Tag Archives: Five Eyes

Canada’s alliances prove the country is an imperialist power

For thousands of years folk wisdom has insisted that ‘you shall be known by the company you keep’. This is also true of countries.

A recent United Nations vote condemning the “glorification of Nazism, neo‑Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance” generated significant commentary on social media. The US and Ukraine voted against the widely supported resolution while Canada, Australia, New Zealand and most European countries abstained. One commentator tweeted that the countries who failed to condemn Nazism were “more or less the same coalition of stooges that recognized Juan Guaido” as president of Venezuela while another pointed out that it was similar to the coalition of “countries condemning China’s policies in Hong Kong.” Another connected it to NATO.

These commentators hit on something fundamentally important. It is instructive to consider Canada’s UN votes and position on international issues through the lens of its many alliances.

Canada is a leading member of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Canada participated with the US and Britain in the secret talks on creating a north Atlantic alliance and since NATO was established in 1949 has been one of its most active contributors.

Canada is a member of the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing arrangement. A series of post-Second World War accords, beginning with the 1946 UKUSA intelligence agreement, created the “AUS/CAN/NZ/UK/US EYES ONLY” arrangement. The Five Eyes partnership oozes of white supremacy. Settler colonialism and empire unite an alliance that excludes wealthier non-white nations (Japan and South Korea) or those with more English speakers (India and Nigeria). It’s not a coincidence that the only four countries that originally voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007 are part of the Five Eyes.

Canada is a member of the Commonwealth. It was a member of the alliance when it only included Britain, Australia, New Zealand and apartheid South Africa.

Canada is a member of the Group of Seven (G7) wealthy nations. It also has a permanent (constituency-based) seat on the International Monetary Fund’s executive board (Canada represents 10 Caribbean countries and Ireland on the IMF board).

Canada is part of the Lima Group seeking to overthrow the Venezuelan government. Instigated by Canada and Peru in mid 2017, the Lima Group has successfully corralled regional support for the US-led campaign to oust President Nicolas Maduro.

Canada is a member of the Core Group that heavily shapes Haitian affairs. Comprising the ambassadors of the US, France, Brazil and Spain, as well as representatives of the EU and OAS, Core Group representatives meet regularly among themselves and with Haitian officials and periodically release collective statements on Haitian affairs. While formally established two months after the 2004 US, France and Canada coup against President Jean–Bertrand Aristide, Radio Canada’s Enquête pointed out that the Core Group was actually spawned at the “Ottawa initiative on Haiti”. Held at the Meech Lake Government Resort on January 31 and February 1, 2003, no Haitian officials were invited to the private gathering where US, French, OAS and Canadian officials discussed overthrowing Haiti’s elected government, putting the country under UN trusteeship and recreating the Haitian military.

Few countries are represented in as many powerful and openly interventionist coalitions. Canada’s different alliances suggests this country sits near the centre of global imperialism.

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Filed under Five Eyes, NATO

National Post’s John Ivison is the real ‘useful idiot’

Who is the useful idiot?

According to National Post columnist John Ivison, I am. (“Useful idiots of the world unite – and they have, with ‘Free Meng’ event”) So are others who challenge the narrative that authoritarian China is such a danger to the US/Britain/Canada/Australia/New Zealand “Five Eyes” settler colonial states’ way of life that we must spend ever more billions on the military, put corporate executives under house arrest for Trumped up crimes and have our governments interfere in their supposedly sacred “free market” to ensure “our companies” dominate emerging communications technology. Afterall, we can’t take the chance that China might spy on us — that’s the job of our “intelligence services”.

But perhaps Ivison and his ilk should look in the mirror when searching for the “confused and misguided” who are duped into aiding another country’s agenda. They seem unable to see the forest of the US Empire for the Chinese trees.

According to experts, a country’s foreign policy is supposed to be all about defending its “self-interest” but what exactly is that?

Was it in ordinary Canadians’ self-interest to arrest a Huawei executive at the bidding of a Trump administration that reneged on an anti-nuclear agreement with Iran and reimposed sanctions against the wishes of Ottawa, Britain, France, Germany and most of the rest of the world? Wasn’t it obvious that our second largest trading partner would be angered and upset? It was certainly obvious to the other countries that refused Washington’s request to arrest Meng Wanzhou.

It seems a reasonable proposition to suggest that the arrest was in fact not in the self-interest of ordinary Canadians, but rather was undertaken to avoid the wrath of a narcissistic president and his Make America Great Again gang of extreme US nationalists.

Certainly, the ratcheting up of confrontation with China was not, and is not, in the self-interest of Canadian pork producers or farmers who grow canola and other crops that are sold to the 1.4 billion people of the world’s most populous country. Or to the tens of thousands of Canadians whose livelihoods are dependent on trade with what will soon be the world’s largest market.

US sanctions against and the banning of Huawei equipment from telecommunications networks are certainly not in the immediate self-interest of the thousands of Canadians who work in research labs owned by that company.

Most important, going along with the White nationalist tainted Trumpian demonization of China is not in the self-interest of the nearly two million Chinese Canadians who will face the brunt of the racism that is the inevitable result of rising tensions.

What would be in the self-interest of most Canadians would be a federal government that asserted our independence from Washington, that developed a foreign policy aimed at actually doing good in the world, rather than simply talking about it.

Also in the self-interest of Canadians (and most of the world) would be a government that treated people everywhere with respect and worked towards ensuring their dignity by supporting efforts to share the world’s finite resources fairly. Such a government might still make enemies, but they would be the rulers of countries and corporations who insist on taking more than their fair share, exploiting others and destroying our planet while proclaiming “greed is good, war is peace and there are no limits to growth”.

Does believing this make one a “useful idiot” or should the epithet be redirected to those who believe the best we can strive for is junior partner to those who brought us Donald Trump?

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White supremacist intelligence alliance pushes China hostage standoff

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In recent weeks movements in different countries have toppled statues and put the police and other institutions upholding systemic racism on the defensive. But, amidst unprecedented protests against racism, there has been remarkably little interest in the white supremacist foreign policy alliance currently driving conflict with China. The “Five Eyes” intelligence arrangement has faced almost no criticism for propelling the Canada-China hostage standoff.

The seven-decade old Five Eyes — Canada, Britain, New Zealand, Australia and US — alliance has been central to Washington’s anti-China push. To counter China the component countries recently announced plans to coordinate the production of strategic goods and collectively denounced Beijing’s policy in Hong Kong. More significantly, they’ve sought to weaken the “Crown Jewel of China Inc.” Canada’s December 2018 arrest of Huawei’s chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou was part of the alliance’s campaign to curtail the rise of the world’s largest 5G network provider. Five months before Meng’s arrest at the Vancouver airport, reported a Wall Street Journal story titled “At Gathering of Spy Chiefs, U.S., Allies Agreed to Contain Huawei”, Five Eyes officials agreed in Ottawa to contain the company’s global growth. Washington claimed that country’s first global technological powerhouse posed a security risk. But, driving the campaign was a bid to halt China’s ascendance in this critical industrial sector.

Of course, the US, Australia, New Zealand, UK and Canada intelligence agencies also worried about a firm less willing to follow their directives. In fact, the Five Eyes sought what they accused Huawei/China of. In September 2018 the intelligence alliance requested communication providers build “back doors” in their systems, allowing the Five Eyes espionage agencies access to communications. The Australian government actually published a statement, which was later removed, stating that “technical, legislative, coercive or other measures” should be considered to implement these “back doors”. The campaign to paint Huawei as a privacy violator was the racist pot calling the kettle black.

The Five Eyes partnership oozes of white supremacy. Settler colonialism and empire unite an alliance that excludes wealthier non-white nations (Japan and South Korea) or those with more English speakers (India and Nigeria). It’s not a coincidence that the only four countries (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the US) that originally voted against the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) in 2007 are part of the Five Eyes.

While claiming to be anti-racist, the Liberals promoted what John Price called “a race-based spy network”. Their 2017 defence policy Strong, Secure, Engaged noted, “building on our shared values and long history of operational cooperation, the Five-Eyes network of partners, including Canada, the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand, is central to protecting Canada’s interests and contributes directly to operational success.” In a rare move, the next year prime minister Justin Trudeau revealed a meeting with his Five Eyes counterparts. After the April 2018 meeting in London, Trudeau labelled the 2,000-employee Communications Security Establishment (CSE), Canada’s main contributor to the Five Eyes arrangement, “an extraordinary institution.” Alongside praise, the government expanded CSE’s powers and funding.

Last week Five Eyes defence ministers held two days of video meetings. Despite unprecedented public opposition to racism and significant attention focused on the hostage conflict with China, there’s been little criticism of the Five Eyes and its actions.

It’s time Canadians debate whether they want to be part of an alliance of settler colonial states’ intelligence agencies promoting conflict with China.

Overcoming structural racism should not be limited to what goes on inside Canada. We must confront racism wherever it is found, including in our international alliances.

 

 

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