No. 38October 18, 2019
– Dougal MacDonald –
Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland recently stated that she wants to restore “a rules-based international order” in the world. This is Liberal government hypocrisy of the worst kind because under her watch Canada is one of the main offenders in terms of breaking international rules. That is crystal clear from a quick scan of what Canada is currently doing on the international front.
Canada is violating Venezuela’s sovereignty by calling for the removal of the elected president and the installation of a U.S. puppet in his place. Canada continues to conspire, along with the U.S. and U.K. and others, on illegal regime change in Syria. Canada also continues to give unqualified support to Israeli war crimes and criminals. And Freeland herself has spent much of her time supporting the fascists in Ukraine who are waging acts of sabotage and war against Russia.
To give more examples, Canada is breaking its own as well as international regulations by selling weapons to Saudi Arabia that are being used to kill the people of Yemen, backing illegal U.S. sanctions against various countries such as Iran, and, in general, doing whatever the U.S. commands. Obeying U.S. orders in and of itself is attacking the rules based international order because the U.S. regime is the biggest criminal on the planet.
None of the cartel parties are any better than the Liberals in terms of foreign policy. That is because they too bow to U.S. dictate. The only way Canada can help restore a rules-based international order is to stop kowtowing to the U.S., and instead follow an independent foreign policy which supports all people fighting for their rights, respects the sovereignty of all countries, and upholds the rights of all nations to decide their own affairs. Canada must also withdraw from NATO and NORAD and all economic and military blocs, establish an anti-war government, and make Canada a zone for peace.
Dougal MacDonald is the MLPC Candidate in Edmonton-Strathcona.
Canada’s Seizure, Sale and Disbursement of Iranian Assets Are Acts of a Hooligan and Wrecker of International Law
– Steve Rutchinski –
Documents recently filed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice reveal that some $30 million realized from the seizure and sale of Iranian government assets in Canada have been transferred to American families who filed for compensation under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act 2012. Their claim for compensation began in the U.S. court system but extended to Canada when they realized Canada would follow suit. The properties appropriated and sold were the Iranian Cultural Centre in Ottawa and the Centre for Iranian Studies in Toronto. The transfer of funds to the families only came to light last week.
The Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act was passed under the former Harper Conservative government. It was buried in a lengthy omnibus crime bill. Debate in Parliament was limited on the bill, but it is worth noting that the only portion which received all party support was the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act, and the theft, sale and disbursement of Iranian assets based on this Act were taken under the Trudeau administration.
Under this Act Iran was deemed to be a “state sponsor” of terrorism. The plaintiffs were thus relieved even of any obligation to do anything other than assert that Iran was responsible for the terror attacks that took the lives of their loved ones.
Many countries maintain lists of organizations deemed to be “terrorist”, but there is only one other country in the world which deems countries as “state sponsors of terrorism” — the United States, which along with Israel, is known to be the biggest perpetrator of war and terror around the world. This shows how the raison d’état of Canada as an entity and its foreign policy is integrated into the United States of North American Monopolies.
Iran has denounced the seizure and sale of Iranian assets in Canada as illegal and in violation of international regulations. Iran also said it will follow up the issue based on international regulations if Canada does not annul its illegal decision and does not compensate Iran for the losses.
Iran has a strong case in this respect. Even the Canadian foreign ministry’s director for Middle East affairs Dennis Horak, recently retired, spoke against the Victims of Terror Act, saying it was a “stupid law” that prevented any diplomatic relations with Iran. Not that Canada under the Liberals wanted to normalize relations.
Even more compelling, in March of this year an International Court in Luxembourg rejected a U.S. request to compensate victims of the Twin Tower attacks by seizing assets from Iran, based on an accusation by an American court that Iran was responsible for the 9-11 attack. The Luxembourg court ruled that the U.S. Court decision was not in accordance with public international law. U.S. request fails to meet international law criteria, the court said.
The same argument applies to Canada’s Victims of Terrorism legislation and its seizure, sale and disposal of Iranian assets. Like the U.S. theft of Venezuelan assets or the UK theft of Libyan assets, Canada is establishing a reputation as a hooligan and wrecker of international law and regulations.
Steve Rutchinski is the MLPC Candidate in University—Rosedale.
Friends of Kashmir, the Kashmir Global Council, Canadian Council for Justice and Peace, Just Peace Advocates and Joint Voice organized a rally and march in Toronto on September 15 to denounce India’s state-organized attacks on Kashmir. Kashmir has already been divided between Pakistan, called Azaad Kashmir and India. The Indian government of Narendra Modi has repealed Section 370 of the Indian Constitution, which gave the part of Kashmir which is occupied by India a measure of autonomy. In doing so, Modi has unleashed a wave of state terrorism against the people of Kashmir. The 200 participants, many with families in Kashmir, chanted India out of Kashmir, Self-Determination for Kashmir, and Indian Troops Out of Kashmir.
Speakers at the rally report Indian troops are committing atrocities against the Kashmiri people in an effort to terrorize and subdue them. Eyewitnesses tell of Indian troops carrying out night abductions of young men, rapes and other acts of terror. Others said they have not been able to connect with loved ones because of the communications blackout. One speaker pointed out that hospitals in Srinagar, the capital of Kashmir, have been ordered not to treat Kashmiris who have been injured by the Indian troops.
Speakers raised the issue of the silence of the Canadian government in the face of the Modi government’s campaign of terror and human rights violations in Kashmir. A speaker said some 10,000 letters have been sent to Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland and other members of Parliament demanding they take a stand in defence of the besieged people of Kashmir. No response has been forthcoming. The speakers demanded to know why the life and death situation facing the Kashmiri people has not been put on the public agenda for investigation and discussion, especially during an election.
Speakers affirmed the right of the Kashmiri people to self-determination. They denounced the Modi government and declared that the Kashmiri people who have been fighting for self-determination for 72 years will not be subdued. They said that the repeal of Section 370 granting special status to Kashmir means that the Indian state and those connected with it will be emboldened to steal the land and resources of the Kashmiri people and extinguish their national rights. This will not pass, they declared.
The organizers announced another rally on October 19, two days before the elections at Queen’s Park. They are determined to smash the silence on the plight of the people of Kashmir and their brave resistance to the destructive state-organized attacks of the Modi Indian government.
– Christine Nugent –
The Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor hosted a meeting in Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland’s Toronto riding of University–Rosedale on September 18 to speak out against Canada’s abysmal support of suppression of democracy and human rights by the current government of Honduras. Titled “Washington at Work in Honduras — What’s Canada’s Role?” the meeting called for an end to human rights abuses and for an end to Canada’s support for the corrupt Honduras regime.
The poster for the event noted that the peoples opposition was well ahead with 60 per cent of the vote counted in the 2018 Honduran election. “Suddenly it stopped. Everything went dead. Twenty-four hours later the dictator was proclaimed re-elected and Canada was quick to congratulate him.”
Hondurans took to the streets in cities and towns across the country as well as to social media denouncing an electoral fraud. Honduran President Hern ández decreed a state of emergency, suspended constitutional rights, imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew, and authorized the military and police to use force against protesters. Forty-five people were reported killed by U.S.-trained military and police forces and many more injured and/or arrested on trumped up charges — most of them youth — in the 45 days following the election.
One of those arrested was Edwin Espinal, husband of Karen Spring, who spoke at the meeting held in University Rosedale. Other presenters included Yurissa Varela of the Honduro-Canadian Solidarity Community; Yves Engler, a Montreal-based author on Canadian Foreign Policy and activists; and Tyler Shipley, a York University professor and author.
The meeting was chaired by Karen Spring’s mother, who provided an account of her family’s inability, despite all their efforts, to get any assistance from Canadian Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her department. She reported that neither Prime Minister Trudeau nor Minister Freeland would even respond to emails about Espinal’s case even though he is married to a Canadian citizen and was being held as a political prisoner in Honduras.
Karen Spring opened the meeting reporting that her husband had only recently been released from a Honduran prison, pending trial, after 19 months of detention in horrific conditions.
Yurissa Varela spoke about her work with Honduran refugees and the brutal conditions that force people to leave their home and migrate to other countries.
Yves Engler focused on the hypocrisy of Canada’s foreign policy and traced back the history of Canada’s support for oligarchs and criminals in Central and South America, all on behalf of Canadian corporate economic intetests.
Tyler Shipley described Canada’s support for Canadian mining and tourism operations in Latin America as a continuation of Canada’s two founding principles which he characterized as capitalism and dispossession of indigenous peoples.
This public forum held by the Simcoe County Honduras Rights Monitor organization is yet another example of Canadians speaking out in this election, raising their demands for a new direction in Canadian foreign policy and making it clear that the Canadian government is not acting or speaking in their name, but pursuing a self-serving agenda against the interests and human rights of the Honduran people.
Christine Nugent is the MLPC Candidate in Humber River—Black Creek.
On Saturday, October 12, over 50 people rallied outside the electoral office of Justin Trudeau in Montreal to demand that Canada withdraw its support for the corrupt and illegitimate regime of Jovenel Moïse in Haiti. The action, organized by Solidarité Québec-Haïti, was called as a follow-up to an ultimatum given by the organization to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on October 9, as its deadline ended on Friday, October 11th at 2:00 pm.
“We demand that Justin Trudeau immediately withdraw his support for the repressive, corrupt and illegitimate regime of Jovenel Moïse, the current president of Haiti, by way of a public statement,” the organization’s members declared. The struggle of the Haitian people for self-determination, for their dignity and for justice must be supported. What Canada is doing in Haiti is serving the interests of the U.S. by interfering in Haitian politics, to the detriment and against the will of 14 million human beings caught in a living hell.
Amongst other things, protestors demanded that Canada withdraw from the Core Group, a coalition made up of Canada, the U.S., France, Germany, Brazil and Spain, as well as the European Union and the Organization of American States (OAS). This Core Group is acting as an international arm by erecting and supporting the criminal regime overseen by Jovenel Moïse in Haiti. Through the actions they have taken and will continue to take, activists are determined to expose the real and embarrassing face of Canadian foreign policy in Haiti.
During the protest the members of various organizations spoke out, one after another, to condemn the hypocrisy of Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government, guided by a foreign policy in the service of the United States and its aims of aggression and domination in Haiti, the Caribbean and Latin America. This is all part of attempts at the destabilization of the region, with their offensive aimed at Venezuela, in which Canada is unabashedly participating.
A representative of the MLPC joined his voice to the others in recalling that through its integration into U.S. Homeland Security, Canada is participating in aggressive U.S. designs in countries such as Venezuela and Haiti. He pointed to the fact that the best example of that here in Canada is the Safe Third Country Agreement, which forces Haitians fleeing repression and persecution in the U.S. and in Haiti to enter Canada irregularly in order to claim refugee status. Liberal hypocrisy is such that all immigration and labour laws in Canada are organized to encourage the exploitation of migrants and of the undocumented, as well human trafficking, all in the name of national security.
What to make of the news coverage about unfolding events in the United States including attempts to impeach the U.S. president? One important thing to note is the absence of the fact that the working people across the country are dissatisfied with the whole electoral set up and the direction of the country. They increasingly express their opposition to a Congress that is dysfunctional, unable to pass significant legislation, prone to government shutdowns and unwilling to address their most pressing concerns, such as those about ending U.S. wars, inequality, poverty and environmental destruction. While the media promotes every tit for tat tweet among the rulers, voices heard among the people, especially the youth, are ignored. These raise: Why are Trump’s war crimes ignored? Those at the southern border? Why so much concern about the use of blackmail and government funds for self-serving purposes when this is nothing new?
The people are saying: This is not our democracy, it does not serve us. This is seen in many demonstrations, such as at the recent Climate Strike actions of millions standing up for a bright future for the youth, at the united actions both sides of the southern border defending rights, in anti-war actions, in forums, speak outs, petitions and more. In the eyes of the people the elections have long-since lost their integrity and are known for their corruption, manipulation and completely unequal conditions to elect and be elected, including widespread voter suppression. There is a clash between the conditions, which say it is time for the people to be empowered to govern and decide, and the existing authority, represented by the president on down.
A battle of two Americas is intensifying, that of the rich and that of the people proclaiming, No Crimes Against Humanity at home or abroad. It is not the future of our democracy the rulers are striving to protect, but their own war government and war economy. It is their undemocratic, anti-people rule, an alleged democracy that keeps the rich in power and the people out. This is what is at stake. Every effort is being made to line people up behind the vying factions to defend a democratic set-up that does not serve them. The people of the United States however are more and more saying: We are organizing for a democracy of our own making that serves our interests, the interests of the people here and abroad. And the fact is that nothing is diverting the U.S. working people and youth from establishing a new direction. They are stepping up work to speak in their own name on issues of concern, organizing house meetings, speak outs in schools and communities, public forums and other means that contribute to renewing the democracy by empowering the people.
One thing is clear. Impeachment does not change the reality of a state that keeps the rich in power and the people out and of a president, whoever he may be, that can act with impunity with broad police powers under his command. One faction calls on the people to uphold the Constitution while the other does as it pleases. But the Constitution has not stopped the many crimes of either Trump or Obama, Bush, Clinton and Bush Senior who preceded him. The genocide of mass incarceration and police killings, environmental destruction, refusal to provide safe drinking water, brutal attacks on migrants and minorities, on the rights to education, housing and healthcare all take place under the Constitution which provides no means for the people to hold government accountable.
It is the peoples and their struggles for rights and empowerment that are changing the situation.
(With files from Voice of Revolution)
Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, initiated proceedings to impeach President Donald Trump saying, “The actions of the Trump presidency revealed dishonorable facts of the president’s betrayal of his oath of office, betrayal of his national security and betrayal of the integrity of our elections.” “The president must be held accountable, and no one is above the law,” she told the inquiry investigating the grounds for impeachment.
Georgia Representative John Lewis who is known for his civil rights activities, endorsed the impeachment of Trump saying, “The future of our democracy is at stake.”
Trump subsequently said he considers the inquiry an attempted coup that he will not permit. For her part, Hillary Clinton supported the impeachment of President Trump saying, “This occupant of the Oval Office poses a clear and present danger to our future, to our democracy.”
The phrase “clear and present danger,” is commonly associated with justifying aggression abroad against an enemy that has not attacked but poses a “clear and present danger,” and for restricting freedom of speech within the country in the name of war and countering espionage. It would appear Clinton and those she represents, including the intelligence agencies, favor both at this time. These agencies, like the military, are supposed to remain neutral, so as not to compromise their loyalty to the Office of the President. Instead, as the norms of the existing arrangements break down, both the military and the intelligence agencies have been openly interfering by trying to influence the outcome of unfolding events.
What we are witnessing in the impeachment battle is the failure of the arrangements enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and Office of the President to resolve conflicts among the rulers and restore the confidence of the people in the current set up. The last election did not serve to restore confidence either, nor did the presidency of Obama before that. Far from it, the anger with the whole set up has grown. The struggles of the people in defence of their rights and the values they stand for is threatening to break the bounds of the existing arrangements and instead take the path of building new arrangements based on people’s empowerment. This is a problem for the rich and at least some among them hope an impeachment inquiry will divert those fighting for a new direction and embroil them instead in “protecting” the dysfunctional democracy of the rich and giving it a new lease on life.
Impeachment also reflects the intensification of the fight among the rulers as to which factions will control the presidency. In the past, presidential elections and a functioning Congress that divided up the budget among the factions, have served to resolve conflicts among the rulers so that violent civil war does not break out. But the Trump election resolved nothing, as seen in the unending fighting since. This vying for power by the factions is also evident in the fights within the Office of the President, such as the hiring and firing of generals; between the executive and the military, with generals, such as former Defense Secretary Mattis openly criticizing the President; and between the federal and state governments, with states refusing to recognize the authority of federal police agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), for example. When the military publicly challenges the President, the Commander-in-Chief, it raises doubt as to whether they will follow his orders. When states, with their own armed policing agencies and National Guard troops, challenge federal authority, this too calls into question who will prevail among the contending authorities.
The rulers are concerned that the upcoming 2020 election will further intensify these conflicts as the competing factions may not accept the outcome. Such a situation could trigger open civil war, with potential for dividing the union, something the rulers are trying desperately to avoid. To do so they may turn to more imperialist war, including potential invasion of Mexico, or Venezuela, or Iran. And some evidently think impeachment proceedings may unite the contending forces, including within the military. All of this has consequences for who forms the next government in Canada as the U.S. civil war spills into Canada as a result of the integration of Canada’s economy and politics into the U.S. economy, homeland security and war machine.
A salient feature of the Brexit crisis in Britain is the failure of any British democratic institutions, including elections, parliamentary debates, votes and proceedures, to sort out the contradictions within the ruling class over control of Britain’s economy and political power, including control of northern Ireland. The government of Boris Johnson now once again says it has reached an 11th-hour agreement with the European Union (EU) if only it can get it agreed to. In recent weeks alone, there has been tearing up constitutional norms and conventions with such brazenness that it is causing serious disruption to the status quo itself.
The faction which is now dominant in the ruling Conservative Party has swept aside any dissenting voice and has ejected the old guard from their posts. The government is now so far in the minority that in no way can it be said to command the confidence of the House of Commons, to use the jargon of parliamentary democracy. The developments have cast aside the pretense of strength and stability in which former Prime Minister Theresa May wrapped her tenure. “We Will Get Things Done,” the ruling faction now cries. This declaration that now anything goes is rife with foreboding of more chaos to come. Lacking any legitimacy and already in conflict with other sections of the establishment such as that represented by the Supreme Court and demands for constitutional government, the Boris Johnson backers seem ready to set themselves up as a Civil War government but even this is crisis-ridden because it has nobody to back it.
In this situation, the people of Britain are organising to bring into being new forms in which they not only express opposition to what the establishment is trying to impose on them but also voice their own concerns. More and more people speak about the need to empower themselves so as to be able to make the decisions that favour them. They want to themselves participate in setting the agenda and create new forms in which they speak in their own name.
“People cannot afford to get embroiled in the call that parliamentary democracy must be restored to resolve the situation, or to get divided on the basis that the fight is parliament versus the people,” Workers’ Weekly, the newspaper published by the Revolutionary Communist Party of Britain Marxist-Leninist, wrote.
A change from sovereignty residing in the monarch to sovereignty residing in the people is required, a radical departure from the rule of the few in their narrow interests over the many, to the rule of the many in the broad public interest. It is only possible to be consistent with the aspirations and demands of the people at this time in history if there is a clear affirmation and definition that the decision-making power resides with the people; and society is no longer divided between those who rule and those who are ruled. The crisis in Britain shows that the current institutions, processes and practices act as a block to the empowerment of the people, to a realisation of their right to govern themselves which is consistent with the modern requirements of democracy. This situation has led to a widespread discontent among the different sections of society, particularly with politicians and the political parties and the growing demand for changes which favour the people. A modern democratic personality emerges from the striving of the people for empowerment.
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