Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Monday, October 02, 2006

"Secrecy, nonviolence and continental integration," October 2, 2006.

When Stockwell Day told the Penticton Herald there was nothing secret about a high-level meeting of business and government leaders from the US, Canada and Mexico in Banff earlier this month, he certainly did not deny attending the meeting.

"My travels are not secret," Day told the Penticton paper.

You could say he was just correcting the Toronto Star which had reported more than a week earlier "Day's office has been telling journalists that it cannot comment on the minister's private meeting and that journalists should understand this."

Still, the Conservative minority Government issued no press releases, held no press conferences, provided no background reports about the second annual meeting of what has come to be known as the North American Forum. The government has not released any information about the content of the discussions or the participants.

The meeting was, I suppose it is appropriate to say, exposed by Susan Thompson on the Vive le Canada website.

Although there was no final confirmation of who actually attended, documents leaked to Whistleblower magazine listed participants including such prominent figures as US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Mexican Secretary of Public Security Eduardo Medina Mora and Canadian Forces chief General Rick Hillier.

The event was chaired by former U.S. secretary of state George Schultz, former Alberta premier, Peter Lougheed and former Mexican finance minister Pedro Aspe.

Some of the expected participants names were familiar: Thomas d'Aquino of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, Gordon O'Connor the current Minister of Defense, James Schlesinger Former US Sec. of Energy & Defense, James Woolsey former director of the CIA and a prominent neo-conservative with Freedom House, Perrin Beatty former Progressive Conservative Solicitor General and later Minister of National Defence, Anne McLellan former Attorney General and Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness, and John Manley, former Minister of Industry, Foreign Affairs, and Finance.

If it was not a secret meeting, it should at least be mentioned that an anonymous and uncomfirmed source on the Vive le Canada website said quote

"I spoke with some employees of the Banff Springs Hotel and they told me a few details. The busses came and left in the middle of the night. Banff Springs Hotel employees were told not to talk to the media about this. The one or two reporters who were digging for information on this were told by the hotel that all their media relations people were away. A limo driver was told not to tell anyone who he drove. The delegates stayed mostly on the 4th floor of the hotel and rarely left that floor."

Mel Hurtig, a noted Canadian author and publisher and former leader of the National Party of Canada, said the "secret meeting was designed to undermine the democratic process."

"What is sinister about this meeting is that it involved high level government officials and some of the top and most powerful business leaders of the three countries and the North American Forum in organizing the meeting intentionally did not inform the press in any of the three countries," he said. "It was clear that the intention was to keep this important meeting about integrating the three countries out of the public eye."

Who are these people? and why is Hurtig so sure this meeting was about what he Council of Canadians calls "deep integration"?

Is Mel Hurtig sounding paranoid here?

Writing for WorldNet Daily, Jerome Corsi spotted Robert Pastor, director of the Center for North American Studies at American University, among those on the list of participants.

Pastor is widely known for his extensive writings arguing for the creation of a North American Union, a new super-regional North American government based on the model of the European Union, with the intent of subrogating the sovereignty of the United States.

Pastor was co-chair of the Council of Foreign Relations task force that in May 2005 released a report entitled "Building a North American Community."

About one-third of the listed members of CFR task force attended the Banff conference. One prominent participant in both was Carla A. Hills, who served as US trade representative from 1989 to 1993 and was the primary US negotiator for NAFTA [the North American Free Trade Agreement].

American conservatives, like Phyllis Schlafly, and Human Events Magazine, have criticized policies which they believe would lead to an integrated continental court system and common currency on the grounds that they would lead to an erosion of US sovereignty.

Canadian criticism comes from the left and has more to do with "deep integration," the emphasis on deregulation and harmonization of standards, but also express concern about the loss of sovereignty and ultimately of a separate national identity.

The Council of Canadians has argued that this push towards economic union "will lead to the privatization of [Canada's] health care, the loss of control of our resources, further compromises in trade deals like what we have seen with the United States-Canada softwood lumber dispute."

Berel Radal

What caught my eye was the presence of Berel Rodal, vice-chair of the International Centre for Nonviolent Conflict on the list of participants. It was strange to see what appeared to be a peace group there with the generals--including the US Admiral in charge of NORAD and the Northern Command--and the ministers of national defence.

ICNC is careful not to accept grants, contracts or funding of any kind from any government or government-related organization, or from any foundation, corporation or institution, public or private. As its website makes clear, "It is funded entirely by the family philanthropy of the founding chair," Dr. Peter Ackerman.

In addition to his role as founding chair of ICNC, Ackerman is also chairman of the Board of Overseers of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy of Tufts University, an important US intelligence recruitment center, and is on the Executive Council of the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. Dr Ackerman was also a founding director of the Albert Einstein Institution.

According to the Albert Einstein Institution's report for the years 2000 to 2004, its mission is to "advance the worldwide study and strategic use of nonviolent action in conflict."

Numerous individuals and organizations interested in the potential of nonviolent struggle contact the Albert Einstein Institution. In recent years, requests for information or advice have come from people involved in conflicts in Albania, Kosovo, Moldova, Serbia, Slovakia, Cyprus, the Republic of Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan, Iran, Afghanistan, the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Lebanon, the Occupied Territories, Vietnam, China, Tibet, West Papua, Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Aceh (Indonesia), Kashmir, Haiti, Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico, Angola,
Ethiopia, Eritrea, Togo, Kenya and Zimbabwe. (qtd in Mowat)

The Albert Einstein Institution (AEI) trains and deploys youth movements on the ground to prepare the conditions for coups by fostering the impression that the targeted regimes are deeply unpopular, and by destabilizing those regimes with their demonstrations and other nonviolent tactics. It is funded by the Soros foundations and the US government, through the National Endowment for Democracy and USAID. It is led by retired Col. Robert Helvey, and Harvard University's Dr. Gene Sharp.

The ICNC makes it perfectly clear that it
"will not assist activists in planning, organizing or conducting any actions; it will not provide political or strategic advice to those contemplating or engaged in nonviolent conflict; and it will not furnish funds to subsidize their operations."

These functions are performed by the Albert Einstein Institution, especially by Col Bob Hervey, a 30-year veteran of the Defense Intelligence Agency with plenty of
practical experience in subversive operations throughout Southeast Asia prior to his work with the institution. According to numerous reports, Helvey was the case officer for the US-sponsored coup in Serbia, was deeply involved in similar operations in Georgia, and according to at least on report, was on the ground in the recent coup in Ukraine.

It seems that the International Center for Nonviolent Conflict is up to its eyeballs in what Jonathan Mowat a writer for the the Online Journal called the PostModern Coup--popularly known these days as the color revolution.

ICNC Vice-Chair Berel Rodal is also formerly Director-General of the Policy Secretariat of the Canadian Department of National Defence and was probably right at home among the generals and ministers of war.

But why was Rodal present at the in Banff Meeting? Is a Postmodern Coup planned in one of the participating states?

Or are they already well under way?

Like the recent Mexican presidential election. Representatives of the Felipe Calderón campaign were present at the Banff meeting. That election has some of the hallmarks of the postmodern coup: huge demonstrations and encampments, allegations of electoral fraud.

Is Canada next? Maybe Hurtig doesn't sound so paranoid after all.

Mary Turck at the Resource Center for the Americas has noted similarities between the current electoral crisis in Mexico and the 2004 American presidential election, but nothing to suggest a common instigator, and especially nothing like the slick PR--the one word slogan, the color scheme, the fantastic media support for the opposition.

Drifting back to earth, I remember Day telling the Penticton Herald, quote "Anytime I get a chance to promote Canadian products and the need to make sure Canadians have good access to manufacturing and sales potential in the United States and Mexico, I will." But this is too modest. Day delivered the Keynote Address after dinner on Wednesday night.

It may still be early for outright paranoia, but it's not too soon to demand better answers than we are getting.

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