Saudi Op­pres­sion Boosts Canada’s Econ­omy

The Victoria Standard - - Commentary - MOR­GAN DUCHESNEY

The Trudeau govern­ment con­tin­ues to is­sue ex­port per­mits for the sale of Cana­dian-made LAVS (light ar­mored ve­hi­cles) to Saudi Ara­bia – a bru­tal re­li­gious dic­ta­tor­ship that spends lav­ishly on ad­vanced weapons sys­tems pro­vided mainly by Amer­i­can and EU com­pa­nies.

The con­tro­ver­sial sale of th­ese Gen­eral Dy­nam­ics Canada ve­hi­cles was orig­i­nally or­ches­trated by the former Harper govern­ment who claimed it would stim­u­late the econ­omy. As well, they em­pha­sized the fact that the ve­hi­cles were be­ing ex­ported mi­nus weapons sys­tems. This is like say­ing that as­sault ri­fles are harm­less if sold with­out bul­lets.

While both the Harper and Trudeau gov­ern­ments have at­tempted to present the LAV as a be­nign form of mil­i­tary trans­porta­tion th­ese ve­hi­cles are de­signed to carry a host of lethal weapons de­signed pri­mar­ily for use against heav­ily-armed en­e­mies. The pow­er­ful LAV will mount reg­u­lar ma­chine guns, au­to­matic grenade launch­ers, au­to­matic can­nons and anti-tank rock­ets with com­put­er­ized tar­get­ing sys­tems.

Chron­i­cle Her­ald writer Dan Leger’s re­cent col­umn en­ti­tled, “Saudi deal cre­ates prob­lems for feds” cites a re­cent­lyre­leased video that ap­pears to show LAVS, sim­i­lar to the Cana­dian ex­ports, em­ployed against mi­nor­ity Shia Saudis. Lend­ing cre­dence to this video, Saudi Ara­bia’s neigh­bour Bahrain re­cently de­ployed Saudi LAVS to at­tack do­mes­tic pro-democ­racy demon­stra­tors. No­tice­ably ab­sent from public dis­course in Canada is any in­put from Bahraini and Saudi hu­man rights ac­tivists who have wit­nessed the lethal power of LAVS. One pos­si­ble ex­pla­na­tion for this ex­clu­sion is the cozy re­la­tion­ship the Trudeau govern­ment en­joys with me­dia or­ga­ni­za­tions like Torstar.

As an aside, I’ve al­ways noted that air shows and arms “fairs” fail to demon­strate the lethal­ity and power of mod­ern weapons. I’m cer­tain that at­ten­dance at mil­i­tary air­shows would rad­i­cally de­crease if bal­lis­tic jelly dum­mies were bombed, strafed and na­palmed be­fore hor­ri­fied on­look­ers. Mil­i­tary and “se­cu­rity” con­ven­tions have learned their les­son af­ter many em­bar­rass­ing demon­stra­tions. They now op­er­ate on an in­vi­ta­tiononly ba­sis that naturally in­cludes sym­pa­thetic mem­bers of the cor­po­rate me­dia seek­ing de­fense as­so­ci­a­tion awards for their faith­ful ser­vice to Cana­dian mil­i­tarism and the arms in­dus­try. Cor­po­rate pun­dits are po­si­tioned to re­veal the darker as­pects of Canada’s mil­i­tary ac­tiv­i­ties in­clud­ing the neg­a­tive ef­fects of weapons ex­ports. In­stead, they re­gur­gi­tate arms in­dus­try press re­leases and writ­ing glow­ing ac­counts of overseas valor.

Canada cur­rently ex­ports light ar­moured ve­hi­cles, small arms, am­mu­ni­tion and a wide ar­ray of mil­i­tary train­ing tech­nol­ogy to other NATO states and any coun­try not la­beled com­mu­nist or linked to fed­er­ally-des­ig­nated ter­ror­ist en­ti­ties. Politi­cians and arms deal­ers fre­quently men­tion the se­cu­rity of end-user cer­tifi­cates but th­ese doc­u­ments can’t pre­vent re­cip­i­ent states from weapons re­dis­tri­bu­tion. Canada’s so-called de­fense ex­port in­dus­try is cur­rently ranked at num­ber fif­teen glob­ally. This is quite a feat for a na­tion for­merly noted for UN peace-keep­ing.

Canada’s clos­est com­peti­tors are tech­no­log­i­cally ad­vanced na­tions like Is­rael who spe­cial­ize in sur­veil­lance sys­tems and do­mes­tic se­cu­rity de­vices pi­o­neered dur­ing their on­go­ing cam­paign to su­press Pales­tinian na­tion­al­ism. Both Cana­dian and Amer­i­can po­lice are reg­u­larly ad­vised and trained by Is­raeli ex­perts who profit hand­somely from teach­ing the lat­est tech­niques of crowd-con­trol and the in­fil­tra­tion of ac­tivist groups op­posed to govern­ment pol­icy or ad­vo­cat­ing for the rights of indige­nous peo­ple and im­mi­grants.

Con­cern­ing des­ig­nated ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions, Is­rael is the ex­cep­tion since Canada re­cently agreed to sell that state a large num­ber of C7 as­sault ri­fles. Th­ese mod­ern M-16s are be­ing ex­ported de­spite the Jewish ex­trem­ist group Ka­hane be­ing con­sid­ered a ter­ror­ist en­tity by the Cana­dian govern­ment. The Prime Min­is­ter must be aware that even­tu­ally hy­per­ve­loc­ity bul­lets from th­ese weapons will strike Pales­tini­ans liv­ing in ar­eas il­le­gally-oc­cu­pied by Is­rael. Of course, such ex­ports were pre­dictable af­ter Canada signed the Canada-is­rael Free Trade Agree­ment in 1997. Ac­cord­ing to Cana­dian author Yves En­gler, the pact is, “…an im­plicit recog­ni­tion of the oc­cu­pa­tion” since Canada ac­cepts Is­raeli cus­toms ju­ris­dic­tion over the oc­cu­pied West Bank.

Be­fore arm­ing the Saudi despots, Canada was pleased to ex­ports mil­lions of rounds of small arms am­mu­ni­tion to the U.S. for use in Afghanistan and Iraq and any­where else the Bush and Obama regimes chose to in­vade. Un­doubt­edly, Don­ald Trump’s Amer­ica First pol­icy will not pre­clude the im­por­ta­tion of Cana­dian mil­i­tary prod­ucts when re­quired. Cana­dian man­u­fac­tur­ers had pre­vi­ously prof­ited from Amer­i­can mil­i­tarism in South East Asia. As well, the Mul­roney govern­ment sold Canada’s stock of used small arms to Turkey in the early 1990s but can­celled the sale of fighter bombers af­ter public pres­sure. Then as now, Turkey is con­duct­ing a bru­tal cam­paign of atroc­i­ties against Kur­dish na­tion­al­ists.

Con­cern­ing the cur­rent LAV sales to Saudi Ara­bia, Chrys­tia Free­land and Justin Trudeau of­fer only in­dig­na­tion and vague state­ments about hold­ing that govern­ment ac­count­able for its sav­age op­pres­sion. While it is aw­ful to con­tem­plate the fol­low­ing con­clu­sion, it seems that anony­mous Arabs must in­deed die to pro­tect Cana­dian jobs and politi­cians. What some call diplo­macy is re­ally just cover for the sort of ruth­less ex­pe­di­ency that con­tin­ues to jus­tify profit at any price.

Light Ar­moured Ve­hi­cles like the Cana­dian-made Gen­eral Dy­nam­ics Land Sys­tems LAV III pic­tured here, are slated to be sold by Canada to Saudi Ara­bia, de­spite the coun­try's record of hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions.

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