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Archive for July 28th, 2012

Harper: Canada’s chickenhawk-in-chief

During the Conservatives’ first six years in office the military budget increased from $15 billion to $23 billion and the number of troops rose by about one quarter to 95,000. The special forces, which Ottawa can deploy abroad in total secrecy, more than doubled.

An increase in the size and strength of the military makes war more likely. In a recent article leading foreign policy journalist Lee Berthiaume reported that the Harper government’s 2007 decision to acquire four massive C-17 Globemaster military transport planes spurred the plan to establish bases around the world. “The decision to acquire four C-17s (CC177) for strategic airlift indicates the government’s intention to utilize the CF [Canadian Forces] more extensively off continent,” read a May 2010 briefing note signed by Natynczyk, initiating the international base plan. Dubbed Operational Support Hub, the goal is to set up permanent bases in up to seven countries.

In recent months Canada has signed an agreement to house soldiers and equipment in Kuwait, Jamaica and Germany and is negotiating to set up bases in Singapore, South Korea, Tanzania, Senegal and Kenya. According to a military briefing note obtained by Postmedia, the bases are designed to improve the Canadian Forces’ “ability to project combat power/security assistance and Canadian influence rapidly and flexibly anywhere in the world.” Publically, defense minister Peter MacKay called the base initiative part of expanding “our capability for expeditionary participation in international missions….We are big players in NATO.”

By setting up overseas bases and increasing the military’s size, the Conservatives are preparing for future wars… The Conservatives’ militarism is unrelenting. After waging war in Libya they organized an $850,000 nationally televised celebration for Canada’s “military heroes”, which included flyovers from a dozen military aircraft. Harper told the 300 military personnel brought in from four bases: “We are celebrating a great military success. Soldier for soldier, sailor for sailor, airman for airman, the Canadian Armed Forces are the best in the world.”

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You’ve heard of the Zionist Lobby… now meet Taiwan Lobby. Just as noxious and not entirely unconnected.

The Washington Free Beacon, a new website on the right, has a particular fascination with promoting weapon sales to Taiwan. In addition to daily hits on the Obama administration and Democrats, the Free Beacon has multiple posts calling for more F-16 fighter jet sales to the island nation, and has branded skeptics of militarization as “pro-China” activists […]

Michael Goldfarb, a former Republican staffer and writer, founded the Free Beacon with “several million dollars” in January of this year. Listed as the chairman of the 501(c) group that sponsors the Free Beaconwebsite, Goldfarb is also a partner at the lobbying and public relations firm Orion Strategies, LLC. […]

Goldfarb has leveraged his relationship with conservative media to promote his clients’ concerns. On behalf of the Democratic Republic of Georgia, a country that currently has a $270,000 contract with Orion, Goldfarbarranged for an interview between Ambassador Temuri Yakobashvili and a Washington Jewish Weekreporter named Adam Kredo last year. In December of 2010, he arranged for multiple journalists, includingThe Weekly Standards Matt Continetti, to have dinner with Georgian Vice Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze. And last year, Goldfarb was hired by Koch Industries as part of the company’s “crisis communication” team. At the time, Goldfarb was still affiliated with The Weekly Standard, and the magazine’s writers, like Continetti, began publishing pieces defending the billionaire owners of Koch Industries, David and Charles Koch.

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