Tariq Ali: Pakistan on the Flight Path of American Power (VIDEO)

September 17, 2008

Watch this two-part Tom Dispatch VIDEO by Pakistani-born journalist and writer Tariq Ali and you will better understand the US-Pakistani relationship and its consequences in Afghanistan:

Part 1: The Tangled U.S.-Pakistani relationship on the edge of war
Part 2: Barack Obama’s disastrous plans for Afghanistan and Pakistan


Is Canada protecting the biggest heroin crop of all time?

February 27, 2008

The opium trade now constitutes 40 per cent of the entire economy of Afghanistan. This is the highest harvest of opium the world as ever seen. But there is now more than just raw opium produced there.

In fact, Afghanistan no longer exports much raw opium at all. It now exports not opium, but heroin. Opium is converted into heroin on an industrial scale, not in kitchens but in factories. Millions of gallons of the chemicals needed for this process are shipped into Afghanistan by tanker. The tankers and bulk opium lorries on the way to the factories share the roads, improved by American aid, with NATO troops.

Our soldiers are in effect helping facilitate the distribution of opium. This leads me to ask these two questions: Are Canadian troops in Afghanistan in fact supporting the global heroin trade so that more people in my city of Brampton can become addicts? Is the Harper government complicit in the heroin business?

For the full story, read “Britain is protecting the biggest heroin crop of all time” — by Craig Murray, in the Daily Mail [UK]

In case any readers wonder about the veracity of Craig Murray’s information, here’s a bit about his background:

“My knowledge of all this comes from my time as British Ambassador in neighbouring Uzbekistan from 2002 until 2004. I stood at the Friendship Bridge at Termez in 2003 and watched the Jeeps with blacked-out windows bringing the heroin through from Afghanistan, en route to Europe.

I watched the tankers of chemicals roaring into Afghanistan.

Yet I could not persuade my country to do anything about it. Alexander Litvinenko – the former agent of the KGB, now the FSB, who died in London last November after being poisoned with polonium 210 – had suffered the same frustration over the same topic.”

**Craig Murray’s quote is from the same article linked above.

It’s time to sit down with the Taliban

August 21, 2007

This article by the Toronto Star’s national affairs columnist Thomas Walkom rightly suggests that some serious rethinking is needed about insurgents and the Afghan mission.

Here is an excerpt:

THE LATEST AFGHAN war is a curious conflict. Launched by the U.S. in retaliation for the 9/11 terror attacks, its purpose was never clear.Was it to simply oust the Taliban? Was it to capture Al Qaeda terror chief Osama bin Laden? Or was it to reconstruct Afghanistan, improve the lot of women and introduce liberal democracy?

At different times, different rationales were given. Initially, the U.S. fixated on Bin Laden. America welcomed allies, including Canada, in its combat mission. But it wanted a free hand to wage war as it saw fit.

For its part, the United Nations focused on creating a stable government.

In late 2001, it authorized the North Atlantic Treaty Organization members to form a separate international force to aid Karzai. These soldiers would not engage in offensive combat. Most important, they would stay out of America’s way. Canada contributed troops to this, too.

Few worried about the Taliban in those early days. It seemed a spent force.

In fact it was not. As resentment against Karzai’s warlord-dominated government grew, the Taliban found new recruits. The post-invasion renaissance of the opium trade provided the Islamist rebels with cash to pay these recruits.

Read full article: Memo to Minister MacKay

Afghanistan’s heroin bumper crop

July 28, 2007

There is a huge transformation taking place in Afghanistan after the sixth year of the US-led NATO occupation. But not the kind most people are hoping for…

Meanwhile, “the alarming escalation of the casualty rate among British soldiers in Afghanistan – up to ten per cent – led to discussion this week on whether it could be fairly compared to casualty rates in the Second World War”. And this week as the 64th British soldier to die in Afghanistan was buried, Brits are asking some serious questions about the mission.

Excerpt from the Daily Mail:

In six years, the occupation has wrought one massive transformation in Afghanistan, a development so huge that it has increased Afghan GDP by 66 per cent and constitutes 40 per cent of the entire economy. That is a startling achievement, by any standards. Yet we are not trumpeting it. Why not?

The answer is this. The achievement is the highest harvests of opium the world has ever seen.

For the full story, read: Britain is protecting the biggest heroin crop of all time, Daily Mail [UK]

News Release: Canadian Diplomatic Appointments (including NATO)

July 25, 2007

To view this document on the Department’s Web site, please click on the following link:

cation_id=385319 & docnumber=98

July 24, 2007 (3:30 p.m. EST)

No. 98


The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, today announced the following diplomatic appointments:

Scott Fraser becomes Ambassador to the Republic of Finland.

Pierre Guimond becomes Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary, with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Slovenia.

Margaret Huber becomes Ambassador to the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

Alain Latulippe becomes Ambassador to the Eastern Republic of Uruguay.

Thomas MacDonald becomes Consul General in Sydney (Commonwealth of Australia).

Robert McRae becomes Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council (NATO) in Brussels.

Darren Schemmer becomes High Commissioner to the Republic of Ghana, with concurrent accreditation as Ambassador to the Togolese Republic.

– 30 –

Biographical notes on the appointees are attached.

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada




Scott Fraser (BA [Economics & Political Science], University of Toronto, 1979; MBA, McGill University, 1981) worked as an Analyst with Ford Motor Co. of Canada, prior to joining the Foreign Service in 1982. Since joining the department, he has served abroad in Nairobi, Auckland, Beijing and Taipei. At headquarters, he has served as Trade Commissioner, Import Controls Division; Director, Sponsorship, APEC Leaders meeting and Canada´s Year of Asia Pacific; Deputy Director, South Asia Division; and Director, Trade Commissioner Service Operations. From 2001 to 2003, Mr. Fraser was on leave from the department to work as the Executive Director of the Canada China Business Council. He currently serves as Director, Asia and Oceania Commercial Relations. Scott Fraser succeeds Anne-Marie Bourcier.

Pierre Guimond (BA [Political Science], Université Laval, 1979) worked as a Research Officer for the Quebec government´s Department of Intergovernmental Affairs, and as an Information Officer for the Office of the Government of Quebec in Toronto, before joining External Affairs in 1987. Since becoming a foreign service officer, he has served abroad in Prague, Bonn and Vienna. At headquarters, he has served as Desk Officer in the Strategic Policy Analysis Division, and later in the USSR, Central and Eastern Europe Relations Division; Deputy Director, European Union Division; Senior Departmental Assistant to the Minister of Foreign Affairs; and Director, European Union Division. Additionally, Mr. Guimond served as Adviser to the Foreign Policy and Defence Secretariat with the Privy Council Office. He is currently Director, Eastern Europe and Balkans Division. He is married to Louise Parent. Pierre Guimond succeeds Robert Hage.

Margaret Huber (BA Honours [History], McGill University, 1970; MA [History], University of Ottawa, 1973; Advanced Management Program, Harvard Business School, 1991) joined the Canadian Foreign Service in 1973 and has served abroad in Washington, New York, Manila and Brussels, and as Consul General in Osaka as well as in Milan. She has also served as Ambassador to the Czech Republic and to the Slovak Republic, and as High Commissioner to Pakistan. In Ottawa, she has served with the Japan Trade Development Division; U.S. Trade Policy Division; GATT Trade Policy Division; as Director, European Community Trade and Economic Relations Division; Director General, Export and Import Controls Bureau; and Director General, North Asia and Pacific Bureau. Margaret Huber succeeds Arif Lalani.

Alain Latulippe (BA [Sciences], Académie de Côte d´Ivoire, 1981; BA [English and Italian Literature], Concordia University, 1984; post-graduate diplomas [International Affairs], École nationale d´administration publique, 1990); volunteered with the Centre canadien d´Études et de Coopération internationale in rural Gabon from 1985 to 1987; and subsequently worked as a consultant to the International Development Minister and Programme Manager at the Francophone Africa Branch with the Canadian International Development Agency from 1987 to 1990. Mr. Latulippe joined the Department of External Affairs in 1990 and has since served abroad in Maputo, Prague, and twice in Brasilia, most recently as Minister Counsellor. At headquarters, he has served as Desk Officer, North Asian Relations Division; Desk Officer, African Relations Division; and Senior Political Analyst, Western Europe Division. He is currently Senior Departmental Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs. Alain Latulippe succeeds Patricia Fuller.

Thomas MacDonald (BA [History and Political Science], Queen´s University, 1972; MA [History], University of Calgary, 1976) joined the Department of Industry, Trade and Commerce in 1974 and has served abroad in Mexico, Brussels (EU), London and Buenos Aires. At headquarters, he has held a range of senior positions in several departments (Foreign Affairs and International Trade; Department of Industry; Ministry of State for Economic and Regional Development). He has served as Director for GATT Affairs, Director General for the Export and Import Permits Bureau, Director General for U.S. Trade and Economic Policy, and Deputy Head of Canada´s Mission to the European Union in Brussels. He has represented Canada in numerous bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations, including as Canada´s Chief Textile Negotiator, as a NAFTA negotiator, and as lead negotiator for the 1996 Canada-U.S. Softwood Lumber Agreement. From 1996 to 2001, he served as Minister (Commercial/ Economic) at the Canadian High Commission in London and as Canada´s Alternate Director to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and from 2001 to 2004 as Ambassador to Argentina and Paraguay. He is currently Director General, Central, East and South Europe Bureau. He is married to Susan MacDonald and they have one son, Alexander. Thomas MacDonald succeeds Richard Kohler.

Robert McRae (BA Honours [History], Queen´s University, 1974); MA [History], University of Toronto, 1975; PhD [Political Philosophy], Université Laval, 1978) joined the Department of External Affairs in 1981, and has since served abroad in Belgrade, Prague, London and Brussels (NATO). At headquarters, he has served as Director, Policy Planning Staff; Director General, Central, East and South Europe Bureau; and Director General, Policy Planning Bureau. He currently serves as Director General, International Security Bureau. In addition to teaching and being an accomplished author, Mr. McRae has twice been awarded the Foreign Minister´s Award for Foreign Policy Excellence. He has two sons, Sean and Kevan, and a daughter, Laura. Robert McRae succeeds Jean-Pierre Juneau.

Darren Schemmer (BEd [Social Studies], University of Alberta, 1982; MBA, Royal Roads University, 2002), was born in Regina, Saskatchewan and joined the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in 1989 as a Development Officer with the Andes Program, Americas Branch. He has since served in Tegucigalpa, Washington and Cairo. At headquarters, he has served as Senior Development Officer, South America Program; Senior Departmental Assistant to the Minister for International Cooperation; and Director General, Policy, Planning and Management of Americas Branch. He is currently with CIDA as Director General, Haiti, Cuba and Dominican Republic. Darren Schemmer succeeds Donald Bobiash.