*edit, October 26, 2015 – I just now corrected a typo and removed a sentence and clarified a couple of other sentences. Not much was changed and the content remains unchanged. The sentence I removed didn’t make sense to me no matter how I looked at it. It’s removal certainly didn’t hurt the narrative though.
There’s no transcript for this video, of course. It’s TVO. For a long time TVO was sponsored by Vale Inco. Vale!!! (I believe it’s now officially known as Vale Canada Limited, and it’s a wholly owned subsidiary of Vale, a Brazillian mining company. pronunciation: vah lay) A freaking mining company! Way to go government of Ontario!
My online response to the above linked-to video follows:
Well, I wanted to spell Christian Loydcraft’s name right but for the life of me I could not find him online. It figures. Did Steve pronounce his name right? I typed “Christian” into the search field on the Queen’s University website and got lots of returns but nothing resembling Christian Loydcraft. I guess he’s moved on. Maybe he’s working for CSIS. Or Stephen Harper.
Christian, Steve points out, spoke at the same Parliamentary Committee that Pam spoke at. Steve quotes him commenting along the lines of ‘Canadians need to develop a more mature understanding of what it means to reconcile freedom with security’. Take that you do gooder Pam!
We understand Christian, and people like him. He’s essentially saying “Tough luck victims of neoliberal capitalism.” I absolutely agree that Canadians need to understand what it means to have a mature understanding of what it means to reconcile freedom and security and I thank people like Pam and David Milward for helping them to acquire that understanding.
There’s many others also doing so, but they would not be warmly received by the Harperites and their powerful media and private sector friends. Nor would they be warmly recieved by educators and liberals who have been spiritually and mentally ruined. It’s up to (active and inactive) activists to get the word out and help to counter the spin of the major media and help to inform people where there’s no information at all.
I highly recommend as a starting point Todd Gordon’s book “Imperialist Canada,” which looks closely at Canadian history in the area of it’s mistreatment of First Nations people and bad intentioned dealings with them. What’s great about Todd’s book is the way it also widens it’s scope, looking at Canadian imperialism at home as well as abroad. And that helps us to understand what, and who, we are dealing with.
In a nutshell, Stephen Harper is okay with neoliberal capitalism (the liberalization of trade and the liberty of the 1% and exploitative corporations) and wants work in the neoliberal capitalism field. He’s found it as the corporatist leader of an advanced (and declining) industrial nation endowed with lots of resources – mineral, water, oil – that powerful players, notably uncle Sam (and it’s defence contractors, whose wares are oiled and fossil-fueled), and corporations generally, want. But those are destructive, exploitative agents, So Harper is forced, like other corporatist leaders in similar situations, to make a choice (which he has). He can either show solidarity with Canadians who would otherwise be harmed by powerful special interests who don’t care what they do to make money and keep their privileges and power or he can show solidarity with those powerful, exploitative, unprincipled special interests. We see the choice he’s made. It’s ‘free trade’ party time, all the time, with Harper. And only the most bovine citizens miss the fact that free trade deals are really about freeing powerful, tax evading, special interests from their social obligations.
Also, Canadian based corporations (banks and mining companies notably) don’t mind taking destructive neoliberal capitalism to other countries, where they harm people who also lack security because their leaders too choose solidarity not with them but with powerful special interests and their political tools, knowing (Canadian companies) that when those foreigners squawk about what is done to them by Canadian mining companies and the thugs they (or their allies) hire, Canada’s government has their back. There will be no [consequences]. Remember when Harper rejected proposed laws that would make Canadian-based companies doing harm abroad answerable for that in Canadian courts? If Harper doesn’t care about long-suffering First Nations people, Why the heck would he care about powerless foreigners?
Christian is absolutely right. As for his attitude, We don’t need it.
A kind poster on The Agenda website passed me the name of the expert to whom Steve Paiken referred. His name is Christian Leuprecht.
In 2010, Conservatives voted en masse to kill Bill C-300, “An Act respecting Corporate Accountability for the Activities of Mining, Oil or Gas in Developing Countries.”
“The Defeat of Bill C300 Another Shame For Harper” by Scott Stockdale
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
In 2007, both parties agreed upon a number of recommendations to improve corporate social responsibility (CSR) for Canadian extractive companies operating in developing countries.
The creation of an independent CSR ombudsman, who would be able to investigate complaints and mediate disputes, and the withholding of federal financial support from Canadian firms that fail to meet corporate social responsibility standards, were key recommendations that came out of the roundtable discussions.
Two years later, in defiance of the recommendations from the above-mentioned consultative process, the Harper government announced voluntary guidelines for corporate behaviour in the mining industry, along with the appointment of Marketa Evans, as a federal counsellor, who can investigate a complaint, only if the accused company agrees to cooperate…
Moreover, opposition to Ms. Marketa’s appointment as CSR counsellor centred around her role as the founding director of the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre on International Studies, and as founder of the Devonshire Initiative.
The Munk Centre is named after Peter Munk – chairman and founder of the world’s largest gold-mining company, Barrick Gold – who contributed $6.4 million to its construction.
“Mining Victims Seek Justice in Canada” by Liam Barrington-Bush and Jen Wilton
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Other countries make an effort to hold their corporate citizens to account for acts beyond their borders. Foreign plaintiffs who suspect companies based in the United States of committing criminal acts abroad, may sue in U.S. courts under the Alien Torts Claims Act. Germany and Belgium have similar legislation in place.
Canada, by contrast, has little legislation that can be used to hold companies to account for their actions abroad. According to a report by Oxford Pro Bono Publico, an award-winning legal project in Oxford University’s Faculty of Law, “The state of Canadian law with respect to … extraterritorial corporate social responsibility … is generally recognised to be insufficient.”…
In 2005, the bi-partisan Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade (SCFAIT) issued a report based on their work looking at the activities of Canadian mining companies in developing countries. It recommended that the government “establish clear legal norms in Canada to ensure that Canadian companies and residents are held accountable when there is evidence of environmental and/or human rights violations associated with the activities of Canadian mining companies.”
Four years later, the Government of Canada introduced a corporate social responsibility (CSR) framework for the Canadian extractive industries working abroad…
The CSR Counsellor is not able to sanction companies, and can’t even investigate complaints against one, without its permission. The government has so far ignored calls for a legally binding process to allow redress for mining-affected communities in developing countries…
In 2011, Peter Julian, NDP MP for Burnaby-New Westminster, tabled Bill C-323, the International Promotion and Protection of Human Rights Act. The aim of the bill is to establish a judicial process in Canada for non-Canadian citizens to sue Canadian corporations for damages arising from violations of international law in foreign territories. The bill, if passed into law, will pave the way for victims of acts ranging from murder and rape to the contamination of local drinking water, to receive compensation.
Just recently, on June 3, Pamela appeared on Democracy Now to discuss the historic conclusion of The Truth And Reconciliation Commission which the Harper Government has ignored. (As the Toronto Star notes, Harper had to be sued into allowing the TRC. It wasn’t a gesture of goodwill.) That wasn’t just indifference. It was, as Pamela explains, more. That can be seen from the fact that when Justice Murray Sinclair gave a statement containing his conclusions, the whole room broke out into applause, even standing to do so, while the embarrassing Minister for Indian Affairs, who was also in the room, just sat there. You don’t have to be a law expert to see exactly where the government stands on this matter.
“Aboriginal rights a threat to Canada’s resource agenda, documents reveal” by Martin Lukacs and Shiri Pasternak
Interestingly, There have been a number of efforts by NDP MPs, I see, to push through Bills that accomplish the same basic goals as Bills C-300 and C-323, which goals amount to making unwilling Canadian corporations act socially responsible at all times and in all places and account for any criminal behavior they engage in (which a principled government would care about because a principled government would like Canada to have a good reputation). But we shouldn’t expect an irresponsible, criminal government to be concerned about irresponsible, criminal, tax evading Canadian companies. Another attempt to have corporate social responsibility and accountability made into law, namely Bill C-584 (the Corporate Social Responsibility of Extractive Corporations Outside Canada Act, introduced by NDP MP Ève Péclet), brought forth this response in Parliament from a Conservative MP named Erin O’Toole: “Mr. Speaker, it is my pleasure to rise in the House tonight to speak to Bill C-584. This is a bill that has tapped a number of themes that keep surfacing from the opposition members from time to time, who show a profound lack of understanding of the extractive industry here in Canada and globally. That should not be surprising, coming from a party that is essentially opposed to private sector job creation.”
We see what the Conservatives under Harper mean by job creation. As another post I recently did shows, the one area the Harper government is loathe to cut spending in is in the area of policing, jails and the military. Of course. You can’t keep those pesky citizens, and First Nations people, at home and abroad, in line by just asking them politely to just take your class’s abuse. (On the subject of military spending, Readers who believe Harper is a super economist and a super prime minister should examine the “politically engineered” F-35 fiasco, not that there aren’t others. http://bit.ly/1Iw2Thx and http://vnty.fr/1Gg0tmp and http://bit.ly/1Tcr7U0). Harper is a super tool who wants powerful special interests who will use him to give him a lot of attention in return for the favor.
Yves Engler notes, in his book “The Ugly Canadian,” that “Despite the beliefs of some, Canada has long been an important middle power, but the Conservatives have further militarized this country’s foreign policy. Military spending is 2.3 percent higher than at the peak of the Cold War in 1952-53 and 26 percent greater than when the Berlin Wall came down. The Department of National Defence (DND) budget increased from $15 billion in 2005 to $23 billion in 2012 and the Conservatives plan to steadily increase the annual outlay to over $30 billion by 2027-28.” Which it might as well do if Corporatocracy continues and Canada must ally with the world’s most powerful superpower which is determined to stay on top and therefore must feed it’s fossil-fueled military while the people of the world pay dearly to keep the defense contractors in business.
From page 55 of “Crisis And Control – The Militarization Of Protest Policing,” by Lesley J. Wood, we get the following:
As Noami Klein 920070 has pointed out, neoliberal politicians seeking power are prone to emphasize the ineptitude of existing leadership to handle social and economic crises. The rhetoric they use condemns inefficiencies as both economic and moral failings. In response, they propose to cut social services that are “soft” and that foster the “dependency” of the poor and marginalized, with a celebration of “tough on crime” policies – that rely on law enforcement bodies to take on an increasing range of tasks. Police agencies are seen as an increasingly necessary and central part of maintaining the social order. This, in combination with powerful police unions and an increasing reliance on high-tech solutions has shaped the restructuring of police agencies and meant that despite cuts to social spending, the costs of policing continue to rise.
Consider the following excerpt from “The Conservatives, Sound Finance And The Facts Of Recent History,” by Louis-Philippe Rochon:
So what are the facts? Are Conservatives really better economic and fiscal managers?
On job creation, the evidence is clear: unemployment remains stubbornly high today, almost five years after the end of the crisis. In fact, the rate at which jobs are being created slowed down considerably since 2011. Unemployment also remains higher than before the crisis, and in fact remains even higher than when the Conservatives came into office. In January 2006, unemployment was about 6.6%, but it stands at 6.8% now, and is on its way up. And whatever jobs are being created are bad jobs: part-time and self-employed jobs. To say there is an unemployment crisis in Canada is no exaggeration. Yet, to deal with this unemployment crisis, the Conservatives have adopted no policies to encourage job creation.
With respect to economic growth, the evidence is unfortunately no better. The economy has stalled considerably even since the crisis. We are at best hovering at rates of growth that are insufficient to do any good, especially in terms of lowering unemployment. We have settled in a situation of long-term stagnation. Therefore, taking into account their entire tenure in office, the Conservatives have failed at providing sufficient growth stimulus.
To add insult to injury, the latest budget provides zero incentives to stimulate growth. Arbitrary tax cuts, especially when focused upon higher income earners, won’t contribute to economic growth. Tax cuts are never a good way of stimulating growth, especially when compared to the stimulative government spending. In other words, you get a much bigger bang from government spending, especially when spent on infrastructure, than from tax cuts, arbitrary or not.
Consider the following excerpt from “Dutch Disease, Prices And Wages In Saskatchewan” by Erin Weir (switching indents for italics):
Jim Stanford recently pointed out that many of the conservative economists who had defended the overvalued loonie have quickly shifted to applauding its depreciation.
The Government of Saskatchewan may be making a similar conversion on the road to Damascus. When federal NDP leader Tom Mulcair expressed concern about Dutch disease, premier Brad Wall denied that the high exchange rate was hurting Canadian-based exporters.
But on Friday, the Regina Leader-Post reported online:
[Provincial] deputy labour minister Mike Carr said that a lower exchange rate, through its ability to stimulate sales of Canadian-produced goods, including, significantly, agricultural and mineral products of the kind produced by Saskatchewan, historically has tended to help the province and its workers . . .
So, the Wall government’s position is that the high loonie was not curtailing Canadian output and employment, but a lower loonie will help expand Canadian output and employment? It doesn’t believe in Dutch disease, but it wants the cure.
Consider the following excerpt from “Who will save Canada’s economy from Harper and the CEOs?” by Murray Dobbin:
Recent media reports just reinforce what we have known for decades about the Canadian corporate elite. One highlighted Canada’s dismal performance when it comes to research and development, the other our pathetic efforts at broadening our markets for exports. More and more evidence piles up that we are de-industrializing — reminding me of the Star Trek episode where the whole crew starts devolving. Captain Picard is destined to become a pygmy marmoset. I wonder what the end point for Canada might be?
Signs of economic decline
An OECD study reported in the Globe shows that Canada has dropped out of the top 10 in R&D spending and now ranks 12th. While we de-industrialize and fall back on raw resource exports, previously underdeveloped countries — Taiwan, Indian and Brazil — are now outspending us as they industrialize.
We continue to decline in the World Economic Forum’s World Competitiveness Index as well. For 2014-2015 we rank 15th. But even worse, in the category of “innovation and sophistication factors” we rank 25th. In 1998 our overall rank was sixth. Some of the countries that now beat us: the United Arab Emirates, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore. The dramatic decline in R&D has a continuing negative impact on labour productivity as well. According to OECD figures, for the year 2012 we stood at 73 per cent of the U.S. benchmark of 100. This failure to increase labour productivity through investment in new machinery and innovation has a huge impact on our standard of living and the domestic economy: as wages stagnate and personal debt increases domestic consumption starts to flat-line — and that further suppresses investment.
Bill C-51 includes a section that allows the authorities to arrest you if they think ‘you may’ commit a crime! Seeing how the legislation (now passed, thanks to a disgusting Senate) specifically mentions crimes such as hurting the economy (which Harper has done, but that’s okay because he has the ‘right’ political views from the standpoint of the wild beast of corporatocracy which he worships) and damaging infrastructure, things that the government can argue First Nations and environmentalists protesting pipeline projects are engaged in, it’s not hard to see what groups specifically Harper is attacking with Bill C-51. And yet, like a redneck out-of-control killer firing at his target in a crowded area (or like Obama with his drones doing ‘signature strikes’), Harper is happy to mow everyone down with his Bill C-51. Afterall, It’s going to get our attention. We see who lords it over us and that equals the glory Harper craves, like all who have modded themselves into eager players in the game of ‘riches for the strongest’. Seriously though, Does Harper have precogs? Then again, He does think he’s God. Unfortunately for us, he likes to demonstrate his omnipotence. Otherwise, He wouldn’t get this kind of attention.
We are horrified. But his corporatocracy colleagues are impressed. It’s a win win for a guy who worships the powerful (unless you’re the real God) and wants them, and us, to view him as powerful. As for details, Pamela, I think, explains Harper’s attitude perfectly. She notes that it’s about who her people are as Indians, by which she means who they are as Indians in a political and legal sense, which she explains.
PAMELA PALMATER: Yeah. Well, I mean, I think the Truth and Reconciliation Commission went about as far as they felt comfortable in naming it cultural genocide. But I – it’s just genocide through and through. If you look at the U.N. definition on genocide, it meets every single one of those factors. And there’s nothing cultural about it. They weren’t killing us because of our culture. They were killing us because we were Indians, and we stood in the way of accessing all of the lands and resources and settlement in this country.
Think about it. All of the overrepresentation in this country in prisons – you know, some prisons have as high as 60 percent indigenous peoples – that’s not because of our culture; it’s because we’re Indians, and we have rights and aboriginal rights that still stand in the way of unfettered resource development. Why are our kids overrepresented in Child and Family Services, to the tune of 30,000 to 40,000 in Canada? Here in Manitoba, 90 percent of all kids in care are indigenous. It’s not because of their culture; it’s because of who they are as Indians and that we’re the indigenous peoples here, and we have rights to protect this territory, and we’re essentially the last stand against complete, unfettered development here in this country…
AMY GOODMAN: Last year, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police revealed at least 1,181 native women and girls were killed or went missing between 1980 and 2012. The new Truth and Reconciliation Commission report made a link between the residential schools with the missing and murdered women. The report states, quote, “The available information suggests a devastating link between the large numbers of murdered and missing Aboriginal women and the many harmful background factors in their lives. The complex interplay of factors – many of which are part of the legacy of residential schools – needs to be examined, as does the lack of success of police forces in solving these crimes against Aboriginal women,” unquote. Paula Palmater, can you talk about what is being planned now? I mean, that’s a government commission. What is the follow-up at this point?
PAMELA PALMATER: Well, there is no follow-up. And probably one of the most insulting, shameful things that happened yesterday was when the Truth and Reconciliation commissioner, Justice Murray Sinclair, got up and said there’s a clear link between what happened in residential schools and the vulnerability of our indigenous women and girls that go murdered and missing, and that he recommended and supported all of the calls for a national inquiry: Everyone stood up, gave him a standing ovation, except the minister of Indian affairs.
What is at the core of the fascist Bill C-51? A respected expert on law at the University of Toronto shares with us what his first (See above video) impressions were upon examining Bill C-51. He refers to the government’s new idea of activities that undermine the security of Canada as being one of the things in the Bill that caused alarm bells to go off in his head. He mentions Quebec sovereigntists’ protests, aboriginal protests and environmentalists’ protests, which he sees this Bill as criminalizing, and he views that as bad for democracy. Clearly, The targets are mainly First Nations and environmentalists. Bill C-51 targets First Nations people simply trying to deal with a government that allows the oil and gas companies to invade their territory and destroy at will.
“Canadian capitalism is driven by a logic of expansion. This insatiable drive to seek out new markets and territories in which to accumulate wealth in the capitalist game of survival of the fittest drives it deeper into soverign indigenous lands within its borders and increasingly beyond its own borders…
“Canada has become a significant player in the Third World, especially in its own backyard – Latin America and the Caribbean. And thus we find that in 1980 profits from Canadian Third World investments were $3.7 billion, while by 2007 they were $23.6 billion after tax – an increase of 535 percent, which is greater than the increase in profits earned at home over the same period of time.
“There is no bright side to Canadian investment in the South. It is accomplished by displacing indigenous people and poor peasants from their land (to get at mineral and oil deposits, for example), destroying ecosystems and ruthlessly exploiting the sweat labour of typically poor women in the region’s export processing zones, where workers’ rights are minimal if they exist at all. We can also add to this the steep burden of debt obligations Third World governments are forced to pay Canadian banks, money which otherwise could go to social programs for their own citizens…” – pages 10, 11 of “Imperialist Canada” by Todd Gordon
As for Canada’s First Nations people, Todd notes (pages 107 & 108) that:
“Most importantly, no tinkering with Indian Affairs or the claims processes, and no Supreme Court decision, can change the basics of capitalist economics: there will be constant pressure by corporations and the state to expand into First Nations’ territory. Consequently, indigenous anger will not dissipate, and direct actions will likely continue.
“This is the price of imperialism. These conflagrations, where indigenous peoples must physically assert their opposition to Canadian colonialism, forcefully display the colonial tension that is more than a mere hangover of the original European settlement of present-day Canada; it is a historically rooted and ongoing conflict over the future of the country and its resources. Canada is, for the moment, willing to endure this conflict, whatever the costs. This is the dialectical interplay – the shifting balance of forces between colonizer and the colonized – of empire building. Even in the face of indigenous defiance, the state is not yet ready to seriously reconsider its policies. The state still considers militarization and the deployment of increasing levels of violence as a potential option for dealing with insurgent First Nation activists. The Sûreté du Québec (SQ) after the Oka Revolt, and the RCMP after the Gustafsen Lake stand-off both increased their militarization considerably in preparation for future confrontations, and aggressive policing more generally has become an important part of state policy toward indigenous direct action.”
Hello Bill C-51. As Murray Dobbin noted back in November of 2010, “This Is The Security State Steve Built.” Simply, The state and those who it partners with, take stock and look ahead. That’s what you do when you want to survive and dominate. (That’s also what you do when you care, although those who care don’t go on to exploit and rob others.) The politicians who were most connected to the most entrenched and powerful special interests in the mafia capitalist system, namely the defense contractors and the oil and gas industries, are those politicians who ‘got it’ most. For example, see the above link to the Vanity Fair article about the F-35 – which story posits that government mismanagement resulted in defense contractors playing the Pentagon, but really, it’s only the people getting played here. The latest news from ceasfire.ca is that Harper has hit the pause button on purchasing the F-35s.
As can be expected, Connected politicians, who possess the ‘right’ political views (pro free trade, neoliberal, imperialism is okay, ‘riches for the strongest’) are also those who get promoted and protected most – by those same powerful special interests who they’ve got connections to. (For an example, see my post titled “What is lost is needed to find it.” Jane Holl Lute is a real lesson.) We read about them all the time – if we are interested in knowing, which comes from caring. Those politicians and special interests have no intention of doing business in any other way than they have been. They are not interested in democracy, which could trip them up. Democracy would involve the people in a positive way, bringing them into decision-making, and the abused people would in turn call for a halt to the planet-cooking, polluting, exploitative and destructive capitalism happening. Many, like Naomi Klein, are calling for that now, although some, like Bill Hopwood, criticize Naomi Klein for being unclear about what kind of social economic system precisely she proposes. (I personally expect God to put a stop to any form of capitalism.) Those benefitting most from the exploitation and destruction of neoliberal capitalism would lose those benefits were democracy to gain a foothold and so, from their standpoint, it can’t. They were on it from the beginning.
Right after the oil crisis of 1973, They (notably the Trilateral Commission [formed in 1973] and the Business Roundtable [formed in 1972] in the US and the Business Council on National Issues [formed in 1977] here in Canada and now known as the Canadian Council of Chief Executives) began their counter-pushback against the people and their gains from the civil rights and New Deal era. During World War II everyone pulled together, more or less, because the owners of the world needed the workers of the world to help them save that world. Post World War II, there was an afterglow when the tacit arrangements that saw labour and business working with each other, for the most part and for the benefit of all, was the norm. That glow came off for a number of reasons, but the business community proved to be every bit as godless (purportedly) as the communists they, and Stalin, turned the people (including the NAAC and AFL/CIO) against as they used their clout to launch a class war that has never ended.
The people are not winning this class war. Because nothing – extreme inequality, extreme and widespread poverty, environmental destruction – can change the minds of those who own and run the world, they are therefore determined to deal with the natural pushback from the abused people that they know will come. Glen Ford gives us a glimpse into that reality in his report on Minerva. The state foresees the pushback, since it’s determined to force it, and has planned to deal with the people by force, terror and manipulation, when out and out propaganda doesn’t work and by propaganda and indoctrination when things are calmer. Although I think it’s fair to say that, in practice, the state uses all of the above measures at the same time often enough. (See “Beyond the Swindle of the Corporate University: Higher Education in the Service of Democracy” by Henry Giroux.)
Canada wouldn’t be any different, although I don’t have at my fingertips much in the way of specific examples of preparations by the Canadian state to do counter-pushback. There is Project Hero, a joint effort by Stephen Harper and Rick Hillier which Cameron Fenton talks about in his Dominion article titled “Building Heroes.” Also, Tricia Jenkins book, “The CIA In Hollywood – How The Agency Shapes Film And Television” was an eye opener. Add to that Peter Maas’s recent article looking at a report that finds that Americans, who are not a different species than Canadians, are more likely to have their political thinking influenced by movies than political ads and you begin to see how ruthless the state is in conducting it’s class war against the people it abuses. And there’s the general redesign of governments to make them less responsive to social movements and people and more responsive to the demands of the business community, which has succeeded wonderfully, yielding neoliberal capitalism. Tony Clarke looks closely at the redesign of the Canadian state undertaken by powerful special interests in his 1997 book “Silent Coup – Confronting The Big Business Takeover Of Canada.” Rightwing think tanks, protected by successive rightwing Canadian governments, have been channeling darkness to the corporate owned, dominant media, helping with the task of propagandizing the people and manufacturing the consent needed in a fake democracy, while think tanks that are not biased in favor of the needs and wants of exploitative corporations and the 1% have been attacked by the Harperites, as the The Harper Record, below, outlines.
Certainly, the owners and the rulers of the world will take steps to have people like Stephen Harper put into positions of authority. The Trilateralists found, groomed and had installed Jimmy Carter, he of the Carter Doctrine. (See Patrick Wood’s article “The Trilateral Commission: Usurping Sovereignty.”) And all the Right people helped Stephen Harper to rise to the top of Canada’s political system too. Tony Clarke’s book titled “Tar Sands Showdown,” in the chapter titled “Energy Superpower,” also looks at who Stephen Harper is and his connections to the “Alberta oil patch.” Yves Engler briefly looks at Harper’s “deep ties to an Alberta oil industry” on pages 22 & 23 of his book titled “The Ugly Canadian – Stephen Harper’s Foreign Policy.”
“Meet the People Who Made Possible Stephen Harper’s Reign” by Donald Gutstein. An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
Harper is one side of an ideological coin; missing from the discussion is the other side of the coin — the network of conservative think-tanks such as the Fraser Institute working over many decades to change the climate of ideas that make sense to many of us. By climate of ideas, I mean our commonly accepted notions about how government and the private sector should operate, and our understandings of ourselves as self-centred individualists or as compassionate members of society…
Once in office, Harper was able to put into practice the principles the think-tanks could only talk and write about, tempered of course by the necessities of governing…
Combining Harper’s efforts to bring private property rights to First Nation reserves with a think-tank discourse that claims prosperity and economic development are possible only with such rights, constitutes a classic example of Harperism…
The ideology the think-tanks promote is properly called neoliberalism because, in contrast to libertarians who want a small, powerless state that leaves people alone, neoliberals require a strong state that uses its power to create and enforce markets, and prop them up when they fail…
Neoliberalism came later to Canada than to Britain and the United States…
Neoliberalism became entrenched under the Liberal governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, who accepted the ideology as their own policy orientation, as Chrétien signed NAFTA and Chrétien–Martin brought in an era of privatization and fiscal restraint.
By the time Harper took over the reins of government, neoliberalism was normalized as the accepted way of running the country. That was Harper’s starting point. Harperism, then, is [the] label for Harper’s unique way of furthering neoliberalism.
The undemocratic, fascist Harper isn’t attacking only First Nations people. Unfortunately for them, however, they are uniquely positioned to be, as they have always been, as their counterparts elsewhere have always been, the first victims of capitalist expansion. And there’s nothing lovely about capitalist expansion or capitalism. Neoliberal capitalism can be regarded as ripe capitalism. Sometimes the line between ripe and rotten isn’t clear. If capitalism can be made to work for everyone, if not made to work perfectly, that doesn’t undo the established fact that those who moulded it and gave it to the world and who today maintain it have made it into brutal neoliberal capitalism in which social safety nets are shredded and corporations and the rich know few constraints. They’ve ‘successfully’ engaged in the politics of escape (deregulation and tax havens for example. William Greider in “One World, Ready Or Not”). And their escape has taken place at the same time as our enslavement.
First Nations were on their own, more or less, for a long time. Recent efforts by powerful special interests in oil and gas, with uncle Sam and the American military industrial complex seeing cooperation with those as paramount for the furtherance of their own goals, has meant grief for both First Nations in the US and Canada and for all residents in areas where fracking and pipeline construction have proceeded, not to mention neighborhoods where oil tankers have crashed and oil bombs on rail have exploded. The maintenance of American national security means maintenance of the fossil-fueled (and huge) American military that that security depends on. The American corporatocracy government seeks to both acquire as much energy (oil mainly) as it can in a world where soon enough (even with a delay due to increased fracking and new fracking technology, namely horizontal drilling) there will only be enough oil for one superpower, and it seeks to use oil it possesses and controls as leverage that will allow it to maneuver and retain dominance over the rest of the globe, including over the other superpowers. That is why it would like to have pipelines routed through the US. It will export oil and maintain the fossil-fueled, global capitalist system it created, but will also be able to maintain it’s dominance within that system, it hopes, by having in it’s hands levers that will allow it to favor cooperative states and allies with energy and acceptable terms and protection and subdue potential contenders for dominance by withholding the same – until it all crashes. When peak oil does arrive and things get really hairy, the spigots in the US can be turned off and the oil kept for just the US.
First Nations have their own unique challenges in facing down that behemoth, and those challenges are great precisely because the state has foreseen that the first victims of capitalist expansion, which it worries about (in a negative sense) a great deal, will be those First Nations. (No doubt, as time passed, the Canadian state saw more clearly the contours of the capitalist expansion that would go where it shouldn’t, by some measures. If American national security policy wasn’t top of mind before Gerald Ford, in Detroit on the Canadian border!, warned oil producing states not to deprive the US of oil, or before the Carter Doctrine, or before the proposed and stifled (?) Security and Prosperity Partnership, it is now.) Belatedly, Others, helped by scientists (without Harper’s support or approval) to know that the efforts to help indigenous people push back against the oil and gas industries that the state allows to invade and destroy their territory, and much more territory, will also be in the service of fighting to preserve a liveable earth for all.
The book is titled “A Woman Among Warlords – The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice.” It was published in 2009. The author, assisted by Derrick O’Keefe, is Malalai Joya, whom the BBC called the bravest woman in Afghanistan. I would add that her supporters in Afghanistan, male and female, are pretty damn brave too.
“Joya worked effectively for human rights, particularly for women; she was elected to Parliament and then expelled when she continued to denounce warlord atrocities. She now lives underground under heavy protection, but she continues her struggle, in word and deed.” – Noam Chomsky
After the tragic day of September 11, 2001, many in Afghanistan thought that, with the ensuing overthrow of the Taliban, they might finally see some light, some justice and progress. But it was not to be. The Afghan people have been betrayed once again by those who are claiming to help them. More than seven years after the U.S. invasion, we are still faced with foreign occupation and a U.S.-backed government filled with warlords who are just like the Taliban. Instead of putting these ruthless murderers on trial for war crimes, the United States and its allies placed them in positions of power, where they continue to terrorize ordinary Afghans.
From the start, Stephen Harper’s powerful friends in the oil industry, which the US military depends on (as do all militaries), had no qualms about getting it’s oil and making money by hurting others who might otherwise prevent them from doing so. None of that ever bothered Stephen Harper. When September 11 happened in 2001, the US used it as an excuse to invade Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden became the most wanted man in the world, but the actual evidence that he was involved in 9-11 was slim. Still, Even the Taliban, as others have noted, took a reasonable – and sane, considering the fact that they possibly faced a US invasion were it impossible to placate the Americans – position on the subject of suspect bin Laden, offering to hand him over to the US once evidence of his crime was shown. “The Wall Street Journal accurately described the documents [purportedly showing bin Laden’s involvement in 9-11] as “more like a charge than detailed evidence,” relegating the report to a back page. The Journal also points out, accurately, that it doesn’t matter, quoting a senior U.S. official who says that “The criminal case is irrelevant. The plan is to wipe out Mr. bin Laden and his organization.” The point of the documentation is to allow Blair, the Secretary General of NATO, and others to assure the world that the evidence is “clear and compelling.”” (page 131 of “9-11 – Was There An Alternative?” by Noam Chomsky)
Harper’s oil and gas industry buds want to sweep aside the First Nations and other landowners and any who get in their way as they scurry about looking for resources. (How could the war criminal Netanyahu’s regular slaughter of Palestinians possibly bother Harper who went out of his way to let Netanyahu know that Harper is his best buddy? That should please the Americans as well.) The victims want to be left alone and they don’t want the oil and gas and mining interests to harm the land and it’s waterways upon which their livelihoods exist. And it so happens that the oil and gas industry, when it gets it’s way, not only destroys directly and immediately, but then destroys again when the fossil fuels it creates from oil and get burned contribute to global warming and help to bring the earth closer to a tipping point that will see life on it become hellish and perhaps altogether impossible (unless God steps in, which is what some,like myself, believe will happen).
Helpfully, Politicians like Harper, who have already allowed the oil and gas industry to self-regulate, mostly, step up here and make laws that make resisting the invaders illegal! That’s what Bill C-51 does! Being a victim, as is the case for Afghans resisting imperial aggression, which Harper has been a part of, makes you a criminal in this upside down world. When people like Malalai Joya speak out and denounce the twisted, violent warlords who the US protects, they call her names like commie and whore. That’s not infrequent either. That kind of ranting is regular and comes from all quarters in Afghanistan. I truly think that something deeper is at work here than just nastiness. The Afghans, in my opinion, could use some sexual liberation, which is not the same as the freedom to take, by force, from others the pleasure, let alone resources, you want. Nothing’s changed over there in this regard, so I guess that uncle Sam and uncle Canuck didn’t bring sexual liberation to Afghanistan. It occurs to me that if all the females in your country, except, possibly, your mothers, are whores, then your desire to have sex with them isn’t wrong. Carrying out that desire isn’t wrong. And if you just want to kill people who get in your way, then it helps that they are all commies (and commie huntin’ is something that your Western backers are going to really get behind!). And if you want to screw them and kill them, Well then, They can be both commies and whores! There’s a similar dynamic at work here in Canada, with Harper and all of the pathetic, pathological people who support him gleefully labelling those who they abuse, because they are in the way of capitalists busy expanding their businesses, and then again because they resort to self-defense, commies, eco-terrorists, extremists, radicals, etc.. Fascism isn’t radical. Being a victim of fascists is.
This is Robert Lovelace’s explanation for Harper’s actions, taken from his article titled “Violence against Aboriginal women and the right to self-defence”:
For months now First Nations Leadership has been calling on the Federal government for a commission to study why there are so many murdered and missing Aboriginal women in this country.
The government of Canada has refused. Stephen Harper and his government have said that it is a matter for law enforcement, not for politicians or the public.
When Aboriginal women experience violence of any kind it is a political act. It is so, because Aboriginal women as a group are the most vulnerable sector in the Canadian population. This is not an accident. It is a historical reality and a direct consequence of colonial policy over the last 150 years…
However, with all of these reasons why Aboriginal women are victimized I believe the most important cause of this violence, like all of the other rights that colonial society has taken away from peoples indigenous to this land, is the right of self-defense…
Canada committed billions of dollars and hundreds of lives to a war in Afghanistan, and among the most popular reasons was, to protect Afghan women and their rights. Canada shed its role as a peacekeeper and became a warrior nation to do so. A Colonial government won’t do that for Aboriginal women in Canada so we need to do it for ourselves. And unlike Canada in Afghanistan, let’s not abandon our mission.
Robert’s apparent assessment of the intentions of the Canadian government in Afghanistan appears faulty (since his words imply that Harper’s intentions in Afghanistan are good), but he does get that in Harper’s eyes, defending oneself against abuse is a crime, especially if it’s abuse committed by Harper and his partners. The exchange below is part of what was conducted in the House of Commons this day (which was April 1st, 2009, as far as I can determine – http://bit.ly/1HM089J). I took it from Aaron Wherry’s article titled “The Commons: How do you solve a problem like Afghanistan?”
Ok. But… Come forward to June 2015 and How do things look? The below comments are from the Toronto Star article which can be reached via the link embedded in the photo of Tom Lawson, below.
Consider Yves Engler’s comments on Harper and his mining company friends. From pages 46, 47 & 185 of his book, titled “The Ugly Canadian,” we have the following:
As part of their promotion of voluntary efforts the government launched Building the Canadian Advantage: A Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy for the Canadian International Extractive Sector. In October 2009 they established an Extractive Sector Corporate Social Responsibility Counsellor with a $620,000 budget to probe complaints about abuses committed by Canadian companies in poor countries. But, the Counsellor could not intervene – let alone take any remedial action – without agreement from the company accused of abuse. But late 2011 the Toronto-based CSR Counsellor’s office had received only two complaints, noted CBC.ca, “one of which was dropped because the mining corporation chose not to undergo the voluntary investigation.”
The person Stockwell Day appointed as the initial CSR Counsellor, Marketa Evans, was the founding director of the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre for International Studies. Established with funding from Peter Munk, chairman and founder of Barrick Gold, the billionaire maintained significant influence over the Centre with its director reporting to a board set up by the Munk family. Munk espoused far-right political views. He defended Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet and virulently attacked Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez. In a March 2011 Globe and Mail interview he dismissed criticism of Barrick’s security force in Papua New Guinea, which led Norway’s pension fund to divest from the company, by claiming “gang rape is a cultural habit” in that country…
On the other side of the world… Afghanistan’s natural resources may have influenced Canadian military policy in that country. “Is mineral rich Afghanistan the next mining hotspot?” asked a March 2008 Financial Post headline…
In November 2011 the Afghan Ministry of Mines awarded Toronto-based Kilo Goldmines a 25 percent stake in Hajigak, the largest iron deposit in Asia. The Conservatives hailed the move. “Canada is strongly committed to helping Afghans rebuild their country, and this investment by Kilo Goldmines will create jobs and prosperity for Afghans and Canadians alike,” said trade minister Ed Fast…
Despite Conservative claims, the war in Afghanistan wasn’t about improving women’s rights. Canadian officials ignored or downlplayed the misogynistic policies pursued by President Hamid Karzai. In early 2012 the notoriously corrupt president backed a decree claiming women are worth less than men. “Men are fundmanetal and women are secondary,” noted the statement by a government-sponsored group of religious leaders known as the Ulema Council. “Women are subordinate to men, should not mix in work or education and must always have a male guardian when they travel.”
How can you tell when the Canadian military and their supporters are lying about a war? When they know a reporter is present.
The sad fact is that in Afghanistan, killing a woman is like killing a bird. The United States has tried to justify its occupation with rhetoric about “liberating” Afghan women, but we remain caged in our country, without access to justice and still ruled by women-hating criminals. Fundamentalists still preach that “a woman should be in her house or in the grave.” In most places it is still not safe for a woman to appear in public uncovered, or to walk on the street without a male relative. Girls are still sold into marriage. Rape goes unpunished every day.
Harper sent Canadian soldiers to Afghanistan in order to help out the US, and it’s installed puppet leaders – who were monsters, as Malalai Joya points out. This doesn’t trouble Harper. There’s enemies and then there’s official enemies, just as there’s barbarism and then official barbarism. Harper can deal with those who are intolerant and racist, if they have the ‘right’ political views and connections. If he’s confronted with people who have the ‘wrong’ political views, which means that they don’t appreciate being victims of imperialists and neoliberal capitalists and their tools, then they will be ignored or just as easily end up wearing the label of terrorist, barbarian or racist (anti-semitic).
Harper would of course give the same reasons for Canadian soldiers presence in Afghanistan as Malalai outines above. But no one should believe that the man is capable of caring about the women in places like Afghanistan. There’s no reason to believe it. And there’s reasons to believe the opposite. Hundreds of indigenous women go missing and turn up raped and murdered (with many still missing) and the man not only doesn’t want to look into it, but he very clearly showed what he thinks of indigenous women, and all indigenous people, when he ignored the Truth And Reconciliation Commission, which recently concluded that the government of Canada engaged in cultural genocide against First Nations. That condemnation is weaker than it should be, as Pamela Palmater notes. It was genocide straight up. And there’s no reason to suppose that Harper, in fact, does care about First Nations people, whose communities have lived with boil water alerts for years. There’s no reason to suppose that Bill C-51 only looks like it’s targetting First Nations and environmental activists. The undemocratic Stephen Harper is all about business and pleasing powerful business interests and people. That’s it. That’s his vision. That’s his reason for living. That – his own glory, power and security – is the cause that Stephen Harper chose to champion and the career he embarked upon and that’s because he’s modified himself to become a believer in inequality and an enthusiastic player in the Darwinian game of ‘riches for the strongest’.
Roger Annis has something illuminating to say about that in his (Sept 7, 2005) article titled Ottawa steps up support for US-led war efforts:
At a press conference on July 13 to announce the Kandahar mission, Hillier told reporters of his views of the July 7 bombings in London and the Canadian role in Afghanistan. He described the perpetrators of the London bombings as “detestable murderers and scumbags”, and likened them to those opposing imperialist occupation in Afghanistan.
“They detest our freedoms, they detest our society, they detest our liberties”, he said. “We are going to Afghanistan to actually take down the folks that are trying to blow up men and women… We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people.”
Hillier described the targets of the Canadian military as a “ball of snakes”, made up of terrorists, drug dealers and other “rogue” elements. His message was that it’s time to toss away the myth of Canada as a “peacekeeper” in the world and pursue a far more aggressive foreign policy.
Hillier believes that Canadian military policy must do more to facilitate and promote investment opportunities for Canadian capitalists. In a speech on July 22, he likened Canada’s military interventions to recent trips by Canadian political and business leaders to promote Canadian investments in “emerging markets”.
From pages 171 & 172 of “Imperialist Canada,” by Todd Gordon, the following:
CIDA INC [Canadian International Development Agency/ Industrial Cooperation Program (sic)] had consistently financed investments in countries engaged in human rights violations or in the midst of civil war, including, among others… Afghanistan…
In the eyes of the Canadian state and capital, investment and profit considerations trump human rights. Here again, Canada really is not any different from other imperialist countries. A key goal of its foreign policy is making the Third World a good place for Canadians to do business, and anything that could interfere with this, including concern for human rights, is perceived as a threat to Canadian interests… This is the cold calculus informing Canada’s human rights policy: if it undermines corporate opportunities for profit, or gives our international competitors and edge over us, then the best option – the business option – is to disregard it.
In the above excerpt, notice the easy conflation of business interests with Canadian interests. With Bills like C-51 we see clearly that “Canadian interests” actually means Canadian business interests. Also, While Todd there reveals the true approach and thinking of our ‘leaders’, that is not going to be their claimed approach, as Todd considers on pages 300 & 301 of “Imperialist Canada.” He writes: “Military and political leaders commonly refer to the “three block war” doctrine now, which was originally articulated by American military strategists. It holds that future military engagements will involve combat in one block, patrolling streets and maintaining order in another and providing humanitarian relief in a third – all at the same time and involving the same subject population. There is, in other words, no humanitarianism without war – a convenient conclusion for those who wish to extend their military power into foreign countries.” Keep all of that in mind when, soon enough, you’ll be treated to much preaching ‘at’ you by Harper et al about what Harper has always said his number one priority is, namely the economy. Harper’s top priority is to assist the business community, whatever that does for the Canadian economy. With neoliberal capitalism in play, managed by corporatists who believe in inequality, that should result in disaster for the economy and the country. That’s pretty much where we are. Were Harper to care about Canadians, as in ‘all’ Canadians, and try to improve the economy with a view to improving the lives of all Canadians, while limiting the freedom of neoliberal capitalists and free traders to wreak havoc in pursuit of their riches and glory, then he’d be a good man and a leader in a positive sense. That Stephen Harper is nowhere in sight.
“The Harper Record” by 46 authors in association with the Canadian Centre (sic) for Policy Alternatives, isn’t up to date, but it’s contents are relevant and well researched. Click this link for an ‘about’: The Harper Record. An excerpt follows:
On December 20, 2001, the UN Security Council agreed to sanction the creation of an International Security Assistance Force (IsAF) under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter, an enforcement mandate. The IsAF is completely outside the United Nations, part of the “coalition of the willing” created by the U.S. government. This “stabilization mission” was to support the UN humanitarian assistance program. Canada was to be part of the IsAF, under British command. Between 2001 and 2003, the IsAF was confined to Kabul in a peace-keeping role. By early 2003, the rebellion against the interim Afghan
government and the occupation forces had begun. Under direction from the Bush administration, which was preparing for an attack on Iraq, NATO assumed the responsibility for the IsAF. Canadian forces served in Kabul between October 2003 and November 2005. They were then moved to Kandahar, first under oef [operation eduring freedom] and then in July 2006 under the authority of the IsAF. Canadian military forces made a major shift from a peacekeeping role in support of humanitarian assistance to fighting a counter-insurgency war. Over this period, the governments of Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, and Stephen Harper all gave full support to the Bush administration’s position on Afghanistan. In April 2008, a resolution was passed in Parliament authorizing Stephen Harper’s government to extend Canada’s role in the counter- insurgency war through 2011…
The formation of a post-Taliban government began in November 2001, when the U.S. government brought some representatives from Afghanistan together at Bonn, Germany, to create an interim government. The Bush administration chose groups aligned to the Northern Alliance, the Islamists who have been their close political allies since 1979. Five broad groups representing the democratic forces in Afghanistan asked to participate, but they were refused official status and voting rights. This set the pattern for everything that followed. The democratic forces have been excluded from all the operations to create a new constitution and government, as well as from the first elections. It is widely known that the Afghan people wanted a restoration of the liberal, democratic constitution of 1964, a constitutional monarch with a parliamentary government, political parties, elections by proportional representation, and a federal state. The U.S. government, backed by the Canadian government and representatives from the United Nations, blocked this development. At the Bonn meetings in November 2001, the U.S. government mandated that Hamid Karzai be appointed the new interim president. He named 30 people, mainly Islamists from the Northern Alliance, to form the transitional administration.
Harper’s actions are unforgivable. So is his church’s actions. His church, The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C & MA), has kept it’s mouth shout about their celebrity member, who happens to be a mass murderer and criminal of the highest order. It’s silence matches the silence of Harper toward the Truth And Reconciliation Commission and Malalai Joya. Harper isn’t an adult in any positive sense. But he is an adult predator. Sometimes, predators employ stealth or silence.
“Child sex abuse rampant in Afghanistan, documentary shows” by Rick Westhead
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
U.S. Marine Maj. Bill Steuber, like most people in Afghanistan’s southern Helmand province, knew that local Afghan police were keeping young boys as sex slaves.
The practice, known as bacha bazi, or “boy play,” was an open secret in Sangin, a town of 14,000 in Helmand.
So Steuber sat down to confront deputy police chief Qhattab Khan, hoping he could convince him that the practice — which is as illegal in Afghanistan as it is in Canada — would cost the police the support of the local community.
But what Steuber heard left him shaking his head in disbelief.
During their meeting in November 2012, Steuber said, Khan mocked the idea that his men shouldn’t have sex with the boys. Without the boys, Khan said, using graphic language, his men would be left with few options other than their own grandmothers…
Anderson’s 90-minute production offers a sobering look at Afghanistan, a decade after Canadian and other western armies arrived, and raises questions about why it has taken the Canadian military more than five years to complete an investigation into allegations that Canadian officers told their subordinates to ignore cases of sex abuse.
The probe continues with no specified end date, a Canadian Forces spokesperson said, long after most Canadian soldiers have left Afghanistan and nearly five years after a board of inquiry was convened on Nov. 21, 2008.
“Chaplain says senior officer aware of rapes by Afghans” by Rick Westhead
From “A Woman Among Warlords”:
“In 1992, for a brief period of time, my family returned to live in Farah. I was then fourteen and my memories of those months are frightening… There was anarchy on the streets. Young girls were being abducted, raped, and killed by roaming gangs.”
“As early as May 1992, Ayatollah Asif Mohseni, the interim governing council spokesman (now a close friend of Karzai and the United States in Kabul), and Sayed Ali Javed (now a member of Parliament) publicly announced a new set of rules governing the conduct of women: the “Ordinance on the Women’s Veil.” It proclaimed, “A denier of the veil is an infidel and an unveiled woman is lewd,” and outlined the conditions of wearing a veil:
1. They must not perfume themselves.
2. They must not wear adorning clothes.
3. They must not wear thin clothes.
4. They must not wear narrow and tight clothes.
5. They must cover their entire bodies.
6. Their clothes must not resemble men’s clothes.
7. Muslim women’s clothes must not resemble non-Muslim women’s clothes.
8. Their foot ornaments must not produce sound.
9. They must not produce sound-producing garments.
10. The must not walk in the middle of streets.
11. They must not go out of their houses without their husband’s permission.
12. They must not talk to strange men.
13. If it is necessary to talk, they must talk in a low voice and without laughter.
14. They must not look at strangers.
15. They must not mix with strangers.
“In most parts of Afghanistan women now had to wear a burqa because of the fear of being kidnapped, raped, and murdered. Young girls were forcibly married to the jihadi commanders. These so-called Muslims married four women in public, which is permitted in Islam, but most of them had more than four wives. They used rape as a weapon to dominate and terrorize the people. Their men raped children as young as four, and cut off the breasts of the women. There were even reports reaching Pakistan of these criminals raping the dead bodies of women and the old grandmothers – which is beyond imagination.”
pages 70, 71, 72
“…Here in Kabul, there was a huge, mixed audience in the grand hall, and the atmosphere was charged and tense… “My name is Malalai Joya from Farah Province… Why would you allow criminals to be present here? They are responsible for our situation now!”…
“Suddenly, I could no longer hear my voice echoing over the PA system. I had been speaking for barely ninety seconds when the chairman cut off my microphone…
“At first I continued speaking, but soon realized that my words had provoked a very serious situation. There was an enormous commotion. Angry men were lurching in my direction. Chakari was the first to raise his voice against me, shouting “Down with communism!” to provoke others. Even one of the female delegates threatened me, pointing and shouting, “Take the pants off this prostitute and tie them on her head!””
“When he saw that I would not take back my words, Mojaddedi grew angrier.
“Oh, you still do not apologize?” he said. “Oh, my God, she does not even apologize!” Then, when he called me “a communist” and an “infidel,” I knew it was time to leave.”
pages 73, 74
“Sure enough, that night a group of people angered by my speech went looking for me in the university residence where I had been staying. They carried sticks in their hands to beat me. Screaming insults, they stormed in on my friend Nafas.
“Where is that prostitute girl?” the men demanded. “When we find her, we will rape her and kill her!”
pages 178, 179
“In 2005, Mrs Bush made a six-hour stop in Afghanistan, staying just long enough to proclaim how pleased she was with our progress. At a teacher’s training institute in Kabul, the American president’s clueless wife announced, “Tyranny has been replaced by a young democracy and the power of freedom is on display across Afghanistan.”
In a way, she was partly right. “The power of freedom” was – and remains – available for the warlords, drug lords, and Taliban to brutalize the people, particularly women. Women are “free” to beg in the streets under the cover of burqa; they are “free” to resort to prostitution to feed their families; they are “free” to sell their children instead of watching them starve to death; they are “free” to commit self-immolation as the only way out of the cycle of humiliation, destitution, and despair.”
“Some took Laura Bush at her word when she said the purpose of the American invasion was to restore women’s rights, or took at face value the words of then U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell in November 2001: “The rights of women in Afghanistan will not be negotiatiable.” Perhaps Powell had meant to say that women’s rights would not be negotiated. It was obvious from the very first days that the United States had compromised the rights of Afghan women by supporting some of the worst enemies of women that our country had ever seen.”
“Women in Afghanistan: a human rights catastrophe” by Amnesty International