Category Archives: The War Machine

ICYMI – Canadian troops are being sent to Ukraine this summer

The great journalist I.F. Stone may or may not have once said that he loved reading the Washington Post cover to cover, because you never know where you’re going to find a front-page story. In the increasingly fragmented journalistic landscape of the Internet Age, that’s more true than ever – the important stories have to fight with the celebrity controversies and the manufactured political scandals and the short attention spans of the public in order to get noticed, and more often than not all they’re able to muster is a day of coverage before they’re submerged by the relentless news cycle.

So starting this week, I’m going to be devoting Mondays to dredging these critical but overlooked stories back to the surface, and giving them the critical examination they deserve.

The first story I’d like to highlight is one that passed me by entirely when it first broke. I only became aware of it during Stephen Harper’s Russia-bashing European vacation last week, and even then only because I did some digging.

So, in case you missed it, here’s the headline from April 14:

Ukraine crisis: Canada sending 200 trainers for Ukraine military

Troops to leave this summer for [“]lower-risk[“] operations at bases in western Ukraine

(My scare quotes, of course.) And the details: Continue Reading

HypocrISISy and the House of Saud – The Canadian Government’s Double Standard on Radical Islam

There is a group currently terrorizing large sections of the Middle East.

Using a radical interpretation of Islam as their pretext, they treat women and minorities horrifically. They are internationally renowned for their beheadings and public floggings of “heretics” and “witches”. The United Nations and major human rights organizations have accused them of war crimes and of violating international law. In their most recent offensive, hundreds of innocent civilians have died, and access to medical care has been cut off for millions.

They are the House of Saud, rulers of Saudi Arabia and one of Canada’s partners in the war against ISIS and the bombing campaign in Syria. And the Canadian government confirmed today that it is proceeding with a $15-billion sale of weaponry, notwithstanding the kingdom’s atrocious human rights record.

In fact, the government insists that it doesn’t need to justify the purchase to the public.

From the Globe:

The Department of Foreign Affairs argues it must keep deliberations secret regarding this deal – by far the largest export contract ever brokered by Ottawa – citing the need to protect the “commercial confidentiality” of General Dynamics Land Systems Canada, which makes the light armoured vehicles.

Ottawa maintains this despite the fact that Foreign Affairs, by its own stated rules, is required to screen requests to export military goods to countries “whose governments have a persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens.” Among other things, it must obtain assurances “there is no reasonable risk that the goods might be used against the civilian population.” [my emphasis]

When it comes to persistently violating the human rights of its citizens, few countries can rival Saudi Arabia. Indeed, its record of human rights violations is well-known, although few Western nations are willing to call it out on the virtual enslavement of its women or its incredibly harsh treatment of dissidents. Human Rights Watch summed up the situation in this commentary from shortly after the recent death of Saudi King Abdullah: Continue Reading

The ISIS racket

The fall of Ramadi to the Islamic State over a pretty-much-done-with-this-shit Iraqi army earlier this week has helped to clarify a few aspects of this latest twist in the ongoing, never-ending, self-perpetuating “Global War on Terror”.

Before we dive in, let’s let b over at Moon of Alabama bring us up to speed on this conquest:

The Islamic State took Ramadi with the help of armored bulldozers and some 10 suicide vehicles. That many of the nominal defenders of the city had no real will to fight also helped. But there is another important actor that allowed it to happen. In the critical 24 hours the U.S. coalition which had promised to defend Iraq and to defeat the Islamic State launched just seven air strikes and all only against minor ISIS targets around the city. That’s like nothing.

Pretty much. Which kinda puts the lie to US Secretary of Defence Ashton Kutcher Carter’s furious denunciation of the Iraqi army on the Sunday morning political love-in yesterday: Continue Reading

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