Tag Archives: Steven Chase

NDP in bed with neocons over China


Canadians truly committed to a rules-based, peaceful international order need voices in Parliament to speak up against militarism and the US empire. Instead we get a supposed ‘left’ party indistinguishable from the right.

The recent flap over an award given out by the Halifax International Security Forum highlights how the NDP is jumping into bed with neocon militarists over China.

Recently Washington-based Politico reported that the Trudeau government pressured the HSF not to give its John McCain Prize for Leadership in Public Service to Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen. The government denied the charge but initially refused to recommit the $3 million in Department of National Defence (DND) funding for HSF.

NDP foreign affairs critic Jack Harris labeled any interference in the HSF award choice as “shameful and plays into the hands of the Communist leadership of China.” Harris also told Globe and Mail reporter Steven Chase that the award to Tsai would be “an indicator of how the free world is united against China’s bullying tactics.”

If Harris had stopped at “the free world is united against China’s bullying” it would have simply represented an example of his increasingly common China bashing. But Harris also lauded the HSF as “among the free world’s most significant defence meetings.” On Wednesday NDP MPs backed a Conservative motion in the House of Commons, which passed unanimously, supporting giving an award to Tsai and maintaining HSF’s funding.

Sponsored by NATO, DND and military companies, the HSF is based in Washington. It was set up by a neocon who advised the Harper government and was strongly promoted by arch militarist John McCain.

Since its founding a decade ago activists have rallied in front of the Westin Nova Scotian Hotel during the conference. I spoke at the 2018 protest.

The award Harris and Canadian MPs want HSF to give to Tsai is named after an individual who heavily promoted the lies that led to the 2003 Iraq war. John McCain also championed the NATO bombing of Libya and backed Saudi Arabia’s genocide in Yemen. McCain rose to public attention in the late 1960s by dropping bombs on civilian targets (a war crime) in North Vietnam. During his presidential bid in 2000 McCain told reporters “I hate the gooks” and “I will hate them as long as I live.” McCain refused to apologize for using a racial slur to condemn the North Vietnamese who held him captive and tortured him.

Giving an award to Taiwan’s president is a provocative moved designed to increase tension with China. (While apparently Sinophobic reporter Steven Chase implies Beijing is the only force that has pushed the idea Taiwan and mainland China are one country, Ottawa recognized the government in Taiwan as the official representative of all of China for 21 years after the Kuomintang retreated to Taiwan with some two million Chinese supporters after they were defeated by Mao’s forces in 1949. Until 13 years ago the governing party in Taiwan openly claimed to represent all of China.) The award is part of HSF’s growing anti-China posture. In November they released a handbook titled “China vs. Democracy: The Greatest Game” that painted Beijing as a threatening force bent on global domination.

For HSF conflict with China feeds the military/intelligence apparatus they represent. It legitimates Canada spending hundreds of billions of dollars on new naval vessels and fighter jets as well as justifying the racist Five Eyes intelligence arrangement.

Voices citing the China ‘threat’ to justify military spending are growing. In “This is no time for the Liberals to think of slashing defence spending” National Post columnist John Ivison wrote that the government “should increase” military spending in next week’s budget “to counter China’s growing threat”. A recent CTV story said Ottawa should pony up $6 billion to modernize NORAD to deal with the “Threats from Russia, China” while an earlier Global News story said “Canada should follow Australia’s example in defence, foreign policy” by massively increasing military spending to deal with China.

By promoting China hysteria, the NDP is empowering militarists. When the NDP foreign affairs critic labels the Halifax International Security Forum “among the free world’s most significant defence meetings” it really is the No Difference Party.

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Filed under Asia, China, NATO, NDP

Globe & Mail fearmongers about foreign influence while ignoring US government funding to Uighur Rights groups in Canada

It’s curious how Globe and Mail reporters troubled by foreign influence over Canadian politics regularly turn to US-government-funded groups in this country. Are they aware of this irony? Or is their purported concern about foreign influence really about demonizing China?

According to a recent article by Robert Fife and Steven Chase, the Trudeau government is “actively considering” setting up a registry of foreign agents to track those paid to influence Canadian politics on behalf of other states. The story — and previous ones from Chase and Fife — suggest a registry is a way to check “the Chinese government’s influence” over Canadian politics. The two journalists and others at the Globe have been campaigning aggressively against Chinese influence and now the government looks ready to buckle. “The government is focused on protecting Canadian democracy from foreign influence, and a registry of foreign agents is something that we are actively considering,” Parliamentary Secretary to the Foreign Affairs Minister, Robert Oliphant, told the Globe. “We are aware that some of our allies, namely, the United States and Australia, already have foreign agent registries in place and we are studying that.”

A day before Fife and Chase reported on plans for a foreign agents’ registry — a fine idea if applied broadly — Aidan Jonah published a report in The Canada Files titled “Subcommittee report declaring ‘Uighur Genocide’ dominated by researchers and groups funded by CIA cut-out, National Endowment for Democracy”. The story includes a remarkable revelation about the Ottawa-based Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project. The group’s website states openly that the “Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project is funded by the Washington-based National Endowment Fund for Democracy for its Advocacy work in Canada.” (my emphasis)

The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) was established in 1983 to work alongside the CIA. In 1991 Allen Weinstein, a founding member and president, told the Washington Post, “a lot of what we [NED] do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”

NED funding for Uighur groups in Canada is not to support charity work. There are only around 1,500 Uighurs in Canada and this country is about as far from Xinjiang as anywhere. The Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project is a political organization that is openly seeking to Balkanize China. Its site says it aims “to document the policies of China’s government targeting Uyghurs and other Turkic people in East Turkistan in China and globally.” Moreover, it says it defends “Uyghurs and other natives of East Turkistan who are living under Chinese occupation since 1949.” In other words, the Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project rejects the legitimacy of the nationalist/communist revolution that united China after more than a century of foreign domination.

Fife and Chase are concerned about Chinese influence in Canada. But they seem indifferent to far more pervasive US influence. Two days before their latest story about the dangers of foreign-funded agents in Canada, Fife and Chase quoted Uyghur Rights Advocacy Project executive director Mehmet Tohti. They have quoted the NED-funded group on multiple occasions over the past year. They have also quoted other NED financed groups such as the World Uyghur Congress.

Fife and Chase ought to be embarrassed by the crass double standard. But remorse is unlikely. In November I detailed how the Globe considers foreign influence in Canada bad if it comes from China, but barely worth mentioning when Israel is involved. The contrast is even starker with the US. In October, for instance, the MacDonald Laurier Institute published a widely cited commentary titled “Shining a Brighter Light on Foreign Influence in Canada” critical of Chinese influence and calling on Ottawa to regulate foreign agents. Last month the group set up Disinfowatch.org, which appears focused on Chinese and Russian influence. But the MacDonald Laurier Institute’s initiative is funded by the US State Department’s Global Engagement Center!

Fife, Chase and others’ blatant double standard regarding “foreign influence” in Canada is contributing to a wave of Sinophobia sweeping political life. Is this the intent of US funding for anti-China propaganda? Are Canadian journalists the willing tools or ‘useful idiots’ of this campaign?

The irony of this “reporting” about “foreign influence” would be rather amusing except for the fact is could lead us into a conflict that leaves the entire world worse off.

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Filed under China