October 14, 2017 - No. 32

Rounds Three and Four NAFTA Negotiations

Talk of Workers' Rights and Poison Pills
to Conceal Expansion of
U.S. Authority in Canada


Expansion of U.S. Authority Over Canada
Hearings on Electricity Grid Are Not About a
Healthy Natural Environment

- Louis Lang -
Approval of New Private Border Crossing
- Margaret Villamizar -
Bill C-21 An Act to Amend the Customs Act
- Charlie Vita -
House of Commons Adopts U.S. Sanctions Legislation
- Mira Katz -

Origin of Violence and Anarchy in the U.S.
Searching for a Motive for Las Vegas Massacre
- K.C. Adams -
State-Organized Violence and the Ideological Crib
- Ken Tanner -

Anti-War Actions on 16th Anniversary of Invasion of Afghanistan
End the Occupation Now! U.S. and NATO Out of Afghanistan!
Canada Out of NATO!

All U.S. Troops Home Now
- Voice of Revolution -
U.S. Senate Passes 2018 Defense Authorization Bill

Puerto Rico
Militarization of Hurricane Relief
- Voice of Revolution -
The United States Has a Responsibility It Has Not Been Fulfilling
- Digna Sánchez Jiménez -
Hurricanes Expose Destructive Force of U.S. Colonialism
- Interview, José E. López -


Response to Unfounded U.S. Allegations of Health "Attacks"
on Its Embassy Personnel in Havana

People of Villa Clara Pay Tribute to Che
Tribute to Che Held in Ottawa

Coming Events

Rounds Three and Four NAFTA Negotiations

Talk of Workers' Rights and Poison Pills to
Conceal Expansion of U.S. Authority in Canada

The third round of NAFTA negotiations took place between September 22 and 27 in Ottawa while round four began on October 11 and concludes October 15 in Arlington, Virginia.

Ottawa Round

The Ottawa round of NAFTA negotiations revealed the concerted attempt by the ruling class of Canada, the United States and Mexico to divide the working class of the three countries using disinformation about workers' rights. The Trudeau government in particular wants the working people of all three countries to rally behind its neo-liberal conception of labour rights contained in the text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, in opposition to the view of U.S. President Donald Trump and his administration.

The Trudeau government seems to have set for itself the task of convincing the working class to leave decision-making in the hands of the monopolies and their representatives, and trust that an outcome favouring working people will emerge from those who exploit them. This is an illusion to say the least. The only way an outcome can emerge favouring the working class is if it empowers itself to lay its own claims to what belongs to it by right and activates the strength of its numbers and organization to uphold the rights of all.

The attempts of the governments of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to present themselves as the defenders of workers shows how disempowered workers have become during this period of retreat of revolution. It underscores the urgent necessity to organize the working class with its own institutions that speak on its own behalf and expose fraudulent posturing of imperialist leaders whenever it occurs.

Several Canadian union leaders as well as representatives of the Democratic Party and unions in the U.S. have become cheerleaders and even official spokespersons for the proposals put forward by the Trudeau government relating to workers' rights. Those proposals are said to include demands to eliminate the ability of U.S. states to pass right-to-work legislation.[1] They are presented as measures to "level the playing field" between the U.S. and Canada for the monopolies.

The Trudeau government is pushing this public relations stunt at a time governments and companies in Canada increasingly refuse to negotiate and instead dictate wages and working conditions. Besides this, thousands of temporary foreign workers are brought from countries like Mexico to work in the greenhouses in Ontario, for example. These workers have no legal right to unionize or to receive workers' compensation and they are exempt from labour standards such as the minimum wage, maximum hours of work and minimum rest and eating periods.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration also postures as pro-worker. Its demands in the negotiations are said to mirror labour provisions in the TPP as well as those in a 2007 agreement passed by the U.S. Congress in the context of trade deals being negotiated with Central and South American countries. The U.S. Trade Representative's spokeswoman Emily Davis said the U.S. proposals favour U.S. workers as well as those in Canada and Mexico.

"With President Trump as one of labour's biggest supporters, the United States has put forward a detailed proposal that replaces the original NAFTA's toothless approach on labour with enforceable provisions to benefit workers across America," Davis said. "The United States' advocacy for workers includes seeking commitments from Mexico and Canada to respect collective bargaining and other core labour standards," she added.

The various factions of the ruling elite in North America are clamouring that they are the true representatives and friends of the working class. Such a situation would suggest to the gullible and naïve that the working class has no problems and no need for its own organizations, outlook and voice because its contradiction with the ruling imperialist elite has magically disappeared.

The TPP stipulates that member countries should adopt and maintain the labour rights of the International Labour Organization (ILO). It also calls for all members to end child labour and forced labour, and to allow workers to form unions and bargain collectively. It requires a minimum wage, and safety and health standards meant to prevent common abuses like overcrowding, fire hazards, and overwork. "But the document does not specify how any of those measures should work," The Atlantic magazine points out. Nor do the TPP or ILO documents make clear that without a powerful independent working class movement that enforces the recognition and upholding of workers' rights in deeds, the fine words printed on a paper or mouthed by some imperialist politician are worthless.

These agreements with high-sounding words on labour rights are nothing new for U.S. imperialism. In fact, they are part of its arsenal to force countries to subject themselves to U.S. demands at the behest of the most powerful monopolies. They seek to undermine the sovereignty of nations and their independent development. One way is to incorporate workers of developing countries into an international labour market where workers compete to sell their capacity to work, and the monopolies hire educated workers from those developing countries without recognizing the institutions responsible for educating the youth and compensating those institutions and the country for the value they put in the educated workers.

Any talk about upholding workers' rights is a farce given that the aim of NAFTA is to establish Fortress North America by eliminating standards for the working people of all three countries in the name of "flexibility" and "increasing competitiveness."

The interests of the working class are diametrically opposed to those of the imperialist monopolies. Those who call themselves labour leaders would do well to organize their members to oppose the neo-liberal anti-social offensive in concrete ways and stop trying to demobilize the workers' resistance struggles with calls and attempts to leave decision-making in the hands of the global monopolies and imperialist governments that represent their interests.

The working class is responsible for bringing into reality an outcome that favours itself. It should not go cap in hand to those who profit from exploiting workers' capacity to work and beg for something good to happen. The working class can and must empower itself by laying its own claims to what belongs to it by right, and activating its superior numbers and organization to ensure this happens in practice.

Fourth Round: Alarm Bells and "Poison Pills"

The fourth round of negotiations saw intensified factional struggle within the ruling class of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico. One faction is sounding the alarm that Donald Trump has inserted a number of "poison pills" into the text being negotiated, aimed at killing a renegotiated NAFTA. These include demands to change rules of origin for autos, scrap the Chapter 19 dispute resolution measure, as well as open up Canada's supply management sector.[2]

"I happen to think that NAFTA will have to be terminated if we're going to make it good. Otherwise, I believe you can't negotiate a good deal," Forbes quotes Trump saying in an October 10 interview. The TPP "would have been a large-scale version of NAFTA. It would have been a disaster. It's a great honour to have -- I consider that a great accomplishment, stopping that. And there are many people that agree with me.... I like bilateral deals," he added. In Canada this anti-NAFTA rhetoric is used to cause alarm amongst the people and to try to embroil them in siding with one faction of the ruling elite against another. Instilling in people an irrational fear of losing NAFTA seeks to stop them from thinking differently and organizing for a pro-social nation-building alternative in opposition to monopoly-controlled NAFTA and Fortress North America.

The government of Justin Trudeau is no different than any other since NAFTA was first negotiated. It caters to U.S. domination. Nowadays it tries to divert attention from its actions in submitting Canada to U.S. authority and jurisdiction across the board. That Trudeau travelled to Washington to address the U.S. Congress' Ways and Means Committee, which is being lobbied to challenge Trump's authority to terminate NAFTA should he do so, also shows the extent to which Canada is becoming completely entangled in the factional fighting of the monopolies and their political representatives within Fortress North America.[3]

Reports in this edition of TML Weekly reveal that talk of Canada having "red lines" not to be crossed in negotiations over NAFTA is a fraud to cover up the reality that these negotiations are about Canada becoming more and more enmeshed in Fortress North America. The establishment of corridors of various types, giving the U.S. carte blanche to exercise authority over Canadian territory and citizens and expand its military control over Canada attest to the Trudeau government's fraudulent posturing as the biggest defender of Canada's interests. These developments reveal the importance of the working class and people not falling prey to the attempts to embroil them in the factional fight to make NAFTA "fair" or to save it.


1. Unifor President Jerry Dias has indicated that Canada is also "pushing Mexico on its corporate-sanctioned unions, [...] agitating for both countries to offer a year of paid family leave, as Canada does."

On September 26, Christopher Monette, spokesman for Teamsters Canada said, "The U.S. continues to qualify the Canadian labour proposal as non-substantive, not serious." Dias accused the U.S. side of the same thing, saying, "I don't think the Canadian team is thrilled with [the American text] because it falls short."

Teamsters International President James Hoffa, a member of two advisory committees to the U.S. Trade Representative, said, "I have seen the first draft of the U.S. proposal on worker rights and it is inadequate.... The Canadian text, however, goes farther and even addresses American right-to-work laws that depress wages and therefore attract companies in a 'free trade' race to the bottom. I urge the U.S. negotiators to work with us and with their Canadian counterparts to craft a labour chapter that will raise standards and wages throughout North America. Anything less should not be a starting point for these negotiations. It is imperative that a NAFTA replacement get it right when it comes to workers' rights."

Celeste Drake, trade policy specialist with the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) said, "What Canada seems to be putting on the table seems to be closer to addressing real-world problems."

U.S. Rep. Sander Levin, Democrat from Michigan, has said that higher labour standards made synonymous with Canada's proposals are a requirement for the Democrats to pass any renegotiated NAFTA. "I think here the Canadian point of view is very clear and I hope the U.S. point of view will be exactly the same.... In fact, if we don't have something like that -- that gets at this issue of an industrial policy based on the backs of workers -- I don't think there would be very many Democrats who would vote for a NAFTA renegotiated, whatever else was in (it)," Levin said.

2. Tom Donohue, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, was quoted as saying, "There are several poison pill proposals still on the table that could doom the entire deal.... All of these proposals are unnecessary and unacceptable. [...] Ladies and gentlemen, we've reached a critical moment. And the Chamber has had no choice but ring the alarm bells." The Chamber intends to send the Trump administration a letter signed by more than 300 state and local chambers expressing support for NAFTA.

U.S. international trade lawyer Dan Ujczo working for the firm Dickinson Wright is quoted saying, "I'm becoming more and more of the view that the proposals we're seeing are poison pills. These are proposals that neither Canada nor Mexico can accept."

Robert Zoellick, the former World Bank president and ex-U.S. Trade Representative under George W. Bush, speaking of Canada's insistence on including Chapter 19 in the original Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement said, "The Canadians spilled blood on this to get this done. It is a very big stretch in my mind to believe that any Canadian government can walk away without a Chapter 19 provision."

Unifor President Jerry Dias echoed the sentiment saying, "It's going nowhere fast. It's clear. The U.S. has some ridiculous proposals on the table. You only put those types of proposals on the table if you're not looking really to find a deal."

3. The Ways and Means Committee of the U.S. Congress has jurisdiction over "reciprocal trade" on behalf of the U.S. Congress and specifically NAFTA. Its website describes its jurisdiction over trade and tariff legislation as follows:

"The Committee on Ways and Means has responsibility over legislation relating to tariffs, import trade, and trade negotiations. In the early days of the Republic, tariff and customs receipts were major sources of revenue for the Federal Government. As the Committee with jurisdiction over revenue-raising measures, the Committee on Ways and Means thus evolved as the primary Committee responsible for international trade policy.

"The Constitution vests the power to levy tariffs and to regulate international commerce specifically in the Congress as one of its enumerated powers. Any authority to regulate imports or to negotiate trade agreements must therefore be delegated to the executive branch through legislative action. Statutes including the Reciprocal Trade Agreements Acts beginning in 1934, Trade Expansion Act of 1962, Trade Act of 1974, Trade Agreements Act of 1979, Trade and Tariff Act of 1984, Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988, North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) Implementation Act, Uruguay Round Agreements Act, and Trade Act of 2002 provide the basis for U.S. bargaining with other countries to achieve the mutual reduction of tariff and nontariff trade barriers under reciprocal trade agreements.

"The Committee's jurisdiction includes the following authorities and programs:

"(a) The tariff schedules and all tariff preference programs, such as the General System of Preferences and the Caribbean Basin Initiative;

"(b) Laws dealing with unfair trade practices, including the antidumping law, countervailing duty law, section 301, and section 337;

"(c) Other laws dealing with import trade, including section 201 (escape clause), section 232 national security controls, section 22 agricultural restrictions, international commodity agreements, textile restrictions under section 204, and any other restrictions or sanctions affecting imports;

"(d) General and specific trade negotiating authority, as well as implementing authority for trade agreements and the grant of normal-trade-relations (NTR) status;

"(e) General and NAFTA-related [Trade Adjustment Assistance Act (TAA)] programs for workers, and TAA for firms;

"(f) Customs administration and enforcement, including rules of origin and country-of origin marking, customs classification, customs valuation, customs user fees, and U.S. participation in the World Customs Organization (WCO);

"(g) Trade and customs revenue functions of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of the Treasury.

"(h) Authorization of the budget for the International Trade Commission (ITC), functions of the Department of Homeland Security under the Committees jurisdiction, and the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR)."

Through the Trade Promotion Act (TPA) of 2015 the Congress delegated the power to negotiate trade deals to the Obama administration; however this Act expires on July 1, 2018. If Trump wants to make changes to NAFTA he must notify Congress 180 days prior to the changes coming into effect. Any unilateral presidential changes must take place prior to July 1, 2018 unless the TPA is renewed by Congress. Additionally, as Trump moves to terminate NAFTA as it exists, more and more voices from within the ruling class are calling for the Ways and Means Committee to assert its jurisdiction and block any termination.

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Expansion of U.S. Authority Over Canada

Hearings on Electricity Grid Are Not About a
Healthy Natural Environment

The bulk electrical grid is organized into regions on a North America-wide basis under the
North American Electric Reliability Corporation. (click to enlarge)

The Trudeau government wants to make Canada a powerhouse in the field of renewable or what is called green energy. This is presented as an important measure to lower Canada's greenhouse gas emissions. Discussion at a recent hearing into strategic electricity inter-ties by the Standing Committee on Natural Resources reveals that while the talk is about the natural environment, what is being worked out is the establishment of new corridors and linkages within Canada and between Canada and the United States to serve private interests and bind Canada more tightly to the United States. These are the interests which have seized control of natural resources by trampling the rights of Indigenous peoples.

Electricity, like other forms of Canada's energy resources, comes under NAFTA's jurisdiction and is tariff-free between Canada and the United States. In fact, Canada's major electricity generation and transmission grids have by and large been constructed in order to serve the U.S. A contradiction has emerged, however, now that some Canadian provinces have already or will soon eliminate coal-fired electrical production, or rely heavily on fossil fuels for electrical generation, and do not have the infrastructure required to import hydro-electric power from neighbouring provinces. This is because to date those producing excess hydro-electric power export the vast majority of it to the United States and do not have the capacity required to transport it to neighbouring provinces.

The bulk electrical grid is organized on a North American basis where the various regions are under the mandate of the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), the international regulatory body whose mission is to assure "reliability and security of the bulk power system of North America." Currently this includes only Canada and the United States, but in January of this year Mexico signed a deal to also come under its jurisdiction.[1]

One of the major issues which all three of the governments negotiating NAFTA are said to agree on is the importance of locking Mexico's recent deregulation of its electricity and other energy sectors into a new NAFTA. This refers in part to the fact that Mexico exempted itself from Articles 605 and 607 of NAFTA's Chapter 6 which relate to restricting the ability of Canada or the U.S. to limit energy exports. The renegotiation of NAFTA is expected to see Mexico come under Articles 605 and 607 of Chapter 6 officially, tying it into the "North American energy market" in the hopes of blocking any future government from affirming its sovereignty over the use and transmission of Mexican energy.

No consideration is given by those making the decisions to the need for the self-reliance of each country. How the U.S. uses its control of the natural resources of Canada and Mexico to impose its will and national interest over others is not considered at all. Besides other things, expanding the transmission of electricity to the U.S. in the name of lowering the reliance of U.S. states on fossil fuels, is a way to free up U.S. fossil fuels for use as an economic weapon against other countries as well as to fuel its vast war machine, the biggest greenhouse gas emitter in the world.

The working people of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico want transportation links and the bounty of natural resources to be used to benefit the people and all of humanity. Binding Canada and Mexico under U.S. Northern Command as a secure source of fuel and cannon fodder in economic and military wars against other countries and peoples who refuse to submit to U.S. imperialism will not do. An independent stand is required which affirms the rights of all. A starting point is to demand that Canada withdraw from NAFTA and for relations based on equality and mutual benefit.


1. NERC's area of responsibility spans the continental United States, Canada, and the northern portion of Baja California, Mexico. Its regions are:

- Florida Reliability Coordinating Council (FRCC)
- Midwest Reliability Organization (MRO)
- Northeast Power Coordinating Council (NPCC)
- ReliabilityFirst (RF)
- SERC Reliability Corporation (SERC)
- Southwest Power Pool, RE (SPP RE)
- Texas Reliability Entity (Texas RE)
- Western Electricity Coordinating Council (WECC)

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Approval of New Private Border Crossing

On August 31, the day before the second round of official NAFTA negotiations opened in Mexico, the Trudeau government issued an Order-in-Council approving the construction of a new privately-owned international bridge crossing between Windsor, Ontario and Detroit, Michigan by the Detroit International Bridge Company. The company is owned by U.S. transportation magnate billionaire Matty Maroun and his family.

The Trudeau government's Order-in-Council gives the Detroit International Bridge Company, which owns the Ambassador Bridge, five years to construct the new span and demolish the existing bridge. Many in the community do not believe it will demolish the current bridge as the company has defied many other orders against it by various levels of government. This is evidenced by the fact that it has now been revealed that the permits on the U.S. side require the current bridge to remain in place. The Order-in-Council also hands over new public lands around the Ambassador Bridge for the use of the private U.S. owners.

It is estimated that twenty-five per cent of all Canada-U.S. commercial trade crosses the Windsor-Detroit border via the Ambassador Bridge. Wikileaks revealed a cable sent from the U.S. Embassy in Canada to Washington in November of 2005 that described the two crossings as "arguably the two most significant pieces of critical infrastructure along the entire frontier." To the U.S., "critical infrastructure" means infrastructure it considers related to its national security and therefore, for all intents and purposes, under its control. It stands to reason that any Canadian government decision concerning the Ambassador Bridge would be based on demands from the U.S. government and would not be taken without its permission. Given that the Order-in-Council was issued the day before the NAFTA negotiations began in Mexico, it is likely that this is related to those negotiations.

Despite its significance, the announcement came without any fanfare by the government of Canada and no minister came to do a news conference. Instead, Member of Parliament Brian Masse, in whose riding the Ambassador Bridge's new span is to be located, was informed via a call from the media about the decision. The government has not given any legitimate explanation for its concession to the Detroit International Bridge Company.

The approval is a significant reversal of the government's position. The federal and Ontario governments have been actively trying to block the construction of a new crossing by the Detroit International Bridge Company and are supposed to be in the process of using an estimated $4.8 billion in public funds to build another crossing -- the Gordie Howe International Crossing and its U.S. customs plaza. The Gordie Howe International Crossing is to be publicly funded but mandated to be built and run on a public-private basis.

Some hold up Trump's demand that Mexico pay for a wall on its border with the U.S. as an exercise in humiliation. The fact that the Canadian federal and Ontario governments are footing the bill for this entire project, including the U.S. customs plaza, reveals the humiliating position in which successive Canadian Conservative and Liberal governments have placed Canada and Canadians.

In 2012, to get around opposition to the new Gordie Howe International Crossing from the Michigan legislature, the Detroit International Bridge Company and the people of Michigan, the Ontario Liberal government of Dalton McGuinty and the governor of Michigan cooked up what they called an "inter-local" agreement between the Ontario government and a Michigan Fund to build the bridge which sought to eliminate the jurisdiction of the elected Michigan legislature.[1]

As recently as September 14, the Detroit International Bridge Company continues to oppose the U.S. federal government's approval of the Gordie Howe International Crossing on the basis that the decision was made improperly and that it interferes with their right to make maximum profits from their own crossing. It launched a similar suit under NAFTA's Chapter 11 Investor-State Dispute Resolution mechanism against the Canadian government although it was dismissed in April of 2015 on the basis that the NAFTA tribunal did not have jurisdiction given that the case was being heard in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia.

The Canadian government's reversal of its position concerning the Ambassador Bridge indicates the way in which deals are being made as part of the NAFTA negotiations over strategic trade routes between Canada and the United States without the participation or knowledge of Canadians. It should be remembered that the Trudeau government is also rushing to pass its Bill C-23, An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United States, which will surely be used to authorize the placement of U.S. Homeland Security agents on Canadian soil to clear goods and people as they seek to cross the current and new Ambassador Bridge as well as an eventual Gordie Howe International Crossing unless that is abandoned altogether. It is highly likely that part of the approval of the permits for the Detroit International Bridge Company is linked to secret deals to put in place as swiftly as possible pre-clearance at the Windsor-Detroit border and on this basis give the U.S. control over one of the most strategic Canada-U.S. border crossings.

In all of this the concerns of those who are to live around the Ambassador Bridge and in the west end of Windsor, who have long suffered elevated levels of cancer and other diseases which are linked to elevated levels of air pollution produced by diesel emissions from the thousands of trucks passing there, have been completely dismissed and suppressed. It has been a longstanding demand of the people especially since September 11, 2001, that no expansion of the Ambassador Bridge be considered by the Canadian government because it runs right through the community and over the University of Windsor. This is due to their experience of U.S. Customs deliberately slowing traffic on the bridge down to a trickle following the 9/11 attacks and again following Canada's refusal to join the war in Iraq, backing up Windsor streets with long lines of idling trucks. The people living in those areas have demanded that truck traffic be moved out of their neighborhoods and the city so as to reduce the levels of pollution and traffic congestion they are forced to live with.

The Trudeau government has effectively thrown these citizens under the bus and even handed over sections of public roads and neighborhoods to a private U.S. billionaire who will no doubt seek to have them secured by U.S. Homeland Security and out of Canadian jurisdiction as "critical infrastructure." This after years and years of consultations held on a new bridge with the residents affected by the current one. While the Trudeau government presents itself as the champion of consultation and listening to the people, its 180 degree reversal on this matter shows that this is a sham to hide who it is that makes important decisions over what happens in Canada.


1. See "New Privately-Controlled Public Authorities Established Through Windsor-Detroit Crossing Agreement," TML Weekly, July 21, 2012.

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Bill C-21 An Act to Amend the Customs Act

Parliament resumed on September 18, following the summer break, in the midst of official negotiations of NAFTA. The priority of the government as Parliament opened was clearly to ensure that all the arrangements demanded by successive United States governments to humiliate and subjugate Canada are in place lest they become "irritants" to the Canada-U.S. relationship and affect whatever it is Canada hopes to "get" in return.

The first piece of government legislation put for debate by the Liberals the day Parliament resumed was Bill C-21, An Act to amend the Customs Act. This legislation is a result of an agreement signed during Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's first official visit to the White House under U.S. President Barack Obama. That agreement also led to the tabling of Bill C-23, An Act respecting the preclearance of persons and goods in Canada and the United States, which greatly expands the powers for the Minister of Public Safety to place U.S. border agents at Canadian ports and manufacturing facilities to enforce U.S. jurisdiction. The two pieces of legislation are a combination of measures to strengthen U.S. authority and provide it jurisdiction to wield its police powers in Canada.

In particular, Bill C-21 permits the Canadian security agencies to receive from U.S. security agencies and to share with them information on Canadians exiting Canada into the United States.[1] This is similar to how Canada hands over to the U.S. information on American citizens and anyone else leaving Canada for the United States. Through such arrangements, a "seamless" North American border control system is being finalized under U.S. control in which the border agencies of Canada as well as Mexico become arms of U.S. Homeland Security and operate on the basis of its systems, regulations and definitions.

According to a government backgrounder issued when Bill C-21 was tabled: "Once this legislation is passed, Canada will now know when and where someone enters the country, and when and where they leave the country."  It presents the legislation as closing a "loophole" that Canada does not currently receive this information from the United States on its own citizens or others. This deliberately hides why they want to know and whose interests are behind this legislation.

The legislation is based on the false premise that Canadians, Americans and Mexicans are a threat to Fortress North America and that the governments of the three countries must strengthen their powers to police their own people in order to defend North American security. With this and other pieces of legislation, the government is eliminating existing arrangements that are based on the notion that Canada or Mexico are sovereign countries.

Today, information handed over to U.S., Mexican and Canadian authorities is used to fill databases overseen by the United States, which it uses to profile human beings based on their travel patterns, background, age, gender etc., to target some as "potential risks." In the name of information-sharing and cooperation for security, the Canadian state is strengthening the police powers of U.S. security agencies to target human beings based on who they are rather than any crime they may have committed or are accused of committing. This permits the security agencies to target people for discrimination, harassment and persecution and is unacceptable. Such measures were put in place under the Harper and Obama regimes and they are now being clinched by the Trudeau and Trump regimes. Irrespective of what government oversaw these measures they are contradictory to the modern notion that people's security lies in the affirmation of their rights.

The Conservatives' only objection is to not being given enough credit for having set the table for this legislation under Harper and the slowness of the Liberals in getting it passed. The NDP is calling for "re-consideration" of the legislation, based on the notion that such measures were not a fundamental problem with the Obama administration in power, however, now it is a problem with Trump in power. In this way the principle of Canadian sovereignty and Canada's right to decide its own affairs is eliminated from any discussion and instead the basis for "debate" is to hide the nature of U.S. imperialism and Canada's ongoing submission to it. Such a "debate" does not inform the people about what is taking place so that they can unite in action to uphold their national, collective and individual rights.

The working class of Canada and Quebec and the Indigenous peoples are human beings with rights, most importantly the right to decide the affairs that affect their lives. Any illusion that this legislation and other laws like it are only now an issue with a Trump presidency are aimed at diverting the people from directly challenging U.S. imperialism's program to eliminate any sovereign decision-making in Canada. These measures are part and parcel of the NAFTA negotiations because they are related to establishing Fortress North America, which subjects the over 450 million people of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico to the authority of U.S. imperialism at every level.

Governments and representatives of Parliament or legislatures that are facilitating this violation of the rights of the peoples of the three countries or actively hiding it, are unfit to govern and in contempt of their duty to their constituents as public officials. They must be replaced by a political movement of the people for genuine independence and sovereignty which puts forward politicians and governments who uphold the modern principle that our security lies in the fight for the rights of all.


1. The following information is to be shared by the U.S. with Canada and in some cases is already being shared by the Canadian government with the U.S.:

Biographic entry information (land mode)

"Biographic information includes: first name, middle name(s), last name, date of birth, citizenship or nationality, [TML emphasis added] sex, travel document type, document number, and name of the country that issued the travel document. In addition to the biographic information that Canada and the U.S. currently collect on travellers at ports of entry, the date and time of entry, as well as the port through which the traveller entered, will be exchanged as part of the Entry/Exit initiative."

By permitting citizenship or nationality to be provided, the Canadian government is causing utmost confusion because they are not synonymous. Only the person's current citizenship  as per the passport they travel on is relevant.

Biographic exit information (air mode)

"Biographic information includes: first name, middle name(s), last name, date of birth, citizenship or nationality, sex, travel document type, document number, and name of the country that issued the travel document. In addition, the date, time, and location of departure as well as flight information will be collected from air carriers for passengers leaving Canada on board outbound international flights."

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House of Commons Adopts U.S.
Sanctions Legislation

On October 4 the Canadian House of Commons, with the support of all parties, unanimously passed Bill S-226, An Act to provide for the taking of restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights and to make related amendments to the Special Economic Measures Act and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. Its short title is Justice for Victims of Corrupt Foreign Officials Act (Sergei Magnitsky Law).

The legislation is virtually an exact copy of a U.S. law entitled the Global Magnistky Human Rights Accountability Act, signed into law by former U.S. President Barrack Obama just prior to current U.S. President Trump taking office.[1] The U.S. law expands arbitrary Presidential powers to impose sanctions on any foreign national alleged to be a human rights abuser or corrupt. That such a law comes from the world's biggest human rights abuser shows the depths of depravity to which Canadian MPs have sunk in presenting Canada's copy-cat law as a contribution to international human rights. Once passed in the Senate where it originated and is sure to pass easily, the bill will be given Royal Assent and become law.

The Canadian copy of the U.S. law provides for "the taking of restrictive measures in respect of foreign nationals responsible for gross violations of internationally recognized human rights." It amends the Special Economic Measures Act, Canada's current sanctions legislation and the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act to establish a new loophole through which the Prime Minister and the Cabinet can target foreign nationals and Canadians alleged to be providing financial or other services to them, related to their alleged wrongdoing.

It expands the arbitrary powers of the government beyond what is currently permitted in the Special Economic Measures Act to impose sanctions on foreign nationals and criminalize Canadians said to be engaged in dealings involving property belonging to such persons or the provision of services to them. Currently the Special Economic Measures Act limits the government's ability to impose sanctions to either of the following situations:

- where an international organization or association to which Canada belongs calls on its members to take economic measures against a foreign state; or

- where a grave breach of international peace and security has occurred and is likely to result in a serious international crisis.

The new law reflects the fact that more and more the Canadian state wishes to wield Canada's territory and resources as a weapon against those the U.S. declares its enemies. Now economic sanctions and a travel ban (inadmissibility to Canada) can be imposed against anyone listed under the Sergei Magnitsky Law, thus expanding the ability of Canada's border, police and spy agencies, joined at the hip with U.S. Homeland Security, to target foreign nationals and their family members as well as Canadians.

Mirroring the U.S. Magnitsky Act, the law enables the government to issue orders relating to the property of a designated foreign national who the government decides is "responsible for or complicit in gross violations of internationally recognized human rights against whistle-blowers or human rights defenders." Like the U.S. law, it allows orders relating to property to be issued against a foreign national who is a government official of a foreign state and who is responsible for, or complicit in, ordering, controlling or otherwise directing "acts of significant corruption." Examples of such corruption are taken right from the U.S. legislation: the expropriation of private or public assets for personal gain; corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources; bribery; or the facilitation or transfer of the proceeds of corruption to foreign jurisdictions.

The legislation permits the government to interfere with the ability of Canadian citizens or entities to provide financial or related services to those foreign nationals listed under the law. It also imposes a requirement on businesses to monitor whether they are in possession or control of property of or providing services to a person or persons subject to an order under the legislation.

The law calls for the House of Commons and the Senate through designated committees to annually review the legislation and those listed and gives them the ability to recommend additions and deletions.

Who Said What

In a statement about the bill's passing Third Reading in the House of Commons, Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said it "will enable Canada to sanction, impose travel bans on and hold accountable those responsible for gross human rights violations and significant corruption. This will ensure that Canada's foreign policy tool box is effective and fit for purpose in today's international environment. It will also provide a valuable complement to our existing human rights and anti-corruption tools."

Speaking for the Conservative Party during the debate prior to the October 4 vote, James Bezan (Selkirk -- Interlake -- Eastman) spoke in similar terms, saying the legislation "put another tool in the tool box for the Government of Canada, so that we can project our Canadian values and ensure that Canada is not being used as a safe haven by corrupt foreign officials and human rights abusers. He underlined the global reach of the bill, emphasizing that it extended far beyond Russia. In addition to thanking Chrystia Freeland for her support, he said, "I think all of us would be remiss if we did not thank the huge diaspora in Canada: the Ukrainian diaspora, the pro-democracy Russians in Canada, the Vietnamese community, the Iranian community, and the Falun Gong and Chinese community here. They believe that having this legislation in Canada, the Sergei Magnitsky Law, would enable the Government of Canada to hold those human rights abusers in their countries to account and ensure that they do not hide their money or bring their families and protect them here in Canada, and that we do not allow Canada to be used as a safe haven. I thank all of them for their support, petitions, and advocacy and holding seminars and spreading the world about how important Bill S-226 is."

Bezan also singled out Venezuela. Canada recently imposed sanctions on 40 high level Venezuelan government and state officials. Without the Magnitsky Law yet in its toolbox, the government had to resort to a manoeuvre with the U.S to create the appearance it was applying "multilateral" sanctions since Canada's existing economic sanctions legislation was designed mainly for the implementation of such things as UN Security Council-mandated sanctions. After citing the stock litany of lies repeated by those pushing for regime change in Venezuela he said the new law would allow for proper economic sanctions and travel bans to be put in place to "send a message to Maduro and his regime."

Bezan praised the Liberals, saying their contributions had "cleaned up the bill and provided more strength and more tools and mechanisms," including through the provision of a "fair balance and right of recourse" to those whose names are added to the list.

NDP MP Linda Duncan (Edmonton -- Strathcona) expressed pleasure that the bill had all-party support and called its passage long overdue. She said that what was important now was "watchdogging the government so it actually delivers on it." Another NDP member, Wayne Stetski (Kootenay -- Columbia) said his party had "long been at the forefront of calling for targeted sanctions against those responsible for human rights violations." He said the NDP had "consistently called for Canada to coordinate our sanctions regime with the United States and the European Union, and to tighten sanctions to address major gaps."


1. The U.S. law authorizes the President to impose U.S. entry and property sanctions against any foreign person (or entity) who the U.S. declares is involved in corruption or the persecution of someone said to be exposing government corruption. The law defines corruption as including "the expropriation of private or public assets for personal gain, corruption related to government contracts or the extraction of natural resources, bribery, or the facilitation or transfer of the proceeds of corruption to foreign jurisdictions."

The law authorizes "visa bans and a block on the U.S. assets of government officials anywhere in the world found violating human rights, committing -- or assisting in -- "significant" corruption, making graft by a foreign official punishable by U.S. sanctions."

The U.S. legislation was introduced by Democratic Senator Ben Cardin from Maryland, at the time ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. In passing the legislation Cardin said: "The U.S. has added a critical tool to our diplomatic toolbox, making clear that gross violators of human rights and those who engage in serious acts of corruption cannot escape the consequences of their actions even when their home country fails to act."

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Origin of Violence and Anarchy in the U.S.

Searching for a Motive for Las Vegas Massacre

U.S. authorities and media are exhibiting angst over not finding a motive behind the recent mass shooting in Las Vegas. Identifying a discernible motive appears necessary to exonerate the U.S. state and society of responsibility for the anarchy, violence and mayhem that permeate life in the United States and its foreign affairs.

After each mass slaughter and amid the continuing violence of U.S. cities, a tenuous motive is usually trotted out for the individual or individuals involved. A motive is supposed to explain the act, possibly provide some comfort or meaning to those grieving their horrible loss, and when some evil intent is identified inspire revenge and a desire for strengthened police powers. But regardless of the motive, life and violence carry on as before because the state-organized dictate that might makes right in the defence of class privilege and empire-building declares no alternative is allowed, no new direction or pro-social aim for the economy and society is permissible.

A motive to explain the violence becomes a convenient diversion to investigating and finding out why the U.S. is such a violent society in its relations between the police powers of the state and its members, amongst individuals and collectives generally, and in the U.S. state's relations with the peoples and countries around the world. A motive to explain the continuing violence in the U.S. and with others abroad acts to divert people from questioning why a society that can produce so much cannot look after its own members, cannot establish modern relations and methods of governance in conformity with the modern socialized conditions of industrial mass production, and is continually at war with peoples abroad, rejecting outright the peaceful resolution of problems.

"Totally Destroy North Korea!"

The U.S. Commander in Chief in a speech at the UN casually threatens to "totally destroy North Korea." In a meeting with top military leaders, the President tells assembled reporters that this peaceful gathering in the White House is the "calm before the storm," refusing to clarify what new storm the U.S. is planning to unleash. The President himself calls on police forces not to be so gentle when arresting suspects. His predecessor in the Presidency unleashed drone warfare and U.S. Special Forces on the peoples of the world in unprecedented waves, which continue to escalate.

When hearing that his Secretary of State was opening channels of communication with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the Commander in Chief publicly rebuked him and told him to stop wasting his time. The U.S. has made it clear that it has no intention to sign a peace treaty with the DPRK and remove its thousands of troops and weapons of mass destruction from the Korean Peninsula and Japan. Might is declared right to defend class privilege and empire-building through violence, anarchy and warfare.

The Aim of the Economy

The aim of the U.S. economy is to maximize private profits for the few who own and control the socialized economy at the expense of the many. The aim violently contradicts the necessity of a modern socialized economy to meet the needs of the people and guarantee their rights from birth to passing away. The aim to maximize private profits for a few comes into conflict with the modern aim of an economy of industrial mass production to meet the needs of all and humanize the workplace and the social and natural environment.

Individuals are told and even exhorted to fend for themselves in contradiction with a completely socialized economy on which all depend for their livelihoods and existence. Those few who are successful in building a personal empire through hereditary or natural right are exalted and awarded class privilege and power over the rest of the members of society. The motive to maximize profits for a few at the expense of the many and build individual and collective empires of class privilege governs the relations amongst the people. The police powers of the state and mass cultural and ideological indoctrination ensure class privilege prevails and that no other aim for the economy or society emerges, and that the people are left without a social consciousness and public opinion of what needs to be done to turn the situation around, driving many crazy or leaving them unconcerned.

Might makes right to maximize profit for the few at the expense of the many means inevitable violence and anarchy invades all aspects of life at home and abroad. For 58 people to die from gunshots in Chicago dating back from the time of the Las Vegas massacre took only 28 days, in Baltimore 68 days, in Houston 118 days and on and on the violence escalates internally as even more warships storm towards the Korean Peninsula for war games in October and possible invasion of the DPRK, and U.S. Special Forces' deaths are reported in violent encounters in faraway Niger, Africa.

The people do not want to hear some specious motive or psychological issue moved the Las Vegas shooter to slaughter his victims. His motive and actions are fashioned within the cultural and ideological cocoon of U.S. imperialism. Where else could such acts originate? They do not just drop from the skies or emerge spontaneously in the brain. The people want to hear of a new direction for their economy and country with a new motive and pro-social aim suitable for modern times that puts an end to anarchy and violence at home and abroad.

The U.S. is tearing itself apart with its outmoded motive, aim and way of life based on class privilege and empire-building, and is dragging down the world as well. The time is now for the U.S., Canadian and Mexican working class and allies to stand up to U.S. imperialism and be counted as part of this great humanity and declare with conviction and determination to build the new with a modern economy and aim to meet and guarantee the rights and needs of all, where social love and peaceful relations prevail amongst the peoples within North America and the peoples of the entire world. The need to put an end to class privilege and empire-building and withdraw the U.S. military from overseas is paramount if humanity is to move forward and be allowed to sort out problems peacefully.

The necessity for change is evident for all to see!

Reject the anarchy and violence of class privilege and empire-building!

The time is now to build the new, a new direction for the economy and country with a modern motive and pro-social aim to guarantee the rights and well-being of all and live in peace with the peoples of the world!

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State-Organized Violence and the Ideological Crib

The imperialists are doing everything they can to cover up the connection between the outburst of violence in Las Vegas and U.S. state-organized violence at home and abroad. They call the mass murder in Las Vegas a senseless act of violence, while the violence the U.S. military unleashes daily on the world's peoples makes sense because it occurs in the name of peace and democracy. Likewise, the state-organized violence of the police powers used against the people within the U.S. makes sense because it occurs in the name of upholding the law and order of the state in the defence of class privilege and private ownership of the socialized economy.

The U.S. state has unleashed anarchy, violence and militarism all over the world through their decades-long wars for conquest and domination against the interests of the world's peoples, their sovereign rights and human progress. The U.S. state is the biggest producer of armaments and arms dealer in the world, has the largest stockpile of weapons of mass destruction, has the largest military by far with over 1,000 foreign military bases and navy prowling the seas, and is the most prolific user of arms in action throughout the world including within the U.S. itself where police forces are heavily militarized.

The U.S. state uses its weapons all over the world, killing millions of people since WWII and destroying infrastructure and means of production that the people depend on for their well-being and existence. Through conquest and forced regime change, the U.S. state steals produced-value from others, especially from those countries struggling to make the transition from petty production to modern industrial mass production.

Within the U.S., entire communities face continuous state-organized police brutality from law enforcement personnel armed to the teeth and given a license to kill so as to intimidate the people. Rather than deal with the social, political, and economic problems that have long plagued the U.S. economy and society and its relations with others abroad, the U.S. state has instead unleashed war and police brutality treating all human beings at home and abroad as law and order problems standing in the way of U.S. empire-building.

Within the U.S., mass incarceration with mega prisons holding 2.5 million people is justified as necessary for the war on drugs and to ensure class privilege continues its rule and monopoly over the social wealth workers produce. The social consequences of an economy whose aim is maximum profit for the few at the expense of the many are never questioned. The people are expected to fend for themselves. Such a dictum arising from the ruling elite of an economy whose aim benefits only the privileged few, and inevitably marginalizes millions and leaves them desperate, with many facing civil death. This results in activity outside the legally sanctioned theft of what belongs to the actual producers by right. Individuals engaged in efforts to fend for themselves within an economy whose aim denies them the right to participate unless their work-time gives rise to maximum profits for a few, are criminalized and dealt with harshly.

The U.S. state is concerned with defending a status quo for the privileged few, leaving millions of people facing the full brunt of an economy whose aim does not include guaranteeing their well-being and which regularly collapses in economic crises. The notion of "every man for himself" permeates U.S. society, which was founded and built to defend slave property and other forms of private ownership of the means of production within a general state-organized right of certain human beings to exploit other human beings as chattel slaves or wage-slave workers who must sell their capacity to work to acquire a living.

Those in control of the U.S. from the beginning have been obsessed with their aim to enlarge social wealth for themselves at the expense of the many and to extend their empire throughout the world, first by violently expropriating and stealing the land of the Indigenous peoples and enslaving Africans, and gradually moving their empire into other regions of North America and beyond, expanding the domination and control of the U.S. empire throughout the world.

The disorder within such a violent unstable society has given rise to a decadent culture where the human person is humiliated and violated in every sense. Actions are explained psychologically and not as a result of a social being living in a country founded on theft, enslavement, exploitation, violence and empire-building.

The unprecedented depravity of U.S. culture and sense of hopelessness arising from state-sanctioned class privilege and empire-building has left millions of people suffering not only physical anxiety from fending for themselves but also accompanied with mental illness, anguish, and drug addiction. These social phenomena are not recognized as problems of a social being living in a society that officially sanctions class privilege, state-organized violence, exploitation and absurd demands to fend for yourself within a completely socialized economy. No, these problems are identified mostly as psychological, the problems of a malfunctioning brain or a result of particular traumatic events in an individual's life. People are prescribed pills for anxiety and depression to cope with the insecurity and uncertainty faced in everyday life or criminalized.

The social basis for social being is never investigated because that would threaten class privilege and empire-building. An investigation of the social root of the social being would challenge the ideological underpinning of class privilege and empire-building where the people are supposed to fend for themselves simply because that is the American way since its founding by slave owners and the theft of Indigenous land. The lack of regard for the well-being of others in society constitutes the founding ethos. How else to explain the acceptance of chattel slavery and continuing theft of what belongs to wage-workers by right.

The aim of maximum profit for the few at the expense of the many is what drives the U.S. empire-building and what inevitably forces the economy into violent crises and war. The social order and ideology of competition, anarchy, violence and militarism are as American as apple pie. They permeate the U.S. way of life and thinking of the ruling elite and are extended into everyone's brain down to the most subjugated, browbeaten and desperate. The culture is essentially obscene chauvinism, militarism, violence and pornography, the degradation of the human person especially women, propped up through state-organized violence and ideological control under the banner of the necessity to crush any resistance and any movement to organize to build the new.

The ruling elite sing happily of the freedom of the individual. But that individual is trapped within an ideological crib of anti-consciousness and not allowed to rebel. The people are free to pursue happiness, free to pursue the accumulation of private property and wealth, free to starve, free to be unemployed, free to fend for themselves but not free to rebel, not free to reject the ideological shackles of U.S. imperialism and strike out on a new path through acts of conscious participation in acts of finding out how to rebel and organize to build the new.

The madness of the ideological crib and a social being rooted in class privilege, exploitation, oppression, theft, violence and empire-building reveals itself in various ways sometimes pathetic sometimes spectacular, sometimes morbid and dark calling for fire and brimstone and destruction of an entire people resulting in war and other despicable acts such as the Las Vegas massacre, and sometimes in religious fantasies, acts of charity and brilliant uplifting descriptions of the suffering of the people and their dreams for a better world. They all form part of the same social being trapped within the anti-consciousness and ideology of U.S. imperialism. They are not the acts of people struggling and organizing their peers to escape that ideological crib and build the new through conscious acts of finding out. Such a new person has to rebel against the old in the here and now, rebel against the old ideology by rejecting it, by engaging in acts of conscious participation in organizing and building the new, creating conditions to build an economy that can harness the massive social product of industrial mass production within a new and modern aim to guarantee the rights and well-being of the people, to build the new with a modern constitution and forms of governance that empower the people and hold the rulers to account, to build the new by rejecting the violence and wars of the ruling elite and organizing to deprive them of their power to deprive the people of their right to engage in conscious acts of participation in building the new.

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Anti-War Actions on 16th Anniversary of Invasion of Afghanistan

End the Occupation Now! U.S. and NATO
Out of Afghanistan! Canada Out of NATO!

Anti-war picket in Vancouver, October 7, 2017, on occasion of 16th anniversary of the U.S.-led
invasion of Afghanistan.

October 7 marked the 16th anniversary of the U.S.-NATO invasion of Afghanistan. This illegal invasion and occupation was spearheaded by the U.S. in the wake of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the U.S. Without providing any evidence, the U.S. imperialists declared that certain forces in Afghanistan were to blame. Using this pretext, the U.S. invoked the so-called collective self-defence clause of the NATO Charter under the banner of waging a "war on terrorism." The Obama presidency then stepped up U.S. crimes under its "Pivot to Asia," with a massive troop surge and a program of drone warfare that has been expanded to Pakistan, on top of the destabilization, anarchy and violence the NATO invasion unleashed. All told, more than 100,000 people have been killed in Afghanistan and the region since the start of the NATO invasion.

In 2001, the then-Chrétien Liberal government immediately embroiled Canada in combat operations, not only on the basis of accepting the U.S. pretext for invasion, but also doing its part to provide a phony humanitarian moral imperative for its participation -- to justify war crimes on the basis of "defence, diplomacy and development." In the case of "development" all manner of high ideals about defending the rights of Afghan women and girls were presented. Despite the massive outpouring of anti-war sentiment from Canadians to end the mission and bring Canadian troops home immediately, subsequent Canadian governments, with the support of all the so-called major parties in the Parliament maintained Canada's role in the NATO occupation of Afghanistan. In 2011, the Canadian government claimed that Canada's participation in combat operations had ceased and it was said to only be involved in "training." In 2014 it said that Canadian troops were withdrawn.

With the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president in 2016 the unprecedented use of the Massive Ordnance Air Blast (the "Mother of All Bombs") in Afghanistan on April 13, and the threats issued to the people of the world in Trump's speech to the UN are a clear message that Afghanistan is still an issue and that the anti-war movement in Canada must continue to take a stand against U.S. and NATO foreign intervention there.

Toronto protest April 16, 2017 against dropping of MOAB on Afghanistan.

In the first six months of 2017 alone, the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported a total of 1,662 dead civilians between January 1 and June 30, including 174 women confirmed dead, and 462 injured, for a general increase of 23 per cent compared to the same period of 2016. A total of 436 children lost their lives, and 1,141 were injured.

There are currently 13,459 NATO troops and 11,000 U.S. troops occupying Afghanistan. The U.S. is in the process of sending 3,000 more troops to bring its total to 14,000, for a grand total of nearly 28,000 foreign troops. U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg recently met in Kabul to affirm NATO's commitment to the Afghanistan mission and the U.S. is mobilizing with others to continue the NATO occupation and foreign interference there.

As for Canada, it has already acquiesced to U.S. pressure to bolster NATO with a new defence policy and billions more in military spending. There is also the striving of the Trudeau Liberals to have Canada assert itself internationally, to be put in charge of a peacekeeping mission with the ultimate aim of achieving a seat on the UN Security Council, where it can use humanitarian values as a prop to appear to counter U.S. imperialist aims, while in fact acting to shore up U.S. imperialism. It is far from a given that Canadian troops will not return to Afghanistan. Nor should people be fooled about any talk of "training" versus "combat."

On the occasion of the 16th anniversary of the war on Afghanistan, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) calls on Canadians to reaffirm their longstanding opposition to this war and all imperialist aggressions, regime changes and occupations. Stand with the people of Afghanistan! Make Canada a zone for peace!

NATO Out of Afghanistan! Canada Out of NATO!

(TMLW Archives)

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All U.S. Troops Home Now

October 6 marks the 16th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, a criminal war of aggression that has devastated the country and killed untold numbers of children, women and men.

Demonstrations against the war are taking place in major cities and at many universities on national days of action October 6-8. Demands to end all U.S. wars, including those against Yemen, Iraq and Syria, and to reject war against Korea are being raised. A main call is: All U.S. Troops Home Now! It is bringing troops home, not increasing their number, that contributes to peace and security. It is up to the people of Afghanistan to decide their government and future, not the U.S. The continued war increases violence, anarchy and insecurity, as the past 16 years have shown. It has solved no problem, as what is needed is a political resolution, not a military one. The U.S. resorts to war and violence as it refuses to modernize democracy and must block the peoples from decision-making power, whether at home or abroad.

New York City, October 7, 2017

A main aim in demonstrating is to give public expression to the anti-war stand of the majority. It is a means to reject the massive funding for the Pentagon now being debated in Congress, with an additional $80 billion planned, for a yearly budget of $700 billion. It is a means to stand up for principle, which is that wars of aggression are crimes to be punished and U.S. occupation of Afghanistan must end now. It is also a means to unite in action, bringing together the many groups and forces. Taking united action is the means by which to build working relations and strengthen the unity and organized character of resistance.

Strengthening the anti-war movement through mobilizing public support and working together in action is especially important as the U.S. increases it plans for more war. Voice of Revolution urges students, teachers and all concerned to join in taking a stand: U.S. Out of Afghanistan Now! All U.S. Troops Home Now! Many are also denouncing U.S. threats of war against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

St. Paul's, October 7, 2017

Diplomacy, including signing a peace treaty and accepting the Koreans' proposal of a freeze for a freeze, with Koreans freezing nuclear development and the U.S. freezing its massive war games, is the way forward.

In his speech at the United Nations, Trump indicated the U.S. is preparing for more war. He specifically threatened the Democratic People's Republic of Korea saying, if the U.S. is "forced to defend itself or its allies, we will have no choice but to totally destroy North Korea." He then threatened the entire world, claiming, "From now on, our security interests will dictate the length and scope of military operation, not arbitrary benchmarks and timetables set up by politicians. I have also totally changed the rules of engagement in our fight against the Taliban and other terrorist groups." This means the U.S. will expand its attacks and justify use of drones and Special Forces anywhere, anytime, in the name of fighting "terrorist groups." Sovereignty is not the right of each country to determine its own affairs, but the "right" of the U.S. to dictate and decide the government in each country.

It is clear that the U.S. is planning and preparing more war, itself a crime. This brings the need to discuss and organize for an anti-war government to the fore. Organizing for an anti-war government is a unifying aim and one that directly contributes to the demand of the peoples here and worldwide for peace. It is necessary to make the U.S. a factor for peace. In demonstrating together, let us also discuss the need for an anti-war government.

U.S. Out of Afghanistan Now!
All U.S. Troops Home Now!
No War Against Korea!

Los Angeles, anti-war protest October 7, 2017.

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U.S. Senate Passes 2018 Defense Authorization Bill

The U.S. Senate passed a defense authorization bill on Sept. 18 demanding the administration increase its extended deterrence and security capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region. The bill, which applies to the 2018 accounting year, was approved by a vote of 89 to 8.

The defense authorization bill that passed the Senate stipulates that the Secretary of Defense must submit plans within 30 days of its enactment for improvement of U.S. extended deterrence and security capabilities in the Asia-Pacific region. The bill indicates that the plan should include increased weapons sales to allies in the region and expanded military cooperation, exercises, and integrated defense with allies.

The bill further requests a plan for deployment of and training with strategic weaponry, including dual-capable strategic aircraft that can carry both conventional and nuclear weapons, and increased Asia-Pacific defense capabilities and visible presence of key U.S. military assets, including medium- to long-range strike assets.

Additional content reaffirmed the U.S.'s commitment to deployment of a THAAD antimissile system on the Korean Peninsula and other defense of regional allies and to its existing extended deterrent using all available defense capabilities to guarantee security, including its nuclear umbrella. Not included in the plan was the Asia-Pacific redeployment of submarine-launched nuclear cruise missiles, a possibility that was raised at one point.

The bill also omitted specific demands related to North Korea sanctions. The changes were seen as reflecting the mood in the Senate -- which unlike the House of Representatives sees current legislation for North Korea sanctions as sufficient.

The defense authorization bill previously passed the House in July and has undergone fine-tuning between the two houses of Congress. But the two bills' inclusion of roughly similar content in terms of the Asia-Pacific region and provisions for increased military pressure against both North Korea and China suggests some potential for increased regional tensions.

(Hankyoreh, September 20, 2017)

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Puerto Rico

Militarization of Hurricane Relief

Signs at emergency rally for Puerto Rico, Philadelphia, September 29, 2017.

New York City and Buffalo's Puerto Rican community, alongside that of Boston and Chicago, and joined by all those concerned across the country, have rallied support for the millions contending with no power, no drinking water and the broad devastation across Puerto Rico. It is the people in the U.S. and Puerto Rico who are setting up facebook pages to provide information about conditions in various towns, reach out to family in Puerto Rico where lack of power means communication is down, set-up fund raising campaigns, and organizing together for the recovery.

Following on the heels of Irma, which caused $1 billion in damages to homes and buildings, Hurricane María, with 155 mile-per hour winds -- alongside government failure to provide the infrastructure and safety required before, during and after such storms, -- has created a major humanitarian crisis in Puerto Rico. Much of the island remains without communications. Entire towns are isolated. Tens of thousands were forced to flee massive flooding, as the Guajataca Dam failed. It was known that this was going to occur, yet little was done in advance to prevent it. The 90-year-old dam, much like the levees in New Orleans with Katrina in 2005, was not strengthened and upgraded as required.

The National Weather Service warned the failure of the dam might be "imminent" and could lead to "life-threatening" flash floods for the estimated 70,000 people living in the immediate area. "This is an extremely dangerous situation," the NWS wrote. "All the areas around the Guajataca River must evacuate now. Your lives are in danger." The next day rushing water was sweeping through the municipalities of Isabela and Quebradillas after the dam failed.

The dam failure could have been prevented and is thus a government-made disaster. Similarly, while the government routinely calls for evacuations, as it did in Houston and Miami, it has no plan to guarantee such evacuations. Families are left to fend for themselves. And if they cannot afford to leave or have no means to do so, they cannot evacuate.

Puerto Rico, crippled by U.S. colonialism, and specifically the Control Board imposed, which has massively cut funding for social programs and infrastructure, was especially vulnerable. It is also now without funds for rebuilding and still under the dictate of the Control Board, which requires that debt payments come first. Current conditions overall are also government made, in that funding for infrastructure was not sufficient. While Trump finally declared Puerto Rico a disaster area, which releases federal funding, providing the immediate resources now is also not occurring at the level required. In fact the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is standing in the way of aid and creating a situation where supplies that have arrived are not being delivered.

The same can be said of reconstruction efforts in Houston and south Florida. So while an additional $80 billion is being provided to the Pentagon, making a yearly budget of about $700 billion, funding for relief and reconstruction is far below that. This too is a government-made disaster. Full and immediate funding is required.

In addition, the U.S. is blocking efforts by Cuba and Venezuela to provide assistance. President Nicolás Maduro of Venezuela promised to activate a "special plan of support and solidarity" for Puerto Rico. Cuban Foreign Minister Rogelio Sierra offered to send a team of 39 doctors "to help our brother people." The U.S. is refusing to allow the doctors to come to Puerto Rico, again showing its colonial status, as the people of Puerto Rico welcome the support.

Disaster Relief as Military Exercise

There is also great concern about the military's role in emergency operations in Texas, Florida and now Puerto Rico. For many, the military presence is more like an occupation than assistance. Soldiers armed with automatic weapons man checkpoints, something which civilians could easily do.

Every branch of the armed services -- the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard -- deployed significant contingents to the Houston area, in some cases sending along the sort of specialized equipment normally used in major combat operations. The combined response represented an extraordinary commitment of military assets to that massively flooded region: tens of thousands of National Guard and active-duty troops, thousands of Humvees and other military vehicles, hundreds of helicopters, dozens of cargo planes, and an assortment of naval vessels. And just as operations in Texas began to wind down, the Pentagon commenced a similarly vast mobilization for Hurricane Irma and then Maria.

Despite this massive military mobilization, ensuring power and clean water for the people impacted by the hurricanes was commonly not the main aim. The military is capable of quickly establishing power, water and food to run a small city. It could readily do so in the many towns left isolated in Puerto Rico. It has not done so. Rather, checkpoints were established and impacted areas patrolled by armed guardsmen. When federal relief comes in the form of armed National Guard troops patrolling the storefronts of flooded streets, weapons trained on local residents in the name of "the maintenance of civil order," it is clear that an exercise in military occupation is taking place. People are being treated as a threat, rather than as human beings with rights to water and shelter.

The military's response to Hurricane Harvey began with front-line troops: the National Guard, the U.S. Coast Guard, and units of the U.S. Northern Command (NORTHCOM), the joint-service force responsible for homeland defense. Texas Governor Greg Abbott mobilized the entire Texas National Guard, about 10,000 strong, and guard contingents were deployed from other states as well. The Texas Guard came equipped with its own complement of helicopters, Humvees, and other all-terrain vehicles; the Coast Guard supplied 46 helicopters and dozens of shallow-water vessels, while NORTHCOM provided 87 helicopters, four C-130 Hercules cargo aircraft, and 100 high-water vehicles.

Still more aircraft were provided by the Air Force, including seven C-17 cargo planes and, in a highly unusual move, an E-3A Sentry airborne warning and control system, or AWACS. This super-sophisticated aircraft was originally designed to oversee air combat operations in Europe in the event of an all-out war with the Soviet Union. Instead, this particular AWACS conducted air traffic control and surveillance around Houston, gathering data on flooded areas, and providing "situational awareness" to military units involved in "restoring order."

For its part, the Navy deployed two major surface vessels, the USS Kearsarge, an amphibious assault ship, and the USS Oak Hill, a dock landing ship. "These ships," the Navy reported, "are capable of providing medical support, maritime civil affairs, maritime security, expeditionary logistic support, [and] medium and heavy lift air support." Accompanying them were several hundred Marines from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit based at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, along with their amphibious assault vehicles and a dozen or so helicopters and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft.

When Hurricane Irma struck, the Pentagon ordered a similar mobilization of troops and equipment. The Kearsarge and the Oak Hill, with their embarked Marines and helicopters, were redirected from Houston to waters off Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands. At the same time, the Navy dispatched a much larger flotilla, including the USS Abraham Lincoln (the aircraft carrier on which President George W. Bush had his infamous "mission accomplished" moment), the missile destroyer USS Farragut, the amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima, and the amphibious transport dock USS New York. Instead of its usual complement of fighter jets, the Abraham Lincoln set sail from its base in Norfolk, Virginia, with heavy-lift helicopters; the Iwo Jima and New York also carried a range of helicopters for relief and control operations.

The military presence for "civil control" and protection of property has brought to mind the military occupation of New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. Concentration camps were put in place for residents, families were separated and forced to evacuate, armed troops were used to protect private property while families were left stranded on their roofs. Brigadier General Gary Jones, the commander of the Louisiana National Guard's Joint Task Force notably stated, "This place is going to look like Little Somalia. We're going to go out and take this city back. This will be a combat operation to get this city under control." With orders from their commanding officers to confront looters and shoot to kill, soldiers and local police alike targeted the residents of New Orleans, especially the mainly African American areas. Many in Puerto Rico, already a U.S. colony, are concerned that the increased military presence will remain.

The long-term recovery needed in Puerto Rico and all the areas hit by the hurricanes likely mean a continued military presence. Instead what is needed is full funding now for the needs of the people and providing them with the resources and power to decide how best to utilize the funds. It is defending the rights of the people that is required, not the property of the few. Further, for Puerto Rico, an immediate assistance would be to Cancel the Debt! And make the Wall Street financiers that imposed it and benefit from it, pay for recovery.

Emergency Rallies for Puerto Rico

New York City, September 28, 2017

Chicago, September 30, 2017

San Francisco, October 3, 2017

Los Angeles

Long Beach

(Photos: International Action Center, A. Gervasi, ANSWER, E. Lopez)

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The United States Has a Responsibility
It Has Not Been Fulfilling

Presentation to the Coordinating Bureau of the Movement of Non-Aligned Countries (NAM) by Digna Sánchez Jiménez, member of the Executive Committee, National Hostos Movement for the Independence of Puerto Rico, September 29, 2017, United Nations.


Dear Members of the Coordinating Bureau of the NAM,

My name is Digna Sánchez Jiménez. I am a member of the Executive Committee of the National Hostos Movement for the Independence of Puerto Rico (MINH). We are grateful for this opportunity to bring here the voice of my people who are going through a catastrophic crisis brought on not just by Hurricane María or Hurricane Irma the week before.

When the United States invaded Puerto Rico in 1898 with the excuse of the Spanish American War, it initiated the history of United States colonial domination of Puerto Rico. Since that ominous beginning, our country has been used for the plans of savage capitalism which has sought only to benefit the capitalists in the metropolis. We have thus been used for diverse plans which have destroyed our agriculture to the point where we now import 85 per cent of what we consume thus making our food supply greatly precarious, especially since we are an island.

"Fiscal control board, colonial slavery"

Meanwhile, regarding the economy, the United States projects the image that its federal government is benevolent towards us, but in reality they extract billions of dollars from Puerto Rico. The economic policy they have promoted in the colony has resulted in a situation where our economy has been shrinking for more than a decade. As a result, in 2016 they imposed a Fiscal Control Board to ensure payment of the debt to Wall Street and the hedge funds. They are not concerned about the future development of Puerto Rico for the benefit of Puerto Ricans. The three branches of the United States government finally recognized in 2016 that Puerto Rico "belongs to, but is not a part of" the United States. It is a colony, and despite the lies, even they have recognized that.

The Fiscal Control Board has refused to audit the $70 billion debt. Their only purpose is payment of the bonds, many of them now in the hands of hedge funds. But much of this debt did not comply with legal requisites. Nonetheless, to ensure its payment, the Fiscal Control Board has imposed austerity measures that are drowning the already small local economy. The people have been struggling against this Board, but the situation has become extremely difficult and one of the results has been the massive migration of Puerto Ricans mainly to the United States where there are now more Puerto Ricans than in Puerto Rico!

Now we have been hit by Hurricanes María and Irma. The devastation is unbelievable. Our beautiful archipelago is wounded and our people are suffering. The United States has a responsibility it has not been fulfilling, and President Trump had the audacity to say that Puerto Rico is devastated, but it has to pay the debt. It was not until yesterday that Puerto Rico was temporarily exempted, for ten days, from United States maritime laws, imposed on Puerto Rico through the Jones Act, which mandate since 1917 that only ships built in the United States and manned by United States crews may carry cargo into and out of Puerto Rico. These laws must be struck down permanently. In the face of Puerto Rico's present humanitarian crisis we should be able to receive aid from other countries and to engage in commerce with other countries without having to use the United States merchant fleet which is the most expensive in the world.

Criticism to the United States due to its slow pace in responding to its responsibility to aid has been answered with the statement that it was a problem of the Puerto Ricans. They have now assigned a general to coordinate the aid. We are greatly concerned about the militarization of Puerto Rico. Pro independence forces have historically been persecuted and this terror was part of the script that the armed forces used in Puerto Rico.

We ask that our friends help us. Solidarity is powerful. When Hurricane Irma struck the smaller countries of the Caribbean, ships of people from Puerto Rico went to the aid of our neighbours in the Caribbean before the U.S. and European governments brought help. Puerto Rico, my people, will rise and we are counting on your support.

Thank you.

(Edited slightly by TML for publication)

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Hurricanes Expose Destructive Force of
U.S. Colonialism

Protest against visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, San Juan, Puerto Rico, October 3, 2017.

Excerpted below is an October 12 interview with José E. López of the Puerto Rican Cultural Center in Chicago, conducted by Molly Osberg of Splinternews.com, regarding the current situation in Puerto Rico and its colonial relationship to the U.S. López is the brother of well-known Puerto Rican independence fighter and former political prisoner Oscar López Rivera, and also part of the Puerto Rican independence movement.


Molly Osberg: What were some of the major issues for the [Puerto Rican independence] movement right before Maria hit?

José E. López: What we -- and I mean the sort of radical sector of the Puerto Rican community -- were doing in Puerto Rico was mostly a lot of work against the oversight board, and against the imposition of the PROMESA law [which restructured Puerto Rican debt during the Obama administration].

But as for the community in the United States, we've been doing work for years around the connection between the colonial situation of Puerto Ricans and the marginalization of Puerto Ricans in the United States. So in particular I can speak to the work that we've been doing in Chicago for the past 50 years, creating a series of parallel institutions to serve the needs of our community.

That includes issues of housing, education, health, employment -- all of the things that fall by the wayside when you are not considered an integral part of the society and are not allowed to fully partake as a full citizen.

And the hurricane as a natural phenomenon has unmasked the very unnatural causes of the situation in Puerto Rico.

Hurricane Maria and its impact on the island has to be seen against the prism of the U.S. colonial enterprise in Puerto Rico. And what that has meant since 1898: Puerto Ricans have never been able to self-actualize, nor self-determine. And right now as we look at the contempt that President Trump holds for the Puerto Rican people, it's really unmasking that colonial reality. It's been a hidden struggle, and we're finally breaking through, and people who might not know much are talking about Puerto Rico and its unnatural relationship to the United States.

MO: What's the relationship between the work you do in Chicago and the broader Puerto Rican independence struggle?

JEL: Most people understand, or at least have a concept, of what a direct colony is. Colonialism as a system is pervasive all over the world: Most of the countries in the world are in a neo-colonial relationship to the United States. And then there are the internal colonies within the dominant colonies. For example, if I look at the conditions of Puerto Ricans in the South Bronx, the conditions of African Americans in the Mississippi Delta, the conditions of Native Americans that have lived in the occupied lands of New Mexico, so many of them would have the same lack of housing, lack of education, lack of quality of life. There's something systematically wrong with the U.S. in terms of its relationship to these people. Its not just a question of class, or of the relationship to people of color. For these populations it's a colonial question, as well.

MO: And what are you thinking about how recent events are going to shape this colonial relationship?

JEL: It's pretty clear one of the most important aspects of this moment, particularly for progressive people in this country, is realizing that Puerto Rico is a direct U.S. colony. And that in many ways much of the progressive movement in this country has totally ignored the question of Puerto Rico. It's time to really begin to analyze that, to say, "We have been complicit in this colonial enterprise, even on the left."

I think it's that people have a really difficult time, even progressive people, dealing with the U.S. as an imperial power. U.S. history is formulated against the backdrop of denial of a culture of empire. We never study the movement and the killing of Native Americans as a colonial enterprise. We don't see the U.S. taking over Hawaii as an imperial design. We don't see the U.S. taking over Alaska as an imperial design. So we don't see Puerto Rico as an imperial design. So when we don't acknowledge that, we also have a problem of trying to deal with it.

MO: Do you expect the U.S. government's disastrous response to the hurricane to reinvigorate, or change aspects of, the independence movement?

JEL: In Puerto Rico there has been a long history of resistance against U.S. colonial rule. It began the very moment the U.S. established control of Puerto Rico in 1898. We have a list that shows over 2,000 people, historically, were incarcerated in Puerto Rico because of their activism in the Puerto Rican independence moment, and in their struggle for social justice. And if we add, for example, the incarceration rate in 1950, when Puerto Rico rose up against colonial rule in an armed uprising, we could make the list even longer.

But there is a long history of political incarceration, a long history of political persecution, that has been waged by the U.S. government, particularly through the FBI and its COINTEL program, that has been around since the late '50s. But as a matter of fact, last year we were able to free my brother, who was the last political prisoner. He was in prison for 36 years of his life, for his activism, for his advocacy, for his work around Puerto Rican independence.

But I think the movement is already reinvigorated. The Puerto Rican people, many of them who were blind to the colonial reality, are awakening to the fact that the only thing they can count on right now in Puerto Rico are the efforts of the Puerto Rican people themselves.

In the absence of assistance from government authorities, Puerto Ricans rely on each other and
show their resilience and resourcefulness.

President Trump talks as if FEMA [Federal Emergency Management Agency, of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security] was there, and had done this great job. But how can you say that on an island that was just devastated, where people are very ill, where people were ill before the hurricane, where so few people have been helped?

I mean, right now you have a bunch of supplies in the port of San Juan that have not been delivered to people. There's nothing in place. Because in Florida and in Texas, FEMA and the government already had a plan of how you were going to deal with this catastrophe. Here there was no planning.

MO: What do you think needs to be done, policy-wise?

JEL: You have to eliminate the debt. That's the first thing that we must demand. Because this debt can never be repaid, this debt was never incurred by the Puerto Rican people, this debt has never been audited. We don't really know how much is owed, and this debt will only fill the coffers of the hedge funds and the bankers. It will do nothing for Puerto Rico.

I think we gotta figure out the Jones Act, which limits any shipping to and from Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico should be able to receive ships and food and supplies from any part of the world. Right now it means that Puerto Ricans are paying at least 15 to 20 percent more on any good that's shipped to Puerto Rico. And the other thing is: We must undo this oversight board. And in addition to that there should be a process that guarantees Puerto Rico equity in terms of Medicare and Medicaid.

MO: And what do you expect to see in this movement, going forward?

JEL: In all the Puerto Rican communities there has been a lot of organizing effort, and it must lead to something that is long-term, that has a commitment to rebuilding Puerto Rico, to rebuilding the kind of infrastructure that guarantees a process that will continue to ultimately invest in a future Puerto Rico.

I think [San Juan Mayor] Carmen Yulín Cruz is probably the only effective voice in Puerto Rico today -- she has become a symbol, obviously, a voice that has taken on the imperial voice of the United States as expressed by President Trump. I think she has a keen sense of where Puerto Rico is at, and where it's going.

But there are 3.5 million Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico, 5.5 million in the diaspora. And I think the diaspora is going to play a key role in the future of Puerto Rico and in developing and carrying out an agenda that guarantees that a new Puerto Rico emerges out of this horrible situation.

(Photos: Primera Hora, PR Informa)

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Response to Unfounded U.S. Allegations of Health "Attacks" on Its Embassy Personnel in Havana

On September 29,  the U.S. government announced that it would be withdrawing "all non-emergency personnel" from its embassy in Havana, claiming that "attacks" had occurred against its officials in U.S. diplomatic residences and hotels in Cuba frequented by U.S. citizens which harmed their health. The same day Josefina Vidal, General Director for the United States at Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the following statement in response to the U.S. decision:

"Today we have learned of a State Department communiqué that reports the decision of the U.S. government to reduce personnel at its embassy in Havana.

"As we reported this past September 26, in a meeting held that day with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, on the initiative of the Cuban side, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bruno Rodríguez Parrilla:

"- Advised him not to make hasty decisions that were not based on evidence or conclusive results of investigations;

"- Called on him to avoid politicizing an issue of this nature; and

"- Reiterated our request for effective cooperation on the part of U.S. authorities to fully conclude the investigation underway regarding the alleged incidents involving U.S. diplomats in Havana.

"He emphasized that the government of Cuba has no responsibility whatsoever for the alleged acts, and seriously, rigorously fulfills its obligations according to the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, in terms of protecting the physical integrity of accredited diplomatic agents in the country and their family members, without exception.

"We believe that the decision announced by the State Department is ill-advised and will affect bilateral relations, in particular cooperation on issues of mutual interest and exchanges of a diverse nature between our two countries."

Vidal concluded by stating, "I would like to reiterate Cuba's willingness to continue active cooperation between authorities of our two countries, to fully clarify these events, which requires more efficient involvement on the part of the United States."

Cuban Ministry of Foreign Affairs Responds

Then on October 3, when the U.S. government announced its decision to order the departure of  15 officials from the Cuban Embassy in Washington, Cuba's Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a further statement in which it strongly protested and condemned the "unfounded and unacceptable decision" of the U.S. government as well as the pretext used to justify it -- that the Cuban Government had supposedly not taken appropriate measures to prevent the occurrence of the alleged incidents.

The statement pointed out that this was the second time since May 23, when the State Department ordered two Cuban diplomats to leave the country, that the U.S. Government was "reacting in a hasty, inappropriate and unthinking way, without having evidence of the occurrence of the adduced facts, for which Cuba has no responsibility whatsoever and before the conclusion of the investigation that is still in progress."

It emphasized that members of Cuba's own diplomatic staff had been victims in the past of attempts on their lives, had been murdered, disappeared, kidnapped and attacked in the performance of their duties, and that Cuba seriously and strictly observed its obligations under the 1961 Geneva Convention on Diplomatic Relations respecting the protection and integrity of diplomatic agents accredited in the country. Cuba's record in this regard is "impeccable," the Ministry noted.

The statement pointed out that since February 17, when the U.S. embassy and State Department notified Cuba of the alleged occurrence of incidents that, as of November 2016, caused injuries and other disorders in some officials of its diplomatic mission and their relatives, the Cuban authorities had acted with "utmost seriousness, professionalism and immediacy” to clarify the situation, opening "an exhaustive and priority investigation following instructions from the highest level of the Government."

It then outlined actions Cuba took to deal with the U.S. complaint, including the reinforcement of measures adopted to protect U.S. diplomatic staff, their relatives and residences, the establishment of "new expeditious communication channels" between the U.S. embassy and Cuba's Diplomatic Security Department and the creation of a committee of Cuban experts made up of law enforcement officials, physicians and scientists  to carry out a comprehensive analysis of the facts.

However, because of the "belated, fragmented and insufficient" information supplied by the U.S., Cuban authorities had to request further information and clarifications from the U.S. embassy, the Ministry said, to be able to carry out a serious in-depth investigation. Even after President Raúl Castro personally reiterated to the Chargé d'Affairs of the U.S. diplomatic mission how important it was for the competent authorities from both countries to cooperate and exchange more information, the U.S. still did not provide the details or descriptions needed to establish the facts or allow for the identification of potential perpetrators, should there be any, it said.

The statement listed the main obstacles identified by the committee of Cuban experts charged with carrying out the investigation as being the impossibility of gaining direct access to the injured people and the physicians who examined them; the belated delivery of evidence and the inadequacy of the data provided, including the absence of reliable first-hand and verifiable information; and the inability to exchange with U.S. experts knowledgeable about the type of events alleged to have occurred and the technology that could have been involved, despite the Cuban experts having stated repeatedly that this was needed to move the investigation forward.

The statement also made reference to progress that had been made once the U.S. allowed some of its own experts to work with the Cubans in investigating what could have happened:

"Only after repeated requests were conveyed to the U.S. Government, some representatives of specialized agencies of that country finally traveled to Havana on June last, met with their Cuban counterparts and expressed their intention to cooperate in a more substantive way in the investigation of the alleged incidents. They again visited Cuba in August and September, and for the first time in more than 50 years they were allowed to work on the ground, for which they were granted all facilities, including the possibility of importing equipment, as a gesture of good will that evidenced the great interest of the Cuban government in concluding the investigation.

"The Cuban authorities highly assessed the three visits made by the U.S. specialized agencies, which have recognized the high professional level of the investigation started by Cuba and its high technical and scientific component, and which, as a preliminary result, concluded that, so far, according to the information available and the data supplied by the United States, there was no evidence of the occurrence of the alleged incidents or the causes and the origin of the health disorders reported by the U.S. diplomats and their relatives. Neither has it been possible to identify potential perpetrators or persons with motivations, intentions or means to perpetrate these type of actions; nor was it possible to establish the presence of suspicious persons or means at the locations where such facts have been reported or in their vicinity. The Cuban authorities are not familiar with the equipment or the technology that could be used for that purpose; nor do they have information indicating their presence in the country."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs categorically rejected that the Cuban government had any responsibility for the alleged incidents and stated emphatically that "Cuba has never perpetrated, nor will it ever perpetrate attacks of any sort against diplomatic officials or their relatives, without any exception. Neither has it ever allowed nor will it ever allow its territory to be used by third parties with that purpose."

In concluding, the Ministry characterized the U.S. decision to order the removal of diplomatic personnel from Cuba's embassy in Washington before the investigation had been concluded and without evidence of what had happened as an eminently political one. It called once again on the competent U.S. authorities not to continue politicizing the matter, saying it could provoke an unwanted escalation that would complicate things and contribute even more to reversing bilateral relations that had already been affected by the announcement last June of President Donald Trump's new policy.

The statement ended with a reiteration of Cuba's willingness to continue fostering serious and objective cooperation between the authorities of both countries to clarify the facts and conclude the investigation, adding that to accomplish this it was essential to be able to count on the effective cooperation of the competent U.S. agencies.

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People of Villa Clara Pay Tribute to Che

Thousands of residents from Villa Clara paid tribute to the Heroic Guerilla and his compañeros in Bolivia, in a ceremony October 8 which saw the younger generations reaffirm their commitment to continuing his legacy.

The same day the Cuban people once again expressed their love for Ernesto Che Guevara, when over 60,000 people gathered in the square bearing his name to honor the Heroic Guerilla and his comrades in arms, on the 50th anniversary of his death.

The ceremony was attended by Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Party Central Committee and President of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba who, shortly before the ceremony, and together with other Party Political Bureau members, paid tribute to the Heroic Guerilla and the Reinforcement Detachment at the memorial erected in their honor.

The words of Fidel at the solemn wake, when he announced the sad news of Che's death to the people of Cuba, could be heard once again, moving all in attendance:

"If we want the model of a person, the model of a human being who does not belong to our time but to the future, I say from the depths of my heart that such a model, without a single stain on his conduct, without a single stain on his action, without a single stain on his behavior, is Che! If we wish to express what we want our children to be, we must say from our very hearts as ardent revolutionaries: we want them to be like Che!"

This oath, "We will be like Che!" was then repeated by 50 elementary school children who were presented with their blue kerchiefs identifying them as members of the José Martí Pioneers Organization.

During the ceremony, ninth grade pupil Leyanis Águila, and pre-university student Sara Mary Vega, spoke on behalf of Cuba's new generations who have grown up with the example of Che, and who have the enormous responsibility of continuing one of his greatest legacies: the Cuban Revolution.

Artists from the province paid homage to the Heroic Guerilla, performing songs and reciting poems dedicated to Che.

Also participating in the political-cultural section of the program were members of the Party Political Bureau, the Central Committee Secretariat, and vice presidents of the Councils of State and Ministers, as well as senior officials from the Party, government, youth and mass organizations, Ministry of the Revolutionary Armed Forces, Ministry of the Interior, and others.

Relatives of Che and his compañeros in Bolivia were also present, as well as a delegation of combatants from the invading columns of the Battle of Santa Clara.

Che's Colossal Example Lives on and Multiplies Day After Day

Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, a member of the Party Central Committee Political Bureau and first vice president of the Councils of State and Ministers of Cuba, gave a speech to the commemoration in Santa Clara where he highlighted Che and his heroism, dedication and principles as an outstanding example for the Cuban people to emulate.


It is with great emotion that we gather here at this sacred place of the homeland to pay tribute to the protagonists of one of the most important internationalist exploits, an example of the struggle for the liberation of peoples subjected to imperialism, said Díaz-Canel Bermúdez. He added that still today, the feat undertaken by Comandante Ernesto Guevara and a small but brave army during an 11-month campaign in Bolivia, moves tender-hearted men and women across the world.

Recalling the landscapes where he struggled between life and death, firm in his redemptive commitment, proves to us his altruism, the depth of his convictions, his legacy, his revolutionary and internationalist dimension, he added.

"Today we commemorate the 50th anniversary of his fall in battle, on October 8, 1967. Without surrendering, after putting up a heroic resistance, wounded and his gun rendered useless, he was able to be captured.

"His captors cared nothing for the dignity and etiquette his revolutionary legacy demanded, and [he] was vilely murdered; but history only remembers the cowardice of those murderers, while the colossal example of Che lives on and multiples day after day," noted the Cuban official.

Díaz-Canel went on to recall that on announcing the bitter and painful news of Che's death to the people of Cuba, Fidel described him as the most extraordinary of our compañeros of the Revolution.

In addition to his qualities as a revolutionary, the Party Political Bureau member also spoke about his convictions and values, forged in the struggle, which would see him become an exceptional revolutionary, and a special man with a very unique outlook on life.

Fidel, Raúl, Almeida, Camilo, Ramiro, and other compañeros from during and after the guerilla struggle, as well as the Cuban people, saw and recognized in Ernesto his simplicity, sincerity, camaraderie, his reckless willingness to do the most difficult tasks, his prestige as a leader, teacher and artist of the revolutionary war; tireless in his commitment and willingness to struggle until victory or death, for the freedom of the peoples, stated the Cuban official in his remarks.

Che hasn't died like his murderers wanted, his figure continues to grow with time as new generations of Cubans -- raised under his example and that of his legacy -- discover, recognize and assume his paradigm as a revolutionary.

They make his eternal call to the sanctity of study, work and fulfilling one's duty, their own. His example of an altruistic man becomes an ideal to follow, noted Diaz-Canel, who went on to explain that as a leader and Minister, Che was able to apply new management methods to the industry sector, while his example and rigorous system of control and discipline instilled commitment in his subordinates.

He also constantly encouraged the professional development of workers and cadres. He created factories and also trained revolutionaries.

He was a tireless seeker of truth and reason in order to advance in the construction of socialism. As well as a director and guerilla, he was also a revolutionary thinker, a humanist, an intellectual who understood the need to reflect on the Revolution, socialism, society, and the Cuban people, noted the official.

"He appears in our history as a hero of the Granma expedition, the Sierra, the invasion and battle of Santa Clara, as one of our most illustrious and sacred leaders, as well as a chronicler and researcher of history, because he understood that history is a great teacher."

Che warned us that the present cannot become a return to the past and that in order to construct the future we must always remain united, he added.

It is true, noted Díaz-Canel, that today Che is a moral giant for people of different ages and for youth across the world who find in his unwavering example, his sense of honor and dignity, in the bravery and austerity that characterize him, the inspiration to build a better world.

"This is why Fidel, in the solemn wake held in honour of his death, described Che as a true model of a revolutionary, as a new man to which we must aspire."

What we cannot allow is for this idea to turn into an empty phrase, into a simple repeating of words; it must be assumed through commitment, through inspiration, through conviction.

We must give true substance to the call to be like him, in order to be able to face all life's challenges, stated the Cuban official.

We grew up knowing that he had been murdered, of his heroic death, constantly fighting, dignified and firm before his captors, with his last thought for Fidel and this people that love him like a son and who didn't know where he was but held the hope that one day he would return, stated Díaz-Canel.

"And he did return, after an intense poignant search by a formidable team of scientists. His remains were found and brought to the homeland on July 12, 1997."

The Cuban vice president also recalled the words of Che's daughter, Aleidita and of Fidel at that time, when his remains and those of his compañeros were laid to rest in the Plaza, 20 years ago.

He continued, stating that we are living in a world full of contradictions and uncertainties, at a time characterized by growing threats to peace, when powerful interests of domination predominate, the survival of the human species is under threat, an unjust and exclusionary economic order exists. It is in this current state of crisis that neo-liberal capitalism is attempting to expand and turn the values of the people into something out-dated and unnecessary.

What is happening in Latin America is an example of these colonizing processes and in our case an expression of the marked interest in political and economic re-conquest, opening the door to brutal capitalism, stated the Party Political Bureau member.

Political interests in the sister Republic of Venezuela are attempting to prevent Venezuelans from freely exercising their right to self-determination, with the United States applying unjust sanctions.

However, faithful to our internationalist vocation, we once again reaffirm Cuba's support for the Bolivarian and Chavista people and the government led by Nicolás Maduro, he stated.

"All together, these events are clear proof of what Che said when he explained that imperialism cannot be trusted, even a bit."

Loyal to his legacy and to Fidel, we reaffirm that Cuba will not make concessions inherent to its sovereignty or independence, nor will it negotiate its principles or accept conditions, as changes are decided by the Cuban people, he noted.

Diaz-Canel also recalled that this traditional tribute is being held for the first time without the physical presence of Fidel.

Fidel and Che will always be present because as two individuals who share the same ideals, their profound knowledge of the ills of the world, rebelliousness, anti-imperialist and pro-Latin American stance, make them robust and unbreakable examples to guide the battles of these times; the battles for sovereignty and peace, for social justice, for true emancipation and for socialism, stated Díaz-Canel.

As such, he added the Cuban people's response to Hurricane Irma and the following recovery phase are proof of the legacy of their examples and values.

Here, today, from the historic Plaza and Memorial, a space to express our commitment and to honor with our results, a must-visit site for those who believe in, aspire to and struggle for a better world, we can affirm that an example can multiply wills and that the future belongs to us, he stated.

(Granma, October 8 & 9, 2017. Photos: Granma, Trabajadores)

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Tribute to Che Held in Ottawa

In Canada, a tribute to Che featuring speeches, music and poetry was hosted by the Cuban Embassy in Ottawa on October 8, with broad participation by friends of Cuba from Ottawa, Gatineau, Toronto and Montreal.

(Photos: TML)

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Coming Events

Charles Boylan -- Celebration of Life
Sunday, October 15 -- 2:00-4:00 pm
Marine Labour Centre, 1880 Triumph St
For information, contact Joseph Theriault at 778-846-3823  

No to Foreign Interference in Venezuela's Regional Elections
Sunday, October 15 -- 1:00-2:00 pm
U.S. Embassy, 490 Sussex Dr.

Respect Venezuela's Sovereignty
Monday, October 16 -- 3:30 pm
Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland’s Constituency Office, 344 Bloor St. W
For more information: Facebook

Celebrate the Centenary of the Great October Socialist Revolution
Saturday, November 4 -- 7:00 pm
84 South Service Rd (Unitarian Church), Mississauga
For more information: call Ann at 416-996-7979 or e-mail centenary1917@gmail.com 

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Website:  www.cpcml.ca   Email:  editor@cpcml.ca