Canada, once again playing the role of court jester to America’s imperial throne, has announced the same set of new sanctions against Russia that were announced by the EU and the USA a day after the Minsk agreement was signed. To add salt to the wound, this action was taken on the same day that the UN Security Council passed the Russian resolution supporting the Minsk agreement. Once again, the unctuous Canadian prime minister provided no justification for this illegal action except to parrot President Obama’s mantra of “Russian aggression.”
The Russian foreign ministry correctly stated in response that it was a “lame attempt” to prevent implementation of the ceasefire agreement. Foreign Ministry spokesman, Alexander Lukashevich, stated on February 18th that “Canada’s bet on sanctions will be definitely answered. However we hope that Ottawa will think about the consequences of its actions, which in fact fuel the further armed standoff in Ukraine, and realize that pressing Russia with sanctions has no perspectives”
The Canadian action is illegal under international law since Chapter VII, Article 41, of the UN Charter states that the power to impose sanctions rests solely with the UN Security Council. Further, Article 103 of Chapter XVI states that a member’s obligations under the UN Charter override their obligations under any other treaty and this includes the North Atlantic Treaty that created Nato. The Canadian government states that it relies for its action on the Special Economic Measures Act of 1992, but that law has to be applied so that it is not in violation of the UN Charter. Since it is obvious that the Harper government did not base its action on a resolution of the UN, the Canadian sanctions are illegal both under Canadian and international law.
This legal problem has not been raised by the Canadian press, or the major opposition parties, and the Canadian government completely ignores it. But then Canada, like the other Nato governments, has no respect for laws or morality when it serves the interests of the masters in the White House and the corporations hoping to descend like vultures onto the carcass of a prostrate Russia.
The hypocrisy of Canada’s action is highlighted by the revelation that Canada was involved in the plot to overthrow the government of Venezuela just the week before. On February 13 the president of Venezuela’s national assembly presented evidence of a right-wing plot to overthrow the Bolivarian government and stated that a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, attached to the Canadian embassy, was involved in trying to determine the security situation at the airport in Valencia. The officer was named as Nancy Birbeck, who according to a report in the Canadian press in 2009, was a sergeant in the RCMP and at that time was involved in investigations with the American FBI.
This would not be the first time Canada has been involved in attempting to overthrow governments. In 1999 Canada played a significant role in the aggression against Yugoslavia and supplied the war crimes prosecutor Louise Arbour to lay false charges against President Milosevic. In 1994 Canada, through Canadian general Romeo Dallaire, was involved in helping Paul Kagame’s RPF forces murder the two Hutu presidents of Rwanda and Burundi and launch its final offensive resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands. In 2004 Canadian commando units secured the airport for the American marines when they put a pistol to President Aristide’s head, kidnapped him and transported him in chains to Africa. The Canadians were useful idiots for the Americans since they speak French. Canada thereafter helped impose a dictatorial regime in Haiti and its federal police, the RCMP, were involved in arbitrary arrests of hundreds of political opponents of the US–Canadian installed regime. The Canadian role in the destruction of Libya is well known as is its role in the aggression against Afghanistan, and its current bombing of Iraq. Its oppression and cultural genocide of the first nations aboriginal peoples of Canada is a world scandal.
The role played by Canada in the Ukraine crisis is primarily a propaganda one. Its military forces, while well trained, effective and useful to the Americans in particular scenarios, are too small to matter on any meaningful scale. But its propaganda role is useful because Canada has portrayed itself over the years as a neutral, peaceful country full of nice, friendly people who would never offend anyone. So its actions against Russia serve to fool the naïve into thinking that if Canada is taking action then it must be justified.
But that is not the only reason it is involved. Canadian mining companies, many owned by American shareholders, are involved all over the world in searching for opportunities to grab what they can at the cheapest possible price come what may, from Asia to Africa, from Latin America to the Arctic. Now they have their eyes on the vast resources of Russia. They had hoped to exploit them freely when the government of the Soviet Union was replaced by the walking catastrophe that was Boris Yeltsin. But since the rise of the new leadership in Russia, once again aware of Russia’s potential, and its ability to defend its interests instead of selling them to the lowest bidder, the Canadian opportunists find those resources more difficult to access and are eager for the current Russian government to be replaced with one more easily controlled.
One of the prime examples of the types of people involved is the Canadian, Lenna Koszarney, a founding partner and chief financial officer of Horizon Capital that has its headquarters in Kiev. The other founding partner of Horizon Capital and its chief executive officer is Natalie Jaresko, the US imposed American finance minister of Ukraine. Horizon Capital manages the assets of Western NIS Enterprise Fund (WNISEF) a company created by the CIA front US Agency For International Development (USAID).
WNISEF received 150 million dollars from USAID to do “business” in the Ukraine. Ms. Koszarney was chief financial officer of WNISEF before Horizon Capital was formed. Since much of the USAID money cannot be accounted for one can conclude that it was used to fund the coup against President Yanukovich and related purposes.
Koszarney is also head of the Kiev chapter of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, a right wing organisation that claims to represent all 1.2 million Ukrainians living in Canada but really speaks for the far right of the Ukrainian population. This leads us to another reason for Harper’s criminal sanctions against Russia, votes. Harper relies on the votes of those Ukrainians, many of them in key voting districts in the west of Canada where the majority of them live, to get elected.
Koszarney has been very active and on November 30th 2014 she was filmed handing out Canadian military uniforms to members of the Kiev forces including members of the Aidar battalion and earlier that year she attended a meeting of the Atlantic Council, the elite US government and Nato connected think tank that is funded by major US, Canadian and European industrial, financial and weapons corporations as well as the US military. Koszarney, along with Jaresko, was at the meeting to push for the integration of Ukraine into Europe.
The interlocking system of political leverage that is being used was clearly revealed when the President of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, Paul Grod, who is on the Russian list of prohibited persons, stated recently that,
“We’ve been pushing the Canadian government and I think they are responding in a very acceptable manner, in terms of what they have been providing. I think the key is to ensure that they’re in lockstep with the Americans, depending on how things work out in Minsk.”
He then referred to and echoed the February 2nd report by the Atlantic Council that calls for “decisive sectoral economic sanctions against Russia’s financial, defense and energy sectors” including removing Russia from the SWIFT bank transfer payment system, the further political isolation of President Putin by excluding Russia from the FIFA World Cup in 2018, the cancellation of the Nato-Russia Founding Act and Russia’s exclusion from the G20.
The report also calls for Canada and its allies to provide lethal military assistance and ends with a demand that the Donbass republics be labelled terrorist groups and Russia a state sponsor of terrorism. This fits in with he Canadian government’s proposed new law Bill C51 that further limits freedom of speech and association in Canada, widens the powers of the state security services and would make this writer subject to arrest for providing support to “terrorists” for writing this article.
Both the February 9th Briefing Note to the Canadian Parliament that details these demands and the Atlantic Council report which it echoes are found here and here. Both are worth reading because they indicate where things are heading and what we must be prepared for if the Minsk ceasefire breaks down which looks increasingly likely.
The conclusion to be drawn from these facts is that Canada is locked into the matrix of the imperial power system and cannot act independently as a sovereign nation and in the best interests of its peoples because the state machinery has been co-opted by agents of the US imperial power which have vested political and financial interests in the continued aggression against Russia.
We must wait to see how Russia responds to the Canadian action but whatever that response is it remains for the Canadian people to realise the jeopardy that the Harper regime is putting them in and to demand that the aggression against Russia be stopped, that the support for fascists in Kiev be stopped and that Canada withdraw from Nato and all other military alliances and for once live up to its undeserved reputation as a nation dedicated to peace and the peaceful resolution of disputes between nations.
Christopher Black is an international criminal lawyer based in Toronto, he is a member of the Law Society of Upper Canada and he is known for a number of high-profile cases involving human rights and war crimes, especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.