Sunday, August 20, 2017

Will Chemtrails Eclipse Victoria's Solar Phenomenon?

Will Chemtrails Eclipse Victoria's Solar Phenomenon?

by C. L. Cook -

August 20, 2019

Heavy chemtrail action over Victoria this weekend has me wondering...

Nuclear Harvest: Autumn at the Büchel Peace Camp

Peace Camp and War Games at Harvest Time

by John LaForge - CounterPunch

August 18, 2017 
BÜCHEL AIR BASE, Germany - The juxtaposition of nuclear weapons and ordinary farms is the same here as at home in the United States. Just outside this jet fighter base — where a peace camp focused on ridding the site of its 20 US nuclear bombs has been set since March 26 — farmers plant oats, corn and wheat right up to the fences.

Likewise in “the states,” nuclear submarine bases, bomber bases, and land-based missiles are placed in farmland too, where the hard-scrabble struggle to produce food is mirrored against the gargantuan waste of limitless military spending — in this case maintaining an arsenal that can never be legally put to use.

Photo by Public.Resource.Org | CC BY 2.0 

This week, local farmers are harvesting oats, cutting swaths 4 to 6 meters wide with their groaning, screeching combines that look something like giant hammerhead sharks, or long-extinct dinosaurs.

Just like at home, the combines are followed, if the weather holds, by heavy balers that bind up the straw; just like in the Midwest, jet fighters overhead practice war fighting in the same sky that warms and waters the crops. On the edge of camp, Guernsey cows meander near the paved bike path, ignoring the spray-painted warning:

“Attention! Here Begins the Atomic War Zone.”

The noise of heavy farm machinery is a relief from the howling roar of the German Tornado jet fighter-bombers that scream off the runway most weekdays. The jets shriek like rockets all day long and well past dusk. They reportedly burn through €50,000 ($59,000) every hour they’re airborne. Farmers can rightfully cringe. How many of them can expect to make that much in a year — even though they work harder, longer hours and actually produce something?

The peace camp, with its theme “Büchel is Everywhere,” reflects and teaches these stark contrasts and lost chances every moment of every day. The modest camp has a large cook tent, a kitchen run on bottle gas, tables, chairs and cookware for 40, a makeshift shower, chemical toilets, and a wood fire for evening gatherings. This summer’s climate is just like Wisconsin’s or Minnesota’s — although the local weather includes the “heat” of 20 US Air Force B61 hydrogen bombs deployed in bunkers across right down road. The Bombs make for a sort of raised temperature that permeates the consciousness — unless you’re in denial. Farm machines chug across the fields at a mile-an-hour; the jets howl across the sky at 921 mph — 1,490 mph when up high.

Political, ethical, and practical opposition to US nuclear weapons in Germany goes back decades. In 1997, peace researchers discovered the deployment of 20 Cold War era B61s here and began raising hell. Legally, the bombs are a clear violation of the 1968 Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty (NPT) — which is binds both Germany and the United States. Article I prohibits nuclear weapons from being transferred to or the accepted by any other state. The NPT, and Germany’s post-war constitution, have been the legal foundation of anti-nuclear civil resistance actions at Büchel because German law is especially keen about the horrifying results of obeying unlawful orders.

Condemnation of the US H-bombs and Germany’s part in the Tornado’s “nuclear mission” — German pilots train to “deliver” the US Bombs — is nearly universal, crossing party lines and cultural divides. Even skin-head neo-Nazis offered (unsuccessfully) to be part of the “US Nukes Out!” campaign. So hot a potato is the status of illegal US nukes here that the base commander himself, “Oberstleutnant” Gregor Schlemmer, chose to leave his office and come out to an active blockade of his base’s main entrance July 18 to greet members of our US delegation. NATO ministers, former heads of state, and dozens of retired military officials have all called the US B61s “Cold War relics” that no longer serve any purpose. Almost 90 percent of German adults want them gone. Perhaps commander Schlemmer feels the weight too, and looks forward to retiring and maybe doing some farming.

Peace camp participants watch the grain being brought in under the harvest moon and recall the hundreds of activists, dozens of nonviolent actions, and scores of news reports that were brought together by the 20 weeks from March to August. Blockades, vigils, concerts, “go-in” actions, and marches have forced the reluctant media to take note of US nukes in Germany.

Of course nuclear weapons are the last thing people want to contemplate, especially in summer, so it takes some focused inventiveness to get the media to face the Bomb. A final blockade is planned for August 9, the anniversary of the US atomic attack on Nagasaki, Japan. Beyond that dreadful consideration, and the close of camp, German abolitionists plan to focus on pushing the ouster of US nukes as an issue in September’s national elections.

And from both sides of the Atlantic, organizers are working to cancel US plans to deploy a new B61 in Europe, and to spend $1 trillion over 30 years making new Bombs, rather than retiring them all permanently and getting on with joining the new international treaty ban.

From inside and outside the air base gates, farmers and nuclear war gamers alike, oberstleutnants and agronomists, may agree that ploughshares are needed more today than illegal bombs.

John LaForge is a Co-director of Nukewatch, a peace and environmental justice group in Wisconsin, and edits its newsletter.
More articles by:John Laforge

Hell and Our Better Angels

Dark Matter: Surrendering Our Secrets to Malevolent Forces

by Chris Floyd  - Empire Burlesque

12 August 2017

“And if my thought-dreams could be seen
They’d probably stick my head in a guillotine.”

(This is my latest column for the print version of CounterPunch, edited slightly.) 

Thus quoth the Bard, more than half a century ago. At the time, these lines were an electrifying insight into human nature, lighting up dark corners of the psyche not usually explored in popular music. They were also a jolting reversal of the usual protest song dynamic: a righteous hero denouncing evil from a position of moral purity. Here, at the end of a long, incandescent jeremiad against a sick society, we see the “prophet” suddenly subjecting himself to the harsh judgment he had just rendered. “Yeah, this place is Hieronymus Bosch on stilts — but you should see what’s howling in my head!’

We all have a night mind, we all have thought-dreams which, if exposed, perhaps might not get us guillotined but could well kill the image we present to others — and to ourselves. And this is true even for the most liberated, hip or “woke” among us. (Like Dylan’s own sheepish confession in his memoir, Chronicles, that back in the day he’d harbored a secret liking for Barry Goldwater because the politician reminded him of Tom Mix, the movie cowboy. Now that’s perverse!)

So imagine if there were a magic machine that let us explore our own guillotinable notions — or indeed, to range through the night-mind of the whole human race, encountering lurid thought-dreams beyond our previous imagining. A magic machine where every forbidden thought or fear or desire, even things abhorrent to our own daylight mind, could be approached, encountered, explored — and this in deepest privacy, in the safe confines of our homes, our normal daily reality. Who could resist dipping — or plunging — into such a dream-world? Yes, of course, we speak of the internet.

And these explorations need not be anything aberrant, illegal or immoral in themselves, but simply retrograde to what we think of as our truest, essential self. A gentle kindergarten teacher who finds herself looking with lurid fascination at beheadings on YouTube. A kind and loving social activist who is inexplicably drawn to the revolting racist bile she sees on Reddit. A married, smalltown bank manager who peruses gay porn or transgender websites, idly dreaming of alternative lives that in reality he would never pursue. An obsessive haunted by irrational, humiliating fears who seeks comfort – or exacerbation – down the digital alleyways of half-baked data and feverish need. The permutations are endless. Every dark impulse, every passing fantasy, every perverse or unsettling notion thrown up by the imp of the mind: all of this available, in endless profusion, 24/7, all over the world.

Now imagine if all of these self-exposing thought-dreams were being recorded by the magic machine. Imagine if this compromising material could be made instantly available to the security organs of an overweening nation-state or the overlords of a rapacious corporate power. What you would have then is an apparatus of repression, blackmail and control beyond the wildest dreams of the most tyrannical regimes, religions and ideologies in all of human history. Any dissident, any heretic speaking out against the power structure could be undermined politically, if not destroyed psychologically, by the exposure of their night-mind, their guillotine-worthy thought-dreams, by those who hold the keys to the magic machine.

And this need not apply only to those who had roused themselves to denounce publicly the crimes and rapine of the powers that be. No, even that quiet bank manager, that suffering obsessive, might draw back from making waves – or supporting any wave-makers – in the knowledge that their personal strangeness could potentially be exposed. This fearful but not unreasonable assumption is, in part, the fruit of the many whistleblowing revelations about the surveillance state and the incredibly pervasive reach of our hi-tech behemoths (Google, Facebook, Amazon, etc.) in recent years.

We have all been taught to assume that everything we do and say and show on-line is being watched, stored and laid open to state and corporate scrutiny. And we are right to do so.

Yet because this magic machine has tapped into our of most primal impulses, because it offers the ever-alluring but ever-elusive promise of filling the holes torn in our psyches by our individual upbringings and by the cruelties, chaos and contradictions in any and every social, political and cultural milieu we find ourselves caught up in, we keep exploring – and recording – our thought-dreams with it. We can't stop feeding it with kompromat against ourselves, can't stop giving malevolent forces – who care nothing for us beyond what they can wring from us for their own power and profit – the key to the inner sanctum of our souls.

There is also the fact these malevolent forces have made it virtually impossible to carry out your daily life without giving them access to your lives and thoughts. Increasingly, in order simply to function in the modern world, you must tell them who you are, where you are, what you are buying, reading, watching, listening to.

So the Laureate's lyrics are no longer metaphorical lights cast into our secret darkness. They are now the literal truth: our thought-dreams can be seen. And they can be used, should the powerful wish it, to put our heads in a guillotine.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Canadian Slave: "Foreign Workers" Charge Abuse and Systemic Injustice

Temporary Foreign Workers are Victims of Systemic Racism and Government Politics 

by Fil de Presse MNW

August 19, 2017

Amid the escalating anti-immigrant racism and fascism occurring in Quebec, Canada and other parts of the world, we denounce all the injustices and abuses committed through the temporary foreign worker program.

We are workers of the earth and the earth has no borders!

10 years of the hypocritical Festival of Cultures organized by the Municipality of Saint-Remi and the Guatemalan, Honduran and Mexican consulates.

A recent article that appeared in the New York Times on August 14th, 2017 entitled Foreign Farmworkers in Canada Fear Deportation if They Complain highlights systemic issues faced by temporary foreign workers, such as the dangerous conditions under which they live and work, as well as the lack of an adequately government response to complaints of fraud or abuse by employers.

According to Noe Arteaga, former temporary foreign worker at the company Savoura, this is nothing new for workers who have been coming to work in Canada for decades.

Arteaga considers the temporary foreign worker program as modern slavery. At the Immigrant Workers Centre (IWC) where Arteaga volunteers, they receive calls from workers reporting different forms of abuse on a daily basis.

One recent example is the case of 18 Guatemalan workers who were victims of fraud by the employment agency Les Progrès Inc.

They have made a complaint with Revenu Canada, Revenu Quebec, Labour Standards, *Equity*, Health and Safety *Commission (CNESST in french)*, *Human Rights* and Youth Rights *Commission (*CDPDJ in french) and Immigration Canada.

The temporary foreign worker program and its labour conditions are not on government's agendas as they renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), according to Vivian Media, an organizer at the IWC. For that matter, temporary foreign workers are not even consulted in the renegotiation of NAFTA.

With regards to the 18 Guatemalan temporary foreign workers, we continue to demand justice. We demand that the deportation order for the 18 Guatemalan workers be revoked. In order for the workers to see the complaints that they have made with various government institutions through, it's important for them to remain on Canadian soil.


Journalists are invited to a press point at:
*Where: *25 Rue St-Sauveur, St-Rémi,
QC J0L 2L0, Canada
*When: **August 19, *2017 at 1pm
phone: (438) 404-4458

This is the English-language newswire for social justice groups in Montreal.

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Friday, August 18, 2017

Norway Seizes Arctic Sunset, Greenpeace Arctic Drilling Campaign Undeterred

The Arctic Sunrise has been seized

by Greenpeace US

18 August, 2017

The message is clear:  

"Norway, it’s time to choose people over oil."

35 activists from 25 countries are in the Barents Sea demanding an end to Arctic drilling.

Today, activists from the Arctic Sunrise in inflatable boats and kayaks entered the exclusion zone of Statoil’s Korpfjell well, Norway’s northernmost oil-drilling site, and attached a giant globe to the rig Songa Enabler.

The globe carried written statements from people from all over the world, with a message to the Norwegian government to stop the oil drilling.

The activists halted the operation of the rig, and after several hours of demanding an end to the drilling in the Arctic, the Norwegian Coast Guard interfered with the peaceful protest, arresting the Arctic Sunrise ship, the activists and crew members.

Just 10 days before ratifying the Paris Agreement, in June 2016, the “environmentally friendly” Norwegian government granted new oil licenses. Now, a year later, Statoil has just started to drill for oil in the northernmost area ever licensed by Norway.

But this won’t stop us. It’s time to get ready for our new battleground: the courtroom—where Greenpeace Nordic, together with Nature and Youth, will face Arctic Oil this November.

With your witness statements we will achieve it. Add your name to the more than 350.000 others and become part of the evidence that the people know a better world is possible.

Diego Gonzaga is a content editor for Greenpeace US.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

NDP Hopefuls on the Israel-Palestine Highwire

NDP Leadership Candidate Jagmeet Singh’s Trip to Israel

by Yves Engler - Dissident Voice

August 17th, 2017

Like bears attracted to spawning salmon, politicians seek out power. The former needs to build stores of fat to survive the winter, while the latter must attract the resources and support necessary for successful electoral campaigns. Given the survival imperative, neither bear nor politician should be criticized too harshly for what comes naturally.

But, the two best ways to judge politicians are by taking a look at whom they choose to gather resources from and what they are prepared to do to get them.

At worst politicians pander to society’s wealthiest and reactionary social forces, further solidifying their grip on the economic and political system. At best they seek out progressive grassroots and labour organizations, collecting the necessary resources from ordinary people while amplifying their influence.

It’s within this context that one should understand Ontario MPP Jagmeet Singh’s trip to Israel with the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. At the start of the year the current NDP leadership candidate took an organized trip there and met to discuss it with Galit Baram, Israel’s consul general in Toronto.

The trip and meeting were most likely aimed at allaying particular concerns since in early December Singh was the only member of the Ontario legislature to speak out against a provincial vote to condemn the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. He criticized a CIJA-backed motion supporting the spurious “Ottawa Protocol on Combating Anti-Semitism” and rejecting “the differential treatment of Israel, including the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement.”

When speaking to NDP members recently Singh has repeatedly highlighted that move rather than the CIJA trip or consular visit. Similarly, Singh published eleven tweets about Palestine on July 16. In the best of the lot he stated:

“3 yrs ago today the 2014 Gaza War made headlines when 4 Palestinian boys were killed by an Israeli military strike while playing on a beach” and
“I stand for Palestinians’ right to freely determine their political status & pursue their economic, social & cultural development.” 

In response to two questions Independent Jewish Voices and Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East submitted to NDP leadership candidates Singh said,

I would consider supporting the use of targeted sanctions against Israel” and
“I would support mandatory labeling of products originating from Israel’s colonies, and excluding these products from the benefits of CIFTA [Canada Israel Free Trade Agreement]. I am also open to considering a ban.”

(In assessing Singh’s responses to their Middle East policy questionnaire IJV gave him a B for third place while CJPME ranked him second with an –A. Niki Ashton received an A+ from both IJV and CJPME.)

Singh clearly wants average NDP members to think he’s opposed to Israeli violence and supportive of Palestinian solidarity activism. Simultaneously, however, he wants to signal to CIJA and Israeli officials that he’ll play ball.

The Palestinian question is particularly tricky for the Brampton-based politician. With some claiming that his open (Sikh) religiosity is a liability in Québec, Singh’s path to becoming leader is largely contingent on convincing members he’s best positioned to expand NDP support among the young and communities of colour. But, younger and darker NDP members/sympathizers largely oppose the current NDP leadership’s de facto support for Israeli expansionism/belligerence.

A February poll found that only 17 per cent of Canadian millennials had a positive opinion of the Israeli government versus 37 per cent of those 65 plus. I’m not aware of any Canadian polling by ethnicity on the subject, but US polling provides a window into attitudes there. According to a July Newsweek headline: “Young, Black and Latino Americans Don’t Like Israel” (after the invariable push back the headline was changed to “Why More Young, Black and Latino Americans Than Ever Before Don’t Like Israel”).

To the extent that Singh can rally younger and ethnically diverse folks to the party it would tend to push the NDP towards Palestinian solidarity. On the other hand, Singh is the preferred candidate of much of the party establishment and his candidacy is heavily media-driven. The dominant media and NDP hierarchy are generally hostile to discussing Canada’s complicity in Palestinian dispossession.

At the first six leadership debates there wasn’t a single question related to the NDP’s position on Palestine. While the party hierarchy refuses to debate it, the NDP actually devotes significant energy to the subject. During the 2015 federal election the NDP ousted as many as eight individuals from running or contesting nominations because they defended Palestinian rights on social media.

Last year NDP foreign critic Hélène Laverdière (right) spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s (AIPAC) annual conference in Washington and traveled to Israel with Canada’s Governor General where she attended a ceremony put on by the explicitly racist Jewish National Fund (Laverdière is backing Singh for NDP leader).

Many party officials – 20 federal NDP MPs, according to a 2014 iPolitics calculation – have gone on all-expense paid trips to that country with an Israeli nationalist organization.

So, party representatives can travel halfway across the globe to investigate the conflict and individuals chosen by local riding associations can be removed for their opinions on the issue, but the subject doesn’t warrant debate.

If Singh wins the leadership will he expend the energy needed to shake up the established order on this issue?

Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.
Read other articles by Yves.

Grumpy at 70, India Shows Its Intolerance

India at 70: bigotry rules

by N. Jayaram  - OpenDemocracy

15 August 2017

"Hyper-nationalism and the closing of the mind is also ‘a manifestation of insecurity about one’s place in the world.’”

As India marks 70 years of independence today (August 15), two events of the past week illustrate the predicament a country that often preens itself as the world’s largest democracy finds itself in.

One was a vitriolic and graceless speech by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a farewell ceremony for Mohammad Hamid Ansari, (pictured) who was stepping down after two terms as Vice-President.

The other a prominent television anchor declaring that a panelist’s mention of the deaths of dozens of children in a hospital in Uttar Pradesh state was an attempt to divert attention from the real issue, which in her opinion was the rectitude of the state government’s order to Muslim schools to celebrate Independence Day with the recitation of a nationalist song entitled Vande Mataram (salute the motherland).

Modi said in his speech in Hindi (translation taken from addressing Ansari in the Rajya Sabha, the Indian parliament’s upper house which the Vice-President chairs:

“Your life was that of a career diplomat. I understood what being a career diplomat means only after becoming prime minister. Because the way they smile, the way they shake their hands has a meaning which a novice may not understand immediately. They are trained to do that. But that skill must have been useful for you in the last 10 years. Your skill must have benefitted the house in trying to manage contrarian voices within it.
“In your career as a diplomat, you spent most of your time in West Asia. You spent most of your life in that single circle, that environment, that way of thinking, among those people. Even after retirement, your work was similar, whether it be in the minorities commission or Aligarh Muslim University. More or less, your circle remained the same.
“But in the last 10 years, you had a different responsibility. Every minute, you had to work within the limitations of the constitution. And you worked to the best of your abilities. It is possible that you must have encountered restlessness in the process. But after today, you will not have to face even that dilemma. You will experience freedom and will be able to work, speak, and think according to what you really feel.”

By West Asia, the area generally referred to in western media as ‘the Middle East’, Modi meant Muslim countries. He neglected noting that Ansari had also served in other places such as Australia and that he had been a very active Permanent Representative of India in the United Nations before retiring as a diplomat. Modi also failed to mention that Ansari has served as ceremonial president of the Indian Institute of Public Administration, the Indian Council of World Affairs and other such bodies.

Modi’s clear attempt to depict the much respected former diplomat and scholar as someone steeped in a Muslim “circle” was breath-taking in its venality rarely matched by heads of governments or states.

Then again, Modi was clearly waiting to tick Ansari off for thinly veiled criticism of his government. Asked in an interview whether he had shared concerns over growing intolerance in India, Ansari said he had and when pressed as to whether he was satisfied with the response, said obliquely

“Well, there is always an explanation and there is always a reason. Now it is a matter of judgment, whether you accept the explanation, you accept the reasoning and its rationale.”

A few days earlier, in a convocation speech at the National Law School of India University in Bangalore, Ansari said:

“For many decades after independence, a pluralist view of nationalism and Indianness reflective of the widest possible circle of inclusiveness and a ‘salad bowl’ approach, characterised our thinking. More recently an alternate viewpoint of ‘purifying exclusivism’ has tended to intrude into and take over the political and cultural landscape. One manifestation of it is ‘an increasingly fragile national ego’ that threatens to rule out any dissent however innocent. Hyper-nationalism and the closing of the mind is also ‘a manifestation of insecurity about one’s place in the world.’”

This was an unmistakable dig at the kind of polity ushered in by Modi since his Hindu chauvinist Bharatiya Janata Party came to head the central government in New Delhi in mid-2014. Of a piece with this style of governance, Modi chose as Chief Minister of the most populous state, a Hindu supremacist politician named Adityanath who has headed a militia named Hindu Yuva Vahini (youth brigade) that has been implicated in incidents of violence against Muslims.

It was Adityanath’s order for Muslim schools known as madrasas to celebrate Independence Day and provide proof thereof by video-recording the events that Times Now television channel anchor Navika Kumar was dealing with. She objected, during a panel discussion on prime time she was chairing, to the raising of the deaths of children in Adityanath’s own parliamentary constituency, Gorakhpur.

About 70 deaths from encephalitis have occurred in a hospital there. A reference to these deaths on the leading television channel – a hyper-nationalist and Hindu supremacist version of Fox News – was what its anchor was objecting to.

It encapsulated in a few moments, along with Modi’s venom-filled speech, all that has gone wrong with India over the past 70 years. Instead of emerging as a vibrant, modern democracy, it is being led down an antediluvian path towards medieval bigotry.

Solidarity But No Redress for Communities of the Mount Polley Disaster

No penalties for Mount Polley disaster

by Dan Lewis - Clayoquot Action

August 15, 2017

As we gathered under blue skies in Tofino on the third anniversary of the Mount Polley mining disaster, it was easy to feel connected with the T’exelc and Xaastull First Nations in whose territories Mount Polley lies.

The air was hazy with smoke from the wildfires which had forced both Nations to evacuate from their homes. The haze obscured the view of Catface Mountain, 10 kilometres north of Tofino in Ahousaht First Nations territories, where Imperial Metals is currently pursuing plans to remove the mountaintop to build an open-pit copper mine.

It’s been 3 years since the disaster at the Mount Polley Mine near Williams Lake changed everything for First Nations in the region. When the earthen dam of Imperial Metals’ tailings storage facility burst in the wee hours of August 4th, 25 million cubic metres of toxic sludge and slurry spilled out and ran down into Quesnel Lake, home to one quarter of the Fraser River’s sockeye population. Residents of nearby Likely woke to a sound like a roaring jet engine.

To this day people do not trust the water quality of the lake they used to drink from, and expensive water filters clog up within days. It’s stunning to think that three years later, those toxic tailings have not been cleaned up—there are still tonnes of solids lining Hazeltine Creek, and lying on the bottom of Quesnel Lake.

Largest mining disaster in Canadian history

No penalties have been laid for the largest mining disaster in Canadian history. There have been several investigations and review panels, but no-one has been held responsible—not the company, nor Bill Bennett, who was the Liberal government’s minister of mining. Private prosecution was brought forward by Mining Watch Canada, but quashed when the crown prosecutor argued for a stay of proceedings, and the judge refused to hear evidence that harm had been caused to fish habitat.

The independent review panel which examined the aftermath of Mount Polley declared the disaster meant “the end of business as usual”. Yet within months, Mount Polley was allowed to resume operations—before the tailings dam was even repaired.

The third anniversary marked the deadline for laying charges under provincial laws. The BC Conservation Office spent 3 years investigating Mount Polley, raiding Imperial Metals’ offices after the disaster. However, days before the deadline they announced the investigation had not been completed in time. The federal department of fisheries was part of that investigation, and they have another two years to lay charges under the Fisheries Act.

Meanwhile Bev Sellars filed 15 private charges against Imperial on the third anniversary, under both the provincial Environmental Act and the Mines Act, saying

“I could not bear to witness BC simply stepping aside and giving-up on its own responsibility to protect our shared environment and waters.” 

Her legal action is being by supported by MiningWatch Canada, West Coast Environmental Law, the Wilderness Committee and First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining. She was chief councillor of the Xaastull First Nation at the time of the disaster.

New BC government must take action

Many people are counting on the new government to take action to clean up BC’s mining industry. With Imperial Metals considering two mines in the Clayoquot Sound UNESCO Biosphere Reserve despite opposition from Tla-o-qui-aht and Ahousaht First Nations, we’ll be watching closely.

It felt good to gather on the third anniversary, knowing that people across Canada were also acting in solidarity with First Nations Women Advocating Responsible Mining. During the water ceremony led by Tla-o-qui-aht First Nations elder Levi Martin in Tofino, we passed a bowl of water around the circle, and spoke about why we appreciate water. As Levi said

“We do not want Imperial Metals in Tla-o-qui-aht territory, because all the land the water and the resources belong to our children, and great-great-grandchildren. It is our responsibility to live with care, honour, respect and humility for the sake of our children and great-great-grandchildren.”

Dan Lewis is Executive Director of Clayoquot Action.
Check out Dan’s latest Mount Polley post on Huffington Post.

Douglas Magazine in Victoria just published a story about Imperial Metals’ plans for Clayoquot Sound. Begins on page 32.

Likely Ukraine Link to North Korea's "Accelerated" Rocket Program

A Ukraine Link to North Korea’s Missiles?

by Robert Parry - Consortium News

August 15, 2017  

U.S. intelligence analysts reportedly have traced North Korea’s leap forward in creating an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of striking U.S. territory to a decaying Ukrainian rocket-engine factory whose alleged role could lift the cover off other suppressed mysteries related to the U.S.-backed coup in Kiev.
North Korean missile launch on March 6, 2017

Because the 2014 coup – overthrowing elected President Viktor Yanukovych – was partly orchestrated by the U.S. government’s influential neoconservatives and warmly embraced by the West’s mainstream media, many of the ugly features of the Kiev regime have been downplayed or ignored, including the fact that corrupt oligarch Igor Kolomoisky was put in charge of the area where the implicated factory was located.

As the region’s governor, the thuggish Kolomoisky founded armed militias of Ukrainian extremists, including neo-Nazis, who spearheaded the violence against ethnic Russians in eastern provinces, which had voted heavily for Yanukovych and tried to resist his violent overthrow.

Kolomoisky, who has triple citizenship from Ukraine, Cyprus and Israel, was eventually ousted as governor of Dnipropetrovsk (now called Dnipro) on March 25, 2015, after a showdown with Ukraine’s current President Petro Poroshenko over control of the state-owned energy company, but by then Kolomoisky’s team had put its corrupt mark on the region.

At the time of the Kolomoisky-Poroshenko showdown, Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, chief of the State Security Service, accused Dnipropetrovsk officials of financing armed gangs and threatening investigators, Bloomberg News reported, while noting that Ukraine had sunk to 142nd place out of 175 countries in Transparency International’s Corruptions Perception Index, the worst in Europe.

Even earlier in Kolomoisky’s brutal reign, Dnipropetrovsk had become the center for the violent intrigue that has plagued Ukraine for the past several years, including the dispatch of neo-Nazi militias to kill ethnic Russians who then turned to Russia for support.

Tolerating Nazis

Yet, protected by the waves of anti-Russian propaganda sweeping across the West, Kolomoisky’s crowd saw few reasons for restraint. So, among the Kolomoisky-backed militias was the Azov battalion whose members marched with Swastikas and other Nazi insignias.

Nazi symbols on helmets worn by members of Ukraine’s 
Azov battalion. (As filmed by a Norwegian film crew and shown on German TV)

Ironically, the same Western media which heartily has condemned neo-Nazi and white-nationalist violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, adopted a much more tolerant attitude toward Ukraine’s neo-Nazism even as those militants murdered scores of ethnic Russians in Odessa in May 2014 and attacked ethnic Russian communities in the east where thousands more died.

When it came to Ukraine, The New York Times and other mainstream outlets were so dedicated to their anti-Russian propaganda that they veered between minimizing the significance of the neo-Nazi militias and treating them as bulwarks of Western civilization.

For instance, on Feb. 11, 2015, the Times published a long article by Rick Lyman that presented the situation in the port city of Mariupol as if the advance by ethnic Russian rebels amounted to the arrival of barbarians at the gate while the inhabitants were being bravely defended by the forces of civilization. But then the article cited the key role in that defense played by the Azov battalion.

Though the article provided much color and detail and quoted an Azov leader prominently, it left out the fact that the Azov battalion was composed of neo-Nazis.

This inconvenient truth that neo-Nazis were central to Ukraine’s “self-defense forces” would have disrupted the desired propaganda message about “Russian aggression.” After all, wouldn’t many Americans and Europeans understand why Russia, which suffered some 27 million dead in World War II, might be sensitive to neo-Nazis killing ethnic Russians on Russia’s border?

So, in Lyman’s article, the Times ignored Azov’s well-known neo-Nazism and referred to it simply as a “volunteer unit.”

In other cases, the Times casually brushed past the key role of fascist militants. In July 2015, the Times published a curiously upbeat story about the good news that Islamic militants had joined with far-right and neo-Nazi battalions to kill ethnic Russian rebels.

The article by Andrew E. Kramer reported that there were three Islamic battalions “deployed to the hottest zones,” such as around Mariupol. One of the battalions was headed by a former Chechen warlord who went by the name “Muslim,” Kramer wrote, adding:

“The Chechen commands the Sheikh Mansur group, named for an 18th-century Chechen resistance figure. It is subordinate to the nationalist Right Sector, a Ukrainian militia. Right Sector formed during last year’s street protests in Kiev from a half-dozen fringe Ukrainian nationalist groups like White Hammer and the Trident of Stepan Bandera.

“Another, the Azov group, is openly neo-Nazi, using the ‘Wolf’s Hook’ symbol associated with the [Nazi] SS. Without addressing the issue of the Nazi symbol, the Chechen said he got along well with the nationalists because, like him, they loved their homeland and hated the Russians.”

Rockets for North Korea

The Times encountered another discomforting reality on Monday when correspondents William J. Broad and David E. Sanger described U.S. intelligence assessments pointing to North Korea’s likely source of its new and more powerful rocket engines as a Ukrainian factory in Dnipro.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un

Of course, the Times bent over backward to suggest that the blame might still fall on Russia even though Dnipro is a stronghold of some of Ukraine’s most militantly anti-Russian politicians and although U.S. intelligence analysts have centered their suspicions on a Ukrainian-government-owned factory there, known as Yuzhmash.

So, it would seem clear that corrupt Ukrainian officials, possibly in cahoots with financially pressed executives or employees of Yuzhmash, are the likeliest suspects in the smuggling of these rocket engines to North Korea.

Even the Times couldn’t dodge that reality, saying: “Government investigators and experts have focused their inquiries on a missile factory in Dnipro, Ukraine.” But the Times added that Dnipro is “on the edge of the territory where Russia is fighting a low-level war to break off part of Ukraine” – to suggest that the Russians somehow might have snuck into the factory, stolen the engines and smuggled them to North Korea.

But the Times also cited the view of missile expert Michael Elleman, who addressed North Korea’s sudden access to more powerful engines in a study issued this week by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.

“It’s likely that these engines came from Ukraine — probably illicitly,” Elleman said in an interview with the Times.
“The big question is how many they have and whether the Ukrainians are helping them now. I’m very worried.”

Yet, always looking for a chance to shift the blame to Russia, the Times quickly inserted that “Mr. Elleman was unable to rule out the possibility that a large Russian missile enterprise, Energomash, which has strong ties to the Ukrainian complex, had a role in the transfer of the RD-250 engine technology to North Korea.”

Of course by that standard – “unable to rule out the possibility” – almost anyone could be put under suspicion. One source familiar with the U.S. intelligence assessments said there is even suspicion that some operatives in Israel played a role in transferring the rocket engines to North Korea. The source cited Israel’s historic arms-trade with North Korea dating back to Israel’s covert arms pipeline to Iran during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s.

Israel, a rogue nuclear-weapons state itself, also has a history of collaborating with other “pariah” states on nuclear proliferation, including apartheid South Africa which joined Israel in nuclear tests before the democratic election of Nelson Mandela.

Kolomoisky cultivated close ties between Israel and Dnipro by helping to construct one of the largest Jewish centers in the world in the Ukrainian city, which has fallen on hard times since the 2014 coup shattered economic ties with Russia and left the Yuzhmash factory with little work.

Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky confronting journalists 
after he led an armed team in raid at the government-owned 
energy company March 19, 2015. (Screen shot from YouTube)

Yet, while the Ukraine crisis may have reduced living standards for average Ukrainians, it was an important catalyst in the creation of the New Cold War between Washington and Moscow, which offers lucrative opportunities for U.S. military contractors and their many think-tank apologists despite increasing the risk of nuclear war for the rest of us.

In particular, U.S. neoconservatives have viewed heightened tensions between the West and Russia as valuable both in driving up military spending and laying the groundwork for a possible “regime change” in Moscow. The neocons have wanted to retaliate against Russian President Vladimir Putin’s role in frustrating neocon (and Israeli-Saudi) desires to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and to bomb Iran, which Israel and Saudi Arabia now view as their principal regional adversary.

The neocon/Israeli-Saudi interests have produced many strange bedfellows with weapons flowing to Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria, and – because of Putin’s assistance to Syria and Iran – the tolerance of neo-Nazis and Islamic militants in Ukraine.

The MH-17 Case

Kolomoisky’s operation in Dnipro also has come under suspicion for a possible role in the shoot-down of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 on July 17, 2014. According to a source briefed by U.S. intelligence analysts, Dnipro was the center of a plot to use a powerful anti-aircraft missile to shoot down Putin’s official plane on a return flight from South America, but instead – after Putin’s plane took a more northerly route – the missile brought down MH-17, killing all 298 people aboard.

Quinn Schansman, dual U.S.-Dutch citizen killed aboard 
Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 July 17, 2014. (Photo from Facebook)

For reasons that have still not been explained, the Obama administration suppressed U.S. intelligence reports on the MH-17 tragedy and instead joined in pinning the shoot-down on ethnic Russian rebels and, by implication, Putin and his government.

In the West, the MH-17 shoot-down became a cause celebre, generating a powerful propaganda campaign to demonize Putin and Russia – and push Europe into joining sanctions against Moscow. Few people dared question Russia alleged guilt even though the Russia-did-it arguments were full of holes. [See here and here.]

Now this North Korean case forces the issue of Ukraine’s reckless behavior to the fore again: Did an inept or corrupt Ukrainian bureaucracy participate in or tolerate a scheme to sell powerful rocket engines to North Korea and enable a nuclear threat to U.S. territory?

In response to the reports of possible Ukrainian collusion in North Korea’s missile program, Oleksandr Turchynov, secretary of the Ukrainian national security and defense council, issued a bizarre denial suggesting that The New York Times and U.S. intelligence agencies were pawns of Russia.

“This information [about North Korea possibly obtaining rocket engines from Ukraine] is not based on any grounds, provocative by its content, and most likely provoked by Russian secret services to cover their own crimes,” Turchynov said.

Press reports about Turchynov’s statement left out two salient facts: that as the interim President following the February 2014 coup, Turchynov ordered Right Sektor militants to begin the bloody siege of rebel-held Sloviansk, a key escalation in the conflict, and that Turchynov was the one who appointed Kolomoisky to be the ruler of Dnipropetrovsk.

Investigative reporter Robert Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra stories for The Associated Press and Newsweek in the 1980s. You can buy his latest book, America’s Stolen Narrative, either in print here or as an e-book (from Amazon and

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

History Busters: America's Misguided War on Statuary

Smashing Statues, Seeding Strife 

by Moon of Alabama

August 16, 2017

In the aftermath of competing protests in Charlottesville a wave of dismantling of Confederate statues is on the rise. Overnight Baltimore took down four Confederate statues. One of these honored Confederate soldiers and sailors, another one Confederate women. Elsewhere statues were toppled or defiled.

The Charlottesville conflict itself was about the intent to dismantle a statue of General Robert E. Lee, a commander of the Confederate forces during the American Civil War.

The activist part of the political right protested against the take down, the activist part of the political left protested against those protests. According to a number of witnesses quoted in the LA Times sub-groups on both sides came prepared for and readily engaged in violence.

In 2003 a U.S. military tank pulled down the statue of Saddam Hussein on Firdos Square in Baghdad. Narrowly shot TV picture made it look as if a group of Iraqis were doing this. But they were mere actors within a U.S. propaganda show. Pulling down the statue demonstrated a lack of respect towards those who had fought under, worked for or somewhat supported Saddam Hussein. It helped to incite the resistance against the U.S. occupation.

The right-wing nutters who, under U.S. direction, forcefully toppled the legitimate government of Ukraine pulled down hundreds of the remaining Lenin statues in the country. Veterans who fought under the Soviets in the second world war took this as a sign of disrespect. Others saw this as an attack on their fond memories of better times and protected them. The forceful erasement of history further split the country:

“It’s not like if you go east they want Lenin but if you go west they want to destroy him,” Mr. Gobert said. “These differences don’t only go through geography, they go through generations, through social criteria and economic criteria, through the urban and the rural.”

Statues standing in cities and places are much more than veneration of one person or group. They are symbols, landmarks and fragments of personal memories:

“One guy said he didn’t really care about Lenin, but the statue was at the center of the village and it was the place he kissed his wife for the first time,” Mr. Gobert said. “When the statue went down it was part of his personal history that went away.”

Robert Lee was a brutal man who fought for racism and slavery. But there are few historic figures without fail. Did not George Washington "own" slaves? Did not Lyndon B. Johnson lie about the Gulf of Tonkin incident and launched an unjust huge war against non-white people under false pretense? At least some people will think of that when they see their statues. Should those also be taken down?

(People had better sex under socialism. Does not Lenin deserves statues if only for helping that along?)

As time passes the meaning of a monument changes. While it may have been erected with a certain ideology or concept in mind, the view on it will change over time:

[The Charlottesville statue] was unveiled by Lee’s great-granddaughter at a ceremony in May 1924. As was the custom on these occasions it was accompanied by a parade and speeches. In the dedication address, Lee was celebrated as a hero, who embodied “the moral greatness of the Old South”, and as a proponent of reconciliation between the two sections. The war itself was remembered as a conflict between “interpretations of our Constitution” and between “ideals of democracy.”

The white racists who came to "protect" the statue in Charlottesville will hardly have done so in the name of reconciliation. Nor will those who had come to violently oppose them. Lee was a racist. Those who came to "defend" the statue were mostly "white supremacy" racists. I am all for protesting against them.

But the issue here is bigger. We must not forget that statues have multiple meanings and messages. Lee was also the man who wrote:

What a cruel thing is war: to separate and destroy families and friends, and mar the purest joys and happiness God has granted us in this world; to fill our hearts with hatred instead of love for our neighbors, and to devastate the fair face of this beautiful world.

That Lee was a racist does not mean that his statue should be taken down. The park in Charlottesville, in which the statue stands, was recently renamed from Lee Park into Emancipation Park. It makes sense to keep the statue there to reflect on the contrast between it and the new park name.

Old monuments and statues must not (only) be seen as glorifications within their time. They are reminders of history. With a bit of education they can become valuable occasions of reflection.

George Orwell wrote in his book 1984: “The most effective way to destroy people is to deny and obliterate their own understanding of their history.” People do not want to be destroyed. They will fight against attempts to do so. Taking down monuments or statues without a very wide consent will split a society. A large part of the U.S. people voted for Trump. One gets the impression that the current wave of statue take downs is seen as well deserved "punishment" for those who voted wrongly - i.e. not for Hillary Clinton. While many Trump voters will dislike statues of Robert Lee, they will understand that dislike the campaign to take them down even more.

That may be the intend of some people behind the current quarrel. The radicalization on opposing sides may have a purpose. The Trump camp can use it to cover up its plans to further disenfranchise they people. The fake Clintonian "resistance" needs these cultural disputes to cover for its lack of political resistance to Trump's plans.

Anyone who wants to stoke the fires with this issue should be careful what they wish for.

Rubio "Plot" Spices Up the Military Option for Venezuela

Ginning Up A “Military Option” For Venezuela Puts Sen. Rubio In Imaginary Crosshairs

by Whitney Webb - MintPress News

August 16th, 2017

Venezuela, unlike North Korea, has never threatened the U.S. But President Trump last week suddenly added Venezuela to the list of nations the U.S. is threatening. According to Trump, “We have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away. Venezuela is not very far away.”

MIAMI Last week, when all eyes were riveted on the escalating threats between President Donald Trump and North Korean leadership, Trump raised more than a few eyebrows and caused deep concern when he told reporters on Friday that the U.S. would not rule out a “military option” in response to the increasingly critical situation in Venezuela.

“We have many options for Venezuela, including a possible military option if necessary,” Trump stated during a press conference at his New Jersey golf club.

“We are all over the world and we have troops all over the world in places that are very, very far away,” he added.  
“Venezuela is not very far away and people are suffering and dying.”

With the media and political establishment working overtime to convince the public that North Korea was an imminent threat to U.S. national security, many were taken aback at the sudden suggestion of the use of military force targeted at the Venezuelan government. Indeed, Venezuela has never threatened the U.S., having asked only that the U.S. keep out of Venezuelan domestic affairs.

“A threat, a palpable threat” 

Over the weekend, those in Washington desperate to see a regime change in Venezuela may have gotten just the justification needed for a “military option,” in the form of a claim made by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), one based entirely on unverified information.

According to the Miami Herald, the “sensitive” but unclassified DHS memo revealed that a well-known Venezuelan political figure, Diosdado Cabello, had issued an “order to have Senator [Marco] Rubio assassinated.”

Yet, the memo, which was sent to several law enforcement agencies last month, went on to state that.

“[N]o specific information regarding an assassination plot against Senator Rubio has been garnered thus far” and that no-one in the U.S. government had been able to verify the threat.

Given that the alleged assassination plot was based entirely on hearsay from an anonymous source, it is not surprising that DHS spokesman David Lapan stated that,

“[I]t would be inappropriate for DHS to comment on the seriousness of the threat.” 

To all appearances, the very existence of the threat was never even confirmed.

Despite the dubious nature of the supposed assassination plot, the Herald sought to correlate an apparent increase in Marco Rubio’s security detail with the “threat,” creating the implication that it was real enough – despite being entirely uncorroborated – to be taken seriously by federal authorities. This is especially perplexing, given that Cabello currently holds no position in President Nicolás Maduro’s government and was only recently elected to the National Constituent Assembly in late July.

In other words, Cabello is arguably influential but holds no official position that would enable him to carry out such a feat. However, the Herald has claimed that, despite the lack of an official position in the current government beyond his role in the recently-elected assembly, Cabello “controls all of Venezuela’s security forces.”

If anything, the friction between Cabello and Rubio appears to be more a matter of personal animus than of matters of state. Prior to the Herald’s article on the “threat” to Rubio’s life, Rubio and Cabello had publicly feuded on social media, with each accusing the other of involvement in illicit drug trafficking.

Diosdado Cabello R @dcabellor
El primer personaje que sale a defender el ataque terrorista es @marcorubio, ya sabemos de dónde viene todo, serás derrotado una y mil veces

Translation: The U.S. — might be behind the “terrorist attack,” given that Rubio was the first foreign official to comment on the short-lived insurrection.

Rising tensions between Rubio and Cabello came to light after the U.S. issued new sanctions against several Venezuelan officials — including President Maduro and Hugo Chávez’s brother, Adán Chávez, a career physicist — Cabello himself has yet to be included in U.S. sanctions. This would seem to indicate his lack of importance, from Washington’s perspective, as a Venezuelan policy-maker or representative of the Maduro government.

Unlike Cabello, Rubio has been a high-profile figure in the heightening tensions between the U.S. and Venezuela, making him made-to-order as the supposed target of a Venezuelan plot. He has been central in directing aggressive U.S. foreign policy decisions when it comes to Venezuela, particularly regime change. He has also pushed for harsher sanctions against Venezuela, including against its oil sector, and has authored legislation that, if passed, would give up to $20 million to the Venezuelan opposition, including its more extremist and violent elements.

Rubio has also publicly supported Leopoldo López, an imprisoned opposition figure, and CIA asset, even accompanying López’s wife to Washington D.C. for a “surprise” visit with Trump and Vice President Mike Pence.

Rubio has echoed pro-opposition media outlets like the Herald, which has called López “one of Venezuela’s best-known and popular political leaders” (this despite the fact that U.S. diplomatic cables have stated:
“For the opposition parties, Lopez draws ire second only to Chavez. The only difference between the two is that López is a lot better looking.).”

Aggression justification: the pretext for pre-planned action 


A screenshot of a CNN May 6, 2017 report covering opposition protests in Venezuela.

The timing of the report from the Herald — given that it came just days after Trump’s mention of the U.S.’ “military option” for carrying out regime change in Venezuela — is by no means random. Indeed, it is hardly the only report suggesting that Venezuela may pose a “threat” to the U.S.

CNN recently ran a story headlined “Maduro’s Son Threatens To Seize White House With Rifles.” The article omitted mention that Maduro’s 26-year-old son, who is currently coordinator of Venezuela’s National Film School, qualified this “threat” as one that would materialize only if Trump sent the U.S. military to Venezuela to depose its democratically-elected leadership.

It is ironic, to say the least, that the U.S. media would restrict its threat assessment focus to “incoming” threats, however implausible, while all but ignoring the U.S.’ repeated attempts to oust or even kill Venezuelan leadership ever since the election of Hugo Chávez, as well as U.S. assassination plots targeting numerous other Latin American leaders. Clearly, though the reality is precisely the opposite, a narrative is being created to suggest that Venezuela is a threat to U.S. national security.

The narrative is not being created just by the media. CIA Director Mike Pompeo, in a recent interview, stated that,

“Venezuela could very much become a risk for the United States of America. The Cubans are there; the Russians are there, the Iranians, Hezbollah are there. This is something that has a risk of getting to a very very bad place, so America needs to take this very seriously.” 

Pompeo, of course, provided no evidence for these claims — including his bizarre mention of Hezbollah, a Lebanese political party, being somehow involved in Venezuela.

On Tuesday, Vice President Mike Pence put his weight behind the narrative that Venezuela is a threat to U.S. national security. Speaking to reporters while visiting Colombia, Pence warned that the U.S. “will not stand by while Venezuela collapses into dictatorship,” and that the country risked becoming a “failed state” which would threaten “the security and prosperity of an entire hemisphere and the people of the United States of America.”

This flurry of narrative creation is apparently needed in light of the frosty initial reception Trump’s announcement of a potential “military option” received both domestically and abroad. In keeping with time-honored approaches to aggression justification, claims of influential Venezuelan figures linked to the Maduro government secretly plotting to kill a well-known U.S. Senator could easily become the pretext needed to justify such an intervention, even if no concrete evidence exists to support those claims. This flimsiness will, however, likely be of little concern to U.S. politicians, who have rarely been ones to require actual, verifiable evidence before launching an invasion.

"This Is a Lie" Presenting First Nations in Foreign Lands

Real Media: 'This is all a lie' - William Hawk Birdshead at the British Museum


August 16, 2017

This film records the reactions of William Hawk Birdshead, a DAPL water protector from the Oglala Nakota tribe, as he visits the JP Morgan Chase-sponsored North American gallery at the British Museum.

"This is all a lie...It's like a zoo. You go to a zoo and you see these things, and it's like, 
"Oh wow."" 

My name is William Hawk Birdsaid. I am from the Standing Rock and Oglala Lakota tribes in North Dakota, South Dakota, and I'm also enrolled of the Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes of Oklahoma and Montana. I come from a long history of indigenous revolutionaries. 

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Canada's False Opposition: NDP In-Step with Trudeau and US Imperialism

Canada’s NDP backs American Empire

by Yves Engler - Dissident Voice

August 10th, 2017

Does the NDP consistently support a foreign policy that benefits ordinary people around the world? Or does the social democratic party often simply fall in line with whatever the American Empire demands?

Hélène Laverdière certainly seems to support the US-led geopolitical order.

While the NDP foreign critic has called for stronger arms control measures and regulations on Canada’s international mining industry, she’s aligned with the Empire on issues ranging from Venezuela to Palestine, Ukraine to Syria.

Echoing Washington and Ottawa, Laverdière recently attacked the Venezuelan government.

On the heels of Sunday’s illegitimate constituent assembly vote, it’s more important than ever for Canada to work with our allies and through multilateral groups like the OAS to secure a lasting resolution to the crisis,” she told the CBC.

But, the constituent assembly vote wasn’t “illegitimate”. Venezuela’s current constitution empowers the president to call a constituent assembly to draft a new one. If the population endorses the revised constitution in a referendum, the president – and all other governmental bodies – are legally required to follow the new constitutional framework.

Additionally, calling on Ottawa to “work with our allies” through the OAS may sound reasonable, but in practice it means backing Trudeau’s efforts to weaken Venezuela through that body.

Previously, Laverdière promoted that Washington-led policy. In a June 2016 press release bemoaning “the erosion of democracy” and the need for Ottawa to “defend democracy in Venezuela”, Laverdière said “the OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro has invoked the Inter-American Democratic Charter regarding Venezuela, and Canada, as a member of the OAS, should support his efforts.” But, the former Uruguayan Foreign Minister’s actions as head of the OAS have been highly controversial. They even prompted Almagro’s past boss, former Uruguayan president José Mujica, to condemn his bias against the Venezuelan government.

Laverdière has also cozied up to pro-Israel groups. Last year she spoke to the notorious anti-Palestinian lobby organization American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Months after AIPAC paid for her to speak at their conference in Washington, Laverdière visited Israel with Canada’s governor general, even participating in a ceremony put on by the explicitly racist Jewish National Fund.

The only Quebec MP to endorse Jagmeet Singh as next party leader, Laverdière has attended other events put on by groups aligned with Washington. She publicized and spoke to the weirdly themed “Demonstration for human and democratic rights in Venezuela, in solidarity with Ukraine and Syria.”

Laverdière supports deploying troops to the Russian border and repeatedly called for more sanctions on that country. She said the plan to send military trainers to the Ukraine “sounds good in principle” and only called for a debate in Parliament about sending 450 Canadians to head up a 1,000-strong NATO force in Latvia.

Since 2014 Laverdière has repeatedly called for stronger sanctions on Russia. In 2014 Laverdière told the Ottawa Citizen that “for sanctions to work, it’s not about the number of people but it’s about actually sanctioning the right people. They have to be comprehensive. And they have to target mainly the people who are very close to Putin. Our sanctions, the Canadian sanctions, still fail to do that.”

In May Laverdière applauded a bill modeled after the US Magnitsky Act that will further strain relations between Ottawa and Moscow by sanctioning Russian officials. “Several countries have adopted similar legislation and we are encouraged that the Liberals are finally taking this important step to support the Global Magnitsky movement,” she said.

In another region where the US and Russia were in conflict Laverdière aligned with the Washington-Riyadh position. In the midst of growing calls for the US to impose a “no-fly zone” on Syria last year, the NDP’s foreign critic recommended Canada nominate the White Helmets for the Nobel Peace Prize. A letter Laverdière co-wrote to foreign minister Stéphane Dion noted:

Canada has a proud and long-standing commitment to human rights, humanitarianism and international peacekeeping. It is surely our place to recognize the selflessness, bravery, and fundamental commitment to human dignity of these brave women and men.”

Also known as the Syrian Civil Defence, the White Helmets were credited with rescuing many people from bombed out buildings. But, they also fostered opposition to the Bashar al-Assad regime. The White Helmets operated almost entirely in areas of Syria occupied by the Saudi Arabia–Washington backed Al Nusra/Al Qaeda rebels. They criticized the Syrian government and disseminated images of its violence, but largely ignored those people targeted by the opposition and reportedly enabled some of their executions.

The White Helmets are closely associated with the Syria Campaign, which was set up by Ayman Asfari, a British billionaire of Syrian descent actively opposed to Assad. The White Helmets also received at least $23 million from USAID and Global Affairs Canada sponsored a five-city White Helmets tour of Canada in late 2016.

Early in the Syrian conflict Laverdière condemned the Harper government for failing to take stronger action against Assad. She urged Harper to raise the Syrian conflict with China, recall Canada’s ambassador to Syria and complained that energy giant Suncor was exempted from sanctions, calling on Canada to “put our money where our mouth is.”

Prior to running in the 2011 federal election Laverdière worked for Foreign Affairs. She held a number of Foreign Affairs positions over a decade, even winning the Foreign Minister’s Award for her contribution to Canadian foreign policy.

Laverdière was chummy with Harper’s foreign minister. John Baird said, “I’m getting to know Hélène Laverdière and I’m off to a good start with her” and when Baird retired CBC reported that she was “among the first to line up in the House on Tuesday to hug the departing minister.”

On a number of issues the former Canadian diplomat has aligned with the US Empire. Whoever takes charge of the NDP in October should think about whether Laverdière is the right person to keep Canadian foreign policy decision makers accountable.

Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.
Read other articles by Yves.