February 21, 2015 - No. 8

Oppose Nation-Wrecking! Defeat Harper in 2015!

Harper's Steady Hand on the Economy
Is a Fraud



Cynical Electoral Manipulation of Federal Debt
Oil Price Collapse Signals Necessity for a
New Direction for the Economy

- Peggy Morton -

Price War on Gulf Coast Exposes Harper's Pipedream for Resource-Based Exporting Economy

Bill C-51: Harper Government's Political Priority
Versus that of the People

Bill-C51 -- All-Sided Attack on Canadians in the
Name of Fighting Terrorism

Where Does Counter-Radicalization End and Compulsion Begin?
- Sam Heaton -

Creation of Canadian Security Intelligence Service in 1984

House of Commons to Debate Problem of "Anti-Semitism"
Self-Serving Attempt to Cover for Israeli State Terror
- Louis Lang -

Photo Review
February 14 Memorial Marches for Missing and Murdered Women

In the News
Venezuela
Failed Coup Attempt Exposed
More Evidence of Canada's Dirty Work
Canada Stirring Up Phoney Debate on Human Rights
Canadian Lawyer and Liberal MP Defends
Advocate of Violent Opposition

Extensive Support Against U.S. Sanctions
Coming Event

Haiti
Barack Obama Has Installed a Dictatorship in Haiti
- Ezili Dantò -


Colombia
Peace Talks Advance as Revolutionary Armed Forces of
Colombia Aims to Become Political Movement


United States
Terror Conviction Overturned for Former Guantanamo Prisoner
David Hicks and the Death of a Legal System
- Binoy Kampmark -

Guantanamo Prisoners Killed by CIA Made to Look Like Suicides



Oppose Nation-Wrecking! Defeat Harper in 2015!

Harper's Steady Hand on the Economy Is a Fraud

The Conservative government says it deserves to be re-elected because Harper has a "steady hand" on the economy. Harper repeatedly says he is focused on "jobs, growth and long-term prosperity" citing his federal budgets as the "Economic Action Plan" for prosperity.

Harper's steady hand has resulted in seven straight consecutive deficit budgets with an eighth appearing highly likely unless he cuts even more program spending such as money for Veterans Affairs.

These seven straight deficits happened at a time when Harper cut program spending to its lowest level in relation to GDP in the history of Canada. The provinces and territories routinely complain that program spending through transfer payments has not kept pace with the people's needs and population growth, and they cannot make ends meet.

Harper's seven straight deficits came after ten consecutive federal budget surpluses from his predecessors. The federal debt under Harper's steady hand has gone from $457.6 billion in 2008 to a forecasted debt of around $630.0 billion in this fiscal year.

Harper has presided over the worst economic crisis since the 1930s, from which the economy and employment have yet to recover, in particular in manufacturing.

Harper has done nothing to prepare for the shock of the oil price collapse, which has put a large hole in the country's revenue. No alternate use of oil resources has been pursued under Harper. His government continues to push crude oil and other resource exports as the main direction for the economy even in the face of the reality that such a way does not provide economic security for the country.

With Harper's fraudulent steady hand, the amount of household debt in Canada rose to 155 per cent of income in 2014, up from 133 per cent in 2007. This was the second largest jump in the household debt-to-income ratio during that time with the exception of Greece, reaching a level higher than in the United States before the 2008 economic crisis.

According to PEI MP Sean Casey quoting sources from Statistics Canada, Harper's steady hand from 2008 to 2014 has amassed 24 per cent of the total accumulated federal debt since Confederation. In seven years out of 147, or 4.76 per cent of the time, Harper has amassed 24 per cent of the federal debt yet cut program spending to its lowest level ever.

Canadians legitimately demand to know where all that public money went? It went down the drain on Harper's pay-the-rich Economic Action Plans!

It is time for a new direction for the economy away from Harper's fraudulent steady hand.

Defeat Harper in 2015 and Oppose All Neo-Liberal Pay-the-Rich Privatization Schemes!

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Cynical Electoral Manipulation of Federal Debt

The Harper Conservatives routinely manipulate the federal debt to mean whatever they want. They sometimes cite it as the lowest amongst the OECD countries therefore proving that Canada's economy is somehow doing great. In other instances, they present the Canadian debt and the threat of deficits as alarming to justify the need for austerity and further reductions in federal program spending, and to issue fervent calls for Canadians to tighten their belts.

The Conservatives say whatever suits their electoral plans for a majority government. They often rail against the "free-spending" Liberals or New Democrats, but could not care less that such an oxymoron is devoid of meaning. How is "spending" "free"? Could they mean carefree? But government spending is never without purpose no matter what cartel party is involved. The truth is that government debts and deficits are as Canadian as maple syrup. So why do cartel parties become so bent out of shape denouncing each other over the issue? Perhaps to score cheap electoral points. Perhaps to avoid discussing a new pro-social direction for the economy.

One would think that the Harper Conservatives in particular would hesitate altogether to talk about balanced budgets, debts and deficits as their term in office has seen the largest increase in the federal interest-bearing debt in modern times. It went from $582 billion in 2007 to $889 billion in 2014, an increase of $307 billion. The increase in those 7 years is greater than the entire federal budget of around $280 billion. The conundrum surrounding the Harper government is not just the size of the debt increase but the fact that program spending in relation to the size of the economy's production of goods and services decreased to the lowest level in the history of Canada. A concerned observer could very well demand: What have you been doing with all that public money Mr. Harper? Has it all been squandered on pay-the-rich schemes to bail the monopolies out of their predicaments? Or, have the cuts in corporate taxes been so great that the debt has gone through the roof? Where's the accounting? Who owns the debt? What are the facts? What fundamental economic problem have you solved? The people would like to know so they can pass judgement on this government.

Harper says he has a "steady hand" when it comes to the economy. Many Canadians would backhandedly agree with him: yes Stephen, a very steady hand indeed in paying the rich and wrecking manufacturing. You have done nothing towards creating an alternative pro-social direction for the economy that begins to address its recurring problems and meet the needs of the people.

Canadians do not want cynical manipulation of the debt, deficits and budgets so that cartel parties can win votes. How about just the facts so that Canadians can chart a new direction for the economy away from the constant crises and finally put the country on a sound footing where the people are the priority.

Defeat Harper in 2015!

(Source: Ministry of Finance)

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Oil Price Collapse Signals Necessity for a
New Direction for the Economy

The Republican-dominated U.S. House of Representatives voted to approve Enbridge's Keystone XL pipeline on February 11, 2015. No one expects government approval any time soon. Not only does it still need the consent of Nebraska, but also President Obama has vowed to veto the bill.

Despite the fact that Keystone XL has been blocked for years, crude oil from Alberta's tar sands is reaching the U.S. Gulf Coast. Far from leading to the higher prices and assured markets that Harper and Alberta governments have pitched for years, a price war has broken out. Analysts forecast that prices for heavy oil at the Texas refineries will drop even more in the future.

The Harper government and Alberta PCs have been relentless cheerleaders and salespeople for those monopolies trumpeting the Keystone XL pipeline to transport bitumen from the Alberta tar sands to the refineries on the U.S. Gulf Coast, mainly in Texas and Louisiana. Bitumen from the tar sands would, according to this plan, replace heavy oil from other sources.

The Harper government and Alberta Redford and Prentice governments have made repeated trips to Washington, New York and Houston leaving no stone unturned in their efforts to convince the Obama administration and others to give approval to the pipeline. Harper claims its benefits are a "no-brainer" and with a show of bravado told Obama that "he would not take no for an answer." Harper has declared the Keystone XL a matter of the U.S. "National interest" and therefore "inevitable."

The Harper Conservatives have tried to discredit pipeline opponents as terrorists and job-killers. Liberal Justin Trudeau has also thrown his support behind the pipeline, dismissing the opposition as "unscientific." These politicians are not only pitching the need for Keystone XL to proceed but also their claim that the export of raw resources is a path to prosperity for Canada.

The Harper and Prentice governments speak of a bottleneck of oil in the U.S. Mid-West, which leads to discounts on Alberta heavy oil called Western Canadian Select (WCS). Former Alberta Premier Alison Redford called this a "bitumen bubble" and used the low price for WCS as a pretext to impose austerity budgets. Far from a bottleneck, crude oil reaches the U.S. Gulf Coast through other pipelines and trains to the extent that heavy oil is in oversupply. Also, light oil has added to the glut with a huge increase in U.S. production through fracking of shale oil.

Fortress North America

A frenzy of mining and drilling in the tar sands and shale fields has taken place within the broad aim to bolster Fortress North America, where a major consideration is security of oil and natural gas supply in preparation for war. The legal manoeuvring on this front began 40 years ago with a law prohibiting U.S. crude oil exports.

A recent aspect of this policy is to increase oil production in the U.S. and Canada through public subsidies and infrastructure, easy money, and to ease off regulations on dangerous techniques, and other means. The broad aim is to reach North American self-sufficiency and replace outside oil sold in the U.S.

Crowding out non-North American crude oil sales in the U.S. has the added deliberate aim to destroy the economies of Venezuela, Iran, and Russia, as they scramble and compete for other markets, and to put pressure on Mexico to privatize the energy sector. A goal appears to be for the U.S. refineries to become major suppliers of refined oil (and liquefied natural gas) to Europe. This would give the U.S. Empire added control over European political affairs.

The actions have resulted in an international glut of oil and a collapse of oil prices. The consequences for Canada include predictions of recession in Alberta and Newfoundland, and rising unemployment in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland. This will badly affect the economy, workers and communities across Canada.

Events in the energy sector and Fortress North America further bring to light the consequences of basing the Canadian economy, its growth and prosperity on the U.S. Empire's drive for domination, its subjugation of all who seek an independent road, its rabid militarization and wars, and broad attacks on the rights and security of all. The working class in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico and their allies face the challenge of developing their independent politics for a new direction for their economies and countries in opposition to the U.S. Empire and Fortress North America.

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Price War on Gulf Coast Exposes Harper's Pipedream for Resource-Based Exporting Economy


Rally on Burnaby Mountain, September 13, 2014.  (S. Collis)

Keystone XL, the Enbridge pipeline across northern BC, Kinder Morgan's TransMountain pipeline to Vancouver and TransCanada's Energy East pipeline are projects that have become focal points for the broad opposition to the irrational irresponsible export of raw resources. The people demand rational and environmentally responsible development of natural resources to serve a broader sustainable economy, especially manufacturing, social programs, and public services for all. The people demand their right and the right of First Nations to exercise control and decision-making over the land and natural resources that belong to them by right and that must serve nation-building not U.S. unipolar empire-building.

Crude Oil Price War on the U.S. Gulf Coast

Even without Keystone XL, bitumen from the tar sands is now reaching the Gulf Coast refineries. The pipeline monopolies have built lines from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast that did not require Congressional or Presidential approval. Enbridge has completed the 600,000 barrel a day Flanagan/south line from Illinois to Cushing, and the Seaway Twin, which can carry 450,000 barrels per day from Cushing to Freeport, Texas. Last year TransCanada Pipelines completed the Gulf Coast pipeline from Cushing to Nederland, Texas. ExxonMobil, which owns Imperial Oil, also moves crude through its Pegasus pipeline from Patoka, Illinois to Nederland, Texas. The major countries producing heavy oil are Canada, Venezuela, Mexico, Colombia, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Expansion of production in the tar sands was one part of the push for North American self-sufficiency and assault on other suppliers of heavy oil. The aim was to ensure a supply of oil in Fortress North America during war and for other imperialist purposes of the U.S. Empire, certainly not Canadian nation-building as the price collapse clearly demonstrates. During the Bush era, the U.S. Energy Policy Act was passed in 2005 to provide subsidies to big oil to build more refining capacity. In 2011 under the Obama administration, the Act was amended to pay the rich to build more capacity to upgrade and refine bitumen from the tar sands. Three refineries were provided an estimated $1 to $1.8 billion in tax reductions through highly accelerated depreciation. These included the Motiva refinery, which is jointly owned by Saudi Aramco and Shell Oil, the Valero refinery, controlled by Texas interests, and the Total refinery, a French-based company. Valero and Total are committed to use Keystone XL when completed.

Venezuela is one particular target of North American energy self-sufficiency and the oil price war, as the U.S. pursues its goal to destabilize and overthrow the government of Nicolás Maduro and undermine the Bolivarian revolution. The Venezuelan national oil company owns a refinery operated as CITGO on the Gulf Coast.

Pressure to Privatize Mexican Oil

Another target of the price war is to replace Mexico Maya crude to put pressure on Mexico to privatize its oil sector. Mexico's oil industry was nationalized in 1938, and the Mexican constitution forbade foreign control of the sector. This was a victory of the Mexican revolution in which the people of Mexico assert their sovereignty over the oil resources and which the working people are fighting to defend. International finance capital has exerted great pressure on Mexico to reverse this situation. As part of the neo-liberal privatization agenda, the Mexican government claims it has no money to invest in Petróleos Mexicanos (PEMEX), the national oil company or to build new refineries or a strong petrochemical industry. This has led to declining oil production.

The most powerful energy monopolies together with the banks are now poised to carry out their theft of the resources, which belong to the Mexican people by right. Impending privatization will open the oil fields of Mexico to foreign exploitation. Thirty-seven of PEMEX's 41 divisions will be open to private subcontractors. Haliburton already has a contract with PEMEX to drill new wells and maintain pipelines.

In December 2014, PEMEX reduced the official selling price of its Maya crude. Mexico Maya is in competition with the Alberta tar sands for the U.S. Gulf Coast market and its price is closer than ever to that of Western Canadian Select (WCS), Alberta's heavy oil blend.

Targeting Russia

Fortress North America was also designed to reduce dependence on West Asian oil. Saudi Arabia is fighting to retain and then expand its market share. Saudi Aramco recently cut its U.S. bound price for Arab medium - a heavy oil - for the sixth straight month. OPEC countries including Saudi Arabia have been losing markets in China. In the face of the U.S.-led sanctions aimed at weakening the Russian economy and bringing about regime change, which is one of the aims of low oil prices, Russia has made new trading arrangements, in particular with China. Chinese customs data show that imports from Russia to China surged by 36 per cent in 2014 while imports from Saudi Arabia fell by 8 per cent and those from Venezuela dropped 11 per cent.

These developments indicate that markets for bitumen on the Gulf Coast are far from assured and the claims of higher prices yet another pipedream. Frenzied expansion of the tar sands fuelled by greed, pay-the-rich schemes and other state enticements, and dreams of sustained high prices have again hit a brick wall.

A New Direction for the Economy

Current tar sands production will continue and even increase as new projects are completed. Whether those now put on hold will ever be built is a serious question. The entire Fortress North America plan based on putting Canada and its people and resources at the disposal of the U.S. war machine and drive for a unipolar world Empire has led to this current crisis.

Another crisis was inevitable when the motive for frenzied expansion of the tar sands was never to serve the needs of nation-building and a self-reliant sustainable economy or to guarantee the well-being of the people. Yet another crisis was inevitable when social consciousness and the human factor are not allowed any say or control over the economy and its direction.

By their actions, the ruling capitalist elite created a crisis where oil prices fell rapidly. They dramatically increased oil production in the tar sands and shale fields. The biggest energy monopolies set the direction for the economy and the people have had no say in the matter. The global monopolies and their political representatives have consistently dismissed the just stand of the organized working class, including the oil workers themselves, to calm down and develop oil resources in a socially responsible manner building a self-reliant sustainable economy not based on frenzied raw material exports. In addition, the prices of those exports are not consciously controlled according to their price of production and through international agreements for mutual benefit and development but fall within the clutches of globally controlled market forces of the parasites pushing prices wildly up and down.

With the collapse of oil prices, the owners of monopoly capital are not the ones to suffer the layoffs and imposed austerity. They are passing the burden onto workers forcing them out into the cold insecurity of unemployment. The official hacks led by Harper and Prentice demand the people tighten their belts as they insist no alternative exists to austerity and cutbacks of social programs and public services. Indeed the owners of the global energy monopolies are making pious statements about how they are in it for the long haul, while the working class in Canada and elsewhere is forced to pay the price for this U.S. Empire controlled lop-sided irrational resource-based economy and its constant crises.

As events unfold, the fraudulent nature of the claim that the national interest is being served with pipedreams of a resource-based economy has become clear. A new direction for the economy is needed that serves the interests of Canadians where the natural resources are developed to strengthen manufacturing, social programs, and public services not the narrow interests of global monopolies. Governments are faced with people demanding a new direction. A new direction for the economy under the control of the people and not the global monopolies is needed that serves the broad interests of Canadians, their economy and the general interests of society.


Click image to enlarge.

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Bill C-51: Harper Government's Political Priority Versus that of the People

Bill C-51 -- All-Sided Attack on Canadians
in the Name of Fighting Terrorism

Debate began on Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, on February 18. The government quickly moved to cut off debate and rush the passage of the bill using time allocation according to Standing Order 78(3). It seems that the government plans to implement the measures in the bill as quickly as possible to put into action its plan to direct the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) and the entire resources of the state into attacking the people and their rights.

With this, "the hopes for a non-partisan, in-depth analysis of the anti-terrorism legislation may have already been dashed. This is an incredibly troubling development since the proposed legislation has all the hallmarks of being pulled together quickly with limited analysis," writes University of Ottawa professor Michael Geist on his blog on February 19.

The vagueness of the bill and the wide net it casts seem engineered to criminalize as broad a section of the Canadian people as possible and even permit attacks abroad.

In Canada, those targeted by the bill include anyone the government considers to be an internal or external enemy according to secret criteria. It targets not only the working class, political and social activists, and anyone who champions the rights of the Quebec and Indigenous peoples, but also rival factions within the ruling capitalist class vying for political power.

One of the revelations of the report of the McDonald Commission on RCMP "wrongdoing" in 1981 was that the agency was engaged in active surveillance of 800,000 Canadians, or more than three per cent of the population at that time. In the Cold War fervour this included virtually all communists and progressive Canadians and those who attended demonstrations including the leadership of a political party with seats in the legislatures across the country, the New Democratic Party. Today, in the context of the takeover of the state by private interests, "keeping tabs" on Canadians will become virtually limitless. Bill C-51 removes the previous restrictions on information sharing between police, spy agencies and government departments and lacks oversight. This creates the serious danger of putting the police above the civil power, as the McDonald Commission on RCMP "wrongdoing" found to be the case at that time.

With the conversion of CSIS into a full-scale secret police force, illegality -- including "kinetic" powers as the use of force is called -- is added to the "toolkit." Restrictions on the way CSIS agents can act are vague, suggesting that illegal actions will be limited only by the extent that secret warrants can be obtained from judges. Federal Court Judge Richard Mosley has already revealed how, in a secret 2013 decision (a redacted version of which was later released), CSIS agents deceived him in their request for a warrant to conduct surveillance on Canadians overseas. It is illegal to identify the names of CSIS agents and it is illegal to speak about secret operations, so where does this leave the security of Canadians? In the hands of the state where the police can make the decisions which affect the people's lives. It must not pass!

TML Weekly calls on all Canadians to go all out to call for Bill C-51 to be scrapped. This should include calling and writing the Members of Parliament to oppose this bill. TML Weekly also once again stresses the importance of taking up serious discussion of this bill and what the government is up to amongst workmates, fellow students and colleagues as well as within the communities. It is important to keep a cool head in the face of government attempts to intimidate and cause mass hysteria about the terror threat from "Muslim jihadists" or political activists who it accuses of posing a danger to Canadian security or of anti-Semitism and other such unsubstantiated things.

The government has declared the fight against terrorism to be the political priority. For Canadians the political priority continues to be, "Who Decides all the matters which affect our lives?" Let us together take up the challenges ahead in 2015, go all out to scrap Bill C-51 and fight for a new direction for Canada.

"Activity that Undermines the Security of Canada"

The following is the definition of "activity that undermines the security of Canada" or "threats to the security of Canada" contained in Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015.

According to the bill, if security forces or the government determine that something or someone "undermines the security of Canada," or is a threat to it, free sharing of information between government departments and agencies is permitted, along with CSIS acting against it in any number of ways, including the use of force.

"Definitions

"2. The following definitions apply in this Act.

"'Activity that undermines the security of Canada'

"'Activity that undermines the security of Canada' means any activity, including any of the following activities, if it undermines the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of Canada or the lives or the security of the people of Canada:

(a) interference with the capability of the Government of Canada in relation to intelligence, defence, border operations, public safety, the administration of justice, diplomatic or consular relations, or the economic or financial stability of Canada;

(b) changing or unduly influencing a government in Canada by force or unlawful means;

(c) espionage, sabotage or covert foreign-influenced activities;

(d) terrorism;

(e) proliferation of nuclear, chemical, radiological or biological weapons;

(f) interference with critical infrastructure;

(g) interference with the global information infrastructure, as defined in section 273.61 of the National Defence Act;

(h) an activity that causes serious harm to a person or their property because of that person's association with Canada; and

(i) an activity that takes place in Canada and undermines the security of another state.

"For greater certainty, it does not include lawful advocacy, protest, dissent and artistic expression."

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Where Does Counter-Radicalization End and Compulsion Begin?

The concept of "counter-radicalization" or "community engagement" has been widely promoted as an alternative to preemptive criminalization of those who are accused of "sympathizing" with or "promoting" terrorism. Besides the appearance of a reformative/restorative approach as opposed to a punitive one, it is also said that this approach is more effective and addresses "the root causes of terrorism."

This approach, which is lauded by New Democratic Party leader Thomas Mulcair, was the basis of a February 17-19 "Countering Violent Extremism" Summit in Washington, D.C. During the debate on Bill C-51 in the House of Commons on February 18, and in an editorial for the National Post the next day, Mulcair said:

"No stranger to the threat of terrorism, the United States under President Obama has taken a proactive approach to combatting radicalization. The White House has spearheaded work with at-risk communities to make them more resilient against the lure of radicalization. Their government works to support community and faith leaders by connecting them with counter-radicalization experts, which provides information on recognizing the warning signs of radicalization and training in how to [defuse] it."

By "communities" and "at-risk communities" we can presume that Mr. Mulcair and the summit participants do not mean the Amish. It is also unlikely they are referring to the communities to which the neo-Nazi Halifax shooting plotters belonged, or the community of the perpetrator of the recent triple homicide in Chapel Hill, NC.  To use the parlance of Minister of Justice Peter MacKay, when he refers to communities who are deemed to have a "culturally based" problem, it means Muslims. This would indicate that the approach proposed by Mulcair and the Washington summit is based on profiling, which is contentious to say the least.

The RCMP defines "radicalization" as "the process by which individuals -- usually young people -- are introduced to an overtly ideological message and belief system that encourages movement from moderate, mainstream beliefs towards extreme views."[1]

Contra MacKay, the "community engagement" approach of Mulcair and Obama seeks to promote "moderate, mainstream beliefs" as the antithesis of "radicalism" or "extremism" by connecting "counter-radicalization experts" with "community and faith leaders" to recognize "warning signs" and "defuse" the situation.

U.S. Vice President Joe Biden put it this way: "We haven't always gotten it right. But we have a lot of experience integrating communities into the American system, the American dream."

A society that defends the rights of all does not enter into the discourse.

Instead, we have a paternalistic extension of accommodation, "sensitivity training," "conflict resolution," et al. Those who are experiencing the "warning signs" of "radicalization" are to be "engaged with" by individuals who are connected to "a range of social service providers, including education administrators, mental health professionals [and] law enforcement agencies." If counter-radicalization and community engagement fail, there is always criminalization as a back-up plan. Is this not the Cold War definition of "brainwashing"? Who decides what beliefs are impermissible, and how much re-education one has to submit to before one's thinking is suitable to the ruling elites? Where does "counter-radicalization" end and compulsion begin?

For Your Information

On February 17-19, the U.S. hosted a three-day Summit on Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) in Washington, DC. The Summit was announced in January in the context of "recent, tragic attacks in Ottawa, Sydney, and Paris." A February 18 White House press briefing stated that the summit brought together "local, federal, and international leaders -- including President Obama and foreign ministers -- to discuss concrete steps the United States and its partners can take to develop community-oriented approaches to counter hateful extremist ideologies that radicalize, recruit or incite to violence. Violent extremist threats can come from a range of groups and individuals, including domestic terrorists and homegrown violent extremists in the United States, as well as terrorist groups like al-Qaeda and ISIL."

The summit included ministers from nearly 70 countries, the UN Secretary-General, senior officials from other multilateral bodies, and representatives from civil society and the private sector. These participants were to "chart a path for progress that will include regional summits, aimed at taking concrete steps to prevent violent extremism in the lead up to UNGA 2015 [....] and build upon the framework of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, which encourages the UN and other multilateral bodies to intensify efforts to identify and address the local drivers of violent extremism."

The White House fact sheet on the summit indicates that the strategy aims to "address the root causes of extremism." This is to be done through "Building awareness; Countering extremist narratives; and Emphasizing Community Led Intervention."

Canada was represented at the summit by Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney. His remarks evidenced the Harper government's efforts to appear to be tough on terrorism in opposition to the "community engagement" approach. He highlighted Canada's counter-terrorism strategy of "Prevent, Detect, Deny, and Respond" and stated that "enhancing our prevention efforts is not enough." The government has introduced Bill C-51, he said, because "the international jihadist movement has declared war on Canada."

Note

1. http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/nsci-ecsn/rad/internet/p2-eng.htm

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Creation of the Canadian Security
Intelligence Service in 1984

TML Weekly is reprinting excerpts from an article in the June, 1983 issue of Voice of the People, the magazine of the People's Front Against Racist and Fascist Violence. The article reports on the bill in Parliament for the creation of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) which was completed on June 21, 1984. The article reveals that the problems of oversight that are the basis for much discussion in the context of Bill C-51 were never taken as serious matters by the government; further, it shows that Canadians cannot rely on the state or commissions of inquiry to protect their rights when the state has become an instrument wielded against them. It affirms that Canadians stand for democracy and the rule of law, while agencies such as CSIS were created to act with impunity in opposition to the rights of Canadians.

Bill C-157 -- The 1983 Act to Create the
Canadian Security Intelligence Service

- Voice of the People, June, 1983 (Excerpts) -

"On May 18, 1983, the federal government introduced legislation, Bill C-157, to create a terrorist spy agency, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, with the aim of legalizing and escalating the attacks against the workers, immigrants, youth and students, women, and progressive and democratic forces in Canada and abroad.

The McDonald Royal Commission into RCMP wrongdoing recommended the formation of this terrorist spy agency. This royal commission was established several years ago after the many revelations into the wrongdoings by the RCMP security service including barn burning, mail opening, wiretapping, character assassination, writing terrorist communiques, kidnapping, and so on.

The royal commission was presented to the people as an instrument to investigate and recommend means of preventing such criminal and terrorist activities of the RCMP in the future. This was just a deception to quell the outrage of the people and mislead them into thinking that the royal commission would protect their rights and freedoms.

Now that the federal government has introduced its legislation to create the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, based on the recommendations of the McDonald Commission, which included legalizing the criminal activities of the secret police, the real nature of the royal commission is completely exposed. Not only are the rights of the people not protected; on the contrary they are in greater danger than ever before.

Basic Features of Bill C-157

Bill C-157 gives the new spy agency wide powers to carry out all sorts of covert, subversive and terrorist activities without regard to the laws. The legislation mandates the intelligence service to collect, by investigation or otherwise, and analyse and retain information and intelligence respecting activities that may on reasonable grounds be suspected of constituting "threats to the security of Canada."

The legislation empowers the spy agency to enter into co-operative spying arrangements with the various provincial and municipal governments and their police forces. Like the RCMP security service, which was notorious for collaborating with the fascist secret police of other countries like the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the Iranian SAVAK, the new spy agency would have the power to enter into arrangements with foreign states and their security institutions, or international organizations, in order to provide these governments, institutions or organizations with security "assessments."

[...]

"According to [the] definition of "threat to the security of Canada," [now expanded in Bill C-51 -- TML Ed. Note] all activities in the country aimed at resisting the shifting of the burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of the people and eliminating the crisis, opposing the imperialist war preparations and the danger of imperialist war and establishing a genuine and lasting peace, defending and extending the democratic rights and liberties of the people, and ending the U.S. imperialist domination of Canada and establishing genuine independence and sovereignty are subject to "investigation" by the spy agency.

[...]

"Section 21 of Bill C-157 has been given the most press coverage. It is part of the legislation which allows for the breaking of laws by the security service. It states that: "The Director and employees are justified in taking such reasonable actions as are reasonably necessary to enable them to perform the duties and functions of the Service under this Act." This section of the legislation is specifically included to protect security agents from any kind of prosecution for wrongdoing. [Bill C-51 now makes explicit mention of violating the law and Charter of Rights and Freedoms in the CSIS Act -- TML Ed. Note.]

[...]

The Fraud of Accountability

"In introducing this fascist legislation, the government has attempted to keep in place a "democratic" mask through the fraud of the "accountability" of the security service to an elected legislature. According to the government, this so-called accountability of the security service to an elected legislature distinguishes the "liberal democracies" from the "authoritarian and totalitarian states."

The McDonald Commission dwelled at length on the issue of "liberal democracy," "authoritarianism," "totalitarianism," and "accountability." It stated that:

"Liberal democracies face a unique challenge. Put very simply that challenge is to secure democracy against both its internal and external enemies, without destroying democracy in the process. Authoritarian and totalitarian states do not have to face this challenge. In such countries there is no need to ensure that security agencies, whose techniques inevitably involve a great deal of secrecy, be accountable to an elected legislature. Nor is there any requirement in such states that all of their security measures be authorized or provided for by the law and that none of their officials be above the law. Only liberal democratic states are expected to make sure that the investigation of subversive activity does not interfere with the freedoms of political dissent and association which are essential ingredients of a free society."

[...]

"Even the distinction which the government makes between the spy agencies of the two types of regimes is really non-existent. For instance, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service would not be accountable to an elected legislature but to a government-appointed "review committee." Furthermore, the legislation would authorize the spy agency to commit all sorts of illegal acts under the protection of the law. Indeed, proceeding from the definition given by the McDonald Commission, the Canadian state belongs in the category of the "totalitarian states." This is why Canada has very friendly relations with "totalitarian" regimes like the notorious fascists regimes of Israel, South Korea, the Philippines, etc.

"Democracy," "National Security" and "Rule of Law"

"The government presents that the new spy agency is necessary to defend "democracy," the "rule of law" and "national security." According to the rich and their government, to defend democracy it is necessary to resort to fascism. That is how Trudeau justified the imposition of the War Measures Act against the people of Quebec in October 1970. And this is how the rich and the government are justifying the creation of a new spy agency.

The new spy agency is proposed in order to defend the interests of the rich minority of exploiters in Canada and the United States and other countries. It is not to defend "democracy" or "national security" or the "rule of law." It is because the struggles of the people against the shifting of the burden of the economic crisis onto their backs, against the imperialist war preparations, and against the attacks on their democratic rights and freedoms threaten the profits and rule of the rich that the government is creating a new spy agency to suppress these struggles.

In their pursuit of maximum profits, the rich and the state constantly attack the economic, political and social rights of the people. They pass laws restraining the wages of the workers and banning their strikes, and they send the police and strike-breakers to attack these struggles. The RCMP and the Immigration Department harass and persecute the immigrants in order to make them submit to vicious exploitation at the hands of the bosses and the government imports contract labour from Mexico and the Caribbean to work in the fields like chattel slaves fenced in with barbed wire and housed in crude barracks.

[...]

"The rich and their state are the biggest threat to the security of the Canadian people and the nation. The people have no economic security, no secure jobs, no stable prices, and no guarantee of food, clothing or shelter. The people have no guaranteed political rights as seen by the activity of the government in imposing the War Measures Act. Even the Constitution Act allows the government to prescribe the rights outlined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to "reasonable limits."

The Canadian people want the rule of law -- laws which serve the interests of the people, which guarantee them economic, political and social rights, which guarantee them sovereignty and independence. But the rich and their government can never provide the people with such laws because such laws do not serve their interests.

Only Through Mass Struggle Can the People Defend and Extend
Their Rights and Freedoms

The McDonald Commission is the best proof that the people cannot rely on the state and its agencies to defend their rights. The royal commission was supposedly established to solve the problem of the illegal and terrorist activities of the RCMP against the people. Instead, it came out with a plan for a new spy agency which has the power to launch more vicious attacks on the rights and freedoms of the people.

The people cannot rely on the "review committee" of the spy agency to defend their rights either. They cannot rely on any of the so-called "safeguards" in the legislation either. Currently, the legislation states that "Nothing in this act authorizes the Service to investigate the affairs or activities of any person or groups of persons solely on the basis of participation by that person or groups in lawful advocacy, protest or dissent." But this distinction between "legitimate" and "illegitimate" dissent is merely to make people believe they can remain untouched by the new spy agency.

The rich and the government view the struggles against the shifting of the burden of the economic crisis onto the backs of the people, the struggles against the war preparations, and the struggles in defence of democratic rights and freedoms as all "illegitimate." There is not a single demonstration in the country which is not spied upon and photographed by the secret police. The RCMP kept files on 800,000 Canadians and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, with wider powers than the RCMP, will keep even more files on the people and engage in more subversion, terrorism and attacks on the people.

The only way that the people can defend and extend their democratic rights is to step up the mass struggle."

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House of Commons to Debate Problem of "Anti-Semitism"

Self-Serving Attempt to Cover for Israeli State Terror

On February 18, Jason Kenney, Minister of National Defence and for Multiculturalism tabled a motion to hold a House of Commons debate on anti-Semitism. It was seconded by Irwin Cotler, Liberal MP from Mount Royal. The motion reads:

"That a take note debate on the subject of the troubling rise of anti-Semitism around the world, as discussed at a special meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on January 22, 2015, take place pursuant to standing order 53.1 on Tuesday, February 24, 2015."

That the Harper government is concerned with the "troubling rise of anti-Semitism in the world" is puzzling to say the least. It is well known that this government is providing full support to the current coup-installed Ukrainian government which has in its composition neo-Nazi elements like Svoboda (formerly known as the Social-National Party), the Right Sector and other ultra-nationalist groups. It will be interesting to see if these sources of anti-Semitism will be exposed during the debate.

It is no accident that the debate is being proposed at a time when the atrocities committed by the Israeli Zionist state are being investigated for possible charges of war crimes by the International Criminal Court and Israel has been denounced by countries all over the world for its crimes. For more than 60 years the world has witnessed the violation of the rights of four million human beings whose lands were occupied by force. Israel has continued its policy of ethnic cleansing to date, which has left the Palestinian people stateless, statusless refugees in their own land.

The Harper government has expressed its unconditional support for the Israeli Zionist state on many occasions. Except for its main benefactors like the U.S., Canada and the UK, Israel is totally isolated and universally condemned. The concerns of Kenney, Cotler and others about "anti-Semitism" are to create disinformation and cover up the genocidal policies that the Palestinian people face every day in Gaza and the West Bank.

The arguments of these champions of Israel ring hollow as they try to equate the denunciation of Israel with "anti-Semitism." In a 2010 item for the National Post, Cotler attempts to make a distinction between "classical anti-Semitism" and the new form of anti-Semitism he claims exists: "In a word, classical anti-Semitism is the discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon the rights of Jews to live as equal members of whatever society they inhabit. The new anti-Semitism involves the discrimination against, denial of, or assault upon the right of the Jewish people to live as an equal member of the family of nations, with Israel as the targeted collective Jew among the nations."

Cotler also argued this point at an informal meeting of the UN General Assembly on January 22, attended by the U.S., Canada and Israel as well as some of the main European powers like Germany and France.[1] In his speech to the General Assembly, Cotler again argued that attacks against Israel are a new kind of anti-Semitism and that "we need a new vocabulary to define it."

Bernard-Henry Lévy, a French philosopher and ardent supporter of the State of Israel and U.S. imperialism, was the keynote speaker at the UN meeting. He tried to support Cotler's contention by suggesting that the so-called old form of anti-Semitism had lost all credibility and "it is being revived with new characteristics." One of these new characteristics, according to Mr. Lévy, is that "the Jews are detestable because they are supposed to support an evil, illegitimate, murderous state." The theory being put forward by Cotler and Lévy is that the attacks against the Zionist State of Israel are an attack against all Jews and therefore constitute a new form of "anti-Semitism."

This line of reasoning shows that the arguments at the UN General Assembly in January and the debate proposed for February 24 in Parliament are self-serving efforts. They aim to cover up the crimes being committed against the Palestinian people by hiding behind the cover of "anti-Semitism." The plan of the Harper government and Cotler is to get all-party participation to fool Canadians into thinking that the criminal terrorist state of Israel is the victim and the Canadian government is merely supporting the "right of Jewish people to self-determination." This logic, combined with Bill C-51, the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015, will be used to criminalize support for the Palestinian people's resistance as "promotion of terrorism." It will also serve to justify the labelling as terrorism and "anti-Semitism" any opinion in support of the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people or against crimes committed by the state of Israel.

This entire argument is dishonest not only because Zionism, which is a state ideology, is being attributed to Jewish people as a whole. It is doubly dishonest because these so-called defenders of the right to self-determination do not have a word to say about the ongoing violation of the human rights of the Palestinian people other than to label their just struggle as terrorism.

It is certain that the goal of this motion in the House of Commons is not to solve the problems facing the peoples of the Middle East and that nothing will be mentioned during the debate about the right of Palestinians to self-determination and the recognition of their national rights. Nor will the debates admit the fact that people all over the world are speaking out more and more against Zionism including many Jews in Israel and other countries.

In the past year alone, there are many examples in Israeli news reports of members of the Israeli army and reserves who have publicly declared through petitions and demonstrations their refusal to serve "because of the brutal military operation taking place in our name." Many have been sentenced to jail for their conscientious objections. Another example is the Neteurei Karta Jewish religious group whose members publicly support the demands of the Palestinian people. There are also many ultra-orthodox Jewish religious groups in Israel and outside who say that Zionism violates their religious beliefs.

Discussion in the House of Commons these days is dominated by the debate around Bill C-51 and the obsession of the Harper Conservatives to equate Islam with terrorism. The debate being proposed by Kenney and Cotler will be dominated by another obsession -- unconditional support for the state terror waged by Israel against the people of the region especially the Palestinians.

The Members of Parliament who participate in the debate should remember that if terrorist acts are committed, it does not matter what the religious identity is of the people who commit atrocities, or in the name of which religion they purport to speak.

Note

1. In the afternoon, the UN General Assembly held a panel discussion featuring remarks by Theodore E. Deutch, Representative in the United States House of Representatives; Irwin Cotler, Member of Parliament, House of Commons of Canada; Wade Henderson, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and The Leadership Conference Education Fund; Elisa Massimino, President and Chief Executive Officer of Human Rights First; and Robert S. Wistrich, Director of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem's Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Anti-Semitism.

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Photo Review

February 14 Memorial Marches for
Missing and Murdered Women


Vancouver, February 14, 2015

Memorial marches for missing and murdered women took place in more than 20 towns and cities across Canada from February 13-15. This year marks the the 25th Annual Women's Memorial March Honouring Missing and Murdered Women in Vancouver where the marches were initiated in 1991. The marches honour the lives of the hundreds of friends, sisters, daughters, mothers, aunties and grandmothers across the country, more than 1,181 in all, who have gone missing or been murdered in the last few decades, and demand a National Inquiry be held and measures taken to end the violence and remedy the social problems that give rise to it.

Vancouver


Some 2,500 to 3,000 people joined together at noon on Valentine's Day at Main and Hastings Streets in Downtown Eastside Vancouver to march in solidarity with families who have lost daughters, wives, sisters, aunts, nieces and good friends to the ongoing murder and violence regularly meted out to indigenous women in this city.

There was a large turn out of youth for the event. Protocol called for organizational signs and banners not to be carried, but instead to focus on remembering the missing and murdered women. A number of banners and signs called for a national public inquiry into the causes of this mayhem committed against women, especially indigenous women, from coast to coast to coast in Canada.

Among the participants were members of the BC Legislature; Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, president of the BC Union of Indian Chiefs; Irene Lanzinger, president of the BC Federation of Labour; the Vancouver police chief; and other public figures. The only ones to speak were the indigenous women organizers and a number of women who expressed their grief at the loss of loved ones.

The three-hour march slowly made its way through the Downtown Eastside, laying flowers at locations where women have been murdered or abducted, and ending at the totem pole in Oppenheimer Park where hundreds of candles were lit. Participants then went to the Japanese Community Centre for food, speeches, drumming and dancing.

Prince George

"In memory may we walk with all our grandmothers, mothers, aunties, sisters, daughters and friends in our hearts from our communities." This was the call for women, youth, children and men to join in the Women's Memorial March in Prince George to remember the missing and murdered Aboriginal women and children across Canada and all women and children facing violence.

Participants carried signs denouncing Harper for his despicable comments that violence against Aboriginal women was not on his "radar." The demand for a Public Inquiry into the missing and murdered women was renewed along with the demand for the implementation of the Highway of Tears Conference recommendations. Demonstrators also called for immediate action to end the atrocities faced by Aboriginal women, children and their families.

Following the welcome to the traditional territory of the Lheidli T'enneh, introductory comments were made by march organizers from the College of New Caledonia Students' Union and Chief Terry Tegee of the Carrier Sekani Tribal Council. Drummers sang the Women's Warrior song to lead off the march of more than 100 people through downtown Prince George.

Many visitors and athletes in town for the Canada Winter Games honked and waved in support. Marchers stopped in front of the RCMP headquarters to leave red and yellow roses in the snow -- red roses in remembrance of murdered women and yellow roses for those who remain missing.

In particular women lost on Highway 16 -- the Highway of Tears -- were remembered. The recent decision to cut funding to the team of RCMP investigators focused on finding the perpetrators of atrocities along the highway was denounced.

Stopping traffic in all directions, demonstrators took over the intersection in front of the RCMP Headquarters to perform a memorial circle dance and for a minute to silently remember all women lost to their loved ones and to their communities.

The March concluded at the Courthouse with a drumming and singing circle followed by a time for food, reflection and discussion. All in all, the event was a powerful expression of loss and remembrance coupled with an unmistakable strength, determination and united voice to fight for action to end the violence against Aboriginal women and all women.

Courtenay


Over a hundred people gathered at Simms Park in Courtenay on February 14 for a "Memorial Walk for Our Stolen Sisters." The event began with the drummers and women dancers of the K'omoks First Nation, followed by a presentation by the organizer of the march who explained the origins of the annual memorial action and how young women and children participated in making the banner and the red silhouettes of missing Aboriginal women who have connections to the local community for the event.

The speaker, along with another woman who read a poem she had written, emphasized the necessity for everyone to stand up against the violence against First Nations women and that this is a fight against the colonial history that presents First Nations as conquered people. She asserted, "We are not conquered. We will not be conquered."

The march followed the path around Simms Park and onto the Fifth Street bridge to the edge of downtown Courtenay, then back across the bridge to the park for more drumming and dancing that involved everyone.

Nanaimo


Victoria



Calgary



Edmonton




Saskatoon


Winnipeg



London


Toronto

In Toronto many hundreds of people participated in the 10th annual strawberry ceremony outside Toronto Police Headquarters. The location emphasized the responsibility of governments and their police forces to take action to end the violence. The ceremony, organized with broad participation by Aboriginal, student and social justice organizations, was followed by a march and a feast.




Montreal

Several hundred people gathered in Cabot Square in the west end of Montreal in the frigid cold for the Memorial march. Signs and placards as well as speakers denounced the failure of the Harper government to take up its responsibility to investigate and take measures to end the disappearances and murders of Aboriginal women and girls, pointing out that this illustrates Canada's refusal to settle scores with its history of colonial violence and the abuse of women in general.

The march ended at Phillips Square where hundreds of stars bearing the names of the missing women were placed in the snow of the square. Forty-six of the missing women are from Quebec.




Sherbrooke

(Photos: TML, PMLQ, E. Galen, L. Oikawa, D. Radmore, B. Brault, J. Akerman, T. Jackson, M. Nakehko, D. Dozlaw, L. Clements, M. Ikore, J. Mathieson, M. Donly, Justice for Lacey, Anonymous, Les Indignants, J. Yu, A. Pike, U. Txa)

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In the News

Venezuela

Failed Coup Attempt Exposed


Venezuelan Youth Day celebrated, February 12, 2015.

The Venezuelan government recently brought to light another failed coup attempt by opposition forces. This attempt to overthrow the democratically elected government of Venezuela is part of the U.S. imperialists' plan to impose themselves on the peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean. The plot is said to involve members of the U.S. and UK diplomatic corps in Venezuela, while Canada has also been implicated in the plot through the alleged involvement of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP).

On February 12, the one-year anniversary of the campaign of opposition violence, the Venezuelan government revealed that it had thwarted a violent coup attempt being planned for that day. TeleSUR reported, "The plotters had planned to overthrow the elected government of President Nicolás Maduro with a campaign of violence, including mass killings and tactical bombings of strategic sites across Caracas. When the dust cleared, the coup plotters expected key government officials, including Maduro, to be dead with the country then firmly in their control." The plan included bombings of the Miraflores Palace and the TeleSUR offices in Caracas, as well as assassinations of President Nicolás Maduro and others.

Speaking in a February 14 televised address, President Maduro stated that both civilians and members of the military had been detained. Those involved were being paid in U.S. dollars, and one of the suspects had been granted a visa to enter the United States should the plot fail, Maduro said. He went on to explain that the coup plotters had a transitional government and program lined up. Maduro added that a video of masked military officials speaking out against the government had been recorded, which was set to be broadcast, from Venezuela or Miami after the planned assassination was carried out.

TeleSUR reports that the four-stage plan involved creating an economic war on Venezuela, creating an international debate around a supposed humanitarian crisis, a political coup involving officials who would turn on the government, and finally a military coup that would lead to the installation of the transitional program. Just the day before the coup was to take place, opposition leaders Leopoldo López, María Corina Machado and Antonio Ledezma released a "transition plan" that called for the privatization of the country's oil industry, deregulation of the economy and accords with international financial institutions, including the International Monetary Fund.

Maduro stated that the plot was uncovered after military officials who had been approached to participate reported the schemes to authorities. Maduro called on the Venezuelan people to be on alert and prepared to maintain peace in the country in the face of continued attempts by sectors of the right wing who seek to overthrow the democratically-elected government.

Regarding the disposition of the military, Venezuelan Minister of Defense Vladimir Padrino López held a news conference on February 13 where he pledged loyalty to the democratically-elected government of President Maduro. "The Armed Forces reiterates its support and loyalty to President Nicolás Maduro Moros and reaffirms its commitment to the construction and the will of the people, along with the plans for the country in the construction of socialism," said Padrino López . "In light of this situation, the Armed Forces continue to be united and reject all acts of barbarism ... a country is not built on violence." He pointed out that the coup was thwarted precisely because of the loyalty and integrity of the country's officials and that those involved in the coup attempt are part of a very small group and do not represent the Armed Forces of Venezuela.

On February 13, the president of Venezuela's national assembly, Diosdado Cabello, provided further information about the plot. He said that a member of the RCMP, and a member of the U.K. diplomatic core in Venezuela, had been involved in plans, including seeking information on airport capacity in case of emergencies. Cabello also pointed out how U.S. President Barack Obama stated, "American leadership at times entails twisting the arms of states which don't do what we need them to do." This is in keeping with the U.S. 2015 National Security Strategy (NSS). Amongst other things, the NSS presents the U.S. as the main defender of democracy and advocates the threat and use of force as integral to U.S. diplomacy in which it singles out Venezuela, stating, "[W]e stand by the citizens of countries where the full exercise of democracy is at risk, such as Venezuela."

Venezuelan authorities have identified individuals from the U.S. embassy in Caracas who provided visas to the individuals involved in the attempt. This paper work to grant political asylum to those involved in the coup was already underway in the event that the plot failed.

TML Weekly vigorously condemns the U.S.-backed terrorist plans against Venezuela and the attempt of all those involved in this plot to carry out regime change to undermine the sovereignty of the Venezuelan people. As in past coup attempts, the silence of the Canadian government is very telling. While the Harper government claims it opposes terrorism, this is totally unprincipled, as it has not said a word about the recent events in Venezuela.

(With files from TeleSUR)

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More Evidence of Canada's Dirty Work


Rally in Ottawa, February 20, 2014 opposes Canadian and U.S. interference in Venezuela.

On February 13, when reporting on television about the thwarted coup against the Bolivarian government of Venezuela, President of the National Assembly Diosdado Cabello referred to a Canadian link. President Nicolás Maduro has alleged that the failed coup was organized and financed by the United States government.

Cabello said an RCMP member attached to the Canadian embassy who he identified as Nancy Birbek, along with another embassy official had earlier in the week been investigating the airport facilities in Valencia and inquiring about the airport's capacity to handle "special cases." He said the official was operating outside her area of responsibility and wondered aloud what contingencies the embassy might have been preparing for.

On February 15, three terse tweets appeared on the Canadian embassy's Twitter account dismissing Cabello's allegations as false and saying the embassy had informed the government about "the trip to Valencia" beforehand in a letter, claiming it involved routine emergency planning to assist Canadian citizens as they do in any country.

Whether or not Canadian embassy officials were in on the planned coup attempt, it is not the first time suspicions have been raised about the role Canada is playing in the country, especially since the arrival of Ambassador Ben Rowswell in March of last year. Less than two weeks before the coup plot was exposed, Cabello asked on his weekly television program Con el Mazo Dando what the Canadian embassy and its ambassador were doing meddling in Venezuela's internal affairs. His comments were in reference to the ambassador co-hosting an award presentation at his residence at the end of January at which a number of individuals and organizations were recognized for their work "defending human rights" in the country. In most cases the NGOs that were honoured for their work on human rights cast the Bolivarian government in a negative light.

The winner of the embassy's annual "Human Rights Prize" gets a trip to meet with "human rights authorities and organizations" in Canada and a tour of Venezuelan cities to share experiences. Perhaps more telling than anything is that among the invited guests at the embassy's human rights event was the wife of Leopoldo López, right wing opposition figure currently jailed and on trial for his role in organizing the violent anti-government street protests and barricades last year aimed at forcing President Maduro out of office by unconstitutional means. The plan failed miserably, but it led to the deaths of 43 people with hundreds more injured and widespread property damage.

And there is more. In July, respected journalist and former Vice-President of Venezuela, Jose Vicente Rangel declared on his weekly television program that the Canadian embassy seemed to be engaging in "strange" activities against the constitutional government of Venezuela. Rangel cited reports of members of a well-known intelligence agency that specializes in destabilization activities being brought into Venezuela through Canada's diplomatic mission. As might be expected, the embassy denied there was any truth to these allegations.

Canada's representatives were not alone among embassies in Venezuela planning for upheaval. The German embassy was reported to have alarmed political observers in the country when it issued an official declaration advising residents to "take precautions," reported Venezuelanalysis. The statement advised Germans in the country to have "lots of provisions" including for two weeks' worth of food, drinking water, medication, etc. The declaration was issued on February 5, putting the two-week time frame in the same period as the date for the foiled coup. Like its Canadian counterpart, the German embassy denied there was anything unusual about the announcement. "We always advise having food and water at home," said the embassy's Cultural and Political Secretary.

Although he has been on his assignment for almost a year, Rowswell remains Canada's Ambassador-designate to Venezuela as he has not been accredited by the Bolivarian government.

Note

Who is Ben Rowswell?

Ben Rowswell was officially appointed ambassador to Venezuela on Feb. 28, 2014 not long after large opposition-led protests began across the country and reports of protesters killed by Venezuelan authorities began being circulated. His previous assignment had been Director of the Gulf States and Regional Trade Division of Foreign Affairs. He speaks Farsi, Arabic, Spanish, French and English.

Described by the Toronto Star in 2010 as "a rising foreign service star" he has also been referred to as Canada's "combat diplomat" because of his work in war/conflict zones.

Recent Projects from His LinkedIn Profile:

Cloud to Street

March 2011 — August 2011

A research project to connect democracy activists in Tahrir Square with technology support from Silicon Valley through the development of software to meet activists needs at a series of hackathons, resulting most prominently in an Arabic-language crowdsourcing platform to generate consensus over human rights protections in Egypt's new constitution

Direct Diplomacy initiative

December 2012 — Present

A campaign to use a combination of online and direct communications to engage the citizens of foreign countries directly in the pursue [sic] of Canada's foreign policy objectives.

Other Biographical Information from Various Sources:

Academic Studies

International Relations from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service (1993) and at Oxford (2000)

Experience/Postings

1993 - United Nations Contractor in Somalia during the country's civil war.

1995-98 - Worked in the Political Section at the Canadian embassy in Cairo

2003-2005 - Canadian Chargé d'Affaires in Iraq

2003-04 - Senior Associate of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington, DC working on issues of homeland security in Iraq.

- Worked for the National Democratic Institute in Iraq

2008-09 - Deputy Head of Canadian Mission in Kabul

2010 - Headed a Provincial Reconstruction Team of more than 100 American and Canadian diplomats, aid workers, civilian police and correctional officers working in partnership with Canadian Forces in Kandahar

2010-11 - Visiting scholar at Stanford University Centre on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law

- Founder of Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development's Democracy Unit

- Advisor to the Privy Council

- Worked at Permanent Mission at the UN

- Inaugural recipient of the Palmer Prize for Diplomats awarded by the Community of Democracies, a US democracy promotion organization that receives funding from Freedom House, George Soros' Open Society Institute and the National Endowment for Democracy, among others. Prize is named after US ambassador Mark Palmer who worked in Hungary during the country's "transition to democracy."

Embassy Magazine wrote in March 2014 of Ben Rowswell's posting to Venezuela:

"Mr. Rowswell is one of Canada's leading practitioners of digital diplomacy: he oversaw a pilot project last year on direct diplomacy for the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development where he helped to establish a communications platform for Iranians and Iranian emigrants to communicate with each other, and occasionally the Canadian government, beyond the reach of that country's censors.

"He said in a phone interview he began promoting the use of digital diplomacy by the government after a break-year studying at Stanford University from 2010 to 2011, during which he researched the way in which activists used digital media to enact political change.

"His digital media skills will help him collect crucial information on the political situation in Venezuela without relying on the traditional media, he said.

"'We want to know what's going on in Venezuela, and because so much of the political debate and the political discussion, and frankly just the raw news about Venezuela, is happening on social media, we need to be on social media as well,' he said."

[...]

"'It is important to have very good, up to date and reliable political reporting' in a country in crisis, said John Graham, a former ambassador to Venezuela, in a phone interview. Chilled bilateral relations mean it 'is highly unlikely [Mr. Rowswell will] be able to exert any influence on the situation' through traditional diplomacy, Mr. Graham said.

"Mr. Rowswell's experience engaging the Iranian population through direct diplomacy could be a sign of the government's strategy for that country, said David Carment, a fellow at the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute and professor of International affairs at Carleton University, in a phone interview.

"The Harper government is very deliberate and specific about where it picks its entry points," he said, noting the close ties between Venezuelan and Iranian governments under former leaders Hugo Chavez and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

"An Iranian delegation travelled to Venezuela and Cuba this week and voiced support for the government of Nicolás Maduro, Iranian news agencies Tasnim and Press TV reported.

"Canada's federal government believes it has an interest in undermining the Venezuelan government, Mr. Carment said, which it sees as unfriendly to its interests.

"'What I'm suggesting is that, why Venezuela would be a choice for this government, as opposed to a myriad of others countries you could select, is because of that connection [with Iran],' Mr. Carment said.

"Ana Carolina Rodriguez, the head of mission at Venezuela's embassy in Ottawa, said in an interview it would be improper for either Mr. Rowswell or herself to encourage the population of their host country to denounce or rebel against the government.

"Mr. Rowswell said he has not been instructed to engage in the sort of direct diplomacy he practiced with the Iranian population, cutting the government out of the loop, but to 'understand the full diversity of perspectives' and engage with all political actors.

"Canada's government is increasing its use of digital diplomacy across the board, he said, and the two-way nature of communicating on digital media means it cannot stay silent on issues that call for it to voice an opinion.

"He will use digital media only to 'supplement' the more traditional tactics of diplomacy, he said.

"He said he did not yet have a clear understanding of the relationship between Venezuela and Iran, adding 'I'll have to just keep an eye open.'"

See also these items on Canada's Digital Diplomacy:

- "Harper Government's New Weapon for Subversion," Tony Seed, TML Daily, March 28, 2014 - No. 34.
- "Negotiations on Iran's Nuclear Program and Canada's "Digital Diplomacy" Project, Louis Lang, TML Weekly, January 17, 2015 - No. 3.

(Correo del Orinoco, Telesur, Noticias al Dia y a la Hora, Univision, Government of Canada, Stanford University, Globe and Mail, Embassy Magazine, Community of Democracies)

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Canada Stirring Up Phoney Debate on Human Rights

Canada has contributed to the coup attempts by taking up the role of fomenting international debate around Venezuela's supposed humanitarian crisis. This has been done through various official channels, including the parliamentary Subcommittee on International Human Rights and the undiplomatic and subversive activities of members of parliament. One such MP, Liberal Irwin Cotler, was a prominent participant in a February 4 forum at McGill University called "Venezuela in Crisis: The Decline of Democracy and the Repression of Human Rights."

The McGill event featured family members and political associates of Leopoldo López, founder and leader of the right-wing Popular Will Party who was jailed for inciting violence that took the lives of 43 people in 2014. After the failed coup d'état against the presidency of Hugo Chávez in 2002 López was also involved in the kidnapping and detention of the interior minister.

On February 5 the same figures were brought in front of the House of Commons Subcommittee on International Human Rights. These included Diana López, sister of Leopoldo López; Orlando Viera-Blanco, attorney for U.S.-aligned former Member of the National Assembly María Corina Machado; and Carlos Vecchio, coordinator of the Popular Will Party in the absence its leader. Vecchio fled Venezuela in 2014 facing an arrest warrant for charges similar to López. Vecchio claimed at the subcommittee meeting that he had left the country for Canada because he could speak freely here, neglecting to mention that most of Venezuela's media is in private hands and opposed to the government. He added that his party said he had to leave the country to play an "international role" in the efforts to undermine Venezuela's elected government.

The committee did not invite any representatives of Venezuela or any of its other political parties or organizations to present alternative claims or evidence contradicting the litany of charges eagerly swallowed by participating MPs. These MPs included Cotler, Conservative MP David Sweet, and NDP MP Wayne Marston. Marston suggested that demonstrations in Canada are not met with repression by the police. "Mr. Vecchio," he said, "in 1996 I led a demonstration in Canada, at the time it was the largest civil demonstration, 100,000 people. And I didn't have to worry about the police at all."

Sweet proposed that the Committee send a letter to the Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Prime Minister to "investigate the American approach toward sanctions against the individuals in Venezuela, and see if that may be something Canada can engage in, to send a strong signal that we're very concerned about the human rights situation in Venezuela." The committee agreed, with Cotler adding that he had already proposed such a thing at the February 4 McGill event.

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Canadian Lawyer and Liberal MP Defends Advocate of Violent Opposition

Liberal MP Irwin Cotler bills himself as an international human rights lawyer. One of the issues he is presently promoting is the campaign to free reactionary Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López, who is in detention and being tried on charges relating to his responsibility for inciting violent opposition protests and property damage in Venezuela last year in which 43 people were killed and hundreds more injured.

In a press release featured on his website, Cotler calls for Canada to "join the United States, the United Nations, the European Parliament, the Vatican, and other world leaders who have called for the release of Venezuelan political prisoners, as well as an end to domestic repression and the safeguarding of democracy, human rights, and the rule of law in Venezuela."

In remarks he made in Parliament, on February 18, Cotler contradicts the evidence that opposition leader Leopoldo López, who he refers to as a "prisoner of conscience," has a long history of trying to bring about the forcible overthrow of Venezuela's Bolivarian government, starting with the failed coup against President Chavez in 2002. Cotler instead promotes the spurious claims of the U.S. and reactionary opposition forces in the country that President Nicolás Maduro and the Bolivarian government are violators of human rights while the likes of López and other opposition forces are just "peaceful protesters."

Cotler said, "Mr. Speaker, one year ago today, Venezuelan opposition leader Leopoldo López was arrested as part of a crackdown on peaceful protests that left 43 dead, 3,000 detained, and scores of political prisoners." The statement leaves the impression that those killed died at the hands of police security forces in a government "crackdown." In fact about half of the casualties are said to have been government supporters, state security personnel and ordinary members of the public.

According to Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting, cited in a TeleSUR article, "Venezuelan Guarimbas: 11 Things the Media Didn't Tell You": "The presence of the protest barricades appears to be the most common cause of deaths: individuals shot while attempting to clear the opposition street blockades, automobile accidents caused by the presence of the barricades, and several incidents attributed to the opposition stringing razor wire across streets near the barricades."

Turning truth on its head is nothing new for Irwin Cotler. He refers to every one of Israel's killing sprees in Gaza in recent years as "self defence," holding the "Hamas terrorist war of attrition against Israel" responsible for all the horrors that Israel inflicted on Palestinians. He has a history of supporting the use of force in other contexts as well. For example, last fall he was the only MP to abstain -- and the only Liberal not to side with his leader -- in opposing the motion to send Canadian CF-18s into combat in Iraq, allegedly because the government failed to adequately brief or consult with MPs in the Commons on the scope, strategy and limits of the mission. He has advocated air strikes against Syria and denounced the Harper government for saying it would only bomb Syrian targets if it received permission from the country's government. Cotler is a big proponent of the imperialist "responsibility to protect" doctrine that uses "human rights" as a pretext for violating targeted countries' sovereignty and committing aggression against them.

So it is really no surprise that he has decided to meddle in the affairs of Venezuela and turn truth on its head there too. On December 4, Cotler was instrumental in including the name of Leopoldo López as a "prisoner of conscience" recognized at an all-party press conference in Parliament commemorating the first anniversary of the death of Nelson Mandela.

This followed the appearance of Lilian Tintori, López's wife and spokesperson, before the parliamentary foreign affairs subcommittee on international human rights in November, complaining about the "dictatorship" and "oppression" in Venezuela. The subcommittee also passed a unanimous motion condemning "the arbitrary and illegal detention and imprisonment of Mr. López and the violations of his fundamental freedoms and rights to a fair trial as guaranteed under international law and the Venezuelan constitution."

Then on February 4, Cotler was one of the speakers at a forum at the McGill Centre for Human Rights and Legal Pluralism in Montreal called "Venezuela in Crisis: The Decline of Democracy and the Repression of Human Rights." The event, attended by family members and associates of López spread disinformation about Venezuela and the circumstances that led to López's incarceration and the charges against him. Cotler invited McGill University to adopt the case of Leopoldo López as a case study for the Faculty of Law and asked the Canadian government to issue a pronouncement rejecting his "arbitrary detention."

At the meeting, Carlos Vecchio, national coordinator of López's Popular Will Party referred to Cotler who has joined López's legal team as "Mandela's attorney."

One of Cotler's credentials as a defender of human rights is that he was allegedly counsel for Nelson Mandela in Canada. He claims that following a trip to South Africa to promote the freedom of U.S. spy and rabid Zionist, Natan Sharansky, he was asked to do the same for Nelson Mandela by Mandela's lawyers.

In a December 7, 2013 item in the National Post, Cotler writes, "when Mandelas' lawyers asked me to be his counsel in Canada, and to advocate for him as I had been doing for Sharansky, I was pleased to accept.

"Upon my return to Canada, I intensified my anti-apartheid advocacy, including participating in the public launch of a major anti-apartheid initiative involving the Canadian Council of Churches, the Canadian Labour Congress, the World Federalists of Canada, and Amnesty International, among others."

However, TeleSUR reported that it had been informed on February 5 by the Ambassador of the Republic of South Africa to Venezuela, Pandit Thaninga Shope-Linney, that "Irwin Cotler was not Nelson Mandela's lawyer and does not represent the Government or the people of South Africa in any manner."

(Telesur, Venezuelanalysis, National Post)

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Extensive Support Against U.S. Sanctions

Uruguay, which holds the rotating presidency of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), will shortly convene the 12 foreign ministers of the block to support Venezuela due to U.S. threats of sanctions, Prensa Latina reports.

The call was requested prior to a recent meeting of UNASUR's Committee of Foreign Ministers and its Secretary General Ernesto Samper, in Montevideo, Uruguay.

At the meeting, the foreign ministers of Brazil, Mauro Vieira, and Ecuador, Ricardo Patiño, received information from his Venezuelan counterpart, Delcy Rodrguez, and Samper himself, who had recently returned from meeting with Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro.

After the meeting, Patiño announced that the Committee agreed to request Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro, as President Pro Tempore of UNASUR, to convene an early meeting on the issue, but said he could not yet set a date.

It was also agreed to seek direct communication channels between the governments of the United States and Venezuela to avoid the announced unilateral U.S. sanctions against Caracas.

The Chancellor of Venezuela, Delcy Rodriguez, who later met President José Mujica and Foreign Minister Almagro, stressed that during the meeting the parties talked about the eventual impact that can have the U.S. interference on the region.

She expressed the alarm and concern about statements by U.S. officials that 'practically give green light to violent opposition sectors in Venezuela to pursue their adventures.'

After the meeting with Mujica, Almagro informed that the President rejected the U.S. measures and said they 'do not constitute a valid instrument under international law and have never served to strengthen the positions of the people'.

In related news, the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA) issued a special communiqué to oppose U.S. aggression against the Bolivarian Revolution, which is posted below.

Special Communiqué of ALBA-TCP

The peoples and governments of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America-Peoples Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP) express once again their most firm and strongest rejection to the imposition of unilateral measures of the United States government against the people and government of Venezuela.

The member countries of the ALBA-TCP recognize the valuable efforts of the Venezuelan government to improve the diplomatic relations with the United States within the framework of mutual respect reflected in the request made by President Nicolás Maduro to the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR) and its Secretary General Ernesto Samper, so that it can be promoted a process-oriented approach to facilitate a constructive dialogue with the government of the United States.

The implementation of the unilateral sanctions promoted by the government of the United States against Venezuelan officials represents an affront to the democratic will of the Venezuelan peoples expressed in countless electoral processes, and represented in the legitimacy of its political leadership and its institutional framework. Furthermore, this new aggression committed by the government of the United States contradicts the statements of President Barack Obama, on the failure of unilateral measures of economical, financial and political pressures which are characteristics of the imperial history of the United States.

The member countries of the ALBA-TCP strongly reject all kinds of coercive measures against the Venezuelan Government by the United States government, whose clear purpose is to destroy the socio-political transformation process of the Venezuelan society in accordance with its sovereign and democratic principles. These new sanctions against the Venezuelan Government and people, under the name of human rights, hide the real intentions of destabilizing the Bolivarian Government in order to cause its overthrow, or changing its political regime sovereignly chosen by its people.

The member countries of the ALBA-TCP recognize the Constitution of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela as a modern instrument at international level in terms of security and defense of human rights. Furthermore, the aforementioned countries exhort the international community, particularly the Latin American and Caribbean countries, to join in rejection of the interventionist actions of the United States government, which violate the principles of International Law, the sovereignty of the countries and the self determination of the peoples.

Finally, the member countries of ALBA-TCP express their confidence on the great dignity and capacity of resistance of the Venezuelan people and Government and offer their best endeavors to promote a constructive dialogue on equal terms between the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and the United States of America.

February 10, 2015

Non-Aligned Movement Rejects U.S. Sanctions on Venezuela
as Foreign Intervention

The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), comprised of 120 countries, issued a statement on February 6 rejecting the latest U.S. sanctions against Venezuelan officials in the name of defending human rights and democracy in Venezuela.

The following is the text of the communiqué:

"The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Countries Movement categorically rejects the recent decision of the Government of the United States, from last February 2, 2015, to expand its unilateral coercive measures against the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, for the purpose of undermining its sovereignty, its political independence and the right to self-determination, in a clear violation of international law, including the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations and the Declaration on Principles of International Law concerning the Friendly Relations and the Cooperation among States, in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.

"The Coordinating Bureau of the Non-Aligned Countries Movement expresses its solidarity and support to the people and Government of Venezuela in opposition to these illegal actions, and urges the Government of the United States to desist from such illegal coercive measures, which affect the spirit of dialogue and political understanding between the two nations."

Montreal Meeting Expresses Support

On February 12 at the Simon Bolivar Cultural Centre in Montreal, a presentation by the Venezuelan Ambassador to Canada was very well received. The event marked the one year anniversary of the U.S.-backed reactionary street violence ("guarimbas") that left 43 people dead and 878 injured.

Ambassador Wilmer Omar Barrientos Fernández spoke about the plot organized by the Venezuelan right with the help of the U.S. State Department to create a climate of anarchy and violence, and also the need to seek the truth and justice for the victims. He recounted the recent history of Venezuela going back to when Hugo Chávez was elected president in 1999 with a mandate to implement political, economic and social reforms to benefit the majority of the people. That was when the reactionaries began to plot the overthrow of the government, attempting a coup in 2002. They continue in their efforts to destabilize the country, he pointed out, recounting their refusal to recognize the results of the last presidential election and the economic warfare being carried out against the country through hoarding of goods to cause hyperinflation. The Ambassador thoroughly documented these activities with many images and videos of the terrorist activity.

Ambassador Barrientos ended the meeting by calling on everyone to oppose the disinformation about Venezuela and to join in the March 5 Day of International Solidarity with the people of Venezuela and their Bolivarian constitution.

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Coming Event


February 27, 2013, Venezuelans mark 24th anniversary of the "Caracazo," mass rebellion, referred to as "the day the people awoke" -- the beginning of the Bolivarian revolution.
As many as 3,000 people were massacred during the rebellion.


Toronto
Forum
February 27th: Massacre of the People (1989)
"Lest We Forget"

February 26 -- 6:00 pm
Victoria College (Map), University of Toronto
91 Charles Street West, 2nd Floor, Toronto, ON, M5S 1K7
(Easy access from Museum Station)
Please RSVP: info@consulventoronto.com

The Consulate General of the Bolivian Republic of Venezuela in Toronto invites you to attend the above Forum at which the Venezuelan Ambassador in Canada,
M/G Wilmer Omar Barrientos Fernández will be present.

Also participating in the Forum will be Professors Victor Rivas and Donald Kingsbury
from the University of Toronto Latin American Studies Program.

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Haiti

Barack Obama Has Installed a Dictatorship in Haiti

Since January 12, 2015, Michel Martelly has ruled Haiti by decree with U.S.-UN guns backing up his dictatorship. The UN Security council, led by Samantha Powers, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, recently visited Haiti to legitimize and reinforce their commitment to Martelly over the objections of the people of Haiti.

Twenty-nine years ago, on February 7, 1986 Haiti ousted the bloody, U.S.-supported Duvalier dictatorship and swore never to allow dictatorship in Haiti ever again.

Today, February 7, 2015, tens of thousands of demonstrators in Haiti swarmed the streets to mark this anniversary and commitment, and again to boycott and demand an end, not to another U.S.-supported Haiti dictatorship, but worse, a U.S.-installed dictatorship and an 11-year military occupation of Haiti.

For 11 years, outraged Haitians against dictatorship and occupation have, in various waves, taken to the streets to demand an end to the U.S.-UN occupation behind NGOs' false benevolence. Since the 2010 doctored elections, Haitian demonstrators have demanded the removal of the puppet Martelly government. As carnival time approaches, this February month is slated to see more anti-dictatorship and anti-corruption demonstrations. More recently, as world gas prices go down, with Haitian prices remaining high; as the Haitian elites continue to block natural desires for sovereignty and a participatory Haitian democracy, the demonstrators are also boycotting businesses, agitating against the high cost of living, low wages and high gas prices.


Haitian boycott against U.S. occupation,
Martelly dictatorship, high cost of living,
February 7, 2015.

Each time Haitians take to the streets, they know that the powerful, U.S.-trained militarized police will teargas, shoot and even kill unarmed demonstrators, as they've done before. According to eyewitnesses and reports found here and here, after the February 7 march, militarized CIMO/police vehicle #1-608 in Haiti opened fire on protest leaders who went to the home of two journalists. [CIMO stands for the Corps d'Intervention et de Maintien de l'Ordre, i.e., the riot police -- TML Ed. Note.] Yet, Haitians fight on and will demonstrate again, with no weapons except their bodies, songs, slogans, the divine within and the certainty that their call to the Ancestral powers and universal force for goodness shall not go answered.

The corporate media, human rights industry, charitable industrial complex, and other Ndòki forces for empire remain silent about the outsourced U.S. occupation of Haiti. The colonial narrative and racism at play is that the Internationals are "helping" Haiti, have no partisan interests. They're effective at using this false credibility to get funding, legitimize themselves and the foul acts and lies of the U.S. Ambassadors to Haiti, the U.S. State Department, the Organization of American States and the UN.

The Internationals reinforce each other. The U.S. State Department freely funds and uses the human rights industry, like the UN, Amnesty International, Paul Farmer's Partners in Health and others in the crisis caravan, to give credibility to the neocolonial tyranny in Haiti. For instance, the Haiti protestors are demanding the removal of the Martelly dictatorship, the U.S. occupation, a stop to white supremacy, arbitrary arrests, corruption and an accounting of what former president Bill Clinton and his crew did with the $10 billion collected in earthquake monies. When former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton threatened dissenting Haiti officials with lost of visas if Michel Martelly was not allowed into the second round during the "elections" (though he didn't have the votes), the human rights industry said nothing. For 11 years, the international human rights industry and corporate media have remained fairly mute about the outsourced U.S. occupation, the U.S. false aid that's money laundering, the widespread military rapes of Haitian children, the UN shooting live ammunition at peaceful demonstrators and killing unarmed Haitians. When they touch on these subjects, it's to obfuscate the real issue, minimize the foreign savagery as if these are not criminal acts in need of fair and independent scrutiny. Mostly, when the international human rights industry mentions Haiti, it's to promote the occupation and the U.S.-installed dictatorship.

But Amnesty International recently sent an open letter, not to ask the UN to stop shooting at unarmed demonstrators, nor to ask Bill Clinton why donation monies meant for homeless people were used to build luxury hotels. No. Amnesty International, sent a letter to Martelly's newly appointed prime minister. The pretext is that Amnesty International wants to influence the new Prime Minister and non-governmental organizations to provide housing for homeless Haiti quake victims and to respect the demonstrators' right to peacefully protest. The sudden concern is suspect to say the least because the protestors have been in the streets for years and by themselves pushed to get political prisoners released.

Martelly has ruled by decree informally for three years and besides the quake victims being abandoned, evicted and abused, has steadily taken away peasant lands for the corporatocracy. Where's Amnesty International's concern that Martelly stop making more homeless Haitians by taking their lands, offshore islands through presidential decree to give to luxury resort developers? The real effect of the strategically timed "Open Letter" was to immediately put the weight of Amnesty International behind the de facto Prime Minister, publicly signalling to any squeamish cohort that Martelly, formally ruling by decree and his unilateral appointment of a Prime Minister, even after Parliament was dissolved, is legitimate governance. The people on the streets want these usurpers gone. The Internationals are writing to them, recognizing their authority, providing firepower to them and receiving them in the halls of power with UN Security Council visits. (See, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch Paid to Destabilize Eritrea; Bombshell proof! Hillary paid Amnesty International to prepare coup d’état: U.S. taxpayers looted to destroy sovereign nations; Leaked Memo: Amnesty International paid to destabilize Eritrea, The Hypocrisy of Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International in Peru.)

After 300 years of direct European enslavement in Haiti and 200 years of unremitting U.S.-Euro tyranny, containment-in-poverty, abuse and exploitation, Haiti is without hate and still rated the least violent nation in the entire Caribbean. It demonstrates peacefully. It suffers interminably the rape, abuse and atrocities of power elites with the faces of Samantha Power, Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton, Paul Farmer, Amnesty International and Hollywood celebrities.

In myriad ways, Haitian lives are swapped around and cashed in, while the colonial bullies circulate in polite company as if nothing will unveil them. As if their impunity, degeneracy and gross corruption is the newest, shiniest hit record or song.


Protest against U.S. occupation, Martelly dictatorship, high cost of living - Feb 7, 2015
(M. Wilson)

Haitian demonstrators call forth their Ancestors. Starting the protest march with traditional prayers that reMEMBERed the lives and generations lost before the February 7, 1986 end to the Duvalier dictatorship and to demand an end to the new Martelly dictatorship. The photos here show their drawn sounds - vèvè - calling forth Ogou and Dantò — the energies, vibration or irreducible essence for raw power, a will of steel, the warrior mother, warrior father, defenders of justice, healing, love and creation.

Just like their foreparents, Haitians are deeply committed to liberty and justice. Death is not the worst fate. To live as a slave zombie is.

Dantò, manman mwen. Ogou, papa mwen: Nou se Ginen depi Lè Marasa, Lè Mò e Lè Mistè. San yo se san nou. Nou fè yon sèl kò. Inyon nou ak Zansèt e TiMoun yo fè fòs nou. Pouvwa Zansèt yo se pouvwa nou. Papa Legba, souple, ouvrè pòt la pou yo. Ohh, mwen wè yo monte anwo, soti Anba Dlo, monte sou tèt dlo a, rale soti lan venn nou, kè nou. Lasous nou rive. Nou wè yo- soti lan lamè, soti lan gròt Ayiti yo, twou wòch yo, anba tè sakre Ayiti Toma a, lan syèl la Zansèt yo e Timoun yo vini. Nou la. Toupatou. San yo se san nou. Pouvra yo se pouvra nou. Se fòs Bon Dye Zansèt nou yo kap kondwi bra nou pou nou ranpòte la viktwa. - Ezili Dantò, Free Haiti Movement, February 7, 2015

"Grenadye alaso sa ki mouri n'ap vanje yo!" - Indigenous Army of Ayiti, 1791

(Global Research, February 20, 2015. Slightly edited for style by TML.)

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Colombia

Peace Talks Advance as Revolutionary Armed Forces
of Colombia Aims to Become Political Movement

The Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) on February 7 reiterated that it is determined to end the armed conflict and become a political movement. This affirmation was made by FARC peace delegation member Jesus Santrich as part of a series of proposals the FARC is bringing to the latest round of negotiations.

Peace talks between the FARC and the government of Colombia resumed earlier this month, with the two parties discussing the rights of victims of the conflict. This is the fourth of five agenda items being discussed, with parties having already reached an agreement on three other items. Talks have been ongoing since 2012.

The FARC is proposing a series of measures it deems necessary to guarantee an end to violent armed conflict. Among them are a number of measures to be acted upon immediately by the Colombian government, such as the implementation of a bilateral ceasefire, and the suspension of mining and energy projects that run the risk of forced displacement of people.

Many of the proposals made by the FARC in the latest round of negotiation address the factors that contribute to the existence of armed conflict in the country. The FARC is calling for the demilitarization of Colombian society and a deep reform of the armed forces of the country. Specifically they are calling for a reduction in the budget of the armed forces -- to two per cent of GDP -- and an end to the doctrine of "National Security" which the FARC argues turned the armed forces into a counterinsurgency body, instead of one that defends national sovereignty.

For its part, the FARC said that in order to avoid future violence, it would continue to work to end the conflict and become a political movement, actively participate in the building of truth and historical memory for the society, and share its experiences in building direct, community democracy.

The FARC also called for measures that would guarantee the right to political mobilization and social protest. In a previous attempt to end the armed conflict, thousands of activists from the Patriotic Union, a political party affiliated with the FARC, were assassinated by paramilitary groups.

In order to avoid a repeat of those political killings, the FARC called for the creation of a "Permanent Constitutional Commission" that would be tasked with defending human rights and called for the protection of social activists.

These measures would be in addition to those agreed upon by the parties as they related to Political Participation, the second agenda item. As part of that agreement, the Colombian government agreed to create an "Integrated Security System for the Exercise of Politics" that would serve to protect political activists.

FARC Extends Unilateral Ceasefire

On February 9, the FARC announced its decision to indefinitely extend its unilateral ceasefire. Representatives of Colombia's mass organization, the Broad Front for Peace, presented to the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and the FARC their report on the unilateral ceasefire implemented by the FARC since mid-December 2014.

After meeting with the FARC peace delegation in Cuba, human rights advocate and prominent leader of the Broad Front for Peace, Piedad Cordoba, made the announcement regarding the ceasefire. The decision was also confirmed in a statement read to the press by FARC rebel Tanja Nijmeijer. Cordoba pointed out that multiple reports and sources confirm that the FARC is respecting the ceasefire. She called on the Colombian government to act accordingly and reciprocate the truce so as to prevent further bloodshed.

The Broad Front for Peace is now awaiting a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos to directly inform him of the topics addressed during its meeting with the FARC and on the positive impact of the ceasefire.

Regarding the positive results of the ceasefire, the President of Colombia's agricultural Union FENSUAGRO, Eberto Diaz, said there is no doubt that the ceasefire has brought relief to the peasants. "Effectively the conflict has lowered in intensity, and this has allowed the peasants to move around the territories; it has allowed the peasants to gather within their organizations. In general we have seen a positive impact," Diaz noted.

Diaz added that the rural areas have been strongly affected by the armed conflict, and due to the state's long-standing abandonment of agriculture which has had an impact on Colombia's food sovereignty. "Today we are importing 10 million tons of food products that could be easily produced by our farmers if they had the support from the state, and if the war was over," he emphasized.

Meanwhile, on February 10, the Commission of Historical Conflict submitted a 700-page report to the proceedings in Havana. The report is aimed at reflecting the complexity of actors and the dynamics that have played a role in Colombia's conflict, such as the state's abandonment of its responsibility for agriculture. The Director of the Center for Memory, Peace & Reconciliation stated that this report "will allow Colombian society to understand that this has not been a conflict simply between armed actors, between the guerrilla and the army, but that there have also been power, economic and institutional determinants of the conflict."

"In a moment when Colombian society is expecting to finally step into a post-conflict period, this latest report will be an important input for understanding the complexity of Colombia's conflict beyond the armed violence," writes TeleSUR.

(TeleSUR)

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United States

Terror Conviction Overturned for Former
Guantanamo Prisoner

Former prisoner from the U.S. Guantanamo Bay torture concentration camp David Hicks won a challenge to his terrorism conviction in a U.S. military court on February 18. The U.S. Court of Military Commission Review struck down Hicks' 2007 conviction on the grounds that the activities for which he was charged and convicted do not constitute a war crime and thus the Australian national should not have been tried in a military court. "He wasn't doing anything that was a breach of Australian, international or U.S. law. That is what this decision today confirms," said Hicks' lawyer Stephen Kenny. The Pentagon has said it will not appeal the decision.

Hicks, an Australian citizen, was captured by the Northern Alliance in 2001. A Northern Alliance-aligned warlord sold Hicks to U.S. forces for U.S.$5,000, claiming the Australian had been fighting alongside al-Qaeda against U.S. forces. He was among the first prisoners sent to the U.S. torture camp at Guantanamo Bay in January 2002 and was held there until 2007.

In a 2004 affidavit, Hicks alleged he was sexually abused, routinely deprived of sleep, beaten, kept in solitary confinement almost 24 hours a day, and administered unidentified medication. He also stated he saw other detainees attacked by dogs.

In May 2007, he pleaded guilty to providing material support for terrorism in a U.S. military court. He has long maintained the plea was made under duress, after enduring years of torture and mistreatment at the hands of U.S. forces, and so that he could be returned to Australia. After pleading guilty, Hicks was transferred to Adelaide's Yatala Prison to serve the rest of his seven-year sentence. After nine months, Australian authorities released Hicks under a control order, and he now lives in Sydney.

Following the verdict, Hicks remarked, "I'm disappointed that even though the American and Australian authorities were aware of my innocence from day one, I still have to go through years of torture that ruined my life for no reason, for political purposes." He is now seeking compensation from the Australian government for its refusal to do its duty and to come to his aid. "The Australian government was aware of the conditions I was being held in at the time. They should at least pay my medical expenses. That is not much to ask for, I don't think," Hicks said in a news conference in Sydney on February 19. He is asking the government to pay his medical bills for dental, back, knee and elbow injuries resulting from his torture and other mistreatment. "Being kept in freezing conditions, small rooms for years, not being able to move or exercise ... the body deteriorates over five-and-a-half years even without the added torture, such as stress positions, being beaten, etc.," he said. "It is becoming an expensive exercise to fix myself from torture," he added.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott denied that the government has any responsibility to protect its citizens. He said the government would not extend any apology, and effectively stated that the crimes and violation of rights committed at Guantanamo are warranted in the name of security. "I'm not in the business of apologizing for the actions that Australian governments take to protect our country. Not now, not ever."

(With files from Press TV, TeleSUR)

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David Hicks and the Death of a Legal System

In the annals of obscene legal history, that of David Hicks, whose terrorism conviction was just quashed by the United States Court of Military Commission Review, must rank highly.[1] It is also instructive on various levels: what it says about his treatment by the U.S. legal system; and what it reveals about the attitudes of the Australian government.

Australians tend to demonise or sanctify their legal villains, casting a social net around them that either protects, or asphyxiates them. If one is an Irish scribbling horse thief with murderous tendencies and eccentric battle dress sense, then one is bound to get a spot in the hero's pantheon. The book collecting, education promoting judge who sentenced him to death receives the opposite treatment: snubbed by the juggernaut of historical folklore.

Hicks, from the start, was not quite that horse thief, Ned Kelly. But he did engage in the mischief that would earn him demerit points after September 11, 2001. He travelled to Pakistan. He spent time at al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan. He drank of that radicalisation soup that has gotten Europe, Australasia and the United States worried.

In the scheme of grand power politics, he found himself involved with an organisation that did not always have the official designation of terrorism -- after all, elements of al Qaeda, and their hosts, the Taliban, had been recipients of U.S. funding during and in the aftermath of the Cold War. The Taliban's opponents, the Northern Alliance, captured Hicks, and surrendered him to the U.S. in late 2001.

In confinement within the Guantánamo camp system, subject to around the clock artificial light, inedible food, forced drugging, beatings and a range of other indignities, Hicks received the brunt of juridical inventiveness. The U.S. Military Commissions, designed to specifically target non-U.S. citizens, was born. Being neither courts-martial nor civilian courts, they amputated due process and merged the role of jury and judge. The rule on hearsay was thrown out. The commissions restricted the accused's right to hear all the evidence. Appeals to any other court, foreign or U.S., would be cut. And the death penalty might well be applied.

In 2006, the U.S. Supreme Court in Hamdan v Rumsfeld held that the Bush administration did not have the power to create such commissions without Congressional authorisation, a feature that ran foul of such instruments as the Geneva Conventions.[2] Not to be deterred, the then Australian Prime Minister, John Howard kept insisting that, "I do not want [Hicks] to come back to Australia without first facing trial in the United States." Let the Americans do it, "because if he comes back to Australia he can't be tried." Hicks, in other words, was already guilty in the minds of Australia's top officials. "Of what?" posed his military defense lawyer Michael Mori. "Howard didn't know. How should he be tried? Howard did not know."

Hicks became the first, and most dubious scalp, of the reconstituted commission system. Much of the account of his defence is discussed by Mori, a freshly recruited defence lawyer who was rapidly blooded in the byzantine legal labyrinth being constructed around his client. His account, discussed in In the Company of Cowards (2014) reflects, not merely on Hicks defence, but the atrophying of a legal system.

Two vital issues came up in Hicks's attempt to seek his ultimately successful appeal. The first central legal disfigurement here lay in the pre-trial machinations that placed Hicks on the road to conceding guilt for a lesser sentence. In accepting this "Alford plea," the hope was to insulate the entire treatment of his plight, and by implication those in similar cases, from further legal scrutiny.

On March 30, 2007, Hicks pleaded guilty to the dubious charge of providing material support "from in or about December 2000 through in or about December 2001, to an international terrorist organisation engaged in hostilities against the United States, namely al Qaeda, which the accused knew to be such an organization that engaged, or engages in terrorism". The rather inventive, and retrospective charges, had been brought in February 2007, with the attempted murder charge subsequently dropped.

He was then sentenced to confinement for seven years, with the question on what would count to time already served. (The latter point is important: the prosecutors were reluctant to budge on the issue, but conceded to the balance of nine months.) On May 20, 2007, Hicks returned to Australia, serving time at Adelaide's Yatala prison, and was out by December.

What was significant in this case was that Hicks, his defense counsel and the convening authority had signed a pre-trial agreement indicating that the appellant had offered to plead guilty to the first charge provided he "voluntarily and expressly waive all rights to appeal or collaterally attack my conviction, sentence, or any other matter relating to this prosecution whether such a right to appeal or collateral attack arises under the Military Commission Act of 2006, or any other provision of the United States or Australian law."

Then comes a good deal of legal stumbling. The review commission, after accepting it had jurisdiction over the appeal, attacked the verdict in a very specific way. The first waiver was deemed to have been made knowingly, intelligently and voluntarily. Hicks's pre-trial agreement was deemed favourable. He was granted concessions. But failure to resubmit "his appellate waiver within 10 days after the convening authority provide notice of action invalidated his appellate waiver."

"There is insufficient indication that the appellant reiterated his desire to not appeal within 10 days." In other words, Hicks had not given sufficient grounds to show that he had waived his right of appeal. "Thus we hold the waiver is invalid and unenforceable." The result: "The findings of guilty are set aside and dismissed and the appellant's sentence is vacated."

The second point noted by the review commission, citing the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit case of Al Bahlul (2014) was that "it was a plain ex post facto violation" to try a person for the offense of providing material support to terrorism after the fact. It was a "prejudicial error" that required a vacation of the conviction. While Al Bahlul's plea was different from Hicks, "those differences do not dictate a different result." Hicks, in other words, had been bludgeoned by unlawful retrospective punishment.

In a most conspicuous way, the treatment offered to Hicks did not merely violate every sacred canon of presumed innocence, it suggested a new legal order, one stacked with ghastly, Kafka-like qualifications. In the sinister legal purgatory of Guantánamo, Hicks could suffer Washington's own version of a disappearance, with connivance from a subservient Canberra.

Australia's political authorities continue that line, trumpeting a view that validates outsourcing torture, detention and confinement of its own citizens. (They can't even be patriotically indecent enough to inflict cruelties on their own people.) Showing a continuing tendency to ignore evidence placed before him, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott was resolute about the quashed sentence. "David Hicks was up to no good and I'm not in the business of apologising for the actions the Australian government takes to protect our country." (The statement would better read "inaction" in the name of Australian security.)

Others have preferred to ignore the procedure as a trifle. Commercial radio stations such as Sydney's 2UE suggested that the quashing of terrorism convictions did not imply he was a "saint."[3] "He may be legally innocent, but not absolved of the guilt he did [sic]." Guilt has many shades, and such arguments fittingly ignore the one critical issue in all of this: that of the law. In the realms of such debate, a sober middle ground is nigh impossible.

The opposition leader, Bill Shorten, proved surprisingly qualified in his statements. "There is no doubt on one hand David Hicks was probably foolish to get caught up in that Afghanistan conflict, but clearly there has been an injustice done to him." (The Daily Telegraph, Feb. 19)

The troubling feature of the findings by the review commission is that, at its heart, little is made of the plea bargain system itself. Nor is the entire military commission process examined in its crude corrosion of judicial protections. The conviction was quashed because it violated a procedural requirement, and a judicial requirement. Invalidating a badly understood waiver is one thing; invalidating the entire process of how he was dealt with, quite another. We can at least take heart from the fact that the judges were aware of ex-post facto nastiness.

For that reason, the fate of Hicks remains the greatest affirmation of fiendish legal inventiveness, the sort of cleverness that threw the law book out in favour of gossip, arbitrariness and political judgment. It is one the U.S. legal system has, and continues, to pay dearly for. The Australian citizen, on the other hand, can always rely on his or her own government to surrender liberties at the drop of the judicial hat, an anaemic form of patriotism if ever there was one. Washington, right or wrong, will have its day.

Dr. Binoy Kampmark was a Commonwealth Scholar at Selwyn College, Cambridge. He lectures at RMIT University, Melbourne. Email: bkampmark@gmail.com 

Notes

1. See: http://ccrjustice.org

2. See: http://www.supremecourt.gov

3. Click here for video

(Global Research, February 20, 2015)

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Guantanamo Prisoners Killed by CIA Made to
Look Like Suicides

Fourteenth annual action in Washington, DC to demand the closure of the U.S. torture
camp at Guatanamo Bay, January 11, 2015.

Army Staff Sergeant Joseph Hickman, a former U.S. Marine and guard at the U.S. Guantanamo Bay torture camp, recently revealed that three "problematic" detainees were killed at a CIA black site in Guantanamo and their deaths covered up as a triple suicide. The official version of events is "impossible," he told Vice News.

The three men were Salah Ahmed Al-Salami, 37, from Yemen, Mani Shaman Al-Utaybi, 30, from Saudi Arabia, and Yasser Talal Al-Zahrani, 22, also from Saudi Arabia. None of them had been charged with any crime.

Hickman, who was on duty at the time, explained that the three men would have had to have committed suicide at exactly the same time in a cellblock where guards check on detainees every four minutes.

"They would have had to all three tie their hands and feet together, shove rags down their throats, put a mask over their face, made a noose, hung it from the ceiling on the side of the cellblock, jumped into the noose and hung themselves simultaneously," he said.

Hickman added that an inspection of the detainees' cells just a few hours before they supposedly killed themselves revealed nothing that they might have used to kill themselves such as nooses, rags, or shoelaces.

On June 9, 2006, Hickman was on guard duty at Camp Delta when he saw a paddy wagon arrive at the high security Alpha Block three times, each time picking up a prisoner and taking them out of the camp on a road which only led to two places -- the beach or a CIA holding centre. Between 11:00 and 11:30 pm, the paddy wagon came back to Camp Delta but instead of going to Camp I, it went straight to the medical clinic. "About 10 minutes later, all the lights come on, like a stadium, and sirens are going off -- it's chaos," he said. All three detainees were dead.

Hickman believes the authorities at Guantanamo wanted to get rid of the three men because they were regular hunger strikers who incited other detainees to do the same. He explained that it was camp policy "that if a detainee is hunger-striking, he cannot be interrogated. In 2006, they were doing roughly 200 interrogations a week, so any massive hunger-strike would [...] cripple the intelligence value. I believe the number-one mission in JTF-GTMO [Joint Task Force Guantanamo] at the time was: stop the hunger strikes at all costs." After the deaths, there were no hunger strikes for a long time, he added.


Washington, DC, January 11, 2015

Just after the supposed triple suicide, Rear Admiral Harry Harris attacked the three detainees for daring to take their own lives. "They are smart. They are creative. They are committed. They have no regard for life, either ours or their own. I believe this was not an act of desperation, but an act of asymmetrical warfare waged against us," Democracy Now quoted him as saying.

Hickman first approached the U.S. Department of Justice in 2009. His claims and those of others at the camp were reported in Harper's magazine in 2010, but were denied by camp authorities.

A recent Senate report which the CIA tried to repress found that the CIA regularly used torture, violence, and degrading treatment in its interrogation techniques. The report also claims those tactics rarely produced any decent intelligence.

In related news, Republican senators recently proposed that a moratorium be placed on the release of all medium- and high-risk detainees, claiming they pose a danger to the U.S. and its allies, and that any transfers to Yemen should be barred for two years.

(RT)

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