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Canada to fund opposition in Belarus and names Russia and China its main enemies

By Lucas Leiroz | February 10, 2021

Canada is changing its geopolitical intentions. Apparently, this country, which has always been passive in the face of American decisions, wants to take more aggressive positions on the international stage. The Canadian government recently announced that it will finance opponents against Lukashenko in Belarus and now the Canadian intelligence director has made a note regarding Moscow and Beijing as “the biggest threats to Canada”. Ottawa visibly wants to take more incisive actions in the international scenario, perhaps because it doubts Washington’s ability to guarantee its interests at the moment. However, the country has no material conditions to carry out its plans and may be taking positions which are complicated to maintain in the long term.

Canadian positioning on the international arena has always been previously determined by its largest partner, the US. Washington has historically held a leadership role in bilateral relations, and this has always been accepted peacefully by Ottawa’s officials. Certainly, nothing will change in this regard and a rupture of interests between Americans and Canadians seems very unlikely in the near future. However, due to a number of issues, it is possible to say that Washington has become increasingly unable to maintain a foreign policy as broad as in the past, which has motivated Canada to make some decisions that in the past would have been taken first by the US.

Examples of this type of more aggressive attitude on the part of Canada can be seen in some recent events. Earlier this week, Canadian Foreign Minister Marc Garneau announced in a note the donation of 2.25 million Canadian dollars to political opponents of Lukashenko in Belarus. The money will go to all organizations working to “promote democracy” in Belarus. The note also observes that the country had already sent 600,000 Canadian dollars to help opposition organizations, in particular women and representatives of the “independent media”. In fact, oppositionists receiving foreign funding tend to increase their activities, which tends to generate more violence on the streets and social instability in the country. By promoting open funding for these organizations, Ottawa creates a strong diplomatic crisis, not only with Belarus, but also with Russia, which maintains good ties with Lukashenko and condemns Western interventionism.

Another fact worth mentioning is a recent statement by the Canadian intelligence director on Russia and China. During a conference, David Vigneault, director of the Canadian secret service (CSIS), singled out Moscow and particularly Beijing as the states most involved in “human and cyber threats” against Ottawa. The Chinese role in the alleged “cyber-attacks” suffered by Canada was emphasized, with China being considered the main threat to Canadian national security – although no evidence of the existence of such cyber-attacks has been presented. This speech, however, does not come about by chance. Previously, in November 2020, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) had previously claimed in a report that China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea are Canada’s biggest threats to cybersecurity. China and Russia vehemently deny that they pose any kind of threat to Western countries, responding that such claims are devoid of any evidence, being nothing more than justifications for geopolitical maneuvers and international sanctions.

Biden’s election represented a resurgence of old American foreign policy, with a focus on preserving global hegemony. The Trump administration, marked by a huge geopolitical decline, had caused great discontent among Washington’s international allies because it had supposedly “decreased security” in these countries in the face of their common geopolitical rivals. However, even though the West celebrated Biden’s victory, there is still a collective distrust of the new president’s real ability to comply with his bold geopolitical plans. In other words, Biden undoubtedly wants to regain American global dominance, but it may be too hard for any American government to do so.

A recovery of American hegemony benefits Canada because, being a country that is geographically close and historically allied to the US, this guarantees security and stability. However, amid the decline of recent years and uncertainty about the future, the Canadian government may have to make its own decisions and seek a balance between a constantly changing world and an advanced process of geopolitical multipolarisation. What Justin Trudeau seems to want to do in his country is not very different from what Macron has been doing in France and Merkel in Germany: he is looking for a Westernist alternative to the American decline. To this end, these politicians anticipate decisions that historically were up to Washington.

If Biden keeps his promises, Canada will be in an extremely comfortable position due to its ties to the US. If Biden fails, Ottawa will have to seek European support. But in any case, getting ahead on some issues can be a serious strategic mistake for Canadians. Canada’s material apparatus, military capabilities and international influence are exceedingly small compared to the countries that Ottawa has chosen as its main enemies. The cyber-attacks that Canadian intelligence agencies accuse Russia and China of carrying out are unlikely to be real, however, it is undeniable that Moscow and Beijing have sufficient power to carry out such attacks and will not hesitate to do so if necessary.

If Canada really intends to guarantee its survival in a world of constant change, choosing much more powerful enemies and financing riots in the zone of influence of other powers seems to be a terrible strategy, even more considering that Canada also has its areas of instability and its foci of tensions, with separatist movements that are gradually growing, such as Quebec and Alberta, and that can at any moment evolve into deeper unrest if they receive foreign money from countries interested in responding to Ottawa’s affront.

Lucas Leiroz is a research fellow in international law at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro.

February 10, 2021 Posted by | Russophobia | , , | 5 Comments

Canadian Intel Report Alleging COVID-19 Disinformation Campaign is ‘Madness’, Russian Embassy States

Sputnik – 04.12.2020

The Russian Embassy in Ottawa refuted a Canadian intelligence report that claimed Russia, China and Iran actively spread COVID-19 disinformation.

Earlier in the day, snippets of a Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) report obtained by a Canadian media outlet shed light on an alleged disinformation campaign by Russia, China and Iran to discredit western countries’ pandemic response to further their strategic interests.

“False claims in blame Russia-fashion spread by [mainstream media], referring to secret intelligence reports, instead of cooperation against the pandemic. The propaganda war by western spy agencies to denigrate Russian anti-COVID-19 efforts and the successful Sputnik V vaccine while diverting attention from west’s own failures. Madness,” the embassy’s press service tweeted on Thursday.

Canada’s spy agency deduced that Russia spread disinformation to discredit the west, promote national interests abroad and to push for an end to sanctions. China and Iran were accused of spreading disinformation to compensate for their failures in containing the pandemic.

Reciprocally, Russia, China and Iran have vocally asserted that western countries are using COVID-19 disinformation to sow discord in their internal affairs.

December 4, 2020 Posted by | Deception, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

Intelligence agencies fail to protect us from pandemic

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CSIS and CSE headquarters
By Yves Engler · April 16, 2020

With millions forced out of work and many more stuck at home, Canadians need to ask tough questions of organizations receiving billions of dollars to protect them from foreign threats. The country’s intelligence/security sector has done little to respond to the ongoing social and economic calamity. Even worse, their thinking and practices are an obstacle to what’s required to overcome a global pandemic.

A recent Canadian Press article highlights the failure of intelligence agencies to warn of the COVID-19 outbreak. They largely ignore health-related threats despite receiving huge sums of federal money.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service’s (CSIS) has more than 3,000 employees and a $500 million budget, which is nearly equal to that of the lead agency dealing with the pandemic. The Public Health Agency of Canada’s (PHAC) budget is $675 million and it has 2,200 employees. For its part, the Communications Security Establishment (CSE) employs 2,500 and receives over $600 million annually. In 2011 Department of National Defence run CSE moved into a new $1.2 billion, 110,000 square metre, seven-building, complex connected to CSIS’ main compound.

CSE is but one component of DND’s intelligence juggernaut. Not counting CSE, the Canadian Forces has greater intelligence gathering capacities than any organization in the country. While their budget and size are not public information, the government’s 2017 Defence Policy review notes that “CFINTCOM [Canadian Forces Intelligence Command] is the only entity within the Government of Canada that employs the full spectrum of intelligence collection capabilities while providing multi-source analysis.” The Defence Policy Paper called for adding 300 military intelligence positions and expanding CFINTCOM’s scope.

CFINTCOM has a medical intelligence (MEDINT) cell to track how global health trends and contagions impact military operations. Apparently, they reported on the coronavirus outbreak in January but it’s unclear who received that information.

The $2 billion spent on CSIS/CSE/CFINTCOM annually — let alone the more than $30 billion devoted to DND/Veterans Affairs — could have purchased a lot of personal protective equipment for health care workers. It could have paid for many ventilators and it could also have been used to raise the abysmally low wages of many who work in long-term care and nursing homes.

But, it’s not only that CSIS/CSE/CFINTCOM resources could be better used. Their ideology and structures are an obstacle to avoiding/overcoming a global pandemic. Two weeks ago, CSE put out a statement warning Canadian coronavirus researchers to beware of malign international forces seeking to steal their research. A Canadian Centre for Cyber Security statement noted, “these actors may attempt to gain intelligence on COVID-19 response efforts and potential political responses to the crisis or to steal ongoing key research toward a vaccine or other medical remedies.” But, wouldn’t it, in fact, be great if our ‘enemies’ in Russia, China, Iran, or anywhere else employed Canadian research to develop a cure or vaccine for COVID-19? Who, except extreme right-wing ideologues could believe a vaccine or cure should be patented and profited from?

It won’t be easy to shift their orientation to include pandemics. In a recent commentary, prominent intelligence agency insider Wesley Wark notes, “our security and intelligence agencies have never seen health emergency reporting as part of their core mandate, despite a plan laid down in the National Security Policy announced after SARS that unfortunately went nowhere.” For a time after the 2003 SARS outbreak the CSIS-based Integrated Threat Assessment Centre reported regularly on pandemic dangers, but the unit was soon collapsed into the Integrated Terrorism Assessment Centre. For the intelligence agencies “terrorism” is appealing because it justifies militarism and a ‘security’ state. Health emergencies, on the other hand, justify better work conditions for long-term care providers.

The CSIS/CSE/CFINTCOM definition of ‘security’ is heavily shaped by corporate Canada, state power projection and ties to the US Empire. In criticizing Canadian intelligence agencies’ failure to warn/protect us from the pandemic, Wark highlights the dangerously narrow outlook of the intelligence community. He suggests CSIS/CSE/CFINTCOM could have helped prevent the calamity by gathering better intelligence on China. But, if Beijing hid early information on COVID-19, it’s at least partly because China is locked in a destructive geopolitical competition with the US empire, which was instigated by Washington and its allies (from 1949 to 1970 Canada refused to recognize China and in 1950 sent 27,000 troops to Korea largely to check Chinese nationalism). In recent months CSIS/CSE/CFINTCOM have sought to identify China as a threat.

Wark’s thinking must be rejected. Avoiding and overcoming global pandemics requires a free exchange of health information. It also requires international solidarity.

After the COVID-19 crisis dies down, progressives should renew their push to devote intelligence agencies’ resources towards initiatives that protect ordinary Canadians’ security, rather than the interests of the rich and powerful.

April 16, 2020 Posted by | Economics, Militarism | , | 1 Comment

Canadian woman continues to fight to obtain a passport

By Rick Sterling | Rabble | November 26, 2018

In the Fall of 2012, a young man from Calgary Alberta, Damian Clairmont, received a new Canadian passport. He received this despite the fact that Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) had been secretly monitoring Damian and several others in Calgary and knew the young men were planning to join an armed extremist organization in Syria. At least five youth from Calgary did travel to Syria and Iraq where they all died with one becoming a suicide bomber reportedly killing 46 Iraqis.

In a bizarre contrast, in the spring of 2016, the Canadian government forced Damian’s mother, Christianne Boudreau, to surrender her Canadian passport. This article examines the strange circumstances and seeming irrationality.

Christianne Boudreau Countering Extremism

Unlike her son, who had been indoctrinated then recruited to join a terrorist group, Christianne Boudreau has worked with other parents internationally to create and promote educational programs to counter extremism. She converted her grief at the loss of Damian to help educate others how to prevent the same thing happening again.

Dr. Daniel Koehler, Director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies, described her role:

Christianne Boudreau was one of the first mothers to speak out publicly against violent radicalization with her own painful personal experience of losing her son Damian. Together with Christianne, I built up a network of affected parents around the world: the Mothers for Life Network, which currently includes about 150 families from 11 countries. It is the only international parental self-help group addressing the needs of those parents. I also trained Christianne to be a family counsellor to help other parents of children undergoing violent radicalization.

Mothers for Life works with the important goal of countering extremist ideology and violence which has exploded in the West as well as the Middle East. It uses human connections and sharing among families who have experienced radicalization, not just lectures and lofty seminars.

Christianne Boudreau has travelled and spoken at many places across Canada and internationally. She says the problem is not Islam or religion. A writer documented Chris’s visit to the Islamic Institute of Toronto in an article titled “Christianne Boudreau’s visit to Toronto left us inspired.” The writer reported:

Chris was asked, ‘Do you blame Islam and Muslims for the death of your son?’ Everyone held their breath. I couldn’t look her in the eyes. ‘No, I don’t blame Muslims or Islam for what happened to my son. I blame misguidance and bad choices. It is ideology similar to that of gangs and cults. It is the same. They prey on young impressionable adolescents and exploit them.

In addition to this organizational work, Chris Boudreau has been exceptional in another way: she has dared to criticize the intelligence security service of her native Canada. When CSIS agents first contacted her in January 2013 and told her they had been monitoring Damian for nearly two years, she asked why they had not warned her about his real intentions. Why did they not prevent him from getting a new Canadian passport?

CSIS “Research” 

After Damian’s death in January 2014, Chris Boudreau said she thought CSIS had some responsibility for his actions and death. In May 2014 she wrote a letter to CSIS politely expressing her questions and complaints. “We as a family have a right to know what has happened, and how our system has failed us.” She described her efforts to get answers over the previous year, how a CSIS agents had asked her to stop speaking out and asking questions. Finally, almost one half year later, CSIS Director Michel Coulombe responded to Chris’ inquiries. He did not answer her specific questions yet concluded that “the Service acted professionally and within its legislated mandate.” Regarding the warning of a CSIS agent, Director Coulombe evaded the issue by saying,“We have found no indication of an attempt to interfere in your relationship with other parties.” Regarding the disturbing consequences of radical indoctrination and violence, Coulombe said that CSIS “is conducting research to better understand this phenomenon in Canada.” This “research” is small comfort to a woman whose son was misled into joining a violent terrorist group, perhaps killing innocent Syrians and being killed himself.

Canada Takes Away Christianne Boudreau’s Passport

Fifteen months later, in February 2016, Citizenship and Immigration Canada acted in a way which definitely restricted and interfered with “her relationship with other parties”. While Chris and her son Lucas were visiting family in France, the Canadian government ordered her to surrender her Canadian passport. Christianne and her son were stuck in France, dependent on the generosity of family, for the next eighteen months. Chris was without income or ability to return home. Finally in November 2017, when Lucas’ father was dying of cancer, the Canadian embassy in France provided temporary emergency documentation so that Chris and her son could return home to Calgary.

The Official Reason Canada Took Away her Passport

Chris Boudreau has tried repeatedly to get her passport back. The official reason it was taken away and cannot be returned is that she provided “false or misleading information” in the passport application for her son Lucas. The “false and misleading” information was that she did not include the name of Lucas’ father on the passport application and did not disclose court orders from 2004-2007 which had defined the father’s visiting rights with baby Lucas (born in 2004).

In fact, Ms Boudreau was never married to the father, they did not live together when Lucas was born and Lucas’ birth certificate did not include the father’s name because the father wanted no responsibility. The applications for Lucas’ previous passports in 2007 and 2010 were filled out just the same way with no question or objection by Citizenship and Immigration Canada. In addition, there was a court order and signed agreement between Ms. Boudreau and the father in January 2016 which confirmed a summer visit with the father.

Ironically, Lucas was unable to visit the father as specified because CIC took away the passports of him and his mother in the spring of 2016. Ms. Boudreau and Lucas were unable to return to Canada until November 2017 when they received emergency travel documents as the biological father was in a terminal stage of cancer.

“Very few people have been denied passports”

Ray Boisvert, former head of CSIS counter-terrorism was previously asked why CSIS did not prevent Damian Clairmont from receiving a passport if CSIS knew about his radicalization and intentions. Boisvert responded that denying a passport to a Canadian citizen was an infringement on freedom of movement and required solid evidence. “There have been very few people who have been denied passports because the threshold is so high. And rightfully so.”

If Boisvert’s assertion is true, then why has CIC acted so harshly against Christianne Boudreau? The violation in the passport application caused little or no harm. The complaint by the biological father was resolved in the January 2016 court order and agreement. This was not an issue of parental joint custody because Christianne Boudreau had been the sole parental custodian for Lucas since his birth.

Christianne Boudreau’s Effectiveness in Countering Extremism

This extreme decision is not only harming Christianne Boudreau and her children. It is also hurting the international campaign against extremism and violent radicalism.

Dr. Koehler, Director of the German Institute on Radicalization and De-Radicalization Studies says:

Christianne’s work depends on her ability to travel, meet with other parents, participate in workshops, educate about the threat of violent radicalization and help affected families around the world. She was a main driving force behind the Mothers for Life Network and her absence from these important activities have caused serious harm to global issue of helping families in need.

Dr. Amar Amarasingam, Senior Research Fellow at the Canadian Network for Research on Terrorism, Security and Society at University of Waterloo has said:

Since the loss of her son Damian, Christianne Boudreau has been tirelessly working to try and prevent other young men and women from traveling abroad to fight. She traveled around the world to meet with other parents and families, gave talks and conducted workshops. Especially now, with ISIS fighters and families being captured by Kurdish forces and parents in Western countries trying to get in touch with them, Chris’s activism is much-needed. She is trusted by families the world over and would be an invaluable resource today. I’m not too familiar with the particulars of her case, but her ability to travel is fundamental to her work and I hope it gets sorted out soon.

In 2016, as Christianne Boudreau was having her Canadian passport revoked, CBC produced a documentary describing her good work. The producer Gail McIntyre and director/writer Eileen Thalenberg have recently written:

Christianne Boudreau was the focus of our film, A Jihadi in the Family, which was broadcast on CBC – TV in 2016. Over a period of two years, we covered her important work as founder and driving force behind the movement Mothers for Life. This organization was set up to support families and to inform educators, the public and policy makers about the early signs of radicalization and how to prevent it. Her work in this area was far-reaching – uniting mothers in North America and Europe…. Without her passport, she is unable to continue with her high profile work.  This not only impacts anti-radicalization efforts, it severely affects her ability to support her herself and her son.

Public Appeal to “Return Christianne Boudreau’s Passport!”

Chris Boudreau, born in Toronto, is still being denied a Canadian passport. She has the anguish of knowing her son died in a foreign land. She has the pain of not knowing what he might have done with others in the terrorist group. She has difficulty finding a job when employers easily see and identify her as the “jihadi’s mother”. She was punished and impoverished by being left in a foreign country without a passport for a year-and-a-half.

Why is Canada denying this woman her right to travel, guaranteed to all citizens under the Canadian Charter? Most importantly, why is Canada preventing this brave woman from continuing her effective work countering international extremism?

A petition to “Return Christianne Boudreau’s Canadian Passport!” has been launched and can be seen here.

Rick Sterling can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com.

November 29, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Deception in North Korea? Nope, But a New Flavor of Neocon

By Peter Van Buren | Medium | November 15, 2018

What is the state of diplomacy on the Korean peninsula? Are we again heading toward the lip of war, or is progress being made at an expected pace? Are there Asian Neocons fanning the flames for conflict in Pyongyang much as others did with Baghdad?

A year ago, in November 2017, John Brennan estimated the chance of a war with North Korea at 20 to 25 percent. Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, said the odds were 50/50. The New York Times claimed we were “slouching toward war” with the North, on a “collision course.” National security adviser HR McMaster said North Korea represented “the greatest immediate threat to the United States” and that the potential for war with the communist nation grew each day. The US lacked an ambassador in Seoul; Victor Cha was rejected by Trump because, according to “sources and reports,” he didn’t support a preemptive strike on Pyongyang. It was reported the US was “imminently preparing for an attack on North Korea,” driven in part by hawks like Mike Pompeo and John Bolton.

All that was wrong.

Cha, it appears, didn’t in fact support what Trump actually was planning: not a preemptive strike, but a summit meeting with Kim Jong Un, held some five months ago in Singapore following a first try at courtship aside the Seoul Olympics in January 2018. World leaders meeting to talk peace is historically seen as a good thing. Yet the American media consensus was a president they believe is roundly despised globally conveyed “legitimacy” on Kim Jong Un, no matter that his family has ruled North Korea for some seven decades, and his country already holds a seat at the United Nations. No shortage of experts from South Korea universities and American think tanks were found to support those claims.

The media generally ignored, in return for the US postponing a handful of military exercises (“concessions,” which were deeply criticized by an American media which has failed to note the US has actually resumed some exercises), the North unilaterally stopped ICBM testing (the missiles which might someday be able to reach the US) and nuclear detonations. It released American hostages, and took steps to close down two nuclear missile facilities. Kim Jong-un fired top military leaders who dissented over his approaches to South Korea and the United States.

Officials from North and South now meet regularly, and US diplomats engage with both sides on an ongoing basis; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been to Pyongyang. Numerous practical steps have been taken along the DMZ to reduce the chance of accidents. South Korea’s unification minister in charge of North Korea issues Cho Myoung-gyon will visit the United States this week, where he is expected to meet Pompeo. This is the first time in four years for South Korea’s unification minister to visit Washington. On the last visit, in 2014, then-Secretary of State John Kerry refused to meet with his predecessor in line with the Obama (and Bush) administrations’ policy of ignoring North Korea in hopes the problem would go away.

Yet the headlines this week in the New York Times and other major US outlets scream of a “great deception” by the North Koreans, evidenced by a hardline think tank — helmed in part by Victor Cha — “discovering” North Korean missile facilities already long known to US intelligence (Cha’s lo-rez commercial satellite photos are dated March, months before the Trump-Kim summit, so everyone who mattered already knew.) In a matter of a few paragraphs, Cha and the Times blow this “discovery” up to announce, without any evidence, “What everybody is worried about is that Trump is going to accept a bad deal — they give us a single test site and dismantle a few other things, and in return they get a peace agreement” that formally ends the Korean War. Mr. Trump, he said, “would then declare victory, say he got more than any other American president ever got, and the threat would still be there.”

What is the real state of diplomacy on the Korean peninsula? Are we again heading toward the lip of war?

Of course not. South Korea’s presidential spokesperson put those “new” missile facilities into the perspective Trump’s critics lack, saying “North Korea has never promised to shut down this missile base. It has never signed any agreement, any negotiation that makes shutting down missile bases mandatory… There is no agreement, no negotiation that makes it necessary for it to be declared.” In other words, there can be no deception where there was no agreement.

To call what the Times discovered a “deception” is deeply misleading. The Singapore declaration and the inter-Korean summit declarations of April 27 and September 19 this year do not commit Pyongyang to disclose the sites. What is new to the Times is actually old news; Kim Jong Un in his January 2018 New Year’s Day guidance stated North Korea would shift to the mass producing nuclear weapons in such facilities. “The nuclear weapons research sector and the rocket industry should mass-produce nuclear warheads and ballistic missiles, the power and reliability of which have already been proved to the full, to give a spur to the efforts for deploying them for action,” Kim said. The Times in fact more or less acknowledged all this in September, before being surprised by it in November.

And the Times’ big scary takeaway, that the old/new facilities are in caves, confuses tactical concealment with some sort of nefarious political “deception.” Did they expect the missiles to be worked on in the parking lot outside Kim’s villa?

One issue only lightly touched by a western media obsessed with parsing tweets as their stab at journalism is the ongoing rush forward driven by the two Koreas themselves, what under any other media climate would be hailed as a huge series of successes but which falls in 2018 under the Trump Is Always Wrong Shadow. In a short time the two states established psuedo-embassies just north of the DMZ, where representatives from the two Koreas have met more than 60 times. The office has become a clearinghouse for over a dozen projects launched during the summit. There are plans for a massive bi-national project to link roads and railroads severed during the Korean War.

North and South Korea have begun removing landmines from the border, drawn back some troops, and most recently held a third leaders’ summit in September in Pyongyang where North Korean leader Kim offered to permanently dismantle two key ICBM facilities under the observation of outside experts. He also offered to negotiate further on the permanent shut down of the nuclear facility at Yongbyon. South Korean President Moon Jae-In, for his part, better than the US understands the future is ultimately about economics, not nukes. Moon seeks sanctions relief as negotiations move forward (little is ever accomplished without some give and take.) “I believe the international community needs to provide assurances that North Korea has made the right choice to denuclearize and encourage North Korea to speed up the process,” he said this week in Paris during a visit with French President Emmanuel Macron. If the western media is correct that Trump is being duped, played, deceived, and cheated by the North, what must they think about the faster pace set by the South? After all, a US miscalculation means we all switch from Samsung to Apple phones made in China, while South Korea risks being turned into a wasteland dotted only with signs for Nuka Cola.

Left off to the side is that it has been only five months since the historic summit in Singapore. Obama’s agreement with Iran, which did not even involve actual working nukes, took almost two years to conclude. Cold War negotiations with the Soviet Union ran across administrations, extending the broader process into decades of talks, and were aimed at goals much shorter than full denuclearization. Five months is barely enough time to grow a decent garden, never mind resolve multinational problems that reach back to 1945.

With North Korea, there is no history of trust, no basis of goodwill to build on. That all has to be created, built from scratch, as part of the heavy lifting of diplomacy. The ultimate goal — denuclearization — may or may not someday come to pass, but if it does it will be the result of years of more small steps forward than small steps back. Diplomacy is about moving the goalposts and embracing the long game, not playing chicken. It will require the North’s nuclear weapons to become unnecessary, as the North agrees to and is allowed to become so engaged with the global system that it finds itself no longer in need of such a powerful deterrence to attacks by its neighbors. Diplomacy requires one to at least understand the opponent’s goals and motivations, even if you don’t agree with them.

There exists an industry of sorts devoted to portraying North Korea as an eviler than evil empire, with Kim as a parody of the movie Dr. Evil. These hardliners, ensconced mostly in universities in South Korea and think tanks in the US, have been around since the Cold War to make sure the case for the militarization of South Korea and American support for various South Korean military dictators never lacked public advocates. They act as mouthpieces for North Korean defectors with horror stories, and are quick to seize on anything to amplify the threat. Older readers will remember similar mostly defunct “industries” set up to do the same over the actions of Cuba, China, and the Soviet Union once (though the Red Threat gang is trying to make a comeback over Bond villian wanna-be Putin.)

Victor Cha himself is a kind of one man gloom machine, writing regularly of the impossibility of denuclearization. His old articles focus fearfully on meetings canceled (but since successfully concluded; fatalism ignores the future) he in fact represents a kind of Asian neocon, an industry dedicated to the impossibility of peace on the peninsula as long as the Kim dynasty remains in power. Cha’s home organization, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, for example, features multiple former Secretaries of Defense on its board and as trustees, and is well-funded by elements of the military industrial complex. Of the plan to link railroads across the DMZ, what any sane person would see as progress, the organization grumbled the “move is expected to increase friction with its traditional ally Washington over the pace of inter-Korean engagement.”

So shame on those hardline groups — let’s call them Asian Neocons, for they want regime change in the North in the same way as Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al, wanted it in the Middle East — and shame on the New York Times for morphing its Trump-is-always-wrong editorial policy into presenting something long-known to US intelligence as something new enough to declare deception has overtaken the diplomatic long game on the Korean Peninsula. As they did during the run up to the Iraq War, the Times is once again serving as a platform for those who cannot see or will not wait for a peaceful way forward.

Deception? The deception, it is clear, is all (again) on the side of the neocons. They seek to destroy any chance of lasting peace with unrealistic expectations and by announcing failure at goals never actually set. Because if not diplomacy, then what is the alternative? Theirs is not pessimism, it is fatalism. Success instead should be measured by the continued absence of war and the continued sense that war is increasingly unlikely. Anyone demanding more than that wants things to fail.

November 16, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , | Leave a comment

South Korea rejects report on North’s ‘undeclared missile sites’

Press TV – November 13, 2018

South Korea has dismissed a new report by a United States-based think tank that accused North Korea of being engaged in “deception” based on purported commercial satellite images that it said showed a number of “undeclared missile operating bases” inside the country.

The Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) claimed in a report on Monday that it had identified at least 13 of an estimated 20 undeclared missile operating bases according to new commercial satellite images.

“These missile operating bases, which can be used for all classes of ballistic missile from short-range ballistic missile (SRBM) up to and including intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), would presumably have to be subject to declaration, verification, and dismantlement in any final and fully verifiable denuclearization deal,” the report said.

The images focused on the purported Sakkanmol missile base, which “currently houses a unit equipped with short-range ballistic missiles but could easily accommodate more capable medium-range ballistic warheads,” the CSIS asserted.

On Tuesday, however, South Korea’s presidential office dismissed the CSIS’s account.

A spokesman for the South’s presidential office, Kim Eui-kyeom, said the CSIS report had gone too far to accuse Pyongyang of “great deception,” since the North has not made a specific agreement to dismantle or disclose the facilities mentioned in the report.

The South Korean official also rejected the analysis of the Sakkanmol missile site, saying, “The intelligence authorities of South Korea and the US have far more detailed information from military satellites and are closely monitoring” the facility.

He said Pyongyang had not made any promise to shut down that base.

The spokesmen also explained that the existence of such a missile site was an indication of the need for talks with North Korea to halt its nuclear activities.

North Korea has been involved in rigorous diplomacy with the South. US President Donald Trump — who met with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in July — has also claimed that his country’s diplomacy with Pyongyang has eliminated a purported threat posed by North Korea to the US’s national security.

Some entities in the US, however, claim that Trump’s assertion is not supported by facts.

One of the authors of the CSIS report, Lisa Collins, said, “It has been pretty clear that the North has not been willing to give up its entire nuclear program.”

“The dispersed deployment of these bases and distinctive tactics employed by ballistic missile units are combined with decades of extensive camouflage, concealment and deception practices to maximize the survival of its missile units from pre-emptive strikes and during wartime operations,” the report said.

Follow-up diplomacy between the US and North Korea have borne little fruit. But South Korea has significantly advanced in its diplomatic engagement of its long-time rival, the North.

In their June summit in Singapore, Trump and Kim agreed to work toward denuclearization. But that agreement, made in a written document, was broadly-worded.

Still, the North has taken several steps toward that goal: it has suspended missile and nuclear testing, demolished at least one nuclear test site, and agreed to allow international inspectors into a missile engine test facility and another nuclear testing site.

In return, Pyongyang is seeking relief from harsh international sanctions — mostly spearheaded by the US — imposed on the country over its nuclear and missile programs. The US, however, has not offered any such relief, hence the slowdown in further diplomacy.

Last week, Pyongyang called off a meeting between North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York after the US resumed joint military drills with South Korea.

November 13, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , | 2 Comments

US, NATO powers intensify preparations for nuclear war

By Thomas Gaist | WSWS | June 26, 2015

The NATO military alliance is preparing to implement a more aggressive nuclear weapons strategy in response to alleged “Russian aggression,” according to NATO sources cited by the Guardian Wednesday evening.

Proposed changes include provisions for greater involvement of nuclear forces in ongoing NATO military exercises along Russia’s borders and new guidelines for nuclear escalation against Russia, according to the NATO officials.

The alliance’s nuclear doctrine has been the subject of quiet, informal discussions “on the sidelines” of the ongoing NATO summit. The new policies will be formally articulated and confirmed at an upcoming conference of the alliance’s Nuclear Planning Group, which was rescheduled for an earlier date this week as word got around about the secretive planning.

“There is very real concern about the way in which Russia publicly bandies around nuclear stuff. So there are quite a lot of deliberations in the alliance about nuclear weapons,” an unnamed NATO diplomat told the Guardian.

The claim that discussion about a revision of nuclear weapons policy is in response to Russian aggression turns reality on its head. In the aftermath of the US and NATO-backed coup in Ukraine last year, the major imperialist powers have engaged in a relentless militarization of Eastern Europe, including the establishment of a rapid reaction force of 40,000 troops.

This week, US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the US would permanently deploy tanks, military vehicles and other equipment to countries bordering Russia. There are also ongoing discussions about directly arming Ukraine, beyond the extensive assistance the right-wing government already receives.

NATO is now planning to respond to any attempt by Russia to maintain or counter US imperialism’s aggressive moves in Eastern Europe with even more massive military response, including nuclear weapons.

An indication of the thinking of NATO strategists was provided by a report in the Financial Times. In the event of a conflict involving one of the Baltic countries, “Russia might… accuse the alliance of escalating the conflict and threaten to use intermediate range nuclear weapons.” The Times quotes Elbridge Colby, of the Center for a New American Security (CNAS): “NATO does not need a total nuclear rethink. But it needs to be realistic about how it would respond and willing to show Putin that he would not get away with it.”

This scenario builds on allegations from the US that Russia has violated the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF), allegations that the Russian government has denied. US officials have stated that the Pentagon is preparing to launch preemptive attacks against missiles or other targets in Russia, including with nuclear weapons, in response to Moscow’s alleged violation of the treaty.

The announcement of major revisions to NATO’s nuclear strategy came just days after the publication of an extensive report, “Project Atom: Defining US Nuclear Strategy and Posture for 2025-2050,” by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The main portions of the report were authored by a career US government strategist and senior CSIS analyst, Clark Murdock, a man who previously worked in high-level strategy jobs at the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Department of Defense (DOD), the US Air Force and the National War College. The report included contributions from a large team of researchers and experts, including panels from the CNAS and the National Institution for Public Policy (NIPP).

The thrust of the CSIS analysis is that the US must make its nuclear arsenal easier to use in a war with Russia, China or some other power. The military must adopt “a US nuclear strategy designed for twenty-first century realities,” based on new generations of tactical warheads and delivery systems.

More advanced tactical nuclear weapons will enable Washington to threaten and launch small nuclear wars, without being “self-deterred” by concerns that its actions would lead to a nuclear holocaust, the CSIS report argues.

“The United States needs to develop and deploy more employable nuclear weapons,” the CSIS wrote, including “low collateral damage, enhanced radiation, earth penetration, electromagnetic pulse, and others as technology advances.”

Such advances, the report argues, are the only way to counter the erosion of American technological superiority by the growth of the Chinese and Russian nuclear arsenals, together with the addition of as many as nine new governments to the “nuclear club.”

Under the “Measured Response” theory advocated by the CSIS and Murdock, these types of highly mobile nuclear strike forces could engage in “controlled nuclear operations,” firing “low yield, accurate, special effects” nukes against enemy targets without leading to a full-scale nuclear war.

By “forward deploying a robust set of discriminate nuclear response options,” the US could launch tactical nuclear strikes “at all rungs of the nuclear escalation ladder,” Murdock wrote.

Such “small-scale” nuclear conflicts would inevitably claim tens, if not hundreds of millions of lives, even assuming they did not escalate into a global nuclear war.

The continental US, according to this theory, would be protected from the consequences of regional-scale nuclear warfare by the deterrent effect of Washington’s huge arsenal of high-yield strategic weapons. Any “controlled” nuclear conflicts started by the US government, moreover, would not involve nuclear operations targeting or launched from North America.

“The US homeland would not be engaged in the US response to a nuclear attack on a regional ally,” the CSIS wrote.

In barely veiled language, CSIS is suggesting that the US should utilize allied and client governments as staging areas and arenas for “controlled” atomic warfare.

As the product of collaboration between an extensive network of ruling-class policy theorists, such proposals are extremely ominous and represent a grave warning to the international working class.

There have been other calls for a significant expansion of US nuclear weapons capacity. In comments to the Atlantic Council earlier this week, US Congressman Mac Thornberry, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, called for a “national conversation about building new nuclear weapons.”

“That’s something we haven’t been able to even have a conversation about for a while, but I think we’re going to have to,” Thornberry declared.

Late last year, the Obama administration announced plans for a $1 trillion, three-decades-long upgrade of nuclear weapons capability.

In the writings of the CSIS and the other discussions within the state apparatus, there is a degree of insanity. The strategists of American imperialism are coldly calculating the best tactics for waging and winning nuclear war. Yet this insanity flows from the logic of American imperialism and the drive by the financial aristocracy to control—ever more directly through the use of military force—the entire world.

June 28, 2015 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Fear mongering, the ISIS gambit and Zionist recruitment

By Brandon Martinez | Non-Aligned Media | April 25, 2015

As the fear campaign advances into ever-more delirious extremes, Westerners continue to be submerged in sensationalist headlines about ‘homegrown terrorism’ and ‘ISIS recruits.’

The American, Australian, Canadian, British, French, German and other governments have been on the hunt lately, swooping up a handful of would-be ISIS recruits before they could make their journey to Syria and Iraq. The arrests appear to be part of a stage-managed public relations effort to 1) keep up the false pretense that the West is actually trying to stop people from joining ISIS, when in fact they have been gleefully turning a blind eye to it if not aiding and abetting it, and 2) to justify the growing surveillance state across the West.

ABC News tells us that more than 2000 Westerners, mostly from immigrant communities but also a number of white converts to Islam, have joined ISIS and other terrorist groups fighting to topple the Syrian government. Knowing the high level of surveillance and monitoring that Western agencies already employ against Muslim communities, it beggars belief that all of these individuals simply evaded the all-seeing eye of Western intelligence which includes the “Five Eyes” spy network consisting of the combined espionage might of the US, Canada, UK, New Zealand and Australia. The massive resources of the spy agencies of those countries in conjunction with the data mining brigands of the NSA makes it hard for one to believe that they’re just unable to track and intervene before Western citizens depart for the phony ‘jihad’ against Israel’s adversaries in Syria, Iraq and other parts of the Middle East.

The Intercept revealed that in a recent FBI ‘bust’ of an alleged ISIS sympathizer who was purportedly planning an attack inside the US, the suspect was goaded by FBI informants, as is the case with nearly every major foiled ‘terror plot’ in recent American history. John T. Booker Jr., the Kansas man accused of plotting a terrorist attack on behalf of ISIS, had checked himself into a mental hospital about a year before his arrest. The Intercept reports that the two FBI informants who initiated contact with Booker Jr. “provided the 20-year-old with the materials and support that led to his arrest on Friday on charges stemming from his alleged plans to carry out an attack against Fort Riley in support of the Islamic State.”

This example is merely one of many hundreds of cases involving the FBI’s army of 15,000 plus informants who infiltrate Muslim communities then work to incite and coerce impressionable, dejected young Muslims into completely inept and doomed-to-fail ‘terror plots.’

Canadian authorities have been caught mimicking the FBI’s duplicitous and unethical tactics of fabricating terror plots by way of informants. One recent case involved a bumbling British Columbia couple, John Nuttall and his wife Amanda Korody, who were prodded and pushed into a laughable ‘terrorist conspiracy’ by undercover RCMP agents. The Vancouver Sun reported that the undercover agents “spent more than four months in a futile attempt to have John Nuttall articulate a real [terrorist] plan.” Another Sun report described the ‘terror couple’ as “impoverished addicts” and delineated how an undercover agent coddled and encouraged them every step of the way, making suggestions about explosives and targets.

A story that broke earlier this year unveiled the West’s two-faced gambit as it relates to ISIS. The Turkish government exposed the identity of a Syrian national on the payroll of Canadian intelligence who was acting as a human trafficker for ISIS, escorting dozens of Europeans through Turkey and delivering them to ISIS strongholds in Syria, including three British schoolgirls.

“Turkish news agencies reported … that a foreign intelligence agent detained in that country on suspicion of helping the [three British] girls travel to neighbouring Syria to join ISIL was working for the Canadian government,” stated an Ottawa Citizen report on the scandal. The agent in question, Mohammed Mehmet Rashid, told Turkish authorities that he made routine trips to the Canadian embassy in Jordan where he received his marching orders from CSIS, Canada’s spy agency. That embassy was headed by Bruno Saccomani, a former RCMP officer and the former chief of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s security detail. Harper handpicked Saccomani to be the ambassador to Jordan.

Another issue routinely overlooked by mainstream media is that ISIS is not the only violent radical group that Western citizens are bustling to join. Hundreds of Canadians, Americans, Australians and Europeans have joined the Israeli military over the years, participating in the murder of thousands of innocent Palestinian and Lebanese civilians, the mass destruction of property and other war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In an article entitled “Supporting ‘terror tourism’ to Israel gets Canadian tax credits,” Yves Engler, an expert on Canadian foreign affairs, observes that in Canada “[i]t is illegal for Somali Canadians to fight in that country but it is okay for Canadian Jews to kill Palestinians in Gaza. And the government will give you a charitable tax credit if you give them money to support it.” Engler documents the activities of pro-Israel charities operating freely in Canada that recruit young Jews to fight for Israel. “At least 25 volunteers from the Greater Toronto Area fought in Gaza during Israel’s 22-day 2008/2009 assault that left some 1,400 Palestinians dead,” notes Engler, adding that “during Israel’s 2006 attack on Lebanon the Canadian Jewish News reported that ‘Canadian youths leave home to join Israeli army.’”

“The double standard is extreme,” Engler writes, pointing out how Canadians are proscribed from recruiting for foreign militaries under the Foreign Enlistment Act, but this law apparently doesn’t apply to Jews who enjoy a privileged status in Canada and other Western countries.

The Canadian government’s pro-Israel extremism showed its ugly face in 2014 when the Harper administration added IRFAN-Canada, a Muslim charity which helped raise funds for the besieged people of Gaza and the occupied West Bank, to its list of banned ‘terrorist organizations.’ According to the Harper regime’s skewed Zionist logic, Muslim charities that work with the democratically elected leadership of Gaza in order to dispense humanitarian aid to the suffering Palestinians are engaged in ‘supporting terrorism.’ Yet Jewish-Zionist charities are allowed, even aided and abetted by the Canadian state through ‘tax credits’ for donors, to raise funds for the Israeli military and even to recruit radicalized Canadian Jews to fight in Israel’s bloody wars of aggression – but this somehow does not constitute material support for terrorism.

Evidently, in Harper’s pro-Zionist fantasy world ‘terrorist’ is a smear word applied exclusively to the opponents of Israeli imperialism, whereas a state birthed through ethnic cleansing and maintained by way of bribery, blackmail, and state-sponsored mass murder is praised to the heavens merely for allowing its privileged Jewish citizens and disenfranchised Arab subjects to vote for whichever hawkish Zionist politician will continue the policies of terror in the holy land.

Copyright 2015 Brandon Martinez

April 26, 2015 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Deception, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Ex-spy scurries to cast doubt on CSIS-ISIS link

By Brandon Martinez | Non-Aligned Media | March 14, 2015

Ray Boisvert, a former assistant director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS), has been busy trying to deflect blame from his former employer in the developing scandal involving an alleged CSIS asset who helped three British schoolgirls and others join ISIS.

Boisvert’s impetus is to shield CSIS and the Canadian state when their hand is exposed in duplicitous activity at home and abroad. He has frequently appeared as a pundit on mainstream media programs, and unsurprisingly was trotted out by the usual suspects to comment on revelations that a Syrian national who spied for CSIS was acting as a liaison for ISIS, helping Westerners travel through Turkey to join the militant group in Syria.

The former CSIS big-wig told media that:

If [the suspected ISIS liaison Mohammed Mehmet] Rashid worked in some capacity for CSIS, and based on reports his computer contained images of passport and travel documents of several apparent ISIL recruits, it’s conceivable he was actually gathering intelligence for CSIS about those recruits and the methods, logistics and contacts for spiriting them into Syria.

Boisvert implied that,

If [Rashid] was a CSIS asset, he’s likely an observer whose only job is to report what he saw. If Rashid was working for CSIS in some fashion, the spy agency’s current mandate would prevent him or the organization from doing anything to have stopped the three British girls from reaching Syria. Under current Canadian law, CSIS and its assets are only allowed to gather intelligence.

Boisvert’s damage control narrative is ludicrous. He is obviously trying to exonerate CSIS from culpability in this by erroneously suggesting that CSIS’s asset Rashid, who was essentially helping people join ISIS, could not act to stop them from linking up with ISIS in Syria because that is not in CSIS’s mandate. The asset could only ‘observe’ the situation and report back to his handlers. This hogwash is dumbfounding.

Firstly, he is presuming that CSIS always abides by its ‘mandate,’ when there’s no reasons to believe that they do. Secondly, the fact is that the CSIS asset did not just ‘observe’ the ISIS recruits, he directly facilitated their safe travel through Turkey and entry into Syria to link up with ISIS. Without him, many of these recruits would likely not have made it to their destination. He was in effect ensuring that the recruits made it safely into the hands of ISIS. He wasn’t sitting by a window with binoculars observing from afar or listening in to phone calls, he was directly participating in the recruiting process, facilitating that process every step of the way.

This means that CSIS, which represents the Canadian government, is aiding and abetting ISIS – an extremely damaging revelation for the Western ‘coalition’ who maintain the bogus pre tense that they are presently ‘at war’ with the radical group.

Copyright 2015 Non-Aligned Media

March 14, 2015 Posted by | Deception | , , | Leave a comment

Canada’s intelligence service asked foreign agencies to spy on Canadians

RT | December 22, 2013

Canada’s intelligence agency deliberately kept the country’s Federal Court “in the dark” to bypass the law in order to outsource its spying on Canadian citizens abroad to foreign security agencies, a federal judge said.

Federal Court Judge, Richard Mosley, has slammed the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) for knowingly misleading him on numerous occasions.

Since 2009, Mosley has issued a large number of warrants to the CSIS, authorizing interception of electronic communications of unidentified Canadians abroad, who were investigated as threats to domestic security.

The spy agency assured the judge that the surveillance was to be carried out from inside Canada and controlled by and the Communication Security Establishment of Canada (CSEC), the country’s foreign signals intelligence service.

But, after the warrants were obtained, Canada’s foreign partners from the Five Eyes intelligence-gathering alliance (US, UK, Australia and New Zealand) were asked to perform the interceptions.

Canada’s Federal Court wasn’t notified of the foreign involvement and never approved it, Mosley wrote in a redacted version of a classified court decision which was made public on Friday.

“It is clear that the exercise of the court’s warrant issuing has been used as protective cover for activities that it has not authorized,” the document stressed. “The failure to disclose that information was the result of a deliberate decision to keep the court in the dark about the scope and extent of the foreign collection efforts that would flow from the court’s issuance of a warrant.”

Under Canada’s current legislation, the Federal Court has no authority to issue warrants that involve surveillance of Canadians by foreign intelligence agencies, he added.

The actions of CSIS and CSEC put the Canadian citizens abroad at risk as they “may be detained or otherwise harmed as a result of the use of the intercepted communications by the foreign agencies,” Mosley wrote.

“Given the unfortunate history of information sharing with foreign agencies over the past decade and the reviews conducted by several royal commissions, there can be no question that the Canadian agencies are aware of those hazards,” the document said. “It appears to me that they are using the warrants as authorization to assume those risks.”

Mosley demanded explanations from the security agencies after an annual report by CSEC commissioner, Robert Decary, this August.

The judge became suspicious after Decary suggested that CSIS should provide the Federal Court with “certain additional evidence about the nature and extent” of the help, it received from his agency.

The results of the Federal Court’s inquiry into the matter were made public on Friday.

By misleading him, the CSIS and CSEC have been in “breach of the duty of candor,” which resulted in misstatements on the public record about the scope of the authority granted to the service,” Mosley wrote.

Mosley, who used to be a former assistant deputy minister in the Justice Department, was intimately involved in the creation of the 2001 Anti-terrorism Act, which the CSIS and CSEC violated.

December 22, 2013 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Corruption, Deception, Full Spectrum Dominance | , , , , , | Leave a comment