Europe, Canada and US,

The sale of weaponized Light Armoured Vehicles (LAVs) to Saudi Arabia has raised a heated debate in Canada, pitting so-called realists against people who expect trade to be conducted according to a minimum set of moral values. Outgoing Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper's swan song was the $15-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which Harper boasted would provide 3,000 jobs.

A poll by Nanos Research showed that 60% of Canadians feel it is important to ensure arms go only to countries “that respect human rights” vs providing jobs to a few Canadians. The same poll showed that 86% hold a negative or somewhat negative view of Saudi Arabia. 

The Trudeau legend entered the stratosphere with his budding "bromance" with US President Barak Obama in March, the first official visit by a Canadian leader since 1997, when Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien visited the last charismatic Democratic president, Bill Clinton. Both visits were friendly--Clinton gushed at the time, "We have the most comprehensive ties of any two nations on earth." Chretien was not invited by Clinton's successor, George Bush, who was furious when Chretien refused to join his "coalition of the willing" to invade Iraq. More like 'bro-hate'.

Trudeau's new-found mentor had some witty advice. Obama joked about Trudeau's previous jobs:

Trudeau's Sikh contingent represent Vancouver, Mississauga, Waterloo and Edmonton — the respective hometowns of Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, Industry Minister Navdeep Bains, Tourism Minister Bardish Chagger, and Infrastructure Minister Amarjeet Sohi. Trudeau's cabinet now contains more Sikh cabinet ministers than that of India. Though an official visit by Canada's new prime minister has not been set, both sides are eager to engage, and Trudeau will no doubt be accompanied by some of his Indian-born ministers, building a new platform for cooperation, based on the strong relations in the past.
Just a few months into his reign, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau finds himself embroiled in Middle East politics. New to the heady world of governance, he jumped into the Syrian refugee crisis with a generous offer of asylum for 25,000 victims of the civil war, to praise from all except a few malcontents at home pepper spraying some refugees in protest. But more serious protests have arisen over two other government policies -- the $15 billion sale of military equipment to Saudi Arabia, and government attempts to quash BDS, the popular campaign to boycott Israeli goods.

Arms for civil rights

Harper's swan song was the $15-billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, which Harper boasted would provide 3,000 jobs (kind of expensive job creation) by selling weaponized armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. The combat vehicles with machine guns and anti-tank cannons are clearly intended to 'protect' the Mideast kingdom’s monarchy from internal threats. The proposed sale is now being protested in a class action law suit by University of Montreal professor Daniel Turp. Turp and his group's challenge--Operation Armoured Rights--points to how poorly Saudi Arabia treats its own citizens (47 executions in January, mostly public beheadings) and their horrific bombing campaign in Yemen.

My contribution to Another French False Flag?: Bloody Tracks from Paris to San Bernardino, ed. Kevin Barrett, 2016.

In a 2008 World Public Opinion Poll, 46% of world citizens, including almost 80% of Americans, said they believe al-Qaeda was responsible for 9/11. In Muslim countries, the opinion was mixed, from  from 3% in Pakistan and 11% in Jordan, to 35% in Morocco, 43% among Palestinians, and up to 71% in Nigeria (only 40% Muslim). There are leading public intellectuals, who do not share this view; some, notably contributors to this book and its predecessor We Are NOT Charlie Hebdo, raise questions about the official version of this year’s events in Paris.

I will not focus here on the details of the two French 9/11s, as some call them. My focus is broader and of course starts with 9/11 itself. Let me warn you: I am a doubting Thomas on all-encompassing conspiracy theories in general. I don't deny that 9/11 was a conspiracy, but so far, in my view, claims of such a conspiracy as MHOP (made it happen on purpose) by a secret cabal of hundreds of high level officials are even more incredible that the conventional wisdom, primarily because of Ockham's Razor, which states that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.*

That said, my thesis is that indeed we live in a world of conspiracy, a systemic one called capitalism, that shapes our actions and our thinking. The moment 9/11 happened, as I watched the towers fall in real time from Tashkent, Uzbekistan, I thought 'Is this a Zionist plot?' I have great respect for Jewish know-how and determination. It has been honed year after year since 1947 in the Holy Land, where a Jewish settler-state has faced overwhelming opposition from the angry native Arabs, displaced to compensate European and American Jews for the crimes of Germans—the most glaring 'conspiracy' around, one which most people accept because it is 'good'—inciting, of course, many lesser plots of all kinds.

Surprise, surprise, cui bono (who benefits) points the finger at Israel in 9/11. There were tantalizing hints of cell phone warnings to Jews from an Israeli server, and a remarkable absence of Israelis among the dead, airline stock options mysteriously sold just days before the event, the famous dancing Israelis watching the collapse from across New York Bay in Jersey City, comments of delight from Israeli leaders (quickly adjusted to condolences), etc, etc.

But no smoking gun. Ditto, shadowy Pentagon figures. Lots of cui bono but no identifiable figures caught with their fingers in the pie in the sky. The one clear example of a false-flag attack at the time of 9/11 was the anthrax attack a few days afterwards, later implicitly acknowledged by the US government as a false-flag attack from an American germ warfare lab, designed to incite hatred of Muslims and solidarity with Israel.

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Canadian Eric Walberg is known worldwide as a journalist specializing in the Middle East, Central Asia and Russia. A graduate of University of Toronto and Cambridge in economics, he has been writing on East-West relations since the 1980s.

He has lived in both the Soviet Union and Russia, and then Uzbekistan, as a UN adviser, writer, translator and lecturer. Presently a writer for the foremost Cairo newspaper, Al Ahram, he is also a regular contributor to Counterpunch, Dissident Voice, Global Research, Al-Jazeerah and Turkish Weekly, and is a commentator on Voice of the Cape radio.

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