Industry Canada has proposed to strengthenCanada’s military industry and private military research, arguing that this will help inform the government about its defence procurement strategy. Other observers, however, attribute this development to the Harper government’s ambitious acquisition and export plans.
The Harper government has made weapons deals with China, Russia, Egypt, Uzbekistan, Thailand, Colombia, Bahrain, Libya, Afghanistan, and to Ukraine during the Yanukovych regime.
Project Ploughshares CEO Cesar Jaramillo said that,“It is increasingly clearthat the role of the Canadian government, primarily through the CanadianCommercial Corporation, is that of an active promoter—more than a passive facilitator—of Canadian military exports that benefit the defence industry.”
The Harper government has not signed onto the UN Arms Trade Treaty (ATT), which regulates the sale of arms to countries with poor human rights records. Jaramillo noted that in a recent conference of the States Party to the ATT, Canada was conspicuously absent, as were also Somalia, South Sudan, North Korea, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia. “Canada is the only state in North America,” Jaramillo added, “and the only member of NATO not to have signed it.”
A spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs attributed Canada’s continuing lack of response to a concern that the ATT may affect “lawful and responsible firearms owners,” adding that, “we remain committed to making a decision on whether to join the Treaty if it is determined that doing so is good for Canada, and for Canadians.”
The Canadian government is also spending more on weapons for the Canadian Armed Forces. It has plans for large expenditures for Canada’s fighter jets, ships, and new weapons for ground forces. It has already begun purchasing such items as remote naval weapons systems and ultralight combat vehicles for commandos.
Source: Ben Makuch, in Vice News, Sept. 15, 2015.
Rose Gottemoeller, US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, charges that Russia has flight-tested a missile as a ground-launched cruise missile system in ranges that are banned under the Inter-mediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty of 1987. Russia has denied the accusation.
The next step in such a situation should be a referral of the dispute to a body that was spelled out in the INF treaty: the Special Verification Commission (SVC). Unfor-tunately, that commission has not met since October 2003, nor has there been any significant effort to convene it since then. Some say that the United States is simply unwilling to confront Russia over such matters, so that Russians expect to get away with violating the treaty. Two arms control experts say that the US has been detecting violations as far back as 2010 or even earlier, but simply raised the issue with Moscow quietly at high levels.
Russia has in turn accused Washington of violating the treaty by using Aegis radar systems and ship-based Mark 41 launch systems that could be used as part of missile systems banned by the INF.
Pavel Podvig, a researcher who blogs about arms control, thinks the Russian weapon may be a submarine-launched cruise missile that was tested on the ground (which is allowed by the INF) but using a mobile launcher (which may violate the INF). Podvig suggests that, “It is in the interest of the US to release more information on the alleged violations.”
Source: Mike Eckel, in RFE/RL Sept. 17, 2017.
The Arctic is heating up in more ways than one. China and Russia are increasingly addressing the region as an area of strategic importance, and the US is increasing its intelligence analysis there. Most American Intelligence agencies have assigned new analysts to work on the Arctic, while Russia and China are using hacked data to spy on these US spies.
The United States, Russia, Canada, Denmark, and Norway are all seeking jurisdiction over the seabed in the region and Sweden is rethinking its neutrality as a result of concerns about Russian aggression. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency has drawn new maps of waterways and territories and President Obama recently became the first US president to visit the Arctic.
Source: LA Times , Sept.7, 2015.
Some people harmed by development projects financed by the World Bank take grave risks to speak out and face severe consequences, but the bank has done little to protect them. Cambodia has jailed Nget Khun, an activist who protests evictions stemming from World Bank-financed projects. The bank has strongly opposed the government’s plan to evict people from their homes but has been silent about attacks on such critics.
Source: Jessica Evans, Al Jazeera