February 6, 2016 - No. 6

Canada Needs an Anti-War Government

Oppose the Liberal Government's Hypocritical Promotion of an
Aggressive Role for Canada!

Canada Needs an Anti-War Government

Oppose the Liberal Government's Hypocritical Promotion of an Aggressive Role for Canada!

Among matters which concern Canadians most are questions related to war and peace. Canadians opposed the Harper government not least for its extremist positions, opposition to peaceful resolution of conflicts and warmongering activities. The Harper government offended Canadians with its boorish rhetoric and refusal to comply with international norms. This included its support for the war in Afghanistan, participation in bombing and regime change in Libya, aggressive stance towards the peoples of Iran and Palestine and the DPRK, support for regime change in Syria and, most recently, embroiling Canada in a dirty war in Ukraine and another U.S.-led war in Iraq and then Syria.

The Liberal Party, during the 2015 federal election, gave the impression that they also opposed this extremism and stood for peace. The Liberals referred to a "proud tradition of international leadership" and cited the creation of the United Nations, the campaign against South African apartheid and a treaty to ban landmines as hallmarks of Canadian foreign policy from which they would take their cues. The Liberals accused the Harper government of turning its back on the United Nations and multilateralism, giving the impression they support the right of sovereign UN members to determine their own affairs and the peaceful resolution of conflicts between nations. The Liberals emphasized the supposed humanitarian and peacekeeping capabilities of Canada's armed forces. This was referred to as "restor[ing] Canada's leadership in the world." Importantly, the Liberal platform stated, "We will end Canada's combat mission in Iraq."

Since being elected, the Liberals have shown that in the name of peace they, like the Harper government, stand for war. Picking up the thread of the Chrétien Liberal government's foreign policy review which never questioned Canada's participation in NATO, the government of Justin Trudeau has revealed itself to be in lockstep with U.S. imperialism and its striving to establish its hegemony over all regions of the world. Besides other things, it has now fallen in line with the Obama program to take over UN peacekeeping missions with the new nomenclature of "peace operations." It is supporting U.S. meddling in the peace process in Colombia and continuing Canada's support for death squad democracy in Haiti as well as in Ukraine, as seen in Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion's visit to Kiev on February 1 and the government signalling its intention to continue to support the fascist-led Ukrainian government and to provide Canadian troops to train the fascist paramilitaries. Rather than end Canada's combat mission in Iraq, reports say the Liberals will soon announce an increase in the number of Canadian soldiers sent to participate in the U.S.-led war.

It has been twenty years since the Chrétien government conducted a review of Canada's foreign policy following the demise of the Soviet Union in the 1989-1990 period. This ended the bi-polar division of the world and should have led to a new era of peace between the nations of the world once the Cold War was over. It should also have led to Canada being taken out of the aggressive U.S. military alliance NATO and calls for it to be dismantled. The 1994/95 review entitled Canada in the World did none of this. Instead, the review gave rise to warmongering theories such as the Responsibility to Protect. The review put forward the idea that the three "key objectives of Canada's foreign policy" should be: "the promotion of prosperity and employment; the protection of our security, within a stable global framework and; the projection of Canadian values and culture."

Now this government, in the name of bringing Canada's foreign policy in line with current realities, is using monopoly-sponsored think tanks and the Liberal intelligentsia to promote its warmongering course in the name of peace. This was the concern of Ottawa Forum 2014: Rethinking Canada's International Strategy and its triumphant return with Ottawa Forum 2016: Building a Foreign Policy for Canada's Future. The Ottawa Forum is sponsored by the think tanks Canada 2020[1] and the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS).[2] Keynote speakers in 2016 were Foreign Affairs Minister Dion and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan.

Dion used his speech at the Ottawa Forum 2016 to advance the theory that Canada's foreign policy experienced a "period of drift" over the past 10 years. Dion claimed that Canada suffered from a foreign policy of "isolation." Now is the time to "remember [the] legacy" of Canada's foreign policy "and re-engage with it," Dion said.

"If we are smart and we stand up for who we are, we can be stronger as a result of engagement and we can be there, where we should be, to protect human rights and to project Canadian values," Dion said.

Dion presented a fairytale image of "the Canadian way" in which crimes and suppression of rights were described as "respect" and "peaceful means." "[P]luralism, respect for one another, respect for our heritage (Indigenous peoples), the very fact we speak the languages of the Commonwealth et La Francophonie, our ability to transcend difficult challenges in our own democracy through peaceful means: the Clarity Act -- are the way forward," Dion said.

How can Canada "regain ourselves to again become effective fixers and rational players," Dion asked. He pointed to the meeting of North American foreign ministers which he hosted later that day in Quebec City. It is an example of how "we can strengthen the relationship, not just within North America but from it to the Caribbean, Latin America, even the world," he said.

In conclusion Dion said that political leaders "should be guided by the ethics of responsibility, as opposed to the ethics of conviction."

In this regard the government has also appointed Roland Paris as Senior Advisor to Justin Trudeau in the Prime Minister's Office. He is one of five people listed as principal secretaries of the Prime Minister. These include two other Senior Advisors, Principal Secretary Gerald Butts and Chief of Staff Katie Telford. Paris is the former Founding Director of CIPS at the University of Ottawa from which he is now on leave and co-organizer with Taylor Owen of Ottawa Forum 2014. The National Post called Paris "the man behind Justin Trudeau's foreign policy." The Post reported on December 29 that Paris was working for the Liberals before the election was called and that "his fingerprints are clearly evident in the party's election platform." All the while Paris was also frequently quoted, before and after the election, as an academic and expert commenting on Liberal foreign policy prospects. Paris is also said to be present at "most, if not all, of Trudeau's meetings with foreign leaders."

Contrary to Liberal rhetoric, Canadians opposed the government's foreign policy over the past 10 years not because of Canada's "isolation" but because of its unrepentant warmongering character, alignment with the aims of U.S. imperialism and NATO, and the crimes of its military aggression in Afghanistan, Libya, Mali, Iraq, Syria, Haiti and Ukraine, among other countries. To refer to this as "isolation" is a hallmark of Liberal hypocrisy and should not be tolerated. The warmongering thread of the foreign policy of the previous government runs straight through the governments which preceded it and it is precisely this aspect which the Liberals plan to continue and step up in the name of "the Canadian way" and "Canadian values."

What does the Minister of Foreign Affairs mean by the ethics of responsibility as opposed to the ethics of conviction? He suggests that the "isolation" of the past 10 years was a result of the "conviction" of the previous government when it should have upheld "responsibility." The "solution" presented is the opportunism and hypocrisy of the Liberals which know no end. Canadians will not stand for increased warmongering under the hoax of responsibility.

Oppose Liberal Hypocrisy!
No to Any Aggressive Role for Canada!
Canada Out of Iraq, Syria and Ukraine Now!
Canada Needs an Anti-War Government!


1. Canada 2020 describes itself as "Canada's leading, independent progressive think-tank." Its founders are Tim Barber, founding partner of public relations firm Bluesky Strategy Group and former staffer for the Privy Council Office, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Trade; Thomas Pitfield, former Senior Policy Advisor to the Leader of the Government in the Senate under the previous Liberal government, and former specialist in corporate governance for IBM; and Susan Smith, a Bluesky Strategy Group partner and former advisor to a Minister of Transport and Minister of Human Resources Development.

Its "Global Advisors" and "Canadian Advisors" include a variety of corporate executives. Canada 2020 says its objective is to "inform and influence debate, to identify progressive policy solutions and to help redefine federal government for a modern Canada." It does this by "convening leading authorities from Canada and abroad, generating original policy thinking, and prioritizing effective communication."

Its "partners" include: Air Canada; Automotive Industries Association of Canada; Biotechnology firm Amgen; Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers; CIBC; CN Rail; Enbridge; Facebook; Google; General Electric; Huawei; International Bank of Commerce; Accounting firm KPMG; Manulife; RioTinto; Suncor Energy; Power Corporation; Pickworth Investments LP; Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America; TD Bank; and Telus.

2. The Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS) at the University of Ottawa was created in 2007 and is jointly funded by the university's Faculty of Social Sciences and the Office of the Vice President-Research. Its founding Director is Roland Paris. CIPS describes itself as a "leading centre in Canada for informed debate of foreign policy and international affairs."

CIPS has two areas of focus: "International security" and "Global governance." It is based on the premise that post-war international organizations "are struggling to adapt in a rapidly changing world," while new organizations are emerging, including "mixed private-public methods of regulation, various types of specialized agencies, and hybrid national-international bodies." It claims that the security challenges which must be addressed today include "the problems of failed and fragile states, the growing gap between rich and poor societies, the proliferation of destructive technologies, as well as the globalization of criminal networks, disease and pollution."

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Perverse Liberal Definition of Non-Combat Mission

The Liberal government is advancing the most perverse definitions whereby an increased Special Forces and infantry presence in Iraq and the Middle East and increased participation in the U.S. wars of aggression and for regime change is equated with ending Canada's "combat mission" as the Liberals promised in their election platform. The Globe and Mail reported on February 5 that Canada will step up its participation in U.S.-led intervention in Iraq and Syria with an announcement before a NATO meeting in Brussels February 10-11. The report says that this will involve greater numbers of Canadian Special Forces on the ground, a "non-combat" air component and an enlarged "training mission."

The Globe says the announcement will be made by Prime Minister Trudeau. It reports that the federal cabinet recently met with General Jonathan Vance, Chief of the Defence Staff, to finalize the government's war plans. Canadian forces are also expected to join a NATO "training mission" which will see them stationed at "military camps" in Jordan, Turkey and "possibly Lebanon."

A "military source" told the Globe that Canada may send a battalion of "between 500 to 1,000" to the above "military camps." International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau, while in London attending a "donor conference" on Syria, told reporters, "We really want to announce a holistic approach, and this includes all our contributions in terms of military, in terms of diplomacy and in terms of humanitarian assistance and development."

To "end Canada's combat mission in Iraq" is now, in a new tortuous twist, equated to withdrawing Canadian F-18 planes from bombing runs in Iraq and Syria while sending more Special Forces troops to Iraq, expanding the same "training mission" in which Canadian soldiers have already engaged in ground combat, maintaining other Canadian military aircraft to aid U.S. and other coalition bombing and possibly even sending a Canadian battalion to be stationed on foreign soil in one or more countries in the region.

Already on November 16, 2015, a CBC News article pointed to the "strong likelihood Canadian commandos are in combat today." The government and military figures have confirmed on several occasions since Canada joined the U.S.-led intervention in Iraq and Syria that Canadian soldiers have been taking part in active combat, including efforts to capture territory.

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Supporting Extremism in Ukraine

Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion visited Kiev, Ukraine on February 1 where he expressed the continued support of the Government of Canada for the extremist, pro-fascist Ukrainian government. Since January 10, two hundred Canadian soldiers from the 5 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, based in Valcartier, Quebec, have been deploying to Canada's Operation UNIFIER mission in Ukraine allegedly to train Ukrainian soldiers. They relieved the 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group from Petawawa, Ontario, which deployed in August 2015 and has now returned to Canada.

Canada's mission was first announced by the Prime Minister's Office in Canada and the U.S. Department of Defence in April 2015 and described as Canada joining the latter's Ukraine National Guard training program. Ukraine's National Guard is comprised of fascist and neo-Nazi militias formed in the course of the U.S.-backed coup against the Ukrainian government in February 2014. These militias, such as the Azov Brigade, have carried out untold atrocities and war crimes against the people of eastern Ukraine in the coup government's attempts to bring these regions under its control.

With the growing awareness of Canadians about the forces Canada is supporting in Ukraine, government news releases now refer only to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, which includes infantry, navy, the air force and the National Guard.

The Department of National Defence claims that Canada's military mission in Ukraine "provides its members with an excellent opportunity for the Canadian Armed Forces to learn from the recent operational experiences of their Ukrainian counterparts." Another indication that Canada's training mission involves assisting fascist militias is the fact that its roles include "teaching basic soldier skills, such as how to shoot, move and communicate on the battlefield." The Canadian government has also deployed police "to support Ukraine's patrol police reform" and "are also providing strategic guidance to Ukrainian security institutions."

The Global Affairs Canada press release describing Dion's visit to Ukraine referred to a visit to Maidan Square in Kiev in which the Minister of Foreign Affairs "laid flowers at a memorial honouring those who were killed during the protests against the former regime." It further states that Maidan Square was the site of "the 2013-2014 protests during which many protestors were killed. They became known as the 'Heavenly Hundred.'"

A detailed study by University of Ottawa Professor and former Harvard Visiting Scholar Ivan Katchanovski presented at the Annual Meeting of American Political Science Association in San Francisco, September 3-6, 2015 concluded that the massacre was "rationally planned and carried out with a goal of the overthrow of the government and seizure of power."

Dr. Katchanovski's study found evidence of "the involvement of an alliance of the far right organizations, specifically the Right Sector and Svoboda, and oligarchic parties, such as Fatherland. Concealed shooters and spotters were located in at least 20 Maidan-controlled buildings or areas. The various evidence that the protesters were killed from these locations include some 70 testimonies, primarily by Maidan protesters, several videos of 'snipers' targeting protesters from these buildings, comparisons of positions of the specific protesters at the time of their killing and their entry wounds, and bullet impact signs."

(Katchanovski, Ivan, The 'Snipers' Massacre' on the Maidan in Ukraine. September 5, 2015)

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"Peace Operations Strategy" for Foreign Occupation

Officials from Global Affairs Canada (formerly the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development), the Department of National Defence and the RCMP held a "brainstorming session" on January 29 to devise a "Peace Operations Strategy" for the new Liberal government. The term "peace operations," which is now used rather than peacekeeping missions, signals the takeover of UN missions by U.S. command, where the U.S. will "play a leading role in driving reform and shaping the future of UN peace operations."[1]

Walter Dorn, a Royal Military College professor and expert on peacekeeping told Embassy News that he was present at the January 29 meeting. According to Dorn, the phrase "peace operations" is now used because "UN operations have come to encompass much more than traditional post-conflict peacekeeping -- they play a major role in building peace, monitoring ceasefires and providing humanitarian assistance and economic and social reconstruction, among other activities."

Dorn suggested that Canada would be well placed to join or play a large role in "bilingual missions" such as the military presence in Haiti, Cote d'Ivoire, Mali and the Central African Republic. Embassy reports that J.L. Granatstein, a fellow at the Canadian Global Affairs Institute[2] has indicated that "there are rumours the Liberal government is looking at bolstering a small UN mission in Burundi."


1. "Revamping Peacekeeping to Meet War Aims," TML Weekly, November 21, 2015 - No. 36.

2. The Canadian Global Affairs Institute is a "charitable, independent, non-partisan, research institute" focusing on Canadian foreign policy, defence policy and international aid. Its mission is to "be a catalyst for innovative Canadian global engagement." It is affiliated with the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.

The Canadian Global Affairs Institute takes part in a Strategic Studies Working Group with the Canadian International Council which hosted a conference on "The Future of Fighting" and the use of drones in warfare.

Its Advisory Council includes Ian Brodie, former Harper government Chief of Staff; Jean Charest, former Liberal Premier of Quebec; John Manley, former Liberal Minister and Deputy Prime Minister; Anne McGrath, former Chief of Staff to Jack Layton and Thomas Mulcair; Dan Hays, former Liberal Senator; Robert Fowler, former foreign policy adviser to Prime Ministers Pierre Elliott Trudeau, John Turner and Brian Mulroney; and Peter Harder, who recently led Justin Trudeau's transition team.

The Institute is funded "mainly by corporate, foundation and individual donations and sponsorships. These sources share the belief that an informed electorate will in turn produce an informed polity," the Institute's website says. The identity of the donors is not disclosed.

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Important Questions of War and Peace

Preoccupations of New Foreign Policy Advisor

Halifax says NO! to war outside Halifax International Security Forum November 17, 2012.
(Halifax Media Coop)

Roland Paris is Senior Advisor to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. He was appointed to this post in November 2015. Paris has played a significant role in the efforts of the Liberal intelligentsia and think tanks to sort out the problems of a Liberal foreign policy for Canada today. As a frequent commentator on Canadian foreign policy and collaborator with NATO and other institutions of U.S. imperialism such as the Halifax International Security Forum, Paris' preoccupations are a cause for concern for Canadians, who would like to see Canada and its government as a force for peace.

Paris was the organizer of the Ottawa Forum 2014: Rethinking Canada's International Strategy with Taylor Owen. Owen is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia, editor of the Canadian International Council publication OpenCanada,[1] member of the Board of Directors of the Centre for Governance and Innovation[2] and co-editor with Paris of the collection The World Won't Wait: Why Canada Needs to Rethink its Foreign Policies.

In 2013, Paris became one of two Canadians recruited by the U.S.-based Halifax International Security Forum to participate in its "Agenda Working Group" to formulate priorities for its annual meeting.

In March 2014, Paris was appointed by then-Secretary-General of NATO Anders Fogh Rasmussen to "an expert panel tasked with developing recommendations to strengthen the trans-Atlantic partnership."

Paris is a proponent of "digital democracy" -- a form of cyberwarfare in which governments use social media to intervene in the internal affairs of sovereign countries. He hailed the partnership of the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade, and Development (now Global Affairs Canada) under John Baird with the Munk School to use social media to undermine the Iranian government in February 2014.

Self-Admitted Crisis of Liberal Internationalism

Paris, Owen and others involved with private foreign policy think tanks are responding to the fact that the old Liberal theories used to justify Canada's alignment with U.S. imperialism and aggression are in deep crisis. Owen writes in "Towards a new Liberal foreign policy," published on the OpenCanada website 10 days after the October 19, 2015 federal election, "The world has changed since the Liberals were last in power. As a result, Trudeau needs to re-imagine a liberal internationalist agenda for Canada."

No! to international gangsterism in the name
of "Protection"

For instance, Owen and Paris admit that the theory of Responsibility to Protect (R2P), the high ideal under which crimes were committed by Canada from the 1990s and beyond has been discredited. Paris claims that it "is trapped by its own internal logic" and that "the Libya intervention was problematic for R2P."

Owen says post-war international institutions, which were part of a "rules-based, open and transparent global system, whose goal is to protect and enhance the freedom of the individual," are now unable to "fulfill the very mandates they were built to advance." Owen calls for the Liberal Party to "imagine a 21st century internationalism." His concern is that, whether or not the Liberals' election promises were sound, "there is not an underlying philosophy to bind them together."

Owen asks, "How do the states that built the postwar international system continue to promote and protect the individual in a world where states have diminishing power?" He calls for a new era in which the state "works to protect the networks on which individuals empower themselves."

In their reflections on the Ottawa Forum 2014, Owen and Paris wrote, "effective international strategies often require coalitions of state and non-state actors, private organizations, advocacy groups and individuals, both inside and outside Canada... Public-private networks can be diplomatic 'force multipliers' for Canada."

Push to Increase Military Spending

Writing for the Centre for International Policy Studies (CIPS) website on June 18, 2014 Paris said, "Last year, defence spending increased in all the world's regions but three: North America, Western and Central Europe, and Oceania. While the United States remains the foremost military power today, if these investment patterns continue, Western militaries will eventually lose the technological advantage that they have long relied upon for their effectiveness."

NATO calls for all its member states to devote at least two per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) to military spending. This target was set in 2006 at the insistence of the U.S. which spends more than 3.5 per cent of GDP on the military, well above other NATO members. Only the UK, Turkey, Greece and Estonia are estimated to have reached the 2 per cent target in 2015. As of 2014, Canada spent approximately 1 per cent of GDP on the military. According to an article by Robert Greenhill[3] and Megan McQuillan for OpenCanada, Canada's "global engagement" spending, combined spending on official "development assistance" and defence was roughly 1.2 per cent of GDP in 2014.

Paris authored another article on the CIPS website on September 24, 2015 discussing Canada's military spending-to-GDP ratio. Paris referred to a "striking longer-term trend" of what Greenhill and McQuillan call Canada's "global engagement gap," where Canada's "defence expenditure as a percent of GDP has been falling since the Mulroney years."

The military spending-to-GDP ratio measure "remains important," Paris said. "NATO members have decided that it is a significant indicator, and it serves as a benchmark to examine trends in Canadian spending in relation both to previous years and to other countries' levels of defence spending."

Paris lamented that "only five NATO countries spent less than Canada on defence as a percent of GDP. That's in an alliance of 28. [...] One of them is Luxembourg."

"Adapting the Global System of Rules and Institutions"

Paris published an article in the Globe and Mail, June 20, 2014 where he said that NATO "needs to get its house in order to face a more dangerous world." He laid out the situation which he said political leaders "on both sides of the Atlantic need to describe" to "their publics." They "need to explain that the world is becoming more dangerous and that ignoring [the] risks is not a solution. If we do not reinvest in both our diplomatic and military capacities today, we will likely pay a much higher price later."

The risks referred to are what Paris calls "four major shifts taking place in world affairs." These are the alleged threat to a "rules-based order" posed by Russia; "the sudden unravelling of states and political order across parts of the Middle East and North Africa;" the "rapid escalation of tensions between China and its neighbours;" and "the increasingly strained system of international rules and institutions, which seems less and less able to manage the security challenges arising from the first three shifts."

Paris has not a word to say about whether the actions of U.S. imperialism posed any challenge to a "rules-based" order. According to the view he puts forward, all international problems and crises originate from outside the imperialist system of states and are ones to which the imperialist system must respond and adapt. Paris' predictable "solutions" include his call for NATO to "adopt a firm stance towards Russia" which includes "regularly exercising NATO combat forces in the eastern areas of the alliance," and "preparing the NATO Response Force to be deployed at shorter notice" as well as building up military equipment on Russia's frontiers.

Paris also says NATO countries must "develop the doctrines, instruments and techniques" to combat "non-linear types of aggression" and reduce consumption of Russian energy products in Europe. Of course, NATO must also focus on the Middle East and China's "more aggressive posture."

"NATO countries, including Canada, have benefited enormously from the relatively peaceful and open international order that has prevailed for nearly 70 years," Paris writes. "If they commit to doing so, the Western allies and their global partners should be able to extend this period for decades longer. But it will not happen by itself, and cracks in the foundations of this order are already visible."

"A More Comprehensive Approach to the Problems of
Failed and Fragile States"

Paris is a supporter of Canada's military mission in Iraq and Syria. However, in a January 2015 CIPS Policy Brief, he points to "challenges" and "hard lessons" illuminated by previous imperialist interventions.

One such "hard lesson" according to Paris was on the "sometimes-counterproductive effects of deploying massive Western ground forces as front-line combatants in Muslim countries where there is widespread suspicion and resentment of Western power, even among our nominal allies." One presumes that Paris thinks the deployment of "massive Western ground forces" in non-Muslim countries is greeted with balloons and streamers. Has he forgotten about Viet Nam, Korea and the anti-fascist war, to name a few? The problem in Paris' view is not the deployment of "massive Western ground forces" but that "Muslim countries" are suspicious and resentful, i.e., that the people resist imperialist occupation.

According to Paris, "Canada can and should be a leader in an international campaign for a more comprehensive approach to the problems of failed and fragile states." Besides "lack of security," the problems of "failed and fragile states" are "poor governance and lack of economic opportunity," he says. Important in this regard is, "Employment for young people, education against radicalization, investment to promote sustainable market-driven growth, and governments that serve their people rather than preying on them," Paris says.

Is this like the fairytale about "building schools" in Afghanistan? "Of course, Canada must also maintain combat-capable military forces, which are a kind of insurance policy in an uncertain world. Indeed, we should re-invest in our military and reverse recent cuts. Further, we must be willing to deploy these forces, including in combat roles, when it is in our interest to do so," Paris clarifies.

But we are comforted to learn that, "In the long run, however, we cannot kill our way to a safer world."

Paris concludes that on the mission in Iraq it would be "politically difficult for any Canadian government" to withdraw its forces and that instead, the government "has an obligation to ensure that the larger campaign is well-conceived and achievable."


1. The Canadian International Council (CIC) began in 1928 as the Canadian Institute of International Affairs. Its national secretary was Escott Reid, later chief aide to Prime Minister Lester Pearson during the creation of NATO and a diplomat in a variety of positions. In 2007 it was given its present name. The Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies, another Liberal think tank, was absorbed into the CIC in 2008. The CIC has working groups on strategic studies, Arctic sovereignty and security, border issues, Canada and the Americas, Canada-India relations, China and energy. Its Board of Directors includes Bill Graham, Chancellor of Trinity College and former Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of Defence under the previous Liberal government; Janice Stein, Director of the Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto; Jodi White, Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Norman Paterson School of International Affairs in Ottawa; Scott Burk, an investment management firm executive; and Gerald Wright, former president of the Atlantic Council of Canada, vice-chairman of the Atlantic Treaty Association, and vice-president of the Donner Canadian Foundation.

Former Directors include Perrin Beatty, President and CEO of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce; Jim Balsillie, former Research in Motion CEO; Raymond Chrétien, a lawyer and diplomat and nephew of Jean Chrétien; and Doug Horswill, Senior Vice President of the mining monopoly Teck Resources.

OpenCanada is a digital publication founded in June 2011 by the CIC in collaboration with Taylor Owen. OpenCanada is produced through a partnership of the Centre for International Governance Innovation, the Canadian International Council and the Bill Graham Centre for Contemporary International History.

2. The Centre for Governance and Innovation (CIGI) is "an independent, non-partisan think tank focused on international governance. Led by experienced practitioners and distinguished academics, CIGI supports research, forms networks, advances policy debate and generates ideas for multilateral governance improvements." Its founder and chair is Jim Balsillie, former CEO of Research in Motion, who is also the namesake and primary benefactor of the Balsillie School of International Affairs in Waterloo, Ontario.

CIGI's government sponsors include: 

The Government of Canada; the Canadian Foundation for Innovation; the Canadian International Development Agency; Environment Canada; the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council; the International Development Research Centre; the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Industry Canada; the Government of Ontario; the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation; the Ontario Research Fund; the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Innovation; the Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities; and the City of Waterloo.

International sponsors include:

The Economic and Social Research Council; the Geneva Centre for the Public Control of Armed Forces; and the United Kingdom Department for International Development.

Private sponsors include:

Encana Corporation; Power Corporation; Scotiabank; TD Friends of the Environment Foundation; the Rockefeller Foundation; Jim Balsillie; Mike Lazaridis (Founder of Blackberry); and Brookfield Asset Management (Formerly Brascan).

3. Robert Greenhill is the Executive Chairman of the Global Canada Initiative and also Senior Fellow at CIGI. Greenhill is former Managing Director and Chief Business Officer of the World Economic Forum, Deputy Minister and President of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), and President and Chief Operating Officer of the International Group of Bombardier Inc. Greenhill also sits on the board of the UN Global Compact, a pseudo-United Nations body made up of senior executives in global monopolies who work to "transform the world through business," calling for companies to "align strategies and operations with universal principles on human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and take actions that advance societal goals."

The Global Canada Initiative is a "not-for-profit, multistakeholder" organization based on the idea "Canada's ability to have a global influence cannot be taken for granted" and that "it is in Canada's strategic interest to increase its global impact." Its mission statement says, "In an increasingly multistakeholder world, the responsibility for global impact cannot rest with government alone. All stakeholders -- including the private sector, universities, social entrepreneurs and philanthropists -- have an important role to play."

It seeks to create "an exciting community of "Global Canadians" -- Canadians in leadership positions at home and abroad who are passionate about Canada's global role;" An "up-to-date narrative on Canada's global engagement;" and determine "issues on which Canada can truly have a world-scale impact."

The Global Canada Initiative is privately funded and its Board and Advisory Board include executives with Bell Canada, telecommunications firm BCE Nexxia, venture capital firm BDC Advantage, U.S. consulting firm McKinsey, marketing firm Aimia, Zed Graphic Communications and the Canadian Business Council (formerly the Canadian Council of Chief Executives). 

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Foreign Ministers of United States of North American Monopolies Meet in Quebec City

Demonstrators at the North American Leaders/Security and Prosperity Partnership Summit in Montebello, Quebec in August 2007 denounce the sellout of national sovereignty. Signs read "The homeland is not for sale, it must be defended"; "No to the SPP."

The foreign ministers of Canada, Mexico and the United States met in Quebec City on January 29 and agreed to work together on a number of matters of great concern to the peoples of the world and the cause of peace and development. The meeting is a result of the restarted North American Leaders Summit process. The last meeting of the heads of state was in February 2014 in Toluca, Mexico. The 2010 and 2015 meetings to be held in Canada were cancelled and Canada has not hosted a North American Leaders Summit since 2007. A 2011 meeting in Honolulu was cancelled after Mexican president Calderon could not attend due to a helicopter crash which killed members of his government, but a Summit did take place in Washington, DC in 2012. A foreign ministers' meeting was last held in January 2015 in Boston, U.S.

During this period of infrequent leaders' meetings, Canada and the U.S. were implementing the Beyond the Border Action Plan while the U.S. and Mexico met separately at the head of state level. The January 29 ministerial meeting is part of the preparations for a meeting of the leaders of the three countries this year. In the mandate letter to Foreign Affairs Minister Stéphane Dion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau emphasized his decision to focus on improving relations with the U.S. and Mexico and hosting a Summit of the leaders in Canada.[1]

According to Foreign Minister Dion, the three ministers agreed to collaborate in a number of areas, namely: the environment and clean energy, security cooperation, prosperity and competitiveness, the political situation in Haiti and Colombia and the Zika crisis. This cooperation takes place under the domination of the U.S. imperialists who are demanding more and more that Canada and Mexico submit to their dictate and control to try to prevent any sovereign nation-building project from developing that would benefit the peoples rather than the monopolies.

The first area which concerns the social and natural environment was the question of the environment and clean energy. The ministers said they aim to reach a North American agreement on carbon reduction and "build on the momentum that has been created in COP21." In his remarks on the matter, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry argued that the issue of green energy was an area where North American companies were positioned to make large amounts of money. "And we are seeing in the United States today massive numbers of new companies coming online. One of the fastest-growing sectors of the economy, with more and more new jobs, is coming in this energy revolution."

"Last year, global clean energy investment reached an all-time high, and over the next 20 years, it is estimated that $50 trillion will be spent and invested in the energy sector. So this is a great market staring at us with opportunities for all, and we need to seize it," Kerry said.

The discussion on enhanced security cooperation was placed in the context of the U.S.-led war of aggression in the Middle East and the fight against terrorism. Foreign Minister Dion stated that the three parties had fruitful discussion in this area to "help stop human trafficking, to fight terrorism, and to support stabilization, especially in the Middle East." Dion added that he had discussed directly with Secretary Kerry the importance of Canada's deployment in Iraq being carried out in consultation with "allies" to be sure "that the Canadian contribution to fight this awful terrorist group, the so-called Islamic State, the Canadian contribution will be optimal in the coalition."

On the question of "prosperity," one issue addressed was the demand to improve labour mobility while at the same time contributing to "women's empowerment and equity." In her remarks Mexican Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu focussed on the question of labour mobility and economic integration. Ruiz Massieu said later in the conference that the three countries have a "commitment to renew our vision to make North America a more integrated region," referring to it as "one single region" and "a center for global competitiveness in the 21st century." In addition to climate issues, she mentioned the desire to "to facilitate travel and interconnectivity, a new infrastructure, excellence in education and in security as well."

Ruiz Massieu indicated that the three countries would optimize their efforts to cooperate in Central America and the Caribbean and support social and economic development in the region and that Mexico in particular will work on a proposal to "put up-to-date the list of telecom professions so that there can be a greater movement of professionals and also to create human capital that can support the growth of competitiveness in the region in strategic sectors," and will also work to ensure more movement among academics.

Dion also repeated Canada's commitment to remove visa requirements for Mexican citizens travelling to Canada.

Secretary of State Kerry called for the three countries "to continue to do more to increase investment, to reduce the costs of trade, to make business travel and tourism easier without jeopardizing safety, and to spur the creation of whole new industries and work together even more closely," saying this was a key purpose of the Trans-Pacific Partnership in which all were participating.

In terms of blocking the resistance of the peoples of the Americas and Caribbean to imperialist dictate, the three ministers outlined some of the areas where they would focus their efforts.

The ministers singled out Haiti where Foreign Minister Dion indicated that the Canadian government supports the OAS mission to facilitate the second round of the postponed, fraud-ridden elections. "With regard to Haiti, we have seen the delay for the second round or the second ballot [of the presidential election], and we would like to see things go ahead as quickly and as properly as possible," Dion said. "In Haiti we will work together to support the peaceful transition of power and the OAS mission that will soon be underway," he said.

The other country of focus was Colombia which is on the verge of finalizing a peace accord aimed at resolving the 60-year civil war through political rather than military means. Dion stated: "We will work to promote the peace process to end more than five decades of civil war."

Kerry was more specific in what this meant. "[W]e discussed our support for the Colombian peace process -- our efforts, all together, to end the longest-running civil conflict in the region. And I noted the fact that this next week, President Obama will host President Santos in Washington," Kerry said. "I will meet with him. We will look forward to working on that process, and most importantly, also to celebrating the 15th anniversary of Plan Colombia, which I had the pleasure of working on in the Foreign Relations Committee and voting for as a senator, and which we believe has made an enormous difference to the prospects for the country of Colombia," he said.

On the Zika crisis, another matter of grave concern very little was said during the final press conference about specific measures or large initiatives to contribute to defeating the disease.

During the meeting it was pointed out that at the last foreign ministers' meeting held in January 2015 the three heads of State established a North American Caucus which the foreign Ministers indicated has been meeting.

Kezia McKeague wrote in Americas Quarterly on February 17, 2015 following the leaders Summit in Boston that the caucus was established "to consult on policy positions at multilateral fora." Citing "sources at the State Department," McKeague said "the initial step will consist of monthly meetings at the ambassadorial level in the headquarters cities of the United Nations." She added that "the hope is that consultations will lead to policy coordination. While this already happens to a great extent with Canada, the challenge will be encouraging Mexico to take a more active global role."


1. The mandate letter, among other things, calls on Dion to:

"Improve relations with the United States, our closest ally and most important economic and security partner, and strengthen trilateral North American cooperation with the United States and Mexico. This would include working with the relevant Ministers to: work with the United States to make substantial progress on reducing impediments to trade and commerce between our countries, including by improving border infrastructure and security, streamlining cargo inspection, and facilitating the movement of people. This should include increased engagement with provinces on border and regulatory issues; work with relevant ministers, including the Ministers of International Trade and Environment and Climate Change, to prepare for the North American Leaders Summit in Canada; develop a North American clean energy and environment agreement; and support the Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship in lifting the Mexican visa requirement. Ensure a close link between defence policy, foreign policy and national security."

(With files from U.S. State Department, Americas Quarterly)

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Canada Participates in Foreign Meddling in
UN-Sponsored Syrian Peace Talks

The United Nations-sponsored peace talks in Geneva, between the Government of Syria and other Syrian groups invited to participate, were declared officially open on February 1 but suspended two days later, until February 25. UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura decided temporarily halt the talks due to "differences between the parties on the priority of humanitarian issues," the UN News Centre reported. More preparation is needed for the talks to proceed, de Mistura added. Another likely reason for the suspension are the unresolved differences over which groups constitute legitimate opposition and should be allowed to participate.

Despite the aim of talks being to find a political solution to the conflict, it is clear that outside forces are using the talks to push self-serving agendas that contradict the terms of reference set by UN Security Council Resolution 2254. One example is the February 1 joint press conference in Riyadh with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir. Davutoglu said that Turkey and Saudi Arabia have a shared perspective on Syria and that both would continue to support "moderate opposition groups" in Syria. Al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia would support the Syrian opposition whether it stays in the Geneva peace talks or not. He said the talks should focus on "a transfer of power away from Bashar Assad, a new constitution and new elections and a new Syria in which Assad has no role to play. That's what the Syrian opposition went to negotiate." He added, "We support them if they choose not to negotiate. We support them if they choose to negotiate."

On January 31, Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion issued a statement welcoming the launch of the Syrian peace negotiations. "These negotiations on a political transition process aim to bring an end to the conflict in Syria in keeping with the 2012 Geneva Communiqué. After five years of violence, hundreds of thousands of deaths and the displacement of millions, it is imperative that all sides work together to bring an end to the bloodshed." Dion then said "the conflict cannot be resolved through military means alone." (TML emphasis.)

In other words, the Trudeau government considers the use of force to be the main factor to resolve the conflict. That conflict will not be resolved through military means, especially when it is the U.S., Canada and others which are using force to determine what should happen and who should lead Syria's government.

Dion goes on to indicate that Canada is openly taking up the cause of the so-called opposition forces, and implies it is they who are the true representatives of the Syrian people:

"Building on the positive outcomes of the Syrian opposition's gathering in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on December 18, 2015, Canada welcomes the Syrian High Negotiations Committee's continued unity and engagement in this process. Canada stands ready to support the Syrian people in their efforts to secure a future that is peaceful, just, democratic and respectful of the rights of all of its citizens.

"To create a more favourable environment for peace talks, the targeting of civilians must come to an end. Canada calls for an end to indiscriminate bombing and an end to the use of starvation as a weapon of war."

Also on January 31, a Global Affairs Canada announcement further confirmed Canada's interference in the affairs of the Syrian people and their peace talks. Amongst other things, the announcement stated that "Canada has provided technical and advisory support to the Syrian opposition's negotiating delegation in advance of the UN-led peace talks."

What kind of "technical and advisory support" Canada is providing to the opposition and for what aim? Do the Syrian people need advising about their future from Canada, a country involved in trying to change their government in violation of international law?

Canadian Assistance to Syrian Opposition Under the Harper Government

If the assistance Canada provided to Syrians under the Harper government is any indication, whatever the Trudeau government is doing is not likely to be humanitarian or based on the principles of the UN Charter.

In its July 2014 Response to the Fifth Report of the Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Development, entitled "Responding To The Conflict In Syria," the Harper government referred to initiatives it had taken in support of regime change in Syria. Along with sanctions, public pronouncements of its ministers against the Syrian president and calls for his removal, the government referred to steps it was taking to help anti-government opposition groups unite and work towards a "democratic transition" in "a post-Assad Syria."

The government said it had created the position of the Representative of Canada to the Syrian Opposition, based in Istanbul, Turkey "to facilitate outreach to Syria's opposition." The representative "engages with a variety of Syrian opposition figures to advocate for a democratic future for Syria, free from tyranny and extremism." The government also supported a series of five conferences in 2012-13 organized by the Washington-based Syrian Centre for Political and Strategic Studies that "brought together a diverse group of Syrian opposition figures, activists and international experts to develop a transition plan for a post-Assad Syria, resulting in the 'Syria Transition Roadmap.'"

In August 2013, the National Post reported on some of the projects Canada had undertaken with the U.S. and Britain "to help rebels inside the war-torn country," based on information provided by a senior official in the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade. The official said that more than $5.3 million was given to "opposition groups" to set up pirate radio, train bloggers and document war crimes of the Syrian government. The biggest expenditure, $1.8 million, went to "planning for a civil administration and transition." This is a U.S. initiative said to have been developed in Afghanistan to prepare local leaders for a post-war government.

Buying communications equipment, such as satellite phones and phone cards for local anti-government activists was another priority of the Harper government. Some $750,000 went to fund anti-Assad magazines and FM radio stations in Syria and other countries with sizeable Syrian populations -- France and Turkey being specifically mentioned. $650,000 went to the Syrian Justice & Accountability Centre, an organization based in The Hague and Washington, DC that sends people to Syria to seek out evidence of human rights abuses. The centre was established at the behest of a group of countries calling themselves the Friends of Syria that includes U.S., France, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and others that seek regime change by fomenting civil war or other means of aggression against Syria. The centre's mission is to "document human rights abuses and violations of international and humanitarian criminal law for future use in transitional justice processes."

Another almost $1 million was funneled through the U.S. State Department to "improve access to news and information and to train journalists and bloggers to document human rights abuses and prompt more international coverage of the situation inside Syria." One of the things Canada was said to have funded under this project was the setting up of anti-government media hubs around Damascus.

(With files from Arab News, Syrian Accountability and Justice Centre)

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Rome Meeting of Anti-Syria U.S.-Led War Coalition

On January 13, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter spoke to the 101st U.S. Airborne Division as it was preparing for a deployment to Syria. In his remarks, he referred to a counter-ISIL campaign plan "to root out the ISIL parent tumour" and take back what he described as "Islamic State strongholds" in Mosul, Iraq and Raqqa, Syria.

He told the soldiers that they would work with "local forces" -- Iraqi troops and the military forces of Iraqi Kurdistan known as the Peshmerga -- and that the U.S. campaign required focusing on enabling "local, motivated forces and an international coalition with a clear campaign plan, with American leadership, and with all of our awesome capabilities -- ranging from air strikes, special forces, cyber tools, intelligence, equipment, mobility and logistics, to training, advice and assistance from those on the ground -- including you."

On February 2, a ministerial meeting of what is called the Small Group of the so-called Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took place in Rome, Italy. The "Global Coalition" is a group 65 countries, led by the U.S., similar to the U.S.-led "coalition of the willing" declared by George Bush Jr. to carry out the criminal war against Iraq launched in 2003. Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Stéphane Dion participated in the Rome meeting.[1] The Small Group consists of 24 countries that Dion characterized as "the most involved in the coalition." Its membership appears not to be discussed publicly.

Just because the U.S. has launched a war of aggression in the Middle East, the latest under the guise of destroying ISIL, which it helped create, does not make it right or legitimize the aim. Such a coalition represents a gang of aggressors and should be opposed. The government of Canada should make good on its election promise and end all combat operations immediately. This is where Canadians stand.

A Canadian government statement provides a sense of the agenda for the Small Group meeting: "In Rome, Minister Dion will engage with his counterparts in discussions on the situations in Iraq and Syria, as well as the growing threat from ISIL in Libya, progress in coalition operations, the stabilization of liberated areas and the safe and enduring return of refugees and displaced persons." The statement quotes Dion as saying "Canada remains deeply committed to the fight against ISIL and, in consultation with our allies and partners, we are looking at options to redefine our role within the coalition to better leverage Canada's expertise while complementing the work of our coalition partners to ensure maximum effect."

To that end, Dion said after a meeting in Quebec City on January 29 with the U.S. Secretary of State: "Secretary of State Kerry and I discussed the way in which Canada can redeploy its efforts in Iraq and in the region to ensure that Canada's contribution is optimal so that we can help our allies and the Iraqis to rid themselves of the horrible terrorist group, the so-called Islamic State. We will continue talks in Rome on February 2nd in a few days where the countries that are the most involved in the coalition will meet." Clearly it is here where Canada will get its marching orders, along with the other members of the "coalition."

Dion went on:

"The goal for Canada is to redeploy our efforts in a way that will be optimal, very effective -- more effective than today in some ways -- in order to be sure that we'll be strong in our fight against Daesh, the so-called Islamic State. And we have discussed that today. We'll continue to do that in Rome, and we are -- I'm very thankful on behalf of the government to our American friends that gave us a lot of suggestions in the way in which will be helpful and effective, more effective than ever. Americans and the people from Netherland and France and UK and Italy -- all our allies are asking us to do a panoply of possibilities, and it will help us to announce [a] contribution that will be well received. I'm quite optimistic."

Canada to Focus on Jordan and Lebanon

In response to a question about Canada possibly taking on a role in Libya, Dion suggested this would not be the case, but that Syria, Jordan and Lebanon would be included in Canada's plan: "Our American friends, the Italians -- they are well involved in Libya. They have strong views about what we can do. But for now, the priority for us is to be within the coalition of more than 60 countries and to get rid of this awful terrorist group in Iraq. But the plan that we will announce will not be strictly only about Iraq. We'll see what we can do for Syria and other countries, and I mention especially two countries that we need to help to be sure that they will stay stable because they are so key for the region and they are affected by all the difficulties that are coming from the civil war in Syria and the situation in Iraq. And I'm speaking about Jordan and Lebanon. So these considerations will be within our plan."

It is of note that during the refugee screening process that went into high gear in December 2015, Canada sent over 200 military personnel to Lebanon and Jordan to process potential refugees to Canada -- work normally handled by public servants -- and to provide security. One wonders if this military presence was in preparation for Canada taking on a new military role, especially in Lebanon, as signaled by Stéphane Dion. Canadian military personnel already in Jordan are said to be involved in "counterterrorism training" with the Jordanian armed forces.


1. On its website, the U.S. State Department lists the following 65 countries as members of a global coalition to counter ISIL, stating that it expects still more countries will join.

Albania, Arab League, Australia, Austria, Kingdom of Bahrain, Kingdom of Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Arab Republic of Egypt, Estonia, European Union, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Republic of Iraq, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Republic of Korea, Kosovo, Kuwait, Latvia, Lebanon, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malaysia, Moldova, Montenegro, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Panama, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, Tunisia, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States.

No information could be found about the countries making up the Small Group of the Global Coalition to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS).

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Government Celebrates Ten Years of
Military Exercises in Caribbean

The Department of National Defence (DND) announced on January 27 that two Royal Canadian Navy maritime coastal defence vessels, HMCS Moncton and HMCS Summerside departed Halifax to participate in Operation CARIBBE 2016. Throughout the year, warships from both the east and west coasts and CP-140 Aurora aircraft from the Royal Canadian Air Force will also join in the operation. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Harper government's launch of Operation CARIBBE in November 2006.

As of 2012, Operation CARIBBE has been folded into the U.S.-led and commanded Operation MARTILLO. Prior to that it was part of the U.S. Operation UNITAS, which saw U.S., British and other NATO members sail their warships around all of South America. UNITAS was initiated in 1959-60 by the United States coinciding with the victory of the Cuban revolution. It was during UNITAS manoeuvres off the coast of Chile in September 1973 that the U.S.-organized coup d'etat against the Salvador Allende government was staged.

On the occasion of the the anniversary, the Department of National Defence attempted to repeat the fraud that the missions are about combatting the drug trade in order to hide Canada's participation in war preparations against the peoples of the Americas. DND says HMCS Moncton and HMCS Summerside will look to follow-up on the success of two other ships that in the fall of 2015 "assisted in the seizure and disruption of more narcotics during a 44-day deployment than any other duo of Maritime Coastal Defence Vessels in the history of Operation CARIBBE, with a combined total of approximately 9,800 kilograms."

Operation MARTILLO (Spanish for "Hammer"), the follow-up to UNITAS, was launched in 2012 and is said to be a "joint, interagency effort" led by the United States in which Canada, France the U.K., Netherlands and Spain plus a number of Central American countries and Colombia are listed as participants. According to the U.S. Southern Command Operation MARTILLO's mission is to deny transnational criminal organizations the ability to exploit these Central American transshipment routes for the movement of narcotics, precursor chemicals, bulk cash and weapons. Under its operational structure any forces assigned to Operation MARTILLO are subordinate to the United States Southern Command's Joint Interagency Task Force South.

Canada's little-known military involvement in the U.S. so-called war on drugs is all the more concerning given that the U.S. has been implicated in smuggling weapons into Mexico at the height of so-called drug wars, not to mention the U.S.'s long history of creating and supporting criminal organizations and regimes in Latin America when it serves their interests.

Such operations not only threaten the peoples of Latin America whose history with U.S. coup d'etats and crimes against humanity are well known, they also are used to incorporate Canada's armed forces into the U.S. military without such matters and their significance being presented to the Canadian people. Instead they are couched in tales about security, drugs and criminals. The DND announcement on the 10th anniversary of the operation says "CARIBBE is one of the many activities undertaken by the Government of Canada and DND/[Canadian Armes Forces -- CAF] as part of Canada's broader commitment to engagement in the Americas." The DND says that "the annual operation directly supports the CAF's mission to defend against threats and security challenges to Canada, North America, and our defence and security partners."

A Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2010 allows Law Enforcement Detachments of the U.S. Coast Guard to operate from Canadian warships deployed on Operation CARIBBE, which also allowed members of the Canadian navy to participate actively in interdiction as opposed to simply locating and tracking targets of interest for the U.S.

A Miami Herald article in June 2015 reported that no matter where suspects are detained on the high seas when vessels are interdicted as part of Operation MARTILLO, most are brought to Miami for prosecution. Such arrangements reveal the role that Canada and its armed forces are given as a surrogate for U.S. imperialists operations against the peoples of the Americas.

(Tony Seed, Royal Canadian Navy, U.S. Southern Command)

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U.S. and Colombia Relaunch Plan Colombia
to Sabotage Peace Plan

Peace talks between the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the government of Colombia are expected to culminate next month with the signing of a final peace accord after more than three years of talks in Havana, Cuba. It is hoped by the Colombian people that the accord will bring an end to more than 60 years of armed conflict in which more than 7 million people have been killed, disappeared or displaced. However, in the midst of advances made to bring about a peaceful resolution to the longest-running civil war in the hemisphere, the U.S. and Colombian governments have announced a new security initiative which will see hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars used to finance yet another round of the fraudulent and criminal war on drugs.

Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos met with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington, D.C. on February 4 to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Plan Colombia, which was signed in 2000 between then-presidents Bill Clinton and Andrés Pastrana. What was presented as aid to combat drugs was in fact a thinly-disguised counterinsurgency plan that provided billions of dollars in mainly police and military assistance the Colombian state used to wage an all-out dirty war on its own people in the name of a "war on drugs."

The two leaders are calling the new plan -- which again is focused on "strengthening security and combatting drugs" and that will be financed to the tune of $450 million over the next 10 years -- "Paz Colombia" (Peace Colombia).

Obama heralded the new Plan Colombia as a "tribute" to Colombian people and the challenges they have overcome. "We all know it is easier to start wars than end them," Obama said, as if to say that Colombia's reward for establishing peace is new militarized aid. This would be laughable if it was not so criminal coming from the country which has financed and worked hand in glove with the Colombian military and its closely-linked paramilitary death squads, committing mass murders and brutally violating the human rights of Colombian peasants and progressive forces.

For its part, Canada announced following a meeting of the foreign ministers for Canada, the United States and Mexico on January 29 that one of the countries' priorities would be working together to "promote the peace process" in Colombia. Allying itself with the U.S. agenda, Canada will be involving itself in what looks like an attempt to reignite the conflict in Colombia at a time when demilitarization is on the agenda of the peace talks.

Canadians have never accepted the U.S. war on drugs. They will rightfully conclude that the Trudeau government has not abandoned its predecessors' desire to fuel conflict and war rather than contribute to the peaceful resolution of conflicts. Canadians must hold the government to account for the crimes and violations of human rights that such a program is sure to give rise to.

Plan Colombia: 15 Years of National Tragedy

"Plan Colombia Equals Foreign Intervention"

While the U.S. and Colombian governments present the 15th anniversary of Plan Colombia as an occasion for celebration, Pastor Alape, speaking on behalf of the FARC Secretariat, gave a solemn assessment of the damage it has caused to the broad masses of the Colombian people.

Plan Colombia represents "15 years of national tragedy, during which the number of victims of the armed conflict increased, displacements increased up to seven million people, as did the number of disappeared people and falsely persecuted. The results are sad and painful," Alape said.

Alape explained that Plan Colombia has a public face that hides a covert component. Its public face is the "war on drugs," which scholars and analysts all over the world confirm has failed, he noted. During the plan, cultivation of crops deemed illicit has only increased, while the aerial delivery of herbicides has affected peasants' health, crops and the environment. Coca has a variety of uses, including nutrition, medicine and cosmetics.

The covert component -- the true essence of Plan Colombia -- is to annihilate the insurgency. This objective was not achieved either, but instead exacerbated the conflict in Colombia through the persecution and killings of innocents and non-combatants, as well as state repression and state terrorism.

This succinct condemnation of Plan Colombia is corroborated by activists in Colombia's social movements and others.

"What we see is that drug trafficking was strengthened and there was a lot of repression, a lot of contamination of the environment, and the level of violation of human rights of Colombians increased," Nidia Quintero, General-Secretary of the campesino rights group Fensuagro, told TeleSUR.

Women a Particular Target of Plan Colombia

Women were amongst those who have suffered the most under Plan Colombia and the insecurity and impunity it created in Colombian society. A joint survey by women's rights organizations, published in 2011, presents harrowing figures:

- six women were raped every hour in Colombia during the first nine years of Plan Colombia;
- some 489,678 women were victims of some type of sexual violence; and
- 7,752 were forced into prostitution between 2000-2009.

This violence against women is far from coincidental; it is but part of a direct military strategy. Human rights lawyer Milena Montoya, secretary of the executive board for the human rights group Lazos de Dignidad (Ties of Unity), told TeleSUR, "Raping a woman is a spoil of war. To violate a woman creates terror in other women. So, this has been one of those practices that military groups, the Colombian army as well as the U.S. army, have implemented in order to keep the population submissive and living in terror."

Montoya pointed out that forced prostitution also tended to increase around U.S. military bases. These bases were generally established around poorer rural communities where there are very few job opportunities for women and youth, she said.

A report commissioned by the Colombian government and the FARC informs that U.S. soldiers and military contractors sexually abused at least 54 Colombian girls between 2003-2007. These crimes "occurred with absolute impunity because of the bilateral agreements and the diplomatic immunity of United States officials," said Renan Vega of the Pedagogic University in Bogota, who co-authored the report.

Many women were also made the sole breadwinners for their families due to the mass killing of men in many communities, a situation worsened by the destruction of the coca crops.

Reparations for all these crimes and hardships is on the agenda of the peace talks in Havana, but the new Plan Colombia indicates that the U.S. imperialists and Colombian elite seek to deny the people the long-overdue justice they deserve.

(With files from FARC, TeleSUR)

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Celebration of 24th Anniversary of
Historic Event in Venezuela

The Embassy of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in Canada organized a celebration on February 4 to mark the 24th Anniversary of the February 4, 1992 civil-military rebellion led by Commander Hugo Chávez to fulfill the demands of the people for democracy and independence for Venezuela.

Attending the function at the University of Ottawa were ambassadors and military attachés from several countries as well as Venezuelans in Canada and solidarity and community groups from the Ottawa area.

His Excellency Wilmer Omar Barrientos Fernandez, Ambassador of Venezuela to Canada addressed the meeting and thanked everyone for commemorating an event of great importance in the history of Venezuela and the struggle of its people to control their own destiny.

He spoke at length about the historical events which brought about the uprising of the people and the military to change the situation in favour of the people.

President Nicolas Maduro at anniversary event in Caracas, Venezuela, February 4, 2016, known as the Day of Dignity.

Ambassador Barrientos described Venezuela as a land of extraordinary riches in terms of natural resources and tourist attractions. He explained that the rich oil reserves of Venezuela have historically been both a "blessing and a curse," as colonialist and imperialist powers have done everything in their power to control the production and distribution of oil. Instead of benefiting the country this led to a high level of debt which was imposed on the Venezuelan people.

He gave the examples of Standard Oil, one of the main monopoly corporations which has dominated and made enormous profits from Venezuela's oil while the health, education and proper social conditions were denied to the people. Workers had no rights to organize and manufacturing was also suppressed. By the 1960s, as people were forced to move to the cities, large areas of extreme poverty expanded, inequality grew and corruption was prevalent.

Although the rebellion of February 1992 could not be sustained it set the stage for the victories of the Bolivarian movement led by Hugo Chávez who won the Presidential elections and ultimately succeeded in having a new Constitution approved by referendum in December 1999.

This is what has made possible the social progress in all facets of Venezuelan society, said the Ambassador. Salaries have increased 30 times, universal health care and education has been established and great progress has been made to lift the burden of poverty from the backs of the people.

The Ambassador pointed out that poverty and hunger still exist in Venezuela, but this situation can be attributed mainly to attempts to sabotage the economy and undermine the political gains which favour the people. This economic warfare is supported by foreign countries to help the old ruling oligarchy regain their privileges.

The Ambassador concluded by thanking everyone for marking this important event in Venezuela's history and acknowledged all the friends of the Venezuelan people who have provided their continued valuable support to defend the gains achieved by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela.

After the presentation by Ambassador Barrientos, a short video was shown which highlighted the important dates and events in the struggle of the Venezuelan people for their rights against neo-liberal globalization and foreign interference.

(Photos: TML, AVN, Venezuelan Embassy)

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Calgary Picket to Oppose ConvergX 2016

Wednesday, February 10 -- 3:30-6:30 pm
Beside the Westin Hotel (3 Street & 4 Avenue SW)

On February 9-11, 2016 representatives of the defence and energy industries will meet at the Westin Hotel in Calgary at ConvergX 2016, an international industry-led conference. The conference will bring together "senior managers and research and technology leaders from the defence and energy sectors." ConvergX is described as an inaugural conference with the aim of identifying "new market opportunities for existing and future technologies, products and services."

The conference is being supported by Industry Canada and Western Economic Diversification, as well as many global monopolies engaged in war production. Many of the world's biggest weapons dealers and military aircraft, missile and drone manufacturers will be present, including Raytheon, General Atomics, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Thales Canada, Babcock, and Meggitt. They are joined by energy corporations Enbridge, StatOil, MEG Energy, Weatherford and modular and tank manufacturer CofelyFabricom.

Topics for the conference include From the Battlefield to the Oilfield and Unmanned Systems (Drones). From the Battlefield to the Oilfield is being moderated by a representative of General Dynamics Canada. General Dynamics, a U.S.-owned weapons manufacturer is the supplier of multi-billion dollar contracts to the Canadian government. General Dynamics has a $14.8 billion contract to provide light armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia, a deal which accounted for more than 95 per cent of military exports in 2013-2014. The deal was brokered by the Crown corporation Canadian Commercial Corporation and has been endorsed by the Liberal government.

Canada is the fifth-largest defence supplier in the world.

Bring banners and placards to express your opposition to war profiteers and their partners in the energy industry.

Canada Needs an Anti-War Government!
Canada Get Out of NATO!
Hands Off Syria! Hands Off Iraq!

For information contact Calgary Forum for People's Empowerment at calgaryempowerment@gmail.com or call Peggy -- 403-923-7054; Reynold -- 403-701-3865.

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71st Anniversary of Dresden Fire Bombing

Allied War Crime Prelude to the Cold War

On the night of February 13-14, 1945, the British Royal Air Force (RAF) bomber command carried out two devastating attacks on the German city of Dresden. At the time, Dresden's pre-war population of 640,000 had been swelled by the presence of an estimated 100,000-200,000 refugees. Seven hundred and twenty-two aircraft dropped 1,478 tons of high explosives and 1,181 tons of incendiaries on the city. The resulting firestorm destroyed an area of 13 square miles, including the historic Altstadt Museum. Shortly after noon on February 14, a fleet of 316 U.S. bombers made a third attack, dropping a further 488 tons of high explosives and 294 tons of incendiaries. On February 15, two hundred and eleven U.S. bombers made a fourth attack, dropping 466 tons of high explosives.

Aftermath of the 1945 bombing of Dresden, Germany by Allied forces.

The fire-bombing of Dresden was considered to be a gratuitous crime on the part of the British which caused up to 300,000 deaths.[1] Dresden was almost completely defenseless against the Anglo-American terror-attacks, which allowed the bombers to descend to lower levels and to maintain a steady height and heading, making their bombs even more effective.

Dresden had not previously been bombed during the war. The city was not considered a likely target because it was not a major contributor to the Nazi war economy and no key oil refineries or large armaments plants were located there. In the British Ministry of Economic Warfare's 1943 "Bomber's Baedeker," Dresden was ranked 20th of 100 German towns in its importance to the German war effort. In fact, Dresden was best known worldwide as a site of architectural treasures and was sometimes referred to as the "German Florence." Despite this, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill ordered the Dresden raids based on a plan submitted in August 1944 by Sir Charles Portal, Britain's Chief of the Air Staff.[2]

Codenamed "Operation Thunderclap," the plan involved concentrating an entire attack on a single big town other than Berlin to try to inflict a single major blow on Germany using all available power. Portal opted for the "area bombing" of a city because cities afforded a big target. In January 1945, Churchill approved Portal's plan, specifically in regards to large cities in eastern Germany, and demanded immediate action. The next day Churchill was told that Dresden, Berlin, and two other cities would be attacked as soon as conditions allowed.

Incendiaries, which are explicitly designed to start fires, were heavily used in the first three Dresden raids. The deadliness of the resulting firestorm was such that even people who took shelter from bombs underground in cellars or subways were either roasted to death by the heat or suffocated because the firestorm sucked the oxygen out of the air. This heavy use of incendiaries underlines once again that the Dresden attacks aimed to terrorize and kill people.[3] Confirming this further is the fact that Churchill specifically ordered that the terror-bombings be focused on Dresden's working class areas. Or, even more blatantly, in the words of Arthur Harris, the commander of the RAF's Bomber Command: "You destroy a factory and they rebuild it. In six weeks they are in operation again. I kill all their workmen and it takes twenty-one years to provide new ones."[4]

The bombing of Dresden was an Anglo-American war crime never brought to trial.[5] A war crime, by definition, is any crime that transgresses the laws of war, and the bombing of civilians has long been banned by international law. The 1923 Hague Rules of Aerial Warfare declared: "Aerial bombardment for the purpose of terrorizing the citizen population, of destroying or damaging private property not of military character, or of injuring non-combatants is prohibited." Even the Hitler-loving British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain declared in 1938: "It is against international law to bomb civilians as such." In the same year, the League of Nations Assembly unanimously accepted similar principles.[6]

Why was Dresden selected for the February 1945 bombings? Dresden was directly in the path of the advancing Soviet Army, who occupied the city shortly after the raids on their way to Berlin (Dresden was soon to be part of the post-war Soviet Zone). The idea was that the death and devastation caused by the bombing would be seen and reported back to Stalin, showing him the destructive capabilities of the U.S. and British bomber forces. With the end of the war only three months away, the aim of the Dresden raids was to try to intimidate Stalin and the Soviet Union so they would not stand up to the Anglo-American imperialists after the war.

About three weeks after Dresden, another similarly coded message was sent to Stalin and the Soviet Union via the U.S. imperialists' firebombing of Tokyo, which incinerated between 80,000 and 200,000 people. In August 1945, the U.S. imperialists sent two new messages, targeting Hiroshima and Nagasaki to showcase the destructive force of their new atomic bomb. Just as Tokyo, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki had little or nothing to do with the war against the Japanese imperialists, Dresden had little or nothing to do with the war against the Nazis. But it had much, if not everything, to do with a new conflict in which the Nazis and the Japanese imperialists would be Anglo-American allies and the enemy would be the Soviet Union. The Cold War was born amid the ashes of the hundreds of thousands of non-combatants who were murdered in the deadly infernos of Dresden, Tokyo, Hiroshima and Nagasaki.


1. In 2004 a commission of thirteen German historians mysteriously reduced this figure to the current official estimate of 25,000 deaths. This deliberate reduction to downplay the number of deaths parallels the imperialist campaign to reduce the number of deaths attributed to the Nazis, e.g., the number of official deaths at Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp was recently reduced from the immediate post-war figure of 4 million, agreed upon at the Nuremberg Trials, to 1.4 million.

2. The most ludicrous theory of the origin of the Dresden raids is that Winston Churchill, the virulent anti-communist who initiated the 21-country invasion of the fledgling Soviet Union in 1918 and who made the Goebbels-inspired Iron Curtain speech in 1946 that officially opened the Cold War, carried out the Dresden raids because Stalin ordered him to! Of course, no documentation of this so-called order exists.

3. Andrew Chandler, "The Church of England and the Obliteration Bombing of Germany in the Second World War." English Historical Review, 108 (1993), pp. 920-46 (p. 931).

4. Similarly, the U.S. imperialists used white phosphorus and napalm weapons to terrorize and kill civilians during the Korean and Viet Nam wars.

5. See, for example, Donald Bloxham, "Dresden as a War Crime," in Paul Addison & Jeremy Crang (eds.), Firestorm: The Bombing of Dresden, 1945. Chicago: Ivan Dee (2006).

6. Adam Roberts & Richard Guelff, Documents on the Laws of War. Third Edition. Oxford University Press (2000), p. 22; Geoffrey Best, War and Law Since 1945. Oxford University Press (1997), p. 200.

(Originally published by TML Daily, February 14, 2011 - Vol. 41, No. 20. )

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Dresden and Poznan:
Two Different Ways to Wage War

The Red Army and British-American forces had one enemy -- the German Wehrmacht -- but quite often they waged different wars. The liberation of the Polish city Poznan by the Red Army and the bombing of Dresden by [other Allied countries] -- one event following one week after the other -- 70 years ago in February 1945. These two examples provide a good illustration of this.

The Liberation of Poznan by the Soviet Union

Liberation of Poland by the Red Army.

During the Vistula-Oder Offensive, the 1st Belarussian Front under the command of Marshal Georgi Zhukov, the "Hero of the Soviet Union," managed to secure two bridgeheads west of the Vistula River between July 27 and August 4, 1944, opening the way to Berlin. The concentration of German forces were left blocked but not defeated at Schneidemüh and Poznan. With the main forces continuing to advance in a westerly direction, it took time and effort to rout the German grouping at Poznan.

General Vasily Chuikov, the commander of the 8th Army (who later became Marshall of the Soviet Union), was responsible for the operation planned to smash the enemy forces there. In his memoirs he said the German-built fortifications were classic Vauban-style fortresses... The design envisioned the construction of underground forts in the center and citadels at the junctures to accommodate a large garrison.

In Poznan the city and fortifications were strongly defended and integrated into a single defence plan to coordinate fire. The Fort Winiary citadel stood on a hill to the north of the city centre. Around the perimeter of the city were 18 massive forts spaced at intervals of about 2 kilometres in a ring with a radius of about 5 kilometres. General Chuikov described the forts as "...underground structures each with several storeys, the whole projecting above the surrounding terrain. Only a mound was visible above ground -- a layer of earth covering the rest. Each fort was ringed by a ditch ten metres wide and eight metres deep, with walls revetted with brickwork. Across the ditch was a bridge, leading to an upper storey. Among the forts, to the rear, were one-storey brick bunkers. These were clad in concrete almost a full metre thick, and were used as storehouses. The upper works of the forts were sufficiently strong to provide reliable protection against heavy artillery fire... the enemy would be able to direct fire of all kinds against us both on the approaches to the forts and within them, on the rampart. The embrasures were such that flanking fire from rifles and machine-guns could be directed from them." Together with Volkssturm (a German national militia of the last months of World War II), Poznan was defended by the 60,000-strong garrison.

The offensive started early in the morning on January 26. The first strike was delivered from the south. It was unexpected by the enemy. Two southern forts were seized on the Warta River's western bank. As a result, the troops and tanks penetrated the ring of forts to attack the enemy from behind. The attack from the north produced little result. The Soviet troops did not attack from the west. Chuikov remembers that a way out was left on purpose to allow the enemy to withdraw from the city-fortress. But Germans did not leave. A long hard battle lay ahead. On January 28, another attack was launched. Chuikov addressed the surrounded German troops in Poznan [and issued] an ultimatum. It read: "Officers and soldiers of the Poznan garrison. You are surrounded. There is no way you can leave the city. I, General Chuikov, offer you to immediately lay down your arms and surrender. I guarantee life and return home after the war is over. Otherwise you'll be wiped out. The death of civilians in Poznan will be your responsibility. Do not hesitate. Raise white flags and come to our side. General Chuikov."

But the garrison had no intention of surrendering. Soviet aviation and artillery strikes delivered on fortifications tried to avoid damage to the buildings inside the city and casualties among civilians. The Fort Winiary citadel was ruined. The soldiers hid underground.

By February 5 the assault teams had fully liberated the residential areas. After February 12 the Fort became the main target. As the Soviet troops approached, the resistance grew. The 5-8 metre high brick walls protected the enemy, preventing tanks from advancing. Heavy artillery pieces were moved closer to fire at the Fort from a distance of 300 metres. But even 203 mm projectiles did not inflict much damage to the thick walls.

At that time, the 1st Belarus Front forces moved to the west reaching the Oder. The general assault started on February 18 and lasted without stop for four days. Having built an assault bridge, Red Army tanks and assault guns of the 259th and 34th crossed into the main grounds of the citadel at 3 am on February 22 commencing the final struggle for the old fortress. The groups of 20-200 men started to surrender. Only 12,000 troops remained of the 60,000-strong garrison. The bloody fighting ended on February 23, 1945, the 17th anniversary of the Red Army. Two hundred and twenty-four artillery pieces fired 20 salvos to salute the victory.

The Bombing of Dresden by the Allies

Aftermath of the 1945 bombing of Dresden, Germany by Allied forces.

Here is an example of the war waged by the allies. On February 13-15, they delivered air strikes against Dresden which inflicted damage comparable to the Hiroshima and Nagasaki attacks.

Americans called the operation "Thunderstrike." Who was it targeted against?

The city had no significant defence industry facilities and was flooded with refugees.

A Royal Air Force (RAF) memo issued to airmen on the night of the attack said: "Dresden, the seventh largest city in Germany and not much smaller than Manchester is also the largest unbombed builtup area the enemy has got. In the midst of winter with refugees pouring westward and troops to be rested, roofs are at a premium, not only to give shelter to workers, refugees, and troops alike, but to house the administrative services displaced from other areas." Why raze to the ground a city that had no substantial importance for the war effort? The very same memo was rather cynical about it. It read: "The intentions of the attack are to hit the enemy where he will feel it most, behind an already partially collapsed front... and incidentally to show the Russians when they arrive what Bomber Command can do." That's what the Royal Air Force really did by bombing from a safe altitude a city flooded with demoralized people.

As the end of war was approaching British-American aviation started to deliver more frequently politically motivated strikes, destroying cities of no significance for the German war effort that were soon to be liberated by the Red Army, for instance Prague, Sofia etc. Dresden is the brightest example of how this vicious tactic was employed. The devastated area in Dresden exceeded by four times the devastated area of Nagasaki. Fifteen-hundred degree heat hit the larger part of the city. People running to reach the city's outskirts fell into melting asphalt. Smoke was 45 metres high. At least 25,000 died. Some experts say the death toll was as high as 135,000.

Günter Wilhelm Grass, a German writer and recipient of the 1999 Nobel Prize for Literature, called the bombing a war crime. This point of view is supported by many.

Dr. Gregory Stanton, president of Genocide Watch, expressed himself more bluntly saying the Allied firebombing of Dresden and the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were war crimes and also acts of genocide.

(Strategic Culture Foundation, February 26, 2015. Edited slightly for grammar by TML.)

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