March 25, 2017 - No. 10

Canada's Participation in U.S. Imperialist War Preparations

All Out to Make Canada a Zone for Peace!

Trudeau Government's Missions Abroad
Canada Extends Iraq Mission and Prepares Syria Intervention
- Margaret Villamizar -
Foreign Minister Attends Washington Meeting of "Global Coalition"
- Enver Villamizar -
Canada Leads NATO Mission in Latvia
- Hilary LeBlanc -
Unacceptable Military Intervention in Ukraine
- Tony Seed -
Undisclosed Canada-Ukraine Defence Cooperation Agreement
- Sam Heaton -
Violent Attack on Westminster Bridge in London, England

Unite in Action to Defend the Rights of All
- Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain (Marxist-Leninist) -
Expansion of U.S. Imperialist Aggression
U.S. Begins Ground Invasion of Syria
Trump's National Security Memorandum on "Plan to Defeat ISIS"
Authorization for Further U.S. Onslaught Against Yemen
CIA Drone Assassination Program Resurrected

Dangerous Situation on Korean Penninsula
No to Key Resolve/Foal Eagle War Games Against the DPRK!
No to U.S. Missile Defence on Korean Soil!

Toronto Actions Support Korean People's Struggle and
Oppose War Preparations

Coming Events: Toronto Pickets Against U.S. War Preparations
on Korean Peninsula

  End the Occupation of Palestine!
Head of UN Agency Refuses to Retract
Report on Conditions of Palestinians

Resignation Letter of UN Official

Canada's Participation in U.S. Imperialist War Preparations

All Out to Make Canada a Zone for Peace!

Windsor, March 18, 2017

March 19 marked the 14th anniversary of the criminal U.S. invasion of Iraq, which led to unimaginable destruction and the deaths of hundreds of thousands of people as well as countless other crimes and a situation of insecurity and hardship that still prevails in and around that country today. Canada did not officially join the 2003 war against Iraq, but in fact Canada's military did take part in it and played a supportive role in various significant ways.[1]

In Canada as in all countries thousands upon thousands of people voiced their rejection of the war and refused to be embroiled in fraudulent debate about the U.S. pretext of "weapons of mass destruction," which was later shown to be a hoax to justify the war.

In a situation where Canada's government says it stands for peace and multilateralism, but is in fact embroiling Canada in the U.S. striving to control Europe and dominate Asia, it is playing a very negative role by promoting NATO's encirclement of Russia and justifying regime change in Syria while supporting Saudi attacks on Yemen and through other crimes it is encouraging against peace.

In Latvia, it is sending 450 Canadian soldiers as well as armoured vehicles to be stationed beginning in June as part of a large NATO military buildup on Russia's borders. Officials cynically describe the deployment as a "tripwire." This is defined as a force, "engagement with which will trigger the intervention of stronger forces." Stephen Saideman, NATO academic at Carleton University's Norman Patterson School of International Affairs told Maclean 's that the "tripwire" concept means "the response is now wired in via the dead Americans, Canadians, Brits and Germans..."

Canada has extended for two more years the deployment of 200 soldiers to Ukraine for "training" neo-Nazi militias deployed in a civil war, and will soon sign a Defence Cooperation Agreement to begin arming these forces. That war, instigated by a U.S.-backed coup in 2014, has now cost more than 10,000 lives and is consuming vast amounts of Ukraine's national income.

More than 800 Canadian military personnel are deployed in Iraq and surrounding countries as part of a U.S. coalition. Canadian warplanes continue to fly missions over Iraq and Syria in support of U.S. bombing. That mission, set to expire on March 31 is being extended once again, while Canada is preparing further intervention in Syria. Canada continues to announce tens of millions of dollars in new funding for anonymous groups operating in Syria, subverting that country's institutions and genuine humanitarian organizations.

The Trudeau government does not raise its voice against the unacceptable, illegal threats of the new U.S. Secretary of State -- former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson -- to conduct preemptive strikes against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, even while the voices of the Korean people cry out louder than ever demanding the U.S. sign a peace treaty to end the Korean war and end its military occupation.

While the U.S. announces a $54 billion increase in its military budget, it also demands Canada double its military spending to two per cent of GDP. The Liberal government is now dutifully looking at how to increase war spending and shift budget lines, to declare it will make the target. It is step by step giving up the pretense that Canada is a sovereign country whose military spending should be based on what is required for self-defence.[2]

The government will soon announce a new defence policy for Canada based on a Defence Policy Review that consisted of "consultations" with defence contractors, pro-war academics, U.S. military representatives and others and an expert panel including former Liberal Minister of Defence Bill Graham. In September 2016, Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan stated that the new defence policy will "emphasize the importance of air sovereignty and awareness. This includes, of course, the threat posed by the proliferation of ballistic missiles, and the U.S. Ballistic Missile Defence program." In that regard, the Liberals are expected to reverse Canada's 2005 decision to not participate in U.S. missile defence. Canadians have time and again expressed opposition to the proposal.

Canada's decision to "emphasize the importance of air sovereignty and awareness" is an indication that it will further place Canadian airspace under U.S. control through NORAD, including deployment of not only U.S. missiles but increasingly U.S. warplanes. A March 14 article in the National Post by Matthew Fisher noted that the Liberal plan to spend up to $7 billion on 18 "Super Hornet" fighter jets would mean "giving up its sovereignty over the High Arctic as it comes to depend on U.S. jets flying from airfields in Yellowknife, Inuvik, Rankin Inlet, Iqaluit and Alaska."

This treacherous, perilous situation of Canada's increasing participation in U.S. war preparations is especially troubling given that Canadians are opposed to embroiling Canada in U.S. wars of aggression all over the globe. The Trudeau Liberals have shown themselves to be as subservient to imperialist interests as the Harper Conservatives. With the new U.S. administration, they are more determined than ever to show themselves as willing instruments of empire-building.

In the House of Commons no party has raised an objection to these war preparations, Canada's subservient relationship with the U.S. or the constant demonization of Russia, Iran, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea and other sovereign countries.

The need for discussion on matters of war and peace within the polity and a pro-active stand has never been greater. A pro-active stand is one which seeks to create the conditions for Canadians to end Canada's support for U.S. imperialist war preparations and establish an anti-war government that is a factor for peace and the peaceful resolution of conflicts, upholds sovereignty and supports those fighting for their rights internationally.

To assist Canadians in discussing these important matters, in this issue TML Weekly features articles on Canada's intervention in Iraq and Syria, Ukraine and Latvia and increasing U.S. aggression in the Middle East, opposition to Zionist attacks on those who shed light on the conditions of the Palestinian people, as well as information on the situation on the Korean peninsula where the U.S. is conducting aggressive war games and also imposing its missile defence systems. TML Weekly calls on Canadians to inform themselves about these matters to help give organized expression to their aspirations for peace on a world scale.


1. This included:

- Canadian warships escorted the U.S. Navy through the Persian Gulf during the invasion;
- Canadian Rear Admiral Roger Girouard led the U.S. coalition navy fleet during the war;
- The contribution of more than two dozen logistics officers to the war effort in the Persian Gulf in early 2003;
- Canadian Brigadier General Walter Natynczyk was second-in-command of the entire Iraq war for 2004. He commanded 10 brigades totalling 35,000 soldiers. When Governor General Clarkson gave Natynczyk the Meritorious Service Cross, her office extolled his "pivotal role in the development of numerous plans and operations [which] resulted in a tremendous contribution to Operation Iraqi Freedom, and brought great credit to the Canadian Forces and to Canada;"
- Canadian military personnel on U.S. E-3 Airborne Warning and Control System warplanes provided surveillance, command, control and communications services;
- Canada provided airspace for and refuelled U.S. aircraft travelling to and from the Iraq War, including in Gander, Newfoundland;
- Canadian CC-130 military transport planes supplied "coalition" forces;
- Canadian soldiers took part in the occupation of Afghanistan, freeing up thousands of U.S. troops for deployment to Iraq;
- Dozens of Canadian troops also took part under U.S. command;
- Other contributions to the U.S. war effort, included weapons testing, providing depleted uranium, diplomatic support, military exports and funding of various kinds.

(Richard Sanders, "Canada's secret war in Iraq," Common Ground, February 2008.)

2. Among the initiatives in support of U.S. war preparations, Canada's government announced on February 28 that it is purchasing 20 state-of-the-art "weather radars" to replace its current network of doppler radars, including those operated by the Department of National Defence (DND). Along with it comes a new $430 million supercomputer being built by IBM in the Montreal area. Among other things, DND says the computer will support "Department of National Defence and Canadian Coast Guard operations in support of sovereignty at home and abroad..."

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Trudeau Government's Missions Abroad

Canada Extends Iraq Mission and Prepares
Syria Intervention

The Liberal government will extend Canada's combat mission in Iraq past its March 31 expiry date, and is looking at options for a military operation in Syria, news agencies report.

More than 800 Canadian military personnel are deployed in Iraq and surrounding countries as part of Operation IMPACT. Seventy of those are Special Forces from the Ontario-based JTF2 who are "training, advising and assisting" Kurdish peshmerga forces near the Syrian border in northwestern Iraq. Others are "targeting experts, based in Kuwait and Qatar, or work with Kuwait-based reconnaissance aircraft which help identify ISIL targets. A small team of Canadian doctors, nurses and technicians also runs a military hospital in the Kurdish city of Erbil, about 70 kilometres east of the front lines around Mosul," Postmedia reports. When the Liberals last extended the mission in 2016, they added a helicopter detachment and a 50-person "intelligence unit," bringing Canadian intelligence personnel in Iraq to 100.

While the Trudeau government shifted Canadian participation from air strikes to ground combat, Canadian warplanes continue to directly assist U.S. bombing in both Iraq and Syria. As of March 18, Canadian aircraft had performed 692 sorties to provide mid-air fuelling to other countries' aircraft carrying out air strikes and 743 intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, including dozens in Syria. Canada's Armed Forces also operate "an all-source intelligence centre" in the region "responsible for collecting, synthesizing, and analyzing information from a variety of sources" for the U.S. Coalition.

According to, U.S.-led Coalition forces have carried out 19,139 air strikes in Iraq and Syria over 951 days, amounting to 72,771 bombs dropped. The organization, which tracks reports of civilian casualties from air strikes, estimates that Coalition strikes have killed, at minimum, 2,715 to 3,925 civilians in Iraq and Syria, out of nearly 10,000 reported.

Imperialist Humanitarianism

To cover up its own role in causing death and destruction in Iraq and Syria, Canada's government on March 17 announced $28 million in funding "to support people in the region." The funding comes out of Canada's "Peace and Stabilization Operations Program" (PSOPs) through Global Affairs Canada. Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland, who was in Washington, DC on February 22 for a meeting of the U.S.-led Coalition against ISIL hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, said the funds would support "new initiatives that will enhance security and stability in the region."

Far from committing to support Syria's recovery, the funding announced continues Canada's unacceptable policy of interference in Syria's internal affairs and promotion of regime change. A Global Affairs backgrounder released to explain Canada's new funding states, "For security reasons, NGO partners working inside Syria are not publicly named." In other words, Canada is funding unknown, unrecognized groups that collaborate with the occupation of Syria by foreign-sponsored armed groups. Despite the fact that the vast majority of Syrians live in areas under the authority of the Syrian government, Canada refuses to cooperate with credible humanitarian authorities to support the population.

In that regard, funding for Syrian programs includes, "in partnership with the United Kingdom":

- "$4 million over one year to respond to urgent needs of communities, including newly liberated areas of Syria. This initiative will provide research capacity to identify the more urgent stability needs of communities in Syria, and rapidly deploy interventions aimed at increasing stability and preventing conflict;

- "$5 million over two years to strengthen inclusive, representative and legitimate governance actors at provincial and local levels with a view to providing effective services for Syrians; and

- "$3 million over two years to provide access to effective, accountable and reliable justice and community security, delivered by legitimate civilian-led institutions in partnership with Syrian communities."

This follows an announcement from Minister of International Development and La Francophonie Marie-Claude Bibeau on February 27 of $108 million in funding to anonymous Syrian "NGOs" over three years. Global Affairs Canada said that this "innovative, multiyear humanitarian funding helps address the needs of conflict-affected people throughout Syria, so our partners can operate as efficiently as possible in this crisis."[1]

Canada is again undermining the legitimate, elected authorities in Syria and funding anonymous groups that do not have the support of the Syrian people and seek to undermine their Syrian-led institutions, recovery and reconciliation. What "governance actors" will Canada be funding, and will these be actors of "governments" set up under foreign tutelage in occupied areas? Will these millions for "community security" go to more discredited groups such as the White Helmets which are now notorious for collaborating with terrorists, depriving the local population and calling for foreign intervention?

None of the funding directed towards Syria recognizes that Syria is a sovereign, independent country with its own institutions and polity that have a right to determine what goes on in their territory. Canada has consistently interfered in the sovereign affairs of the Syrian people, supporting dubious forces under the cover of humanitarianism.

To obscure the heroic battle the people of Iraq, Syria and the region have waged against imperialism and foreign occupation the Canadian government presents them as helpless victims in need of Canada as saviour. Minister Bibeau stated, "Millions of people displaced by the conflict in Syria and Iraq still need our help. Some are returning home to devastated cities and villages. Many more struggle with basic needs in host communities across the Middle East. Canada will continue to uphold their dignity and speak out for the most vulnerable, including women and girls, who are among the most severely affected by this tragedy."

This further hides the role of the U.S. and Canada in destroying Iraq, including even acting as if the 2003 criminal U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq never happened, and presents the peoples of the Middle East as in need of "humanitarian intervention." To further trample on the rights of the peoples of the Middle East who continue to resist only serves to support Canada's self-serving interests in the name of high ideals. That the Liberal government is determined to cynically invoke the plight of women and girls to justify this is depraved and will not divert Canadians from demanding an end to Canada's support for and participation in U.S. wars of aggression.

Canada Continues Brutal Sanctions

Canada's claims of humanitarianism further ring hollow in the context of its continued sanctions against Syria, refusal to have diplomatic relations with Syria or allow Syrians in Canada to access diplomatic services. In 2012 Canada closed the Syrian embassy in Ottawa and ended diplomatic relations, and since then refused to allow Syrians living in Canada to vote in Syrian elections.

Canada imposed broad economic sanctions against Syria following the U.S. in 2011. They prohibit:

- The import of goods, excluding food for human consumption, from Syria;
- The provision or acquisition of financial services to, from or for the benefit of or on the direction or order of Syria or any person in Syria;
- New investments in Syria;
- The export to Syria of goods, including technical data, used for monitoring telecommunications;
- The export of luxury goods to Syria;
- The exports of goods listed in Schedule 2 of the Regulations, including any technical data related to such goods.

Exceptions include "Humanitarian efforts and goods, such as food and medical supplies or equipment, and assistance and activities related to stabilization, democratization, development and reconstruction, if sent through one of the specified categories of organizations."

The Canadian government can designate private organizations in territories under the control of terrorist groups as worthy of "assistance and activities related to stabilization, democratization, development and reconstruction" but the vast majority of Syrians who live in liberated territory are subject to embargo.

A September 26 article by Rania Khalek in The Intercept noted that "Internal United Nations assessments obtained by The Intercept reveal that U.S. and European sanctions are punishing ordinary Syrians and crippling aid work. [...] aid is hard to come by, with sanctions blocking access to blood safety equipment, medicines, medical devices, food, fuel, water pumps, spare parts for power plants, and more. [...]

Khalek notes, "U.S. sanctions on Syrian banks have made the transfer of funds into the country nearly impossible. Even when a transaction is legal, banks are reluctant to process funds related to Syria for risk of incurring violation fees. [...] Items that contain 10 percent or more of U.S. content, including medical devices, are banned from export to Syria."

An e-mail from a UN official in August stated that sanctions had contributed to a doubling in fuel prices in 18 months and a 40 percent drop in wheat production since 2010, causing the price of wheat flour to soar by 300 percent and rice by 650 percent. The email went on to cite sanctions as a "principal factor" in the erosion of Syria's health care system.

Any genuine humanitarian concern for Syrians from the Canadian government would begin with lifting all sanctions against Syria and restoring diplomatic relations with the government of Syria. Canada's claims that its handouts to anonymous groups to carry out private programs constitute support for the Syrian people's recovery is as cynical as cynical gets. All of it confirms the need for Canadians to demand an end to all participation in warmongering in the Middle East.


1. The government claimed that "With support from Canada, partners are delivering health services, including mental, sexual and reproductive health; water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions; and protection services for at-risk conflict-affected populations, including gender-based-violence survivors, women, children and youth. Partners are also engaged in providing agricultural and urban livelihood opportunities and training, such as increasing productivity on cultivated land, supporting women to grow gardens and raise productive animals for domestic consumption and establishing community greenhouses."

(With files from National Post, Canadian Press)

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Foreign Minister Attends Washington Meeting
of "Global Coalition"

On March 22, the U.S. hosted in Washington, DC a meeting of foreign ministers and senior leaders of the "Global Coalition Against ISIS," of which 68 states are now said to be members. The summit was hosted by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, with Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland participating. The meeting was said to be "a key moment to set Daesh on a lasting and irreversible path to defeat."

A communique from the meeting as well as news reports presented a victorious tone of ISIS being on the ropes and all thanks to the U.S. led Global Coalition. That the Coalition operates outside of the United Nations and under U.S. command is completely hidden. Instead the impression is created that the Coalition is a legitimate multi-lateral organization rather than an aggressive alliance of imperialist powers.

Media emphasized U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's announcement that the U.S. will establish "interim zones of stability" in Iraq and Syria, allegedly to help refugees return home in the next phase of the fight against Islamic State and al Qaeda. Tillerson said these would be established "through ceasefires, to allow refugees to return home. "Zones of stability" is the latest euphemism for some form of U.S. invasion and occupation, following "safe zones" and "no-fly zones." To establish such "zones" has been the call of the U.S. ruling elite including the Clinton camp and of the U.S.-backed terrorists in Syria. However, Coalition spokesperson Colonel Joseph Scrocca said the U.S. military had not yet received direction to establish any kind of "zones."

The meeting further exposed the extent of U.S meddling in Syria's internal affairs and the contention and collusion of the big powers to prevent the Syrian government from liberating its entire territory from ISIS as well as U.S.-backed rebels. U.S. defence officials said that the coalition had recently airlifted Syrian rebel forces in an operation near the Syrian town of Tabqa in Raqqa province. It was not explained what they were airlifted from or for what purpose. French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault was also reportedly disappointed that the U.S. did not outline a more detailed plan for the "next phase" of the war, particularly for the Syrian city of Raqqa. Ayrault stated France's desire that the city be put under control of rebel groups as opposed to the Syrian government.

The meeting also announced a shift in focus for the Coalition towards "rebuilding" and "stabilization" in areas liberated from ISIS. While Canada has released no official statement on its participation, Minister Freeland tweeted in this vein, "Canada is committed to defeating Daesh + supporting victims of this conflict, esp by working on stabilization of newly liberated areas." This shift emphasizes maintaining the military presence of U.S.-led Coalition forces in Iraq and Syria on a permanent or semi-permanent basis.

The meeting also hyped up the idea that battlefield success against ISIS in Iraq and Syria will shift the war to other countries or result in terror cells springing up around the world. The CBC reported, "Officials expect in the coming months to see the dissipation of surviving fighters into underground cells that could plan and mount attacks throughout the Middle East, South and Central Asia, Europe, South America and the United States."

Allegedly in response to this, Coalition members agreed to expand and strengthen secret police powers at home and expand information-sharing arrangements with the U.S., particularly to track and combat "extremist messages" and online media. This direction was highlighted by a Coalition fact sheet on the meeting, which stated, "The Global Counter Daesh Coalition Communications Working Group (led by the UAE, UK, and U.S.) regularly convenes over 30 member countries with media and tech companies to share information and strategies to counter violent extremist messages online and present positive alternative narratives: its last meeting in London on February 28 was attended by a record 38 countries."

"The Communications Working Group also supports a network of messaging centers that expose, refute and combat online terrorist propaganda." It was also noted that, "The Global Coalition is actively engaged with the private sector in these efforts. For example, the Global Engagement Center, an interagency entity within the State Department, uses online technology to target potential recruits of terrorists organizations and redirect them to counter Daesh content. In addition, videos developed by partners across the Coalition for a recent campaign targeting vulnerable audiences in Tunisia, Morocco and Saudi Arabia were watched more than 14 million times. The effort has since expanded to other nations, including Libya Jordan, and France."

"The Coalition Communications Cell in London, with staff from 10 countries, guides our public global messaging through daily media packs that are distributed to 850 government officials in 60 countries worldwide."

In the context of state-organized hysteria about "fake news," "extremism," "Russian disinformation" and other claims targeting those who resist and oppose the plans of imperialism, this establishment of U.S.-led "information centers" to counter "terrorist propaganda" worldwide poses serious dangers to the world's peoples. For the U.S. State Department to be empowered to target so-called vulnerable populations to use them as part of the disinformation wars taking place will not guarantee peace or security. The security of the Canadian people lies not in further tying Canada to arrangements that strengthen U.S. imperialist police powers on a world scale but in standing as one with the world's peoples in defence of their right to be against U.S. war and occupation.

(With files from Reuters, CBC)

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Canada Leads NATO Mission in Latvia

Banner in mass actions at Munich Security Conference February 18, 2017:
"Peace Instead of NATO -- No to War!"

In June, the first of 450 Canadian soldiers will arrive in Latvia to lead a battalion in a large military buildup of NATO countries on Russia's frontiers. According to reports, the Canadian-led battalion will have troops from Albania, Italy, Poland and Slovenia. Three other battalions of foreign soldiers, led by the U.S., Britain and Germany, respectively, are being placed in Estonia, Lithuania and Poland. The result will be thousands of NATO troops indefinitely stationed in two countries bordering Russia (Estonia and Latvia) and two others bordering Belarus (Lithuania and Poland). Canada will also deploy light armoured vehicles (LAVs) and up to six CF-18 warplanes to conduct air patrols.

In addition to the four-battalion NATO deployment, media reported in January that "dozens" of U.S. special forces have been deployed in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia to conduct training and intelligence-gathering. Then, in February the U.S. deployed to Latvia 225 soldiers, 15 tanks and six armoured vehicles as part of "Operation Atlantic Resolve." As part of the same mission, the U.S. deployed four tanks, 15 armoured vehicles and other equipment to Estonia. NATO claims the reason to increase war preparations and its buildup of foreign soldiers on Russia's borders is due to "aggressive rhetoric, hybrid meddling in neighboring countries and provocative military activities around NATO borders."

This will be the first permanent Canadian military deployment in Europe since the early 1990s. Two hundred Canadian soldiers are also present in Poland but this deployment will end in June and they will transfer to Latvia.

Some Canadian officials and commentators have described the troop buildup as a "tripwire." The Oxford English Dictionary defines "tripwire" as "A comparatively weak military force employed as a first line of defence, engagement with which will trigger the intervention of stronger forces." Stephen Saideman, NATO academic at Carleton University's Norman Patterson School of International Affairs told Maclean's that the "tripwire" concept means "he response is now wired in via the dead Americans, Canadians, Brits and Germans..." if hostilities broke out.

The fact that the forces which are hell-bent on isolating Russia internationally and threatening it militarily and ensuring that all Russia's neighbours are under U.S./NATO domination are proposing "tripwires" and discussing war between Russia and NATO members is a development of serious concern to Canadians. It confirms the irresponsibility of not only the U.S. imperialists and NATO but the Liberal government in Canada that would put the country in a position where it could be brought into a devastating world war without permitting any discussion on the matter amongst Canadians. Likewise, decisions to bring thousands of foreign troops into eastern Europe and the Baltic states were taken by the ruling elite of those countries and pose serious dangers to the working people, who stand for peace, sovereignty and mutual respect between peoples.

Disinformation About Cyberattacks and Fake News

The hype from Canadian military officials and media that Canada will deploy "cyber warriors" to defend against "attacks by Russia" and "fake news" -- coinciding with claims that revelations about the foreign minister's Nazi collaborator are a Russian hoax -- are also a serious concern.[1] In particular, Canadians are being warned that any accusations of abuses committed by NATO soldiers in the countries to which they are deployed should be dismissed as "fake news."

Media report that the Latvian mission is being used as an opportunity to "rapidly build Canada's cyber and information warfare capabilities to counter threats." "We definitely have to get it right. We have to go to Latvia with a strong defensive posture," Brig.-Gen. Paul Rutherford, commander of the newly created Joint Forces Cyber Component told the National Post. "First and foremost, we recognize cyber as a domain of warfare. We are constantly under attack," Rutherford said. Lt. Col. Richard Perreault said Canadian soldiers would "communicate facts and the truth. [...] If we see inaccurate facts, we will take action."

Canadian media warned that the population of the Baltic states is "particularly susceptible to Russian propaganda and trolls because large Russian minorities there can easily tune in television stations from Moscow." Military officials cited the fact that a German soldier was recently accused of committing rape in Lithuania, where 500 German troops are stationed, but that the claim turned out to be false and the source unknown.

The head of Canada's armed forces indicated that any suggestion that Latvians do not want foreign troops in their country or to be embroiled in NATO hostilities with Russia should also be considered "fake news." Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Jonathan Vance said that Canadians should expect "efforts to make it appear that Latvia doesn't want us there. We need to take on a sophisticated information operations campaign to ensure that truth prevails," he said.

Pro-Nazi Stand of Latvian Government

In a March 15 article in the Hill Times, military affairs columnist Scott Taylor notes, "The Canadian contingent is set to arrive in Latvia in June, no doubt making things a little easier for the Canadian government's communications team because members of it won't have to come up with an inspired way to spin an annual tribute to fascism in Latvia.[2]

"Since Latvia's independence in the 1990s, every year on March 16 the locals stage a parade in the capital of Riga in commemoration of the Latvian Legion, a force commanded by the German Nazi Waffen SS during the Second World War.

"This is not Russian fake news. The parades to celebrate the SS were officially sanctioned. In 1998, March 16 was declared an official remembrance day in Latvia; however, due to international pressure, in 2000 this date was abolished as an official commemoration day. Riga city council then attempted to ban the march, but that ruling was overturned by an administrative district court. The controversial parades thus continue unabated to this day."

"A closer look at Latvia's current parliament reveals that this is not merely a nostalgic commemoration of fallen warriors, as the neo-fascist (ultra nationalist) National Alliance party holds 17 seats and is a member of the ruling coalition."

Despite the official support for the pro-Nazi commemoration, Latvia's state broadcaster LSM reported on March 16 that, according to polls, public approval of the day has declined to 33 per cent.

Taylor also points out that hundreds of thousands of residents of Latvia are barred from voting or holding positions in government and civil service due to their ethnic background. Following the end of the Soviet Union, anyone whose family did not reside in Latvia before 1940 was stripped of citizenship, and some were able to regain it via a naturalization process. Nearly 45 per cent of Latvians deemed to be "ethnically Russian" (around 363,988 people) for instance are denied citizenship.

Taylor writes, "We repeatedly are told that we are deploying our military abroad to defend Canadian values. However, Canadians do not celebrate Nazis and we pride ourselves on striving for equal rights for all."


1. For information on Freeland's cover-up of her grandfather's Nazi collaboration and of crimes today, see the extensive treatment in TML Weekly, March 18, 2017.

2. For more information about the crimes of the Nazis and their collaborators in Latvia and the attempts to glorify it today, see "Tribute to Liberty's Definition of Victims of Communism," TML Weekly, March 18, 2017.

(With files from National Post, CBC, Hill Times)

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Unacceptable Military Intervention in Ukraine

Montreal picket January 31, 2015 opposes attack on peoples of eastern Ukraine.

On March 6, the Trudeau government announced an extension of Canada's military intervention in the civil war in Ukraine for another two years. Since January 2014, Canada has allocated $700 million in funds for Ukraine, some of which was used to purchase military equipment. The Trudeau Liberals are now adding untold more hundreds of millions to this amount.

The present regime in Ukraine has been waging war against the people of the country's east and repressing those labelled as communists, "separatists" and "pro-Russia" since it came to power in a U.S.-backed coup in 2014. Operation UNIFIER, Canada's military training mission in Ukraine and its deployment of 200 members of the Canadian Forces was set to expire on March 31. The Poroshenko government has been demanding its renewal at the fastest possible speed.[1] The Ukrainian government and others also call for Canada's mission to be expanded to include supplying heavy weaponry. In parallel, Canada has a multi-year program to train Ukraine's National Police force as well as its Military Police.

The announcement of the mission's extension was made not by the Minister of Defence Harjit Sajjan, but by Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Freeland described the mission as simply providing "military instruction and capacity building" and raised the spectre of Russia as justification for the extension.

The press conference was an exercise in provocation, diversion and camouflage. Freeland presented the Russian Federation as a direct threat to Canada, which no media has challenged. She renewed the accusation that anyone opposed to Canada's military deployment is a fellow traveler of "Russian disinformation" which she said seeks to derail democratic institutions in Canada and, is, by implication, xenophobic, etc. The idea of a direct threat to Canada by Russia is not even the stated view of the Department of National Defence.[2] These assertions of opinion are passed off as "fact" and are to be believed simply because some ministers say so.

Freeland brazenly stated that there is no alternative to military force and that military intervention is linked to "economic growth." This means neo-liberal globalization under the NATO bloc including the privatization and cannibalization of arms production in Ukraine, a leading arms exporter. In that regard, the extension of the mission comes after the House of Commons approved Bill C-31, An Act to implement the Free Trade Agreement between Canada and Ukraine on February 14, while the Ukrainian parliament endorsed the free trade agreement one week after Canada's military extension, on March 14. Freeland nonetheless presented the military commitment as a disinterested and bilateral "support," "military instruction" and "capacity building" "in order to maintain the sovereignty of Ukraine." According to CBC, "Freeland said that Canada's mission in Ukraine has seen the forces of both countries work together in a professional way that has helped improve their respective militaries."

Following the press conference, Defence Minister Sajjan travelled to the Prairies to meet with a private Ukrainian organization which champions Canada's intervention, again raising the spectre of Russia. One cannot recall similar performances following the military intervention in Haiti or Afghanistan whereby ministers held private meetings with Haitian Canadians or Afghan Canadians.

On March 20, a "take note" session was hastily convened in Parliament on Canada's mission in Ukraine. No MP opposed Canada's armed forces taking part in civil war in Ukraine or challenged the view that Russia poses a grave military threat to Canada which must be countered. Freeland stated her confidence that all members would "support Canada's ongoing efforts to support the people of Ukraine and to help them defend their territory."

Conservative MP James Bezan during the debate said that Ukraine's Minister of Defence has been asking, and he is also asking, if Canada will sign a "Canada-Ukraine Defence Co-operation Agreement," the existence of which was hitherto not acknowledged by the Liberal government. Sajjan responded that all obstacles to the Defence Agreement have been resolved and that it is now a matter of "getting the timing right, with my counterparts, to move ahead with the defence co-operation agreement." The negotiations for such an agreement as well as what it might contain have been treated as virtual secrets and hidden from Canadians.

Canadian Forces to "Advise" and "Train"

Toronto demonstration June 23, 2014

While Ministers Freeland and Sajjan have been camouflaging the actual aims and extent of what Canada is doing in Ukraine, there is a growing awareness among Canadians about what forces Canada is supporting and why. In the face of this, Freeland and Sajjan as well as the media and other cartel parties create false impressions about what is called "bilateral and mutual aid" between two sovereign countries, Canada and Ukraine. All of it is to divert the concern of Canadians about the growing military intervention by Canada and NATO forces in Ukraine and Eastern Europe along the borders with Russia.

Canada only refers to its mission as training "Ukrainian forces," which includes infantry, navy, air force and the National Guard. The phrase "Ukrainian forces" hides the fact that it is precisely the National Guard which is being trained.[3] This force was hastily formed in the midst of the defection of thousands of officers and troops from the Ukrainian army and navy immediately following the 2014 coup. More importantly, it was a means to integrate holus-bolus some 17 death squads, created as private gangs of Ukrainian oligarchs contending for power and attacking "separatists," under a central authority.

The formation of a new national gendarmerie was the demand of neo-Nazi group Pravi Sektor (Right Sector) headed by Dimitry Yarosh, issued on January 29, 2014 in the midst of the U.S.-backed putsch. This future "National Guard" comprised at that time the "Maidan Self-Defence Forces," Right Sector and unspecified Cossacks. Despite this, the official integration of these militias into the Armed Forces of Ukraine was presented as a "reform" to pacify concern about the neo-Nazis being given top cabinet positions in the military and police after the coup d'état in February 2014.[4]

Neo-Nazi Azov battalion parades through Mariupol after its capture, June 13, 2015

The low morale of soldiers of the Ukrainian military and police forces evoked grave concern with the American inspirers of putsches, military adventures and provocations. Faced with large-scale desertions from the Ukrainian armed forces, especially in Crimea where thousands of officers and troops defected to the Russian Federation, deterioration of morale in the ranks, and active opposition from local police, the coup government re-established the National Guard on March 13, 2014 as its strike force against the people inhabiting Eastern Ukraine.

The U.S., through its "Multinational Joint Commission" formed in 2014 is in charge of the funneling of military supplies and arms, troops and "trainers" for the National Guard, with the pretext of "reforming" the military and police power such as the National Guard. The U.S. also led the creation of a new National Police force in Ukraine, presently headed by Vadym Troyan, a prominent member of neo-Nazi organizations such as the "Social-Nationalist Assembly."

Canada's mission was first announced by Stephen Harper's Prime Minister's Office and the U.S. Department of Defense in April 2015 and described as Canada joining the latter's Ukraine National Guard training program. These fascist and neo-Nazi militias now number some 50 in all, originally privately financed by the big oligarchs and continuing to rely on private and foreign sponsors for equipment and supplies.[5] Subsequently, mention of the National Guard was dropped and the moniker "Ukrainian forces" adopted.

Canada's Department of National Defence (DND) reports that it has trained 3,200 members of the "Ukrainian forces" since August 2015. The government and the media are silent on precisely what Canada was doing since the year 1993 when it first became involved in Ukraine and its military as part of the NATO integration process. DND presents the mission as technical in nature; it is said to entail small team training, explosive ordnance disposal, military policing, medical training and logistics system modernisation.

These media reports on what the training is about divert from the fact that there is a deployment of a military force thousands of miles from Canada and on the borders with Russia. They create the impression that it is merely one-on-one coaching like a sports skills camp for youth even though a significant component is on "teaching basic soldier skills, such as how to shoot, move and communicate on the battlefield." Other reports reveal that training "how to shoot" includes training snipers, presently deployed to assassinate those who are labelled "Russian-backed separatists" in the east of Ukraine.


1. This included Ukraine's ambassador to Canada, Andriy Shevchenko conducting interviews with high-profile media outlets calling for the mission to be renewed, and even declaring that Canada is at war with Russia and therefore must take further action. Shevchenko said, "Our clear understanding of this moment is we are at war and we are on the same side. Sooner or later this is the reality we will have to accept and we will have to have very mature, strong and thoughtful conversations about the future. We have got to be together, not just because democracies should stay together, not just because good, right people should stay together. It's a matter of survival because we are facing a very existential threat."

2. In testimony given to the National Defence Committee of the House of Commons on March 24, 2014 Jill Sinclair, Assistant Deputy Minister, Policy, DND, Major-General Christian Rousseau, Chief of Defence Intelligence and Commander of Canadian Armed Forces Intelligence Command, and Arthur Wailczynski, Director General of the International Security and Intelligence Bureau at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development, told the Committee "that no state currently poses a military threat to Canada. However, all three witnesses agreed that Canada faces a number of non-military threats to its security, such as terrorism, illicit trafficking of narcotics, and human and weapon smuggling."

(NDDN, Evidence, 2nd Session, 41st Parliament, 27 March 2014 (Major-General Christian Rousseau, Jill Sinclair, and Arthur Wailczynski))

3. The National Guard was originally disbanded in 2000.

4. The coup government of Andrei Yatsenyuk -- the chosen man of the United States -- appointed on February 23, 2014, appointed as Defence Minister Ihor Tenyukh, the admiral and commander of the Ukrainian Navy from 2006 until 2010. Tenyukh was a member of the fascist Svoboda Party and activist in the Maidan insurgency. Tenyukh had been trained by the U.S. Department of Defense. In less than a month after the appointment, Tenyukh resigned amid the Crimean crisis and was replaced by Lieutenant-General Mikhail Koval, another Svoboda member. Right Sector leader Yarosh was subsequently appointed adviser to the chief of Ukraine's National and Security Council, Andriy Parubiy.

5. The militias, such as the Azov and Aidar brigades, have foreign mercenaries in their ranks and display Nazi symbols; they have carried out untold atrocities and war crimes against the people of eastern Ukraine in the Kiev regime's attempts to bring these regions under its control. Even Amnesty International issued statements accusing Aidar of "war crimes" (for example, September 8, 2014).

Their integration into the National Guard was accelerated by the decision of the U.S. Congress on June 10, 2015 to prohibit training or other support to one of the paramilitary units, the Azov Battalion.

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Undisclosed Canada-Ukraine Defence
Cooperation Agreement

During a take-note debate held in Parliament by the Trudeau government on March 20 on Operation UNIFIER, Canada's military mission in Ukraine, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan revealed publicly for the first time by a government minister that the government is on the verge of signing a new defence agreement with Ukraine. The agreement is widely reported as a measure to facilitate Canada's direct arming of Ukrainian forces and entry into Ukraine's defence industry.

During this debate Conservative MP James Bezan asked if Canada will sign the Canada-Ukraine Defence Co-operation Agreement. Bezan explained that the aim of the undisclosed agreement goes "beyond what it is in Operation UNIFIER [The Canadian military training program in Ukraine, which was extended by two years on March 6 - TML Note] by expanding exchanges of officers and bringing their trainers here so they can get even more involved in the Canadian institution and the military culture we have here, which really is, in my opinion, the leader in the NATO nations. Something Ukraine, of course, aspires to is having NATO membership at some point in the future. Of course, they have to train to the standard. They have to make sure that they have that ability."

In his reply Sajjan stated that, with regard to signing the Canada-Ukraine Defence Co-operation Agreement, "On the last trip [to Ukraine by Minister of Foreign Affairs Freeland and I on March 15], the defence co-operation agreement topic came up. In fact, we were actually able to move ahead, but there were a few questions on the Ukrainian government side, which we were waiting for. They have been resolved. Regrettably, it is now just a matter of getting the timing right, with my counterparts, to move ahead with the defence co-operation agreement. It is just a matter of time before we do that." That was that. It was an "oh, by the way" comment.

The existence of negotiations for a Defence Cooperation Agreement was first revealed by Ukrainian ambassador to Canada Andriy Shevchenko in June 2016.[1] According to reports, it would facilitate Canadian arms exports beyond so-called non-lethal aid, among other things. Then, on July 7, Shevchenko told CBC News, "We are in conversations with the Canadian government, and the good news is we have practically completed negotiations between our ministries of defence, and this should provide the legal framework for -- in the future -- closer co-operation between our two countries." On July 17, 2016 Canada's ambassador to Ukraine, Roman Waschuk tweeted in Ukrainian, "The Defence Cooperation Agreement is agreed upon and waiting for the visit of the Defence Ministers for their signature."[2]

Then, in August 2016 Shevchenko declared, "We have completed our work on the agreement on cooperation in the defense field. This is a document that must be signed between the Ministries of Defense of Ukraine and Canada. I very much hope that we will be able to sign it in the coming months." Shevchenko said this meant the agreement would be signed in September or October but this did not take place.

Since then Shevchenko has been interviewed by both iPolitics and The Canadian Press agitating for Canada to maintain its support for training the Ukrainian army for war, arguing that Canada has a duty to continue in light of doubt about what direction Trump is going to take the United States.

Shevchenko even went so far as to declare that Canada is at war with Russia, something which the Canadian government has not officially responded to. "Our clear understanding of this moment is we are at war and we are on the same side. Sooner or later this is the reality we will have to accept and we will have to have very mature, strong and thoughtful conversations about the future. We have got to be together, not just because democracies should stay together, not just because good, right people should stay together. It's a matter of survival because we are facing a very existential threat," he said.

According to Waschuk, the two countries are again on the verge of signing the agreement. On March 8, Waschuk again told Ukrainian state broadcaster UATV, "We have negotiated a defence cooperation arrangement. It's likely to be signed during a bilateral visit in the coming months. That, in turn, opens the door to the control list, and after that it will be up to defense industries, defence industry cooperation to define the right partnerships and for people to make decisions on export and export control."

"There's a difference between what people have described as lethal aid, in other words, simply airlifters, some sort of things that go 'bang.' And a more structured approach to defense industries cooperation based on within an overall defence cooperation framework," Waschuk said. This suggests absurdly that a distinction can be made between offensive and defensive weapons. To supply weapons is to give the government in Kiev some kind of military option that it does not currently have, which it requires for the military offensive it is undertaking.

The UATV host asked Waschuk, "This would be an integrated kind of system, which would see Ukraine get access to a larger field of more high-tech weapons?"

Waschuk replied, "Certainly, technologies. Again, there is no arms embargo on Ukraine. It has a right to be an actor, in fact it is a top ten [Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI)] weapons developer and exporter. And there is interest in many countries in helping develop that potential and working on projects. So, I think Canadians also would be interested in being part of that."

Waschuk's statement is false. The Minsk Agreement signed by the heads of state of the Russian Federation, Ukraine, France and Germany in February 2015 stipulated a "Pullout of all foreign armed formations, military equipment, and also mercenaries from the territory of Ukraine under OSCE supervision." The United Nations Security Council unanimously adopted Resolution No. 2202 on February 17 and "called on all parties to fully implement the Package of Measures for the Implementation of the Minsk Agreements."

Waschuk says that "Canadians" would be interested in being part of developing Ukraine's arms industry but Canadians have never been consulted on or informed about this Defence Cooperation Agreement. The monopoly media in Canada has not reported on the agreement nor demanded answers from Prime Minister Trudeau or his ministers about what the agreement consists of. Instead, the apparent agreement is treated as a private matter between the ambassadors of Canada and Ukraine, Ukrainian media and certain private organizations claiming to advocate for Ukrainian Canadians who are also calling for the agreement to be implemented. Not even during the March 6 announcement of the extension of Canada's military mission in Ukraine was it acknowledged.

The only statements from Canadian officials on the agreement have been given to Ukrainian media. For instance, U.S.-based Ukrainian community newspaper The Ukrainian Weekly reported on March 10 that Jordan Owens, Press Secretary to Minister of Defence Sajjan, told the outlet, "This is the first step in moving towards adding Ukraine to the Automatic Firearms Country Control List," which would facilitate Canadian arms exports.

The negotiation behind closed doors of an unacceptable scheme to further militarize the economy, embroil Canada in the war in Ukraine, militarize its economy, and war preparations against Russia, and the deliberate obscuring of these developments from Canadians must not be tolerated.


1. Shevchenko worked as a journalist for multiple outlets, including the U.S. government-funded Voice of America, before receiving the Press Freedom Award from the U.S State Department-funded Reporters Without Borders in 2005.

2. Waschuk was appointed ambassador to Ukraine in October 2014, six months after a U.S.-backed coup. He was part of the research and consulting staff in the Commission of Inquiry on War Criminals in Canada (Deschênes Commission) which covered up the role of the Canadian state in harbouring Nazi collaborators and war criminals following the Second World War.

In July 2015, Waschuk, when confronted in an interview, confirmed that armed anti-government protestors entered Canada's embassy in Kiev on February 18, 2014 and used it as a hideout, during the U.S. and European Union-instigated coup against the elected government of Ukraine at that time ("Euromaidan"). Waschuk admitted that the protesters camped in the main lobby of the embassy for at least a week, something that the Harper government has never revealed. The Canadian embassy was closed on February 19 and remained closed throughout the events that culminated February 22 with the coup against Ukraine's former President Victor Yanukovych. The fact that numerous anti-government protestors in Kiev stayed in the Canadian embassy for seven days during this period exposed the Harper government as active participants in regime change, not just the providers of "shelter" as officially claimed at the time. The whole set of events constituted blatant interference in Ukraine's internal affairs by the Canadian Embassy and the Canadian government.

See George Allen, "Blatant Interference in Ukraine's Internal Affairs," TML Weekly, July 18, 2015 -- No. 29.

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Violent Attack on Westminster Bridge in London, England

Unite in Action to Defend the Rights of All

RCPB(ML) sends its condolences to the families and friends of those killed and injured today on and near Westminster Bridge. It pays tribute to the courage, professionalism and compassion of the emergency services, including those nurses and junior doctors who immediately left St Thomas' Hospital to rush to attend to the victims.

The latest reports are that a lone individual at around 2:40 pm used a vehicle to mow down pedestrians on the bridge, before stabbing a police officer at the gates to New Palace Yard, who died shortly after of his wounds. Five people, including the police officer and the alleged attacker, have died at the time of writing, the latter being shot by armed police at Westminster, and as many as 40 people injured, some very seriously. The alleged attacker has not been named, [He has now been identified as Khalid Masood, born in England - TMLW ed] though Scotland Yard says his identity is known. Downing Street said that Prime Minister Theresa May would chair a Cabinet Office Briefing Room (COBRA) emergency meeting this evening.

The attack has occurred in a climate of anarchy and violence. The ruling elites in this country, the U.S. and other big powers have been intent on demonising so-called enemies of democracy, particularly Muslims, and criminalising those that they label as enemies of their values. Thus news reports have been full of such quotes as that the terrorist has struck at the home of British democracy.

The climate of fear being imposed is an assault on the right to conscience. The imposition of "British values" is part of this assault. The people must demand that the colonialist past and imperialist present of the big European powers be repudiated and that the stated policy of governments in Britain, for illegal intervention and regime change in Iraq, Libya and Syria, which has only brought more insecurity, instability and violence, be ended.

Instead of calm, hysteria is being promoted. Far from a government based on the rights of the people and their sovereignty, the government is even standing in the way of self-determination of the peoples of Scotland as well as Wales, as well as rewriting the history of the crimes of Britain ruling the waves, its colonial heritage and present outlook, to re-establish a "Great" Britain and an Empire 2.0. This is the reality of "our way of life," "cherished democracy" and "British values."

The state is attempting to sway public opinion in a grossly self-serving way, against anything alleged to be "foreign" and particularly Muslim. Its own creation of divisions and hate is accompanied by grossly hypocritical words against "hate crime" and the need for "integration." In effect, this is being used to foster their warmongering project abroad, as well as to promote racism and chauvinism and to attack rights at home.

The context of the tragic incident is also one where the anti-war movement and the stand of the people against racism and Islamophobia are being vilified. Meanwhile the First World War is being glorified, with praise for "our glorious dead," while the actions of millions upon millions in the Second World War to defeat Nazism and fascism are being turned into one of a stand against "totalitarianism," while the right to resist oppression and the right to be are themselves labelled terrorism.

The people are being incited to define this tragic incident as "terrorist." This has happened even though the attacker was reported as acting alone and nothing is known as to his motives, save that attention is being drawn to the fact that today is the first anniversary of the attacks in Brussels. This incident is called "terrorism," while the killing of MP Jo Cox by a neo-Nazi is not. In reality, this incident underlines that the people must unite in action in defence of the rights of all, opposing anarchy and violence, racism and reaction, including Islamophobia.

The people must take a stand against this tragic action being used to negate the rights of the people. "Standing together" must mean taking a stand based on justice. It means unity in action in defence of the right to conscience, and to resist reaction and retrogression. This reaction and retrogression is real, but so is the people's spirit of resistance and the desire for empowerment.

No to the Imposition of Allegedly "British Values"!
Unite in Action in Defence of the Rights of All!

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Expansion of U.S. Imperialist Aggression

U.S. Begins Ground Invasion of Syria

Ottawa, October 1, 2016

Approximately 300 U.S. marines and 100 Army Rangers entered Syria in early March, according to media reports. They add to the approximately 500 U.S. special forces in Syria "training, advising and assisting local forces" and an unknown number of intelligence operatives and mercenaries. The entrance of U.S. ground troops and promise of more is connected to the victories of the Syrian Army in liberating Aleppo and other cities since December and U.S. and Turkish efforts to prevent parts of the north of the country from returning to Syrian control.

Marines from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, the Battalion Landing Team 1st Battalion, 4th Marines were located in Navy ships off the coast of Djibouti, then flown to Kuwait and from there to Syria. Brought with them is part of an artillery battery of M777 howitzers. The Army Rangers entered northern Syria from a base used by the U.S. in Erbil, Iraq. Another 1,000 troops could be deployed in northern Syria in the coming weeks according to news reports, bringing the total number to at least 2,000.

The immediate aim of the U.S. is to prevent the liberation of Raqqa by the Syrian army. Raqqa is the last major ISIL-held city in Syria. Its liberation by Syrian forces would otherwise take place in the coming months. Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad told SANA news on March 18, "We are very close to Raqqa now. Yesterday, our troops reached the Euphrates River which is very close to Raqqa city, and Raqqa is the stronghold of ISIS today, so it's going to be a priority for us, but that doesn't mean the other cities are not priority. " Assad explained that unless there was stepped up foreign intervention, the war would be over in "a few months."

Instead, the U.S. is deploying troops with an aim to bring Raqqa under siege in the coming weeks. It is joined in this aim by various contending forces, including Turkey, Turkish and U.S.-sponsored armed groups, and a new U.S.-backed coalition called "Syrian Democratic Forces" which is opposed by Turkey. The shifting alliances within the U.S.-backed forces are such that some media disinformation on the U.S. troop deployment states that it has been done to keep all of the warring groups separated and prevent them from turning on each other before Raqqa is taken.

U.S. President Donald Trump, at an event in Melbourne, Florida on February 18 declared his support for the longstanding proposal of Hillary Clinton and other warmongers to establish "safe zones" in northern Syria. "What I want to do is build safe zones in Syria and other places... we were left a mess like you wouldn't believe, but we're going to build safe zones. We're going to have those safe zones. [...] we're going to have the gulf states pay for those safe zones. [...] We're going to do it that way instead of taking massive numbers [of refugees]." The Trump plan for "safe zones" means U.S. occupation and annexation of sovereign Syrian territory in which U.S. sponsored armed groups are given political power.

This U.S. attempt to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat is desperate. The disputes within the U.S. coalition over who will control what, whether it be proxies of Turkey, groups hoping that, as in the case of Iraq in 2003, U.S. intervention will facilitate their aspirations for independence, or other armed groups under U.S. sponsorship, are further indication that this aggression will not contribute to ending the conflict. It will not resolve any problem for the people of Syria and must be opposed.[1]

Syrian Government Rejects Invasion

In an interview published on March 20, Syrian President Al-Assad responded to a question about the U.S. presence, saying, "Any military operation in Syria without the approval of the Syrian government is illegal, and I said if there's any troops on the Syrian soil, this is an invasion, whether to liberate al-Raqqa or any other place. This is first. Second, we all know that the [U.S.] coalition has never been serious about fighting ISIS or the terrorists, so we have to think about the real intention of the whole plan, if there's a plan to liberate al-Raqqa. To liberate it from who? From ISIS? To give it to who? So, their plan is not to fight terrorists, not to help the Syrian government, it's not for the unity of Syria, it's not for the sovereignty of Syria, it must be something else not of these factors that I just mentioned."

Asked about double standards of the U.S., which is facing increasing accusation of killing civilians in air strikes in Syria, President Al-Assad said, "The American policy is based on many standards, not double [standards]; they have maybe ten standards because they don't base their policy on values or on international law; they base it on their own vision, their own interests, sometimes on the balance of different lobbies and powers within the American institutions."

Dispute Between U.S. Allies

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, addressing what factions will control Raqqa and how, said on March 2 that the U.S. does not have a "clear plan regarding Raqqa." "During the visits to Turkey of the head of the US Joint Staff and the director of the CIA, steps, which we can call preliminary, have been taken in this process," Erdogan said. It is "unacceptable" that the "Syrian Democratic Forces" should participate in the operation due to the predominance of Kurdish forces in that grouping, he said. In fact, Turkey is leading its own intervention in northern Syria, taking towns such as Jarablus and giving control to its proxy terrorist groups called the "Free Syrian Army."

In response, the U.S. has said it is providing weapons only to "Arab groups" within the "Syrian Democratic Forces" and not the Kurdish YPG, and that more than half of the "Arab groups" have now been "vetted." U.S. General Joseph Votel, head of U.S. Central Command, confirmed the new U.S. troop deployment on March 9 and stated, "Our intention here with this -- and this fell within the authorities that are provided to me right now -- was to ensure that we had redundant capable fighters support on the ground to support our partners and ensure that we could take advantage of opportunities and ensure the continuing progress that we've been seeing."

Turkey is also concerned about control over a northern Syrian town, Manbij which was taken from ISIL by the Syrian Democratic Forces in August 2016. As a result, Turkey's stated plan to create a "safe zone" under its control from its border with Syria to Raqqa is therefore in conflict with the U.S.-backed SDF controlling Manbij. Turkish commentators blamed the situation on "U.S. ambiguity and Russian aggression." On March 16, Turkish Defence Minister Fikri Isik said that a diplomatic settlement of the Manbij issue between Turkey, Russia and the United States is central for the Syria peace process, but that Turkey will resort to other means if this fails.

Bring All U.S. Troops Home

The U.S. has no place in Syria and its newest attempts to derail a peace process and achieve regime change in its favour by continuing to prop up terrorist groups are bound to increase the suffering of the Syrian people and also bound to fail in the face of Syrian resistance. The U.S. has no right to decide over any matter facing the Syrian people, not least control over its territory or airspace.

The people of the U.S., Canada and the world have been told time and time again that U.S. imperialist military intervention is a solution to crises real or imaginary. This is the case now as the people are told that "finally" the U.S. will eliminate its bastard child ISIL. Far from resolving problems, U.S. intervention in Syria since 2011 has brought and will continue to bring untold misery to the people.

This is because the U.S. aim is first and foremost self-serving, to defend and expand its domination based on geopolitical calculations and to defend the place of U.S. oligopolies and financial oligarchy. This was the U.S. aim in 2011 when it began funding and providing weapons for revolt against the Syrian government that turned into a full-scale war and much of the country being occupied by terrorist groups. It is the case now with a stepped up U.S. military intervention based on undermining and obstructing the Syrian-led liberation of Syria.

Syria is a sovereign country whose people are now beginning the difficult work of reconstruction and reconciliation, having overcome challenges that looked insurmountable. Among the biggest challenges was and still is the flow of money, arms and fighters from the imperialists into Syria. The fact that the battle is not over was cruelly reiterated to Syrians on March 15 when a suicide bomb attack took the lives of 32 people in the capital, Damascus. There is an urgent need for all people of conscience to join with the Syrian people in denouncing this U.S. invasion and demanding all U.S. troops OUT!


1. Barbara Lee, a U.S. Member of the House of Representatives from California introduced a bill with 16 co-sponsors on March 10 that would prohibit the Department of Defense from funding any U.S. combat troops in Syria. "It is our constitutional duty as members of Congress to place a check on the executive branch in matters of war and peace," Lee said. The bill would also outlaw funding private security firms operating in Syria. "I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to join me in preventing this president from sending our troops into yet another unchecked, ill-advised war without a full and robust debate from Congress," she said.

In a report issued March 15, the American Enterprise Institute think-tank, credited with the "surge" strategy used by George W. Bush in Iraq argued for a new "Way Forward in Syria." It stated:

"Defeating [ISIL and Al Qaeda] requires the U.S. to pursue a population-centric counter-insurgency with viable partners from Syria's and Iraq's Sunni Arab communities. The administration should also consider what kind of American forces might be required to implement this new approach.

"The U.S. must act quickly -- with willing and acceptable partners -- to seize and secure a base of operations in southeastern Syria in order to expand American freedom of action in the region. The goal is to help form a new Syrian Sunni Arab partner. [...]

"President Trump cannot quickly end the war in Syria while protecting American interests. He should instead first set out to extricate the U.S. from the constraints imposed by our dependence on unreliable partners who do not share our interests, establish an independent American position and set attainable near-term objectives. [...]

The report calls for reducing U.S. reliance on Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other regional U.S. allies and basing itself on the "Sunni Arab community." It states, "Together, the U.S. and the Sunni Arab community must create a new political-security system against jihadists." It further warns that the "Russo-Iranian coalition will make it more difficult for the U.S. to respond to terror threats against it, defend strategic allies like Israel, and ensure unfettered access to trade routes the U.S. economy depends on."

(With files from SANA, The Hill, Reuters,, AP)

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Trump's National Security Memorandum
on "Plan to Defeat ISIS"

On January 28, U.S. President Donald Trump signed National Security Memorandum 3 titled Plan to Defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.[1]

The January 28 Memorandum begins by stating that ISIS cannot be accommodated or negotiated with and that "it is the policy of the United States that ISIS be defeated." The Memorandum required the Secretary of Defense to submit "a preliminary draft" of a new plan to defeat ISIS to the President within 30 days.

The Memorandum states that the Plan to Defeat ISIS must include "recommended changes to any United States rules of engagement and other United States policy restrictions that exceed the requirements of international law regarding the use of force against ISIS " (TMLW emphasis). This suggests what has been going on unofficially under Obama and previous presidents, under Trump will be written into military Rules of Engagement and other policies in open defiance of international law. Given Trump's declarations about "eradicating radical Islamic terrorism completely off the face of the earth" and his assertions about torture "working," as well as being deserved, it seems that this Memorandum is aimed at making it "legal" by hook or by crook for the U.S. to commit whatever crimes it wishes, including torture.[2]

Other things the Memorandum requires of the Plan are all stated in general terms without elaboration. They include such things as the need for a combination of approaches ("public diplomacy, information operations, cyber strategies") to "isolate and delegitimize ISIS and its radical Islamist ideology;" mechanisms to cut off its financial support; identification of new coalition partners and policies "to empower coalition partners to fight ISIS and its affiliates." The last item mentioned is "a detailed strategy to robustly fund the Plan."

Those named as responsible for developing the Plan in collaboration with the Secretary of Defense include: the Secretary of State, the Secretary of the Treasury, the Secretary of Homeland Security, the Director of National Intelligence, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, and the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism.

The Memorandum presents the following "rationale" which paints the U.S. and its allies as the victims of ISIS terrorism so as to justify its own campaign of terror which is to be stepped up against anyone declared of being linked with ISIS:

- ISIS is not the only threat from radical Islamic terrorism that the United States faces, but it is among the most vicious and aggressive;

- ISIS is responsible for the vicious murder of U.S. citizens in the Middle East [a few are named];

- ISIS has inspired attacks in the U.S. [San Bernardino and Orlando are mentioned];

- ISIS is complicit in a number of terrorist attacks on allies in which Americans have been wounded or killed [Paris, Brussels, Nice, Berlin];

- ISIS has engaged in a systematic campaign of persecution and extermination in those territories it enters or controls. If ISIS is left in power, the threat that it poses will only grow. We know it has attempted to develop chemical weapons capability. It continues to radicalize our own citizens, and its attacks against our allies and partners continue to mount. The United States must take decisive action to defeat ISIS.


1. A presidential memorandum is a type of executive action issued by the president of the United States "to manage and govern the actions, practices, and policies of the various departments and agencies found under the executive branch of the United States government. It has the force of law and is usually used to delegate tasks, direct specific government agencies to do something, or to start a regulatory process." It is sometimes used interchangeably with an 'executive order' and is considered "a more prestigious form of executive action that must cite the specific constitutional or statutory authority the president has to use it." (Wikipedia)

2. A January 25 interview with ABC news probed Trump's views and intentions on torture. Trump said, "We're not playing on an even field. I will say this, I will rely on Pompeo and Mattis and my group. And if they don't wanna do, that's fine. If they do wanna do, then I will work for that end. I wanna do everything within the bounds of what you're allowed to do legally. But do I feel it works? Absolutely I feel it works."

In a recently released document on "The Trump Memos," the American Civil Liberties Association wrote: "[Trump] has also claimed that his authorization of torture would comply with controlling 'laws and treaties' or that he would seek to change the laws to permit torture. Trump has at times suggested that the torture methods he would authorize track those authorized by the Bush administration as so-called 'enhanced interrogation techniques.' These torture and abuse methods, which included waterboarding, were the subject of memoranda written by the Department of Justice's Office of Legal Counsel (OLC), which purported to find the techniques lawful. Those memos have since been widely discredited and withdrawn, and legislation has been enacted to prevent future reliance on the erroneous legal reasoning they put forward."

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Authorization for Further U.S. Onslaught
Against Yemen

U.S. President Donald Trump has given U.S. Central Commander General Joseph Votel and other commanders expanded authority to order military action in Yemen and other countries without Presidential approval, according to news reports. While battlefield commanders have the authority to approve airstrikes in what are called "active war zones" such as Iraq and Syria, actions in countries such as Yemen previously required approval from the president.

This was revealed after the U.S. carried out a barrage of airstrikes against Yemen on March 2. Pentagon spokesperson Captain Jeff Davis told media that the mission was carried out based on "an authority that was delegated by the president, through the secretary of defense to the Central Command commander to carry out. U.S. forces carried out more than 30 strikes in 36 hours, exceeding the 32 confirmed drone strikes by the U.S. in Yemen all of 2016.

Over the past two years, U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian aerial bombardment has killed thousands of Yemeni civilians, with more than a third of Saudi attacks hitting civilian sites. A report in Digital Journal states, "according to residents, U.S. forces carried out 'indiscriminate shelling' of the area on March 2-3, killing numerous civilians, including Ahmed and Mohammed al-Khobze, two brothers, ages 10 and 12. To divert from the state terror and war crimes, the U.S. said the strikes were targeting "Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula."

Davis said the president granted the new authority at the same time he approved a January 29 special operations raid in Yemen. That raid killed 30 people, at least nine of whom were children. Also killed during that raid was U.S. Navy SEAL Ryan Owens.

The delegation of powers to carry out assassinations of whomever the U.S. declares its enemy are described by U.S. monopoly media as allowing Secretary of Defence James Mattis, who is nicknamed "Mad Dog," and his commanders to "take the gloves off as they see fit."

The extent of the new authorities granted to Mattis and "his generals" is not known. "I don't want to tip our hand too much on what these authorities are, because in doing so that will allow our enemy to know what might be coming as well," Davis said. "Our goal is for [the] enemy to be surprised and caught off guard and that is what we have achieved in the past couple of nights with these strikes." What crimes the U.S. is committing are all covered up with talk about enemies and surprise.

(With files from The Hill. Photo: TML, MAWO.)

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CIA Drone Assassination Program Resurrected

The Trump administration has authorized the CIA to once again carry out targeted assassinations using drone strikes, the Wall Street Journal reported on March 13. A "senior White House official" told the Washington Post that other "constraints" would likewise soon be eliminated. "Some of the Obama administration rules were getting in the way of good strikes," one official told NBC News. 

During the Obama administration, the CIA had authority to carry out drone strikes, and the practice became infamous and widespread, but was said to have been limited in the later years of the Obama presidency. It was said that CIA drones were focused mainly on intelligence-gathering, while authority to carry out strikes was vested in the Department of Defence. The CIA was permitted to make requests to kill a target and provide information but the Pentagon special operations department had to approve assassinations. 

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism reports that at least 563 drone strikes were executed by the Obama administration, mostly targeting Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen. 

This was said to be "accountable" while the unrestrained powers of the CIA is "unaccountable." One British newspaper stated that the move "takes drone strikes out of the sole control of the military, sparking fears about accountability. Unlike the Pentagon, the CIA does not need to disclose drone strikes -- or any resulting civilian casualties."

Even more sinister than the presentation of the Obama presidency's criminal drone wars as "accountable" is the push for Trump to return to such a policy of carrying out war crimes as if they are constitutional and part of a government of laws. This criminal rendering is aimed at legitimizing the use of targeted assassinations today, so long as they are carried out in an "accountable" manner. Humanity does not accept such justifications for war crimes.

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Dangerous Situation on Korean Penninsula

No to Key Resolve/Foal Eagle War Games
Against the DPRK!
No to U.S. Missile Defence on Korean Soil!

Picket at U.S. Consulate in Toronto March 15, 2017

The Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and the Korean Federation in Canada denounce and resolutely oppose the massive U.S.-south Korea military exercises being held during the months of March and April. The Key Resolve/Foal Eagle war games are aimed at launching a pre-emptive nuclear strike against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a prelude to invading and occupying that country. We call on the Canadian people and peoples of the world to stand with the Korean people, who are demanding an end to these war games.

These increasingly provocative and aggressive war exercises are crimes against peace. The final verdict of the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal which tried the Nazi war criminals described crimes against peace as "planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression, or a war in violation of international treaties, agreements or assurances, or participation in a common plan or conspiracy [to do so]." It was the very first charge brought against the Nazis. The final verdict at Nuremberg also defined crimes against peace as "the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole."

The Foal Eagle exercises began in 1997 and evolved into the Foal Eagle/Key Resolve joint military exercises in 2008. The main cost of these massive war exercises is borne by the south Korean people. Canada, Japan as well as Australia have also participated in these exercises. What is important to note as well is that these military exercises are a violation of the Korea Armistice Agreement (KAA) signed between the U.S. and the DPRK on July 27, 1953 to bring an end to the fighting in the Korean War. Since that time the U.S. has stubbornly refused to sign a peace treaty with the DPRK as mandated by the KAA that would end the Korean War and contribute to peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

According to the U.S. military, the 2017 Key Resolve/Foal Eagle exercises will be the largest of their kind so far and will for the first time incorporate "4D (Detect, Defend, Disrupt, and Destroy) Concepts and Principles Implementation Guidelines (CPIG), which will strengthen the Alliance's counter-missile strategy in the wake of a growing North Korean ballistic missile threat." Close to 300,000 thousand south Korean troops and 30,000 U.S. troops will be involved with live military drills and computer-simulated military exercises. The Nimitz -class super aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson has also been brought in to participate in these exercises from its marauding presence in the South China Sea to challenge China.

Thus, on the basis of the blatant disinformation that the DPRK is the aggressor on the Korean peninsula and presents a nuclear threat, the U.S. imperialists and their south Korean underlings have begun to beat the drums of war against the DPRK more aggressively. It is unacceptable to the Korean people and all democratic and justice-loving people in Canada and around the world that truth is turned on its head, and the DPRK which has for decades been the target of ongoing nuclear threats, not to mention crippling economic and political sanctions, is being presented by the U.S. imperialists, the Canadian government and other forces of reaction as the aggressor.

It is unconscionable that many written appeals from the DPRK government to the United Nations Security Council to put Key Resolve/Foal Eagle on the Council's agenda for discussion and resolution have not been given the courtesy of an answer. António Guterres, recently selected as the new UN Secretary-General, far from intervening to stop these crimes against peace being committed against the DPRK has joined the chorus from the U.S., Japan, south Korea and other countries including Canada, to condemn the DPRK for launching four missiles on March 6 which were both a routine test as well as a warning to the U.S. and south Korean aggressors at their doorstep. Among other things Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland noted, "We will continue to work with international partners to constrain North Korea's destabilizing actions." Clearly, Freeland does not see these aggressive war games, U.S. moves to place a terminal high altitude area defence (THAAD) missile defence installation in south Korea, nor the Trump Administration's plans to re-introduce strategic nuclear weapons in south Korea (after they were supposedly removed in 1991), as "destabilizing."

CPC(M-L) and the Korean Federation in Canada point out that the situation on the Korean peninsula is extremely dangerous because of the aggression being committed by the U.S. imperialists and their allies including Canada against the DPRK which forces that country to take counter-measures including building up its own nuclear defence capability in self-defence to affirm its right to be. The insistence of the DPRK to defend its right to be and to self-determination, along with the support of its citizens, and all progressive and democratic Koreans in south Korea and in the diaspora, and the voice of humanity calling for peace, constitute an anti-war block to the U.S. imperialists and their its allies from walking all over the Korean people in the DPRK and enslaving them.

It is the ongoing war preparations and acts of aggression and hostility of the U.S. along with the threats posed by a rapidly militarizing Japan under the Abe government, and the hysteria of the war mongers in the Trump government and its handmaidens in the Trudeau Liberal government in Canada that is causing the danger of a nuclear war breaking out in the Korean peninsula. It must not pass.

We jointly call on Canadians to take measures such as opposing the Foal Eagle-Key Resolve war exercises now taking place, to demand that the U.S. sign a peace treaty with the DPRK to end the Korean War, and for the Canadian government to end its hostile policy against the DPRK based on anti-communism and to normalize and develop bi-lateral diplomatic relations with the DPRK which were established in 2001. This would contribute to peace on the Korean peninsula which is what the Korean people and all humanity is demanding.

No to the Foal Eagle/Key Resolve U.S.-south Korea Joint Military Exercises!
The U.S. Must Sign A Peace Treaty with the DPRK Now!

(With files from U.S. Department of Defence,, Korean Armistice Agreement, CBC)

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Toronto Actions Support Korean People's Struggle and Oppose War Preparations

Toronto action March 4, 2017 demands former south Korean President Park Guen-hye be held accountable for her crimes.

Two actions were held in Toronto in March to oppose the U.S.-south Korea Key Resolve/Foal Eagle joint military exercises aimed at regime change in the DPRK and U.S. plans to install the terminal high altitude area defence (THAAD) missile defence system in south Korea. The first action also demanded that former south Korean President Park Guen-hye be held accountable for the crimes she has committed against the Korean people.

Militant Action Demands President's Resignation and
Opposes U.S. Missile Defence

Close to 100 people, mostly from the Korean community living in Toronto, braved bitter cold to stage a protest at the Mel Lastman Square on March 4 to demand the resignation of the impeached south Korean President Park Geun-hye and that she be held accountable for the corruption scandal that put the south Korean government in severe crisis. This was the fourth such rally held in Toronto, joining with rallies held across Korea and around the world that day.

The event was organized by the Korean Canadian Democratic Community Roundtable. Activists from the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), Korean Federation in Canada, and the Korea Truth Commission (Canadian Chapter) also participated in the action.

Various speakers affirmed their demand that President Park must resign and be held to account for her actions. They pointed out that she is not fit to govern and she has caused the government to be mired in crisis. A spokesperson from the Korea Truth Commission (Canadian Chapter) noted that the political crisis in south Korea has its roots in the U.S. military occupation of south Korea since the Second World War. He stated that with the U.S. military occupation, the south Korean people have not had peace of mind nor the political stability to affirm themselves and exercise their right to self determination including the right to peaceful reunification. He pointed out that the Foal Eagle/Key Resolve exercises and the plans to bring THAAD into south Korea further threaten peace on the Korean peninsula and must continue to be opposed.

Several patriotic songs were sung and poems read which affirmed the south Korean people's right to justice, democracy and self-determination.

Picket Opposes U.S. War Preparations and Missile Defence on
the Korean Peninsula

Activists from the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) and the Korean Federation in Canada, along with other anti-war Korean youth activists in Toronto held a militant picket on March 15, across from the U.S. consulate in Toronto to oppose the Key Resolve/Foal Eagle U.S.-south Korea joint military war preparations against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). The picket also demanded an immediate end to the moves by the Trump administration to install the terminal high altitude area defence (THAAD) missile defence system in south Korea, as well as demanding that U.S. troops leave the Korean peninsula and that the U.S. sign a peace treaty with the DPRK to formally end the Korean War.

Despite the freezing winds and sub-zero temperatures many people stopped to take the joint statement of the two organizations calling on Canadians to take a stand for justice and peace on the Korean peninsula, and to inform themselves of the danger these acts of aggression and crimes against peace by the U.S.-south Korea pose on the Korean peninsula that could lead to a catastrophic nuclear war breaking out engulfing East Asia and the whole world.

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Coming Events
Toronto Pickets Against U.S. War Preparations
on Korean Peninsula

Toronto, March 4, 2017.

Protest the U.S.-south Korea Foal Eagle/Key Resolve Military Exercises targeting and planning for first-strike, invasion and regime change against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), as well as U.S.plans to install missile defence in south Korea. Join In!

Wednesday, March 29 -- 5:00-6:00 pm
Ontario Superior Court (Across from U.S. Consulate) 361 University Ave.

Wednesday, April 5 -- 5:00-6:00 pm
Christie Subway station (corner of Christie and Bloor)

Wednesday, April 12 -- 5:00-6:00 pm
Ontario Superior Court (Across from U.S. Consulate) 361 University Ave.

Wednesday, April 19 -- 5:00-6:00 pm
Dundas Square (Yonge and Dundas)

Wednesday, April 26 -- 5:00-6:00 pm
Ontario Superior Court (Across from U.S. Consulate) 361 University Ave.

Organized by Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)
and Korean Federation in Canada
For information: (647) 907-7915

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End the Occupation of Palestine

Head of UN Agency Refuses
to Retract Report on Conditions of Palestinians

Rima Khalaf, the head of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), resigned from her position on March 17 after she was asked to withdraw a report published by ESCWA on the plight of the Palestinian people. Khalaf stated at a press conference in Beirut that the new UN Secretary-General, António Guterres demanded on March 16 that she withdraw the report, titled "Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid," and she refused.

The report was authored by Richard Falk, former UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967 and Virginia Tilley, a professor of political science at Southern Illinois University and former Chief Research Specialist in the Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, where she undertook a two-year study of the situation in the Palestinian territories. The report concludes that "Israel has established an apartheid regime that dominates the Palestinian people as a whole" and that "available evidence establishes beyond a reasonable doubt that Israel is guilty of policies and practices that constitute the crime of apartheid as legally defined in instruments of international law."

The demand of the UN Secretary-General to withdraw the report came after new U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley issued a statement on March 15 calling for its retraction. Haley said, "The United States is outraged by the report of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA). That such anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising. That it was drafted by Richard Falk, a man who has repeatedly made biased and deeply offensive comments about Israel and espoused ridiculous conspiracy theories, including about the 9/11 terrorist attacks, is equally unsurprising. The United Nations Secretariat was right to distance itself from this report, but it must go further and withdraw the report altogether. The United States stands with our ally Israel and will continue to oppose biased and anti-Israel actions across the UN system and around the world."

Israeli officials then made spurious accusations that the report is anti-Semitic. Yair Lapid, leader of Israel's center-right Yesh Atid party, said the UN report "is dripping with hate and anti-Semitism," according to Israeli media. Lapid said, "The U.S. and Europe need to make it very clear that they will withhold support for the U.N. and its agencies as long as they continue to incite against Israel." A spokesperson for Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs compared the report to a Nazi publication.

Palestinians and defenders of human rights applauded Khalaf for resigning rather than retracting the report. The General Coordinator of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions (BDS) National Committee Mahmoud Nawajaa said in a statement issued March 17:

"Palestinians are deeply grateful to ESCWA's director, Dr. Rima Khalaf, who preferred to resign in dignity than to surrender her principles to U.S.-Israeli bullying. At our darkest moment of Israel's escalating repression, including of nonviolent human rights defenders, ongoing theft of Palestinian land, and worsening apartheid policies, Palestinians are hopeful that this groundbreaking report heralds the approaching dawn of a new era where Israel's regime of injustice will be held accountable through sanctions and other measures, as was done against apartheid South Africa."

Hanan Ashraw, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Liberation Organization stated, "Instead of succumbing to political blackmail or allowing itself to be censured or intimidated by external parties, the UN should condemn the acts described in the report and hold Israel responsible."

On March 21, the Palestinian Presidential adviser for Foreign Affairs and International Relations, Nabil Shaath, awarded Palestine's Highest Medal of Honor to Rima Khalaf, and praised her courage in standing up against those who pressured her to withdraw the report.

Meanwhile, the U.S. has declared that it will reduce funding for UN agencies by $10 billion overall and demands "considerable reform" from the UN Human Rights Council. A letter from U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson stated that the U.S. will remain a member for the time being specifically to "reiterate our strong principled objection to the Human Rights Council's biased agenda against Israel" but objected to the presence of countries that the U.S. criticizes over what it refers to as "human rights" issues. Mark Toner, acting spokesperson for the U.S. State Department, stated that the U.S. is "going to hold the council and its members more accountable and urge greater accountability and transparency."

(With files from Mondoweiss, Al Jazeera, PressTV)

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Resignation Letter of UN Official

On March 17, Rima Khalaf resigned as executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia after the agency was forced to retract a report stating that Israel is an "apartheid regime." Khalaf's letter of resignation to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres was translated and posted by poet Lena Khalaf Tuffaha the next day on her Facebook page. Khalaf Tuffaha wrote:

"Dr. Rima Khalaf, career diplomat extraordinaire, personal hero, and Executive Secretary of ESCWA, resigned today after the UN Secretary-General tried to withdraw a report that correctly identified Israel as an apartheid regime. Anyone who cares about freedom and equality should read her letter of resignation, which I have translated here. Her letter is a document that is now part of the history of the struggle for freedom. And anyone in the west who's super worried about women in the Arab world should sit down, because we have Rima and many women like her who just need everyone to get out of the way so we can get our work done. Khalaf women don't play. Palestinian women don't play."


Honorable Secretary General,

I have given a great deal of consideration to the letter I received from your office, and I assure you that I in no way question your right to issue instructions to remove the report from the ESCWA web site, as I do not question that as employees of the United Nations, we must all execute the orders of our Secretary-General.

I know very well your commitment to the principles of human rights in general and your position on the rights of the Palestinian people specifically. And I also understand the anxiety you must have in these difficult times that leave you with few good choices.

It is clear to me the kinds of pressures and threats to which the United Nations and you personally are subjected by states with authority and influence, because of the publication of the ESCWA report (Israeli Practices towards the Palestinian People and the Question of Apartheid) [available here]. I am unsurprised that these states, which are run today by governments with little concern for international principles and human rights, should resort to tactics of fearmongering and threats when they fail to defend their policies and practices which violate the law. It makes sense that a criminal would attack those who defend the cause of his victims, but I find myself incapable of bowing to such pressures, and not because of my role as an employee of the United Nations, but simply as a sane human being. For I believe -- as you do -- in the values and noble principles that have always represented the forces of good throughout history, and upon which our organization, the United Nations, was founded. And, like you, I also believe that discrimination against any human being on the basis of religion or skin color or gender or ethnicity is absolutely unacceptable, and cannot be made acceptable by political maneuvering or brute force. And I believe that to speak truth to power is not only a human right, it is our obligation.

Over the course of two months, I have been instructed to withdraw two reports published by ESCWA, not for any error or shortcomings within the reports themselves and not necessarily because you yourself disagree with their content, but because of political pressures from countries implicated by their blatant violations of the rights of people in the region and human rights in general.

You have seen with your own eyes how the people of this region are enduring episodes of pain and suffering unprecedented in their modern history, and that the deluge of catastrophes that has overtaken them today is a direct result of unchecked oppression which has been ignored, or covered up, or openly engaged in by governments with dominance and force within the region and outside of it. These same governments are the ones pressuring you today to silence the voice of truth and the calls for justice represented by this report.

In view of all that I have stated here, I can only insist on the findings of the ESCWA report, which state that Israel has built an apartheid regime which aims to give one ethnic group control over another. The evidence provided in the report is incontrovertible, and here it is sufficient to point out that anyone who has attacked the report has been incapable of calling into question a single word of its actual content. I see it as my obligation to shine a light on the truth and not to hide it or obscure the testimony and evidence it provides.

The painful truth is that an apartheid regime still exists in the 21st century, and this is unacceptable under any law and is morally unjustifiable.

As I make this statement, I claim no moral superiority and no greater clarity than you possess, the matter is simply that my statements are a result of an entire life spent here, in this region, witnessing the horrific consequences of stifling people and preventing them from expressing the truth of their suffering through peaceful means.

As such, and after great consideration, I realize that I too have no choice. I cannot withdraw, once again, a United Nations report, an exceptionally researched and well-documented report about grave violations of human rights. I also realize that the clear directives of the Secretary General of the United Nations must be executed. And so the only way to resolve this tangle is for me to step aside and leave it to someone else to do what my conscience prevents me from doing. I realize I have only two weeks of service remaining in my post, so my resignation is not meant to exert any political pressure on you. I am simply resigning because I believe my duty to the peoples of the region that we serve, and to the United Nations, and to myself, is not to silence the testimony about a crime that causes such suffering to so many human beings. For this reason, I submit to you my resignation from the United Nations.

(Mondoweiss, March 18, 2017)

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