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Two international items in the news this week highlight, by its absence, an underlying feature of reporting events in ‘troubled’ areas of the world.  That absence is simply the historical background of each event.

Canada in Mali

Canada is maintaining its superficial idealism of peacekeeping as it commits 250 military personnel to Mali, relying on “faith” (rather than respect), operating for “human rights” with an initial goal of “stability.” [1] In spite of a peace deal being signed by various groups five years ago a status quo of corruption, internal fighting, and crimes against citizens are ongoing.   Well over one hundred UN “peacekeepers” have been killed in Mali since the beginning of the mission.

All that idealism and resolve on Canada’s part is well and good, but what is missing is the historical context within which Canada also participated.  While the news and the political talk shows mention the disruption in Libya as playing a role in that situation, they do not mention Canada’s role in Libya.

Canada’s role in Libya was essentially war crimes against the country of Libya.  Although authorized by the UNSC for countries to create a no fly zone in order to prevent a theorized genocide, the participating countries – essentially NATO with the full backing of the US and their then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton – went well beyond that.   Even with the spurious rationale of the no fly zone and genocide, the mission’s real purpose was to dispose of the Libyan government of Gaddafi and prevent any Libyan government from establishing an independent position against the US.  Along with that was stopping  the idea of having an independent gold backed African currency, as well as stopping Chinese assistance within the oilfields of Libya.

Canada played a major role in criminally extending the no fly zone into an aerial combat mission to assist the “rebels” who were mainly comprised of fundamentalist religious fighters.   In that role Canadian air forces attacked both regular Libyan army units as well as destroying much civilian infrastructure in Libya, essentially directly assisting the rebel ground forces. [2]  When it was all over they pulled out, leaving behind a chaotic situation that spilled over into the Sahel region of Africa and thus the problems in Mali.  By operating well beyond the “no fly zone” of the UNSC and with provisions of ground support for the “rebels” Canada was complicit of war crimes and crimes against humanity in Libya.

The Prime Minister at the time, Stephen Harper was so proud of our heroic flyboys that they were honoured with a state visit in Canada’s senate.

That context is omitted from current news broadcasts on the CBC.  In effect, Canadian troops are operating in a war theatre they had a decisive role in creating several years previously, at the time operating under the auspices of the UN but in reality acting for the wishes of the US and its goal of maintaining/creating a global hegemony for its petro dollar reserve currency.

Refugees from Central America’s “northern triangle”

Canada’s CBC has been following events concerning asylum seekers and refugees entering the US along the border with Mexico.  As with the reporting on Mali, the background context is missing.  When discussing why the people are leaving their countries the accepted answer is because of poverty, crime, extortion, drugs, extrajudicial killings, corruption – essentially the whole load of bad news that accompanies failed states.

The CBC news reports identified the refugees as arriving from the Northern Triangle of Central America: the states of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.  Yes, these countries have the crime and corruption and drugs that the natives are fleeing even by their own account.  What isn’t discussed is how they became that way in the first place.

It is a long history, but essentially these countries are the quintessential ‘banana republics’.  Early US  entrepreneurs realized there was money to be made from banana plantations marketed to the US mainland.  Backed by US military, US banks, and private police forces, the agencies of United Fruit (now Chiquita, also now with Dole) maintained large private reserves, commanding the majority of the local economic scene to the detriment of the indigenous people.

More recently, when these countries attempted to have even mildly socialist governments that maybe just hinted against US dominance, corruption, and hegemony, the US intervened either directly, covertly, or through bizarre schemes such as the Iran-Contra affair.   The violence comes from this, but also importantly from the “School of the Americas”, now known as the  Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation.  This “school” was a school that instructed special forces how to torture, intimidate, create rebellions, set up false flags, and simply kill the major participants within the opposition.

From covert operations, private militias, instructions in how to fight dirty and illegally, it is no wonder that armed gangs have formed, intent on securing their own part of the economy through intimidation (murder, torture, threats) and the sale of drugs.  That the governments are corrupt is simply part and parcel of all the mayhem created by US intrusions into the area.  They are failed states because the US deliberately ‘failed’ them in order to retain control of the overall setting.

It is no surprise that the first two CIA overthrows of governments involved the democratically elected governments of Jacobo Arbenz in Guatemala and Mohammad Mossadegh in Iran, the former for bananas, the latter for oil, both to save them from independence.

The real news for Canada

Canadians are receiving the real news, at least the minimum the establishment wishes to enlighten the public about.  To have full news coverage would require the CBC to examine the “roots” of the problems mentioned (as stated by Justin Trudeau during his election campaign) and discuss the nature of US interventions and dominance for each region along with Canada’s subservient role in it all.  Unfortunately Canada follows US foreign policy and the CBC is not as independent or as thorough with the news as they like to be perceived to be.

[1] Harjit Sajjan, Canada’s Minister of Defence. “Power and Politics”, CBC, 2018-06-25.

[2] Yves Engler.  “Canada’s role in the “War” on Libya.”, Dissident Voice, August 28, 2015.

Jim Miles is a Canadian educator and a regular contributor/columnist of opinion pieces and book reviews for The Palestine Chronicle. Miles’ work is also presented globally through other alternative websites and news publications.

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