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What did Trudeau mean?

February 2, 2016


What did Justin Trudeau mean?          – Bev Currie

What did Justin Trudeau mean when he said, “Sunny ways my friends, sunny ways.” and “We are back.” Did he mean that we are now back to the good old days of Liberal governance, warts and all? Let’s hope not.

It is true that Canadians have benefited from Liberal- initiated programs such as the Old age Security Pension, the Canada Pension Plan, Medicare and the abolition of Capital Punishment. It is interesting to note though, that these initiatives were enacted by Liberal minority governments. Liberal majority governments have not been so enlightened.

In his book,” Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping – The Truth May Hurt,” Yves Engler reveals the dark side of this Prime Minister.

Engler says Lester Pearson made controversial political decisions that at times bordered on the “war criminal.” For example he says Pearson delivered weapons to the French to put down the Algerian and Vietnamese independence movements and he backed US coups in Iran, Guatemala and Indonesia.

Incredibly, the dark stain on Canadian foreign policy, left by the twentieth century Prime Minister Lester Pearson has been closely rivaled by the first two Liberal governments in the twenty first century.

Afghanistan: Jean Chretien’s war:

Without a United Nations resolution of authorisation, Canada’s role in Afghanistan began in October 2001 and ended in 2011.

It was Canada’s longest war. It was also a costly war: Deaths 159, wounded 2000, suicides 160 and all at a cost of $18.5 billion.

For Afghanistan: Over 91,000 Afghans, including civilians, soldiers and militants have been killed in the conflict, and the number who have died through indirect causes related to the war may include an additional 360,000 persons. Not including those who have died in Pakistan.

By any measure it was a disastrous war that will go down in infamy.

Iraq: Jean Chretien’s surreptitious war.

Just three day s before the United States embarked on an illegal, senseless war in Iraq, Prime Minister Jean Chretien stood in the House of Commons to announce, “If military action proceeds without a new resolution of the Security Council, Canada will not participate.”    It was an exercise in hypocrisy. We didn’t have long to wait for Chretien to brake this promise as confirmed by Paul Celluci, U.S. Ambassador to Canada. (Mar. 25 2003).

“Ironically, Canadian naval vessels, aircraft and personnel in the Persian Gulf…who are fighting terrorism will provide more support indirectly to this war in Iraq than most of the 46 countries that are fully supporting our efforts there.”

Haiti: Paul Martin’s forgotten war.

Writing for the Coalition to Oppose the Arms Trade, Richard Sanders summed up Paul Martin’s criminal adventure in Haiti.

“Things went from bad to worse after Canada’s Liberal government helped plan and carry out the 2004 regime change that illegally ousted President Aristide’s democratically-elected government. Canada then helped empower and entrench an illegal coup-installed puppet regime that launched a reign of terror in which thousands of prodemocracy supporters were executed, jailed without charge, driven into hiding, or exiled.”

Why did Canada help the United States and France overthrow Haiti’s constitutional government?

The short answer can be found in, “Waging War on the Poor Majority.” A book co-authored by Anthony Fenton and Yves Engler.

“Former Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham explained: “Foreign Affairs view was there is a limit to how much we can constantly say no to the political masters in Washington. All we had was Afghanistan to wave. On every other file we were offside. Eventually we came on side on Haiti, so we got another arrow in our quiver.”

Paul Martin completed the Liberal Hat Trick. The Chretien government got us into Afghanistan to appease the United States for rejecting its invitation to join the “Coalition of the Willing” in Iraq. Then the government changed its mind and got seriously involved in Iraq anyway.

Incredibly, Bill Graham must have forgotten his government had reversed its decision to stay out of Iraq and used the same excuse to invade Haiti. Thousands of prodemocracy supporters were executed in Haiti in exchanges for an arrow Canada had already given to the U.S. Bill Graham’s quiver indeed? You can’t make this stuff up.

A sea change is clearly needed in Canada’s foreign policy if Justin Trudeau is serious about the “sunny ways” of negotiation, compromise and conflict resolution. If confronted with his party’s sordid foreign policy record, would he commit to a more enlightened future? So far there is not much reason for optimism. He is reluctant to make any final decision on the CF 18 bombing in northern Iraq and he has already committed to sell armored military vehicles to Saudi Arabia. More troubling is his party’s support for the U.S overthrow of the elected government in Ukraine and its support for the Nazi infested government that has replaced it.

Like the residential school scandals these wars are institutional crimes against humanity. If we are to apologise for one, we should apologise for the other.

What will Justin do if confronted with this inconvenient truth?

Will he apologize for his warmongering predecessors and pledge to make the Liberal Party of Canada a true party of peace?

He could take comfort from knowing that Jeremy Corbyn, the new leader of the British Labour Party has apologised for his party’s criminal invasion of Iraq.

Now the question is who (or perhaps what organization) will take the responsibility to bell the cat.




Chatter In The Forest

May 3, 2015

Chatter In The Forest.

There’s chatter in the forest from the chipmunks and the birds.
There is positive excitement ever since they got the word.

They say, a stranger is amongst us that we’ve not seen before.
And they are shouting from the treetops down to the forest floor.

The scholars claim he could exist although he is quite unique.
For he’s written in mythology of the Norsemen and the Greek.

The native tribes are adamant; he’s been seen in days of yore.
For he’s chiseled in their petroglyphs and storied in their lore.

We know, in the book of Genesis, the Lord created quite a few.
But by the time Noah launched his Ark, he had only two.

There’s chatter amongst the masses too, the peasant, doctor, saint.
Of whether a creature could exist that really is that quaint?

The doubters are quite cynical and claim a right to ask.
Could he be with us now though dynasties have past?

Now my friends, I’m here to tell how fate had chosen me.
Perhaps by luck or happenstance or serendipity.

For while I was strolling through the woods, I saw him in a tree.
I was staring up at him and he was glaring down on me.

Time stood still. I could not move. Then I heard his plaintive call.
For this creature is none other than the Seven-Peckered Owl.

Oh, the Seven-Peckered Owl is majestic and he is wise.
And each one of his peckers is twice the normal size.

I am here to tell, this bird is more droll than one would think.
Once I was staring at his peckers and I’m sure I saw him wink.

This bird deserves to be left in peace to feed his little brood.
But like so many mortal men, I had a change of mood.

I could put him in a circus tent and place him on display.
Folks would come from miles away, no telling what they’d pay.

So I carried out my ladder and leaned it against his limb.
And left it there long enough, til it didn’t bother him.

One morning while my precious find, took his diurnal sleep.
I crept up behind that somnolent bird trying not to make a peep.

But owls are noted for their hearing and their sight.
For when I made a lunge for him he took to wing in fright.

He flew into the chicken coop and hid amongst the flock.
So I crept in between the hens and grabbed him by the cock.

The cock was quite indignant that I’d caught his avian friend.
That’s when I felt his yellow pecker pecking on my hand.

While laying in the dark and dust I loosened up my grasp.
And the last time I saw that bird, he was heading west.

Oh somewhere there’s a forest and in it there’s a tree.
Where a proud owl safely sits with his family.

Let us wish him well in his quest, for the solitude he seeks.
For we know his seven peckers are his seven beaks.

Civilian Casualties

May 10, 2010

How many war crimes will NATO forces have to commit in Afghanistan and Pakistan before the good people of Canada demand that this misadventure be terminated and our troops brought home?

On September 4, 2009 two fuel trucks were disabled by Taliban fighters. in Kunar Province   When local people arrived in large numbers to take some of the fuel, German forces called for a US air strike.  142 people were incinerated. Video tapes from the US F15 jet showed most of the people were unarmed civilians filling their containers with fuel.

On Dec 27, 2009American led troops raided a home in Kunar Province, dragged eight school children from their beds and gunned them down execution style.  Their ages were 11 to 18.

On February 12, 2010 American and Afghan forces raided a home during a party and killed five people including a local police commander, a district attorney, two pregnant mothers and a teen-aged girl.

A report by the New American Foundation speculates that US drone strikes in Pakistan have killed between 700 and 1000 people, one third of them civilians.

Surely, anyone with a heart to rend and a few viable brain cells to reason with, will have to conclude that all of these killings are crimes against humanity.  We can’t wait twenty more months before leaving Afghanistan.  We must demand that our troops be brought home now.

Lies and Hypocrisy

May 10, 2010

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.  — Voltaire

There are two words we should always have in mind when we search for answers to the US invasion of Afghanistan.  The two words are, “lies” and “hypocrisy”.

Every reason given for the invasion was a lie and the acts of hypocrisy are legion.

On October 7 2001 the first “smart bomb” fell on Kabul, the capital city of Afghanistan. Apparently the Americans forgot to give their bombs an IQ test, for one of the very first bombs fell on a clearly marked UN building, killing four, and wounding several other UN personal that were deactivating land mines.  The Americans were reputed to have said that they thought UN building was the first place the terrorist would hide. If so, it looks like the bomb was not suffering from Attention Deficit Disorder but was doing exactly what the Americans intended it to do.

No one really believed Osama bin Laden was in Kabul at the time but nothing would scare the bejeezus out of him like killing a few innocent UN workers while he hunkered down in a cave somewhere in the Tora Bora Mountains.  From here on in things started to go down hill.

The ostensible reason for the invasion of Afghanistan was a response to the 9/11 attack on the New York Trade Center.  The mission was to kill the terrorists and bring Osama bin Laden back dead or alive. Bush said at the time, “The most important thing is for us to find Osama bin Laden. It is our number one priority and we will not rest until we find him.”  Very little was said about bringing democracy to the Afghan people.

In fact, the real reasons for the invasion of Afghanistan were twofold One was to install a compliant government in Kabul that would allow oil and gas pipelines to cross the country.  The other reason was to prepare the world for the invasion of Iraq even though Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack on the Trade Center.  A document named, “The Project for the New American Century,” detailed Washington’s plans to invade both Afghanistan and Iraq, plans that were made long before the 9/11 attack. As well, in June and July of 2001, the US (at meetings held in Geneva and Berlin) made concrete plans to invaded Afghanistan in October of that same year.*  The terrorist attacks on 9/11 gave the Americans the excuse they were looking for and the bombs soon started falling on Kabul.

If there are any persons left in the world who believe the invasion of Afghanistan was a response to terrorism, their beliefs would surely be shattered if they learned about the drama that unfolded in the White House shortly after the 9/11 attack. It took a few years for the truth to come out but when it did it confirmed the suspicions of those that believed that the invasion of Afghanistan was used solely to connect Saddam Hussein to Osama bin Laden and condition American public to support an invasion of Iraq.

Richard Clarke was known as the American anti-terror czar. He had served under several White House administrations and was one of the few George W Bush confidants who escaped with his integrity intact. In his book, “Against all Enemies” Clarke revealed in graphic detail just how insincere Bush, Wolfowitz and Rumsfeld were when they reluctantly agreed to the invasion of Afghanistan. **

A compliant government in Afghanistan was the easy part. Securing the countryside has proven to be a tougher nut to crack. Six months after the invasion Bush said, “I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority.”

The U.S. began shifting the fight in Afghanistan to other NATO members so that it could free up U.S. troops to be deployed in Iraq. The oil in Iraq has always been the real prize for the avaricious Americans

The history of America’s involvement in Afghanistan is a lesson in hypocrisy. The Soviet supported Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) government (1978-1992) was the most enlightened government Afghanistan has ever had.  Peasant debt to landlords was cancelled, child marriages and forced marriages were outlawed and schools and clinics were built.  Women were not only allowed, but also encouraged, to get an education. The government affirmed the separation of church and state and labour unions were legalized. Land reforms were starting to be implemented.

In Afghanistan, as in so many other countries when reform rears its ugly head, the Americans were standing ready to put it down. They did it by arming, training and financing every right-wing extreme fundamentalist in the area. This loosely-knit band of warlords, drug dealers and sundry tribesmen were known as the Mujahadeen.

The world was led to believe the U.S. intervention was in response to the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.  The Americans, we were told intervened to drive out the godless Soviets and bring freedom to the Afghans.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, U.S. National Security Advisor to Jimmy Carter (1977- 1981) spilled the beans in 1998, long after the truth no longer mattered.

He said, “According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979.  But the Reality, closely guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro Soviet regime in Kabul.  And that very day, I wrote a note to the President in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention,”

When Brzezinzki was asked if this wasn’t giving arms to terrorists he replied: “What is most important to the history of the world?  The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire?  Some stirred up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?”

We were soon to learn what a few “stirred-up Moslems” could do.

In 1988 the Soviets pulled out of Afghanistan but it took another three years before the PDP was defeated. The U.S. feared that what the Mujahadeen had done to the Russians they would now do to them.  The Americans for all practical purposes pulled out of the area. Any pretence of bringing democracy was soon abandoned.

With no one left to fight, the Mujahadeen did the only thing a respectable band of warlords could do: fight against themselves. So they turned against each other with all the fury of their war against the PDP. The war raged from 1992 to 1996. Some reports had this civil war destroying 70% of Kabul and killing at least 50,000 people, most of them civilians.

The devastation and destabilization caused by the war allowed the Taliban to gain power in 1996.

US tax dollars helped create the Taliban.  In the 1980s, the CIA had trained and financed various fundamentalist Islamic groups in Afghanistan, some of which morphed into the brutal Taliban government.  The US government admitted giving at least $6 billion in military aid to these fundamentalist groups.

Millions of US dollars continued to pour into Afghanistan right up to 9/11, 2001.  In that year alone the Taliban government received $125 million from the USA.

All this did not come as a surprise to anyone who had even a cursory understanding of American Foreign interventions.  The US has had a long symbiotic relationship with Osama bin Laden.  Both supported and financed the Mujahadeen in Afghanistan and again in Bosnia.  Both Osama bin Laden and the CIA trained and financed The Kosovo Liberation Army: an organization Canadian General Lewis McKenzie labeled a “terrorist organization”.

Since the second world war lies and hypocrisy have been constant companions of every American administration, and like Siamese twins, one doesn’t go anywhere without the other.


Page 83: In June 2001 Chokila Iyer, the Indian foreign minister, reported that the United States and Russia were planning a military attack on Afghanistan through the borders of Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.  They planned to back the warlords of the Northern Alliance in an effort to overthrow the Taliban government.  The Indian government agreed to “facilitate” this military action.  This planned attach on Afghanistan was widely discussed at a July 2001 meeting of the G8 countries in Geneva.

The United Nations has been hosting a series of meetings in Berlin between the United States, Russia and the six countries that border Afghanistan, known as the “Six –plus-Two negotiations.  The eight governments agreed that what was needed was the creation of a new Afghanistan government of national unity that would be fallowed by international economic aid and the building of the pipelines.  Naif Naik, the Pakistani foreign minister reported that the US government threatened the Taliban at the meetings, telling them if they did not agree to this proposal the United States would initiate “a military operation.”  Naik reported that US officials told him that the military action against the Taliban would begin in by the middle of October 2001.

Then cam the events of September 11, 2001, which provided the rational for the military attack that had already been planned.

** Richard Clarke:

Rumsfeld took advantage of 9-11 to push Iraq agenda

I expected to go back to a round of meetings [after September 11] examining what the next attacks could be, what our vulnerabilities were, what we could do about them in the short term. Instead, I walked into a series of discussions about Iraq. At first I was incredulous that we were talking about something other than getting Al Qaeda. Then I realized with almost a sharp physical pain that Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were going to try to take advantage of this national tragedy to promote their agenda about Iraq. Since the beginning of the administration, indeed well before, they had been pressing for a war with Iraq.

On the morning of the 12th DOD’s focus was already beginning to shift from al Qaeda. CIA was explicit now that al Qaeda was guilty of the attacks, but Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz were not persuaded. It was too sophisticated and complicated an operation, they said, for a terrorist group to have pulled off by itself, without a state sponsor-Iraq must have been helping them.

Source: Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, chapter 1

Donald Rumsfeld:

No decent targets in Afghanistan, so bomb Iraq

By the afternoon on Wednesday [after Sept. 11], Secretary Rumsfeld was talking about broadening the objectives of our response and “getting Iraq.” Secretary Powell pushed back, urging a focus on al Qaeda. Relieved to have some support, I thanked Colin Powell. “I thought I was missing something here,” I vented. “Having been attacked by al Qaeda, for us now to go bombing Iraq in response would be like our invading Mexico after the Japanese attacked us at Pearl Harbor.”

Powell shook his head. “It’s not over yet.” Indeed, it was not. Later in the day, Secy. Rumsfeld complained that there were no decent targets for bombing in Afghanistan and that we should consider bombing Iraq, which, he said, had better targets. At first I thought Rumsfeld was joking. But he was serious and the President did not reject out of hand the idea of attacking Iraq. Instead, he noted that what we needed to do with Iraq was to change the government, not just hit it with more cruise missiles, as Rumsfeld had implied.

Source: Against All Enemies, by Richard Clarke, chapter 1

George W. Bush:

Clarke: Bush insisted on connecting 9-11 with Saddam

On September 12th, I left the video conferencing center and there, wandering alone around the situation room, was the president. He (Bush) looked like he wanted something to do. He grabbed a few of us and closed the door to the conference room. “Look,” he told us, “I know you have a lot to do and all, but I want you, as soon as you can, to go back over everything, everything. See if Saddam did this. See if he’s linked in any way.”