historical feats."
The German Army group "A" suffered a major defeat. The 1st Ukrainian Front liberated Krakow, the ancient Polish capital, and entered German territory. In early February the major offensive of WWII was a complete success.
It's a pity that today Poland has forgotten the well-known words of Winston Churchill, who said, "Without the Russian armies Poland would have been destroyed or enslaved, and the Polish nation itself would have been wiped from the face of the earth. But the valiant Russian armies are liberating Poland, and no other forces in the world could have done so."
Today they try to shy away from mentioning the fact that over 600,000 Soviet soldiers gave their lives for the liberation of Poland from Nazis.
The proud Polish nation have forgotten that they were considered to be "untermensch" -- people of second rate. They were not allowed to use the same transport as Aryans. The representatives of the proud Polish nation have also forgotten the warning signs which the Nazis hung on the doors of the restaurants, cinemas and city parks of occupied Polish cities: "Für Hunde und Polen verboten!" ("No dogs or Poles allowed!")
They have forgotten that during the Nazi occupation Poland lost 21.4 % of its population. Poland had the most death factories on its soil -- the most horrible places in human history -- Auschwitz, Treblinka and Maidanek concentration and forced-labor camps.
They have forgotten that Germans destroyed around 40% of
leaving a third of the population without shelter and food.
The material assistance the USSR provided for the recovery of postwar Poland has also been forgotten; the Soviet Union renounced all claims to German property in Poland and yielded 15% of reparation payments and 15% of industrial equipment exported from Germany to Warsaw. They have forgotten the fact that when bread was being rationed in the USSR, in January 1945 the Soviet Union started free shipments of 60,000 tons of grain to Poland. It is possible that many Polish Russophobes and their parents owe their lives to this very grain.
They have forgotten that thanks only to the unbending position of the USSR, or of Stalin, to be more exact, the current Polish-German border was drawn through the Oder-Neisse line, which gave Poland access to the Baltic Sea and increased the country's territory by over 100,000 square kilometers.
Soviet and Polish soldiers hoist the banner of victory, Warsaw, January 1945.
They have forgotten that in the 1980s, that were so difficult for Poland, the USSR gave over 7 billion rubles in free assistance, and in the early 1990s Russia essentially forgave Poland's debt of 5.3 billion rubles, at that time not yet devalued, in foreign currency. Today Polish politicians call all this the "Soviet occupation" and permit lowlifes to desecrate the memory and graves of fallen Red Army soldiers. They do not like to recall these and other facts, like the mass deaths of Russian, Ukrainian, Belorussian and German prisoners in Polish concentration camps in modern Poland. But the Poles themselves do not mince matters with regard to their neighbors' historical memory.
Today, Ukraine advocates the ideas of Stepan Bandera whose followers slaughtered dozens of thousands of people just because they were Poles. The people without shame do not remember their past. They refuse to honor the memory of the Soviet and Polish soldiers who together hoisted the Victory Banner over Warsaw in 1945.
(Strategic Culture Foundation, March 16, 2015. Grammar slightly edited for publication by TML.)
16th Anniversary of NATO War on Yugoslavia
The 16th anniversary of NATO's War on Yugoslavia [March 24, 2015] gives cause to reflect on what American 'diplomacy' is really all about.
The U.S. has long trumpeted itself as the only paragon of virtue and 'defender of freedom' in the world, going into overdrive with this message in the years following the Cold War. Millions of people were duped during this time, but their illusions were quickly dispelled after the 1999 War on Yugoslavia.
This tragedy exposed the true face of American 'diplomacy' as a duplicitous front for pursuing predetermined geopolitical ends. The war wasn't so much about a 'humanitarian intervention' (the reality surrounding which was grossly exaggerated by the Western media) as it was the establishment of a pro-Western proxy state in the heart of the Southern Balkans.
The War on Yugoslavia also marked a turning point where the U.S. began ramping up its aggression all across Eurasia and perfecting the first actual version of Hybrid Warfare.
The U.S. did a lot of horrible things during its War on Yugoslavia, but here are three of the most audacious:
The so-called 'Kosovo Liberation Army' (KLA), the armed wing of Albanian nationalists fighting in the Serbian province of Kosovo, was deemed a terrorist organization by the Yugoslav authorities.
UNSC Resolution 1160, which was supported by the U.S., even condemned the group for its terrorist activity and urged it to immediately halt such actions. Be that as it may, the KLA served a decisive role in destabilizing Serbia, and was thus not only supported by the U.S. throughout the conflict, but its leader Hashim Thaci was even recognized by Washington as the province's 'Prime Minister' afterwards.
Lying to the World:
The U.S. tried to convince the world that the Albanians in Kosovo were experiencing genocide at the hands of the Serbs, but this was nowhere near the reality on the ground. Although some Albanians were certainly killed during their violent uprising against the federal government, Serbs were too, and neither demographic experienced the 'tens of thousands' of deaths that the State Department evoked as the U.S.' excuse for bombing Yugoslavia.
Tens of thousands of more people have died during Mexico's drug war in recent years, for example, but America's southern neighbor has yet to experience a 'humanitarian intervention.'
Bombing of Belgrade begins, March 24, 1999.
Bombing Civilian Infrastructure:
The U.S.-led NATO bombing campaign killed hundreds of civilians and destroyed apartment buildings, farms, schools, hospitals, churches, and bridges. The Pentagon's explanation for such horrors (when it chose to address them) was that its 'precision-targeted munitions' malfunctioned, but the surviving victims refused to believe this.
BONUS: Bombing China and Getting Away with It:
The U.S. hit the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade (officially recognized as the sovereign territory of the country, as is any state's embassy abroad) on 7 May, 1999, killing 3 people and injuring about 20 others. One need only imagine the militant response from the Pentagon if the shoe was on the other foot.
The War on Yugoslavia represented the first testing ground for the application of the U.S.' integrated regime change strategy, however sloppily applied. It combined the following characteristics that would later be developed and perfected in forthcoming conflicts:
Russia's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Vitaly Churkin said during the UN Security Council meeting that All conflicting sides in Yugoslavia should refrain from provocative and thoughtless actions.
In order to stir up chaos and create a pretext for an ultimatum and eventual military intervention, the U.S. supported the KLA during its terrorist war in the Serbian Province of Kosovo.
The U.S. gave President Milosevic the ultimatum to pull all Yugoslavian police and army forces out of Kosovo Province or face the pulverizing consequences.
The destabilization came to a dramatic climax when NATO launched its 'humanitarian intervention' against Yugoslavia, which ultimately led to its fragmentation and destruction.
American intelligence services and Gene Sharp's teachings organized and directed the Bulldozer Revolution of October 2000, which has since been acknowledged as the first Color Revolution.
Nowadays, the methods above have been perfected and patterned in the following order:
The U.S. gives an explicit/public or implicit/behind-the-scenes ultimatum to a targeted country or leader. If they refuse and a 'palace coup' can't be pulled off, then the next step is initiated.
2. Color Revolution:
This 'street coup' attempt seeks to oust the targeted country's leadership through the carefully constructed façade of 'people's power,' whereby the international media is fed the misleading impression that the majority of a country's citizens are revolting against their government. Other than the ultimatum or conventional coup, it's the most cost-effective tool for regime change.
3. Unconventional War:
The third step can be evoked in the midst of the second one before turning into its own full-fledged destabilization when the Color Revolution fails. It capitalizes off of some of the social infrastructure built during the street coup attempt, and then arms the participants and encourages them to commit to terrorism and insurgency in overthrowing their government. Foreign mercenaries can also be involved.
4. Conventional Intervention:
While the previous two steps typically involve a deep level of covert commitment, the final step purposely brings the external destabilizer's actions into the open by initiating an open war. This is the most expensive form of regime change, but is always clothed in grand 'humanitarian' or 'democratic' rhetoric to hide its true intent.
Let's take a look at the most notable example of each stage of the U.S.' regime change template and see how these countries have since coped with the Hybrid War waged against them:
Steps 1-2: Ukraine
The implicit ultimatum against President Yanukovych was that he had to sign the EU Association Agreement, and when he delayed doing so at the last minute, a Color Revolution was unleashed against him. In some ways, the urban terrorism of EuroMaidan even fulfills the requirements for Step 3.
Nowadays, the country lies in ruin and bankruptcy, and the oligarchs (Poroshenko and Kolomoiskyi) are poised to fight a fratricidal war amongst themselves at the expense of more Ukrainian lives.
Steps 1-3: Syria
President Assad refused to allow a gas pipeline from pro-American Qatar to transit Syrian territory en route to the Mediterranean, preferring instead to opt for the Friendship Pipeline with Iraq and Iran. As a punishment, Syria was thus dragged into the theater-wide 'Arab Spring' Color Revolutions spearheaded by the U.S., but when the people resolutely stood by their democratically elected leadership and secular authorities and refused to allow the street coup to succeed, an Unconventional War was unleashed on the country.
As it stands, the most notorious terrorists from every corner of the world have infested the country, slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent people and turning entire cities to rubble in their four-year-long rampage.
Steps 1-4: Libya
Muammar Gaddafi refused to fully integrate his country into the EU-led 'Union For the Mediterranean,' instead choosing to remain an observer member. Despite having surrendered Libya's weapons of mass destruction during an earlier ultimatum in 2007, Gaddafi's reluctance to move forward with Euro-Mediterranean integration made him a marked man.
The U.S.-organized 'Arab Spring' Color Revolutions subsequently targeted him in 2011, and events in the country quickly spiraled into Unconventional Warfare as terrorists surged into the main cities and started killing civilians and government representatives.
NATO decided to commence a bombing campaign against the country shortly thereafter under a false 'humanitarian intervention' pretext, which consequently destroyed the state's social and physical infrastructure and turned it into the fearsome terrorist battleground that it is today.
Remember, these above-cited tragedies would not have been possible had it not been for the U.S.' War on Yugoslavia and the 'perfection' of the regime change techniques that were first applied there. It is for this reason that the memory of 24 March should serve as a somber reminder each year of the lethality of American 'diplomacy' and the uncountable costs that can be incurred from resisting Washington's will.
(Sputnik International, March 24, 2015)
In the News
On March 26, Saudi Arabia initiated airstrikes against Yemen killing some 39 civilians, according to news agencies. The action came after extensive consultations with the U.S., Saudi Arabia's Ambassador to the U.S. Adel al-Jubeir told CNN. Al-Jubeir said that Saudi Arabia had been discussing the issue with the U.S. for several months. However, the final decision came when the situation in Yemen sharply deteriorated, the ambassador said. News agencies report the airstrikes came at the direct request of President Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi.
The U.S.-backed government of President Hadi has been facing opposition from Houthi rebels from northern Yemen since last year. In late January, the Houthi rebels took control of the capital Sana'a and several northern provinces and forced the president and his government to resign (although Hadi later rescinded his resignation). Hadi fled to Aden. On February 6, the rebels issued a constitutional declaration, dissolving parliament and announcing plans to form a replacement assembly.
Yemen's security forces have split loyalties, with some units backing Hadi, and others the Houthis and Hadi's predecessor Ali Abdullah Saleh, who has remained politically influential, news agencies report. Hadi is also supported in the predominantly Sunni south of the country by militia known as Popular Resistance Committees and local tribesmen, according to news reports.
Both President Hadi and the Houthis are opposed by al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), which has staged numerous deadly attacks from its strongholds in the south and south-east, state news reports.
As rebel forces closed in on the president's southern stronghold of Aden in recent days, a coalition led by Saudi Arabia responded to a request by Hadi to intervene and launched air strikes on Houthi targets. As the rebels closed in on Aden, Hadi fled to Saudi Arabia. The coalition, led by Saudi Arabia comprises five Gulf Arab states and Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan and Sudan.
In the operation, codenamed "Operation Decisive Storm," Saudi Arabia deployed some 100 fighter jets in the airstrikes, while some 150,000 soldiers await a possible invasion. Also present are navy units, news agencies report. Aircraft from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Morocco, Sudan and Egypt are also part of the military force.
Houthi leader Abdel-Malek al-Houthi, in a televised speech, described the Saudi-led operation as a "despicable aggression."
"What do they expect us to do, surrender, announce our defeat and act like cowards? Absolutely not. This is not how the honourable Yemeni people think. We will fight back. All 24 million Yemenis will stand united and face that despicable aggression," al-Houthi said. He added, "If any army tries to invade our country, we will prove that Yemen will be a grave for those who invade us."
On March 26, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon demanded that Yemen's sovereignty and territorial integrity be respected and rejected foreign interference, which he said had the potential to worsen the situation, rather than facilitating a political transition. He recalled the Security Council Presidential Declaration of March 22, which ratified the legitimacy of Hadi as president and urged the states to refrain from taking actions against Yemeni unity and independence. Ban called on all those involved in the Yemeni conflict not to forget their obligations under international humanitarian law, and ensure the protection of civilians and UN personnel.
Iran, which says it provides diplomatic and humanitarian support to the Houthis, denounced the Saudi-led air campaign, saying it "considers this action a dangerous step." Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a March 27 statement that Iran is "ready to cooperate with its brothers in the region, to make it easier for different groups in Yemen to have dialogue to protect the integrity and facilitate restoration of stability and the security in that country."
The comment came after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an interview that his country could provide logistical support for the Saudi-led military operation. Zarif noted that Iran respects its strategic relations with Turkey.
Regarding official statements by the U.S. on the situation, on March 26 White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz responded to a reporter's question as to whether the U.S. would undertake direct military involvement. Schultz replied:
"While the U.S. are not taking direct military action in
Yemen in support
of this effort, we are establishing a joint planning cell with Saudi
coordinate U.S. military and intelligence support. More specifically to
question I think, we are fully aware and supportive of the GCC [Gulf
Cooperation Council] members' decision to respond to President Hadi's
and take this action to defend Saudi Arabia's border and to protect
legitimate government." The U.S. itself has shown utter disregard for
Yemen's sovereignty. For the past several years it has been using
drones to carry out regular targeted assassinations against those it
deems terrorists in Yemen, killing many civilians in the process.
The Russian Foreign Ministry expressed its opposition to the Saudi-led airstrikes in a March 26 statement, which said in part:
"Moscow expresses its gravest concern with the latest developments in the friendly Yemen Republic. Russia has always consistently supported the country's sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity," the Foreign Ministry said. "Along with that, we consider it especially important that all sides in the Yemen conflict and their foreign allies immediately stop all military actions and attempts to reach their goals with weapons," the Ministry stressed. "We are convinced that deep disagreements existing in Yemen now can only be solved by nationwide dialogue," it added.
"In its turn, Russia, in its contacts with all parties involved in the Yemen developments, continues to build up, including on the UN platform, efforts on soonest resolution of the military conflict in Yemen," the Foreign Ministry said.
The European Union opposes the airstrikes with the EU High Representative and Vice President Federica Mogherini saying the operation "dramatically worsened the already fragile situation" and "risk[s] having serious regional consequences."
(With files from Al-Manar, Prensa Latina, TASS, Asharq Al-Aswat, Al Jazeera. Photos: Al Rai)
Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank
In October 2014, twenty-one Asian nations discussed and signed on to create a new development bank for Asia, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). China, supported by Vietnam and other Asian countries, began the initiative with an aim to boost infrastructure investment mainly in Asia but also in Africa and elsewhere. Asian leaders expressed frustration with the existing public international banking agencies: the World Bank, International Monetary Fund and the Asian Development Bank.
Objections to the dominant public funding agencies range from the dictatorial control exercised by U.S. imperialism to the onerous terms for borrowing social wealth and the overt interference of the lending institutions into the political, economic and social life of the borrowing country. Another important complaint revolves around the use of the funds of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) as bailouts for distressed loans and bonds of private financial lenders. Recent examples are those in Greece and Ukraine where IMF loans go directly into the pockets of private international lenders and not for development projects. Also, it must be remembered that private lending institutions, which dwarf the international financial institutions, are by far and away dominant in the world, with the largest banks each controlling over $1 trillion in social wealth.
The AIIB reflects initiatives by countries around the world to escape as best they can the suffocating control of U.S. imperialism and its dollar hegemony. Leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa met on July 15, 2014 and initiated the BRICS Development Bank (officially called the New Development Bank) with working social wealth of $100 billion and a reserve pool of another $100 billion. Speeches at the founding conference said the New Development Bank is necessary to counter the dominating control of public and private international financial institutions headquartered in the U.S., Japan and the big powers of Europe.
The AIIB gave a deadline of March 31, 2015 for countries to join as founding members. The initial group of twenty-one members from last October includes:
Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, China, India, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Laos, Malaysia, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Philippines, Qatar, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Uzbekistan and Vietnam.
U.S. imperialism immediately began an international campaign to denounce the AIIB calling it a Chinese conspiracy to ruin the existing world financial order and impose its own domination replete with corruption and favouritism. The U.S. together with Japan, which is still under U.S. military occupation, began to exert pressure on everyone to shun the AIIB. The U.S. also sees the new bank as a spoke in the wheel of its effort to isolate China as it diverts attention away from the U.S.-proposed free trade zone, the Trans Pacific Partnership, which excludes China. Many personages in the international financial community have expressed horror at the irrational antics of U.S. imperialism and its fawning media such as the New York Times in opposing the AIIB.
Former World Bank managing editor Kevin Rafferty in a recent item in the Japan Times writes, "China's plans to set up the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank have demonstrated that the United States has lost its way and is rapidly forfeiting claims to global financial, economic, political and moral leadership. Questions also have to be asked about the wisdom and leadership of the World Bank and Asian Development Bank and about the chief Asian supporter of the U.S. -- Japan."
U.S. pressure failed to stem the tide, as country after country applied to join including even the UK. On this development Rafferty writes, "From the moment the project was mooted, Washington's responses have been woeful, more or less wishfully hoping that the bank would go away. Even in mid-March, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew demonstrated his failure to understand the wisdom of that old adage, if you are in a hole, stop digging. Lew urged European countries not to join the AIIB. He was too late: Germany, France, Italy and Luxembourg had already announced they were rejecting U.S. opposition and would join the United Kingdom in becoming founder members of AIIB before the March 31 deadline.
"The weeks before Lew's comments, an unnamed senior U.S. official took the unusual step of talking to the Financial Times explicitly to condemn the U.K. for breaking ranks and announcing it was joining AIIB. 'We are wary about a trend toward constant accommodation of China, which is not the best way to engage a rising power,' grumbled the American official."
Countries joining the initial twenty-one founding members in 2014: Indonesia, Maldives, New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
Countries joining in 2015 up to March 26: Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Jordan, Luxembourg, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey and United Kingdom.
The Harper government to this point has refused to join the AIIB but has refrained from repeating the disparaging comments coming from the U.S. TML Weekly will carry a report when the AIIB founding documents are published.
1. China announced on March 28, the following countries have applied to join the AIIB: Australia, Russia, Netherlands, Brazil and Georgia. This means that U.S. imperialism's attempt to stop countries from participating in the AIIB has collapsed in failure.
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