Saturday, October 16, 2010

Crushing Canada at the United Nations

There are many reasons Canada deserved to lose its bid for a seat in the Security Council. Among these are: the diplomatic slap in the face administered publically to Prime Minister Stephen Harper by the Premier of China for ignoring Canada-China relations, the enthusiasm of the Government of Canada for NATO and the G8/G20 but a pathetic showing at the Copenhagen climate change conference, an indifference to its own diplomats in making foreign policy (see Robert Fowler’s excoriation) and in particular, the trashing of Richard Colvin whose testimony was taken very seriously by the British High Court of Justice ([2010] EWHC 1445) but not by the Government of Canada.

230. The Canadian Government asserted that the allegations were unfounded; but continuing press activity coupled with the legal proceedings have made this a high profile issue within Canada. In evidence to the Afghanistan Committee, Mr Richard Colvin (a senior Canadian diplomat, formerly head of the political section and chargé d'affaires at the Canadian Embassy in Kabul) referred to various important differences between Canadian practice and the practice of the UK and other ISAF states at the time when such allegations were made. He said that as of May 2007 Canada had transferred six times as many detainees as the British; unlike the British, Canada was not monitoring its own detainees after transfer but relied instead on the ICRC and AIHRC to monitor, and was extremely slow to inform the ICRC when a transfer had been made; another difference was that Canada had unusually poor record-keeping; and the final difference was that Canada cloaked its detainee practices in extreme secrecy. He observed:

"… [In] the critical days after a detainee had been transferred to the Afghan intelligence service, nobody was able to monitor them. …

During those crucial first days, what happened to our detainees? According to a number of reliable sources, they were tortured.

The most common forms of torture were beating, whipping with power cables, and the use of electricity. Also common was sleep deprivation, use of temperature extremes, use of knives and open flames, and sexual abuse – that is, rape. Torture might be limited to the first days or it could go on for months.

According to our information, the likelihood is that all the Afghans we handed over were tortured. For interrogators in Kandahar, it was standard operating procedure."

And then we have the illegal interference of the government in George Galloway’s attempt to enter Canada, the lack of interest in Africa, the Attorney-General’s apparent view that obstruction of justice is part of his job description, the arbitrary disposal of the long form census despite arguments to the contrary, the proroguing of Parliament in dubious circumstances….the list goes on.

And yet, shortly before the General Assembly vote, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Lawrence Cannon was making delusional statements:

“The mood among the Canadian delegation at the United Nations was likely drastically different than earlier in the day, when a smiling Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon said he was “confident” that Canada’s efforts to rejoin the council will be successful.

“Canada’s campaign “went well,” Cannon said.”

There is a discernible trait in the current government, which is magical thinking: if we believe a thing is true and tell the world it’s true, then it’s true.

Enter, reality.

The most obvious example is the UN Human Rights Council, trashed by the Canadian government, and the Goldstone Report, also trashed by the Canadian government, apparently without actually reading it. This is an inconvenient reality that somehow doesn’t get press, but can be scarcely ignored in the third world, or whatever it’s called these days. The Goldstone Report, to anybody who reads it, goes out of its way to be fair, just, and humane. If you don’t think that, you haven’t read it.

Meanwhile, Canada has tried to throw its weight around as if it were America, at a time when America can’t throw it weight around as if it were America. The world is sending Canada a message, and by proxy, America a message. The Fourth Reich is dead.

“In his book, The Next 100 Years, realist thinker George Friedman lays out what he calls the “Grand Strategy” of the United States.”

The Globe quotes this “realist thinker” as if he’s some disinterested historian, but the reality is he’s got his own company and is selling propaganda.

“This is the overriding series of goals that must be achieved to maintain American power, domestic peace and high standards of living. It is a strong example of Realist thinking that coldly calculates the factors necessary in national security, rather than what would be nice.
“The list can summarized as:
“1. U.S. Army controls the continental United States.
“2. Naval control of the approaches to the continental United States.
“3. No rivals in the Western Hemisphere.
“4. Control of ocean trade routes in the rest of the world.”

This is a blueprint for The Fourth Reich. The world voted on this proposition at the UN General Assembly election for the Security Council in October 2010, and the message is unmistakable: the tally of the third round was, Portugal 150, Canada, 32. It doesn’t get clearer than that. Of the 192 members of the United Nations, Canada has 32 friends, and 10 members who don’t care. The Fourth Reich is dead.