Professional Scam Artists – part 69

Yves Engler is harrassed by fascists

“Liberals use RCMP in attempt to silence critics of their foreign policy” by Yves Engler (Yves Engler)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

On Tuesday two RCMP agents came to my house. Two large men in suits asked for me and when my partner said I wasn’t there they asked who she was…

They returned the next day. Not wanting to interact, my partner ignored them. They rang the doorbell multiple times over many minutes…

The visits are a transparent effort to intimidate me from directly challenging the government’s pro-corporate and pro-empire international policies.

The day before their first visit to my house two RCMP officers physically removed me from a press conference when I asked Transportation Minister Marc Garneau about Canadian arm sales to Saudi Arabia. When I sat down at an event that was already underway an officer took the seat next to me. When I began to ask a question at the end of the press conference he used the cover of private property to try to block me. On this video one can see the RCMP agent asking the building security twice if I’m welcome in the space. Deferring to police, the security guard tells him I’m not welcome. The RCMP agent, who doesn’t have the right to remove me from the room without a directive, then uses the authority derived from a representative of the building to physically eject me and threaten arrest…

Last Wednesday lawyer Dimitri Lascaris and I were blocked from a talk by the prime minister at the Bonaventure Hotel in a similar way. In my case an RCMP agent called out my name as I entered the hotel and then accompanied me in the elevator, through a long lobby and down an escalator to ‘introduce’ me to hotel security. The representative of the hotel then said I wasn’t welcome, which gave the officer the legal authority to ask me to leave. Lascaris details the incident in “The RCMP’s Speech Police Block Yves Engler and Me From Attending A Speech By Justin Trudeau.”

After starting to write this story, I was targeted by the RCMP for removal from a press conference by Justice Minister David Lametti. On Thursday, a Concordia University security guard, who I walked past to enter the room, came up to me 15 minutes later and asked for my press credentials. There were two dozen people in the room who didn’t have press credentials and the release for the event said nothing about needing them. The RCMP agent admitted that he asked Concordia security to approach me. He also said he was only there for the physical — not political — protection of the minister, but refused my suggestion that he and the Concordia security agents sit next/in front of me to ensure the minister’s physical safety.

Justin Trudeau and Jair Bolsonaro

“If Trudeau was environmentalist he’d stop making nice with Brazil president” by Yves Engler (Yves Engler)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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By now most environmentally conscious people understand that Jair Bolsonaro is a bad guy. Brazil’s president has scandalously blamed environmentalists for starting fires burning in the Amazon region, after having called for more “development” of the huge forests.

Canadians are lucky we have a prime minister who is not such an embarrassment and understands environmental issues, right?

While Justin Trudeau has called for better protection of the Amazon, his government and Canadian corporations have contributed to the rise of a proto fascist Brazilian politician who has accelerated the destruction of the ‘planet’s lungs’.

In 2016 Workers Party President Dilma Rousseff was impeached in a “soft coup”. While Canadian officials have made dozens of statements criticizing Venezuela over the past three years, the Trudeau government remained silent on Rousseff’s ouster. The only comment I found was a Global Affairs official telling Sputnik that Canada would maintain relations with Brazil after Rousseff was impeached. In fact, the Trudeau government began negotiating — there have been seven rounds of talks — a free trade agreement with the Brazilian-led MERCOSUR trade block. They also held a Canada Brazil Strategic Dialogue Partnership and Trudeau warmly welcomed Bolsonaro at the G20 in June.

Bolsonaro won the 2018 presidential election largely because the front runner in the polls was in jail.
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“AT&T strikers show their power, but face union-company gang-up” by Patrick Martin (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Years of pent up anger at AT&T exploded this weekend as 22,000 workers in nine southern states went on strike against the telecommunications giant. But officials of the Communications Workers of America (CWA) are preparing to call off the powerful strike as soon as the company agrees to new negotiations, without a new contract or even an offer to meet the demands by the workers on jobs, living standards and working conditions.

AT&T workers in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee walked off the job Friday night at midnight joining AT&T workers from South Florida who went on strike on Thursday morning. On Monday, workers set up picket lines at AT&T locations throughout the region and expressed their anger at the company and their determination to defend their jobs and living standards.

Workers at what is currently called AT&T Southeast, once Bell South, have been working without a contract since August 3, when their previous agreement expired. The rank-and-file voted by over 95 percent to strike, but the CWA ordered their members to continue working until Thursday’s action apparently forced their hand…

In the leadup to the contract deadline, the CWA leadership sought to ensure that the AT&T Southeast workers would be as isolated as possible.

“Oklahoma judge finds Johnson & Johnson guilty in opioid epidemic” by Benjamin Mateus (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In the first full-scale trial of an opioid manufacturer, Judge Thad Balkman of Cleveland County District Court of Oklahoma ordered the giant pharmaceutical company Johnson & Johnson to pay the state $572 million for its role in the opioid crisis which has killed more Americans than died in World War II.

The company was found culpable for pushing doctors through “false, misleading, and dangerous marketing campaigns” to prescribe opioid-based pain killers while downplaying the addictive risks associated with them, the judge wrote. Overprescription “caused exponentially increasing rates of addiction, overdose deaths” and other dire health consequences.

Though there was widespread media praise for the ruling as a landmark event, it is far short of the $17 billion that Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter had urged the judge to order Johnson & Johnson to pay. Balkman’s verdict provides the state only a year’s worth of the estimated costs that would be required to treat those addicted and establish long-term prevention programs.

The financial markets took the verdict in stride. In after-hours trading, Johnson & Johnson’s stock price jumped from $127.78 to $133.61. Many investors had anticipated a judgment of over $1 billion.

Yves Engler (in blue) tries to speak with Marc Garneau

“Marc Garneau, Canada’s Transport Minister, Refuses To Answer Questions About Canada’s Arms Deal With Saudis” by Dimitri Lascaris (Dimitri Lascaris)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Today, Canada’s Transport Minister Marc Garneau refused to answer questions about the Trudeau Government’s decision to sell deadly weapons to the monstrous Saudi autocracy.

Author-activist Yves Engler and I caught up with Minister Garneau this afternoon as the Minister departed a speaking engagement in Montreal.

As I filmed the video below, Yves pointed out to Minister Garneau that, in late 2018 (shortly after the Saudi autocracy’s savage murder and dismemberment of Washington Post correspondent Jamal Khashoggi), Minister Garneau told Canadians that the Saudi arms deal was ‘under review.’

Ten months later – – there is no indication that the Trudeau government will cancel this indefensible deal with the devil.

After refusing to shake Yves’s hand, Minister Garneau refused to answer Yves’s questions about the status of the deal.

You’re a real hero, Aren’t you Garneau. Enjoy your swim in the toilet bowl of the Liberal Party.

UAW President Gary Jones (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

“FBI raids UAW President Gary Jones’ home, as workers vote to strike at GM, Ford and Chrysler” by Marcus Day (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Internal Revenue Service raided the home of United Auto Workers President Gary Jones, the California home of former UAW President Dennis Williams, and a number of other UAW locations Wednesday morning, marking a major escalation of the years-long US federal investigation into corruption and bribery of UAW leaders.

“They were on the floor [of Jones’ garage] counting cash, going through the wads,” one eyewitness told the Detroit News. “They pulled out a five-foot tube that was a UAW banner. They were really examining the golf clubs.”

The raids come on the heels of the expansion of the corruption indictments to officials from the UAW-GM department, including Michael Grimes, the top aide of former UAW Vice President Joe Ashton (who has also been implicated). They underscore what the vast majority of autoworkers know: that the UAW is a criminal syndicate, completely hostile to workers’ interests.

The extreme crisis confronting the UAW coincides with and is compounded by surging militancy among autoworkers and their determination to carry out a serious struggle, including a nationwide strike. Strike authorizations by thousands of workers continued to come in almost unanimously Wednesday. Ford’s Kansas City Assembly—which employs nearly 7,000 workers—registered 98.4 percent “yes.” Ford’s Dearborn Truck (4,000 workers) and Louisville and Kentucky Truck (combined, over 12,000 workers) each registered 99 percent “yes.”

This is actually terrifying. The working class already has the war-making State and its fascist instruments of repression to deal with and here’s it own union leadership doing it to them to. But that’s not the end of it. The rightwing, criminal government is only to happy to crush the criminal union leadership, not because it believes in law & order but because it is ideologically against anything socialistic ‘for the people’. That’s reserved for them only.

“Transnational Honda shuts down production in Argentina” by Andrea Lobo (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

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Two weeks ago, the Japanese-based Honda Motor Company announced that it will permanently end car production in Argentina by May 2020, resulting in over 500 layoffs.

Honda plans to keep 200 workers on the motorcycle assembly line in its factory located in Campana, Buenos Aires Province. Last week, however, it announced that nine of its dealerships will also be closed, which would axe dozens of other jobs.

The layoffs have clearly exposed the rotten role of the Mechanics and Auto-Transport Union (Smata). The union belongs to a faction of the General Confederation of Workers (CGT) led by Hugo Moyano, a longstanding bureaucrat who began his rise as during the 1970s, when he joined the Argentine Anticommunist Alliance (AAA) death squads that hunted down radicalized workers.

For years, Smata and the CGT have argued that to “save” their jobs workers had to put up with shorter hours, suspensions, lower salaries for new contracts, enormous cuts in real wages, firings and other concessions in order to remain “competitive”. Some were forced to transfer from the assembly plant in Florencio Varela, more than 70 miles away, when Honda decided to close it in 2016.

Many have generated profits for the company for nearly two decades, with some reporting on social media about developing tendonitis, arthritis and herniated discs as a result of punishing working conditions. They have never had a say about the concessions accepted behind their backs and enforced by the union.
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“Elizabeth May accepts right-wing billionaire’s debate” by Yves Engler (Yves Engler)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In recent days Munk Debates has repeatedly run a Facebook ad calling on individuals to pressure other party leaders to agree to their debate. It notes, “thank you Elizabeth May and Andrew Scheer for accepting our invitation to participate in the Munk federal election debate on foreign policy. Help us convince Jagmeet Singh and Justin Trudeau to take part in the debate by visiting our website. Email Jagmeet Singh and Justin Trudeau. More debates = more democracy.”

Generally, political debates do reflect vibrant democracy but that is not necessarily the case when the forum was set up and financed by one of Canada’s richest and most right-wing capitalists. Through his Aurea Foundation, Peter Munk, the founder of rapacious global mining firm Barrick Gold, established Munk Debates a decade ago. Peter’s son Anthony Munk is on the committee overseeing the debate series.

Set up to promote Peter Munk’s vision of the world, the Aurea Foundation has doled out millions of dollars to right-wing think tanks such as the Fraser Institute, Canadian Constitution Foundation and Frontier Centre for Public Policy.

Now deceased, Peter Munk espoused far-right political views. In 1997 he publicly praised dictator Augusto Pinochet for “transforming Chile from a wealth-destroying socialist state to a capital-friendly model that is being copied around the world” while two years later the Canadian Jewish News reported on a donation Munk made to an Israeli University and speech in which he “suggested that Israel’s survival is dependent on maintaining its technological superiority over the Arabs.” In 2006 he attacked leftist Bolivian president Evo Morales and the next year wrote a letter to the Financial Times comparing Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez to Hitler. In a March 2011 Globe and Mail interview Munk dismissed criticism of Barrick’s security force in Papua New Guinea by claiming “gang rape is a cultural habit” in that country and he responded to a 2014 Economist question about whether “Indigenous groups appear to have a lot more say and power in resource development these days” by saying “globally it’s a real problem. It’s a major, major problem.”

“Nestlé and the Privatization of Water” by Franklin Frederick (Global Research)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Last February, the Government of Switzerland announced the creation of a Foundation in Geneva, under the name ‘Geneva Science and Diplomacy Anticipator’ (GSDA). The purpose of this new foundation is to regulate new technologies, from drones and automatic cars to genetic engineering, which are examples mentioned by the Swiss Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis at the public launch of this initiative. According to Cassis, new technologies are developing very fast and this Foundation must ‘anticipate’ the consequences of these advances for society and politics. The Foundation will also be a bridge between the scientific and diplomatic communities, hence its strategic placement in Geneva, which houses several international organizations, from the UN to the World Trade Organization.

The Swiss Foreign Ministry will contribute 3 million Swiss francs – just over 3 million dollars – to the Foundation’s initial phase from 2019 to 2022. The city and the Canton of Geneva will each contribute 300,000 Swiss francs for the same period and contributions from the private sector are also expected.

As President of this new Foundation, the former CEO of Nestlé, Peter Brabeck-Letmathe (image right) was chosen. The Vice-President is Patrick Aebischer, the former President of the Lausanne Federal Institute of Technology – EPFL is the French acronym. Patrick Aebischer has also been a member of the Nestlé Health Science Steering Committee since 2015, founded in 2011 by Nestlé and located right on the EPFL campus.

The choice of Peter Brabeck and Patrick Aebischer – both with strong connections to Nestlé – to run this new foundation has a very clear rationale. It primarily represents the recognition of Nestlé’s power within the Swiss Government – a former Nestlé CEO is, by definition, competent to drive this initiative. More upsettingly, Peter Brabeck’s choice is yet another example of the ever-closer “partnership” between governments and large transnational corporations, leading to the establishment of an international corporate oligarchy that is gradually taking over power within Western democracies…

But the biggest irony – and the biggest danger – is that Brabeck’s choice to chair this Foundation indicates that the real purpose of this initiative is precisely to prevent any form of regulation by the government that might impose limits on profits from the technological advances of the private sector.

It is also not expected that this Foundation will defend any protection of the public sphere or the environment against possible threats posed to society by new technological advances. On the contrary, Brabeck’s choice indicates that this Foundation’s primary objective is to defend and support the private sector.

Soviet Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Maksim M. Litvinov

“The Canadian Prime Minister Needs a History Lesson” by Michael Jabara Carley (Strategic Culture Foundation)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

On August 23rd the Canadian Prime Minister’s office issued a statement to remember the so-called “black ribbon day,” a bogus holiday established in 2008-2009 by the European Parliament to commemorate the victims of fascist and communist “totalitarianism” and the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact in 1939. Various centre-right political groupings inside the European Parliament, along with the NATO (read US) Parliamentary Assembly initiated or backed the idea. In 2009, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, meeting in Lithuania, also passed a resolution “equating the roles of the USSR and Nazi Germany in starting World War II.”

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s statement follows along similar lines…

Let’s start at the beginning. In late January 1933 President Paul von Hindenburg, appointed Adolf Hitler as German chancellor. Within months Hitler’s government declared illegal the German Communist and Socialist parties and commenced to establish a one party Nazi state. The Soviet government had heretofore maintained tolerable or correct relations with Weimar Germany, established through the treaty of Rapallo in 1922. The new Nazi government however abandoned that policy and launched a propaganda campaign against the Soviet Union and against its diplomatic, trade, and business representatives working in Germany. Soviet business offices were sometimes trashed and their personnel roughed up by Nazi hooligans…

Alarm bells went off in Moscow. Soviet diplomats and notably the Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Maksim M. Litvinov, had read Hitler’s Mein Kampf, his blueprint for the German domination of Europe, published in the mid-1920s. The book became a bestseller in Germany and was a necessary addition to the mantel piece or the living room table in any German home. For those of you who may not know, Mein Kampf identified Jews and Slavs as Untermenschen, sub humans, good only for slavery or death. The Jews were not to be the only targets of Nazi genocide. Soviet territories eastward to the Ural Mountains were to become German. France was also named as a habitual enemy which had to be eliminated.

“What about Hitler’s book?” Litvinov often asked German diplomats in Moscow. Oh that, they said, don’t pay it any mind…

In October 1933 Litvinov went to Washington to settle the terms of US diplomatic recognition of the USSR. He had discussions with the new US president, Franklin D. Roosevelt, about collective security against Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany. Iosif Stalin, Litvinov’s boss in Moscow, gave his approval to these discussions. Soviet-US relations were off to a good start, but in 1934 the State Department—almost to a man, anti-communists—sabotaged the rapprochement launched by Roosevelt and Litvinov…

In Britain too Soviet diplomats were active and sought to launch an Anglo-Soviet rapprochement. Its aim was to establish the base for collective security against Nazi Germany. Here too the policy was sabotaged…

In each case, the United States, France, and Britain halted promising discussions with the Soviet Union. Why would these governments do something so seemingly incomprehensive [sic] in hindsight? Because anti-communism and Sovietophobia were stronger motives amongst the US, French, and British governing elites than the perception of danger from Nazi Germany. On the contrary, these elites in large measure were sympathetic to Hitler…

In the light of these facts, the Trudeau August 23rd statement is politically motivated anti-Russian propaganda which serves no Canadian national interest. Trudeau gratuitously insulted not only the government of the Russian Federation, but also all Russians whose parents and grandparents fought in the Great Patriotic War. He attempts to delegitimise the emancipatory character of the war of the USSR against the Hitlerite invader and thereby to discredit the Soviet war effort. Trudeau’s statement panders to the interests of his Ukrainian minister for foreign affairs in Ottawa, Chrystia Freeland, a known Russophobe, who celebrates the life of her late grandfather, a Ukrainian Nazi collaborator in occupied Poland. She supports a regime in Kiev which emerged from the violent, so-called Maidan coup d’état against the elected Ukrainian president, backed by fascist militias and from abroad by the European Union and the United States. As preposterous as it may sound, this regime celebrates the deeds of World War II Nazi collaborators, now treated as national heroes. The Canadian prime minister desperately needs a history lesson before he again insults the Russian people, and indeed denigrates the sacrifices of Canadian soldiers and sailors allied with the USSR against the common foe.

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