Europe, Canada and US,

On the occasion of filmmakers withdrawing last month from the Toronto Film Festival in protest of Israeli involvement in the event, Eric Walberg takes a radical look at Israel's cultural and political connections in Canada

The Teflon cloak Israel has tried to wrap itself in since Operation Cast Lead, the invasion of Gaza in December 2008, looks as strong as ever in Canada. "Canada is so friendly that there was no need to convince or explain anything to anyone. We need allies like this in the international arena," gushed Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman in July.

Eurospeak: “peace” via US missile bases, a mobile missile “blanket”, a “convention” on cybercrime, “Long live NATO!” Eric Walberg strains to hear a Euro voice of reason

After being the playground for 20th century militarism, after finally uniting with no enemies in sight, you think that Europe would be the world’s bulwark for peace. But a continent that rejected the US war in Vietnam is in thrall to US militarism as never before. None of the European peoples support the current wars and arms race, yet Euro governments dutifully cough up troops to send to Afghanistan. Many sent forces to Iraq. All of them are happy members of NATO, which is unashamedly the forward presence of the US military around the world, having long ago cast aside any pretense of defending Europe from the dreaded communists.

There have been rare glimmers of protest -- the German and French refusal to back the invasion of Iraq, and the grassroots Czech campaign against the Star Wars base. Germany’s Die Linke is the only party to call for immediate withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan and has surged past the Greens to 14 per cent, but it will be kept out of any future government. Messy coalition politics (in the worst case, the safe “grand coalition”) allows the US to bully weak little countries into keeping “defence” policy bi-tri-partisan. “Kick the bums” out, as happened last in Poland in 2007, did not mean an end to the unpopular missile base plans there, nor an end to Polish troops in Afghanistan, though 81 per cent want the troops home now.

The Fallujah fallacy The Pentagon has made remarkable strides in militarisation of space this year, but its techno-schemes are built on the same sandy foundations as the rest of its defence policy, laments Eric Walberg In April, Air Force Space Command activated a new unit --  the 24th Air Force at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas -- to keep pace with “the rapid changes in information technology and allow space and cyberspace capabilities to be more accessible to military ground commanders”, according to the Space Command’s top military officer General Robert Kehler. Kehler called the activation “the beginning of what will be a deliberate and focused effort to develop and evolve cyberspace forces and capabilities.”

In August, the Pentagon’s Missile Defense Agency (MDA) commenced its 12th annual Space and Missile Defense Conference in Huntsville, Alabama, at the shiny new Von Braun Centre,

The Zionists are playing a dangerous game by scuttling Freeman's appointment, warns Eric Walberg

19/3/9 -- The remarkable hegemony of Zionists in United States -- and by implication -- world politics continues unabated, as demonstrated starkly by the withdrawal of Chas Freeman as US President Barack Obama's nominee to chair his National Intelligence Council (NIC).

Unlike cabinet positions, the NIC chair is not subject to Senate approval, but when Freeman was subjected to a campaign of slander led by AIPAC functionary Steve Rosen, joined by a chorus of senators, he withdrew, relating in the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) the "libelous distortions of my record", the "efforts to smear me and destroy my credibility... by unscrupulous people with a passionate attachment to the views of a political faction in a foreign country."

The only voices expressing the will of Europeans and showing a way out of the current crises are in the madding crowds outside the G20, affirms Eric Walberg
2/4/9 -- Recall the self-satisfied European Union celebrations of recent years -- the inauguration of the euro and the famous blue Euro passport, the accession of all the Eastern European and ex- Soviet statelets, the gloating as the euro steadily revalued? Fortress Europe was strong and united at last. The 21st century belonged to the new Old World.

But then a few cracks began to appear in the shiny façade. The Poles, especially, carped about just about everything -- the thought of giving up their precious zloty (boy, are they sorry now),

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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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Eric's latest book The Canada Israel Nexus is available here