Gordon O'Connor is Canada's Donald Rumsfeld
WHY WE'RE PROTESTING ... AND DISRUPTING!
Conservative Minister of National Defence, Gordon O'Connor, is speaking today (April 3, 2007) at the posh Queen Elizabeth Hotel, sponsored by Montreal's Council on Foreign Relations (CORIM).
O'Connor is in Montreal as part of an ongoing Conservative public relations campaign to sell the Afghan mission to the Canadian public. O'Connor himself used to work for multi-national public relations firm Hill & Knowlton, the same firm that fabricated atrocities in the lead-up to the attack on Iraq in 1990.
O'Connor recently described Canada's presence in Afghanistan as "retribution" for the death of Canadians at the World Trade Center on 9-11. He misled the public about the treatment of Afghan prisoners who face torture and death. He is a former General who prior to joining cabinet in 2006 spent eight years as a paid lobbyist for the military industry.
Canadian troops are in Afghanistan to allow more American troops to be in Iraq. Gordon O'Connor, along with Stephen Harper, Stockwell Day, Peter Mackay, Michael Fortier and others in the Conservative cabinet, are the main Canadian apologists for George Bush's "War on Terror". They hide their true agenda behind the language of "development" and "democracy" (and strategically exploit compliant government-funded "NGOs").
A Minister of Defence who justifies Canada's role in Afghanistan in the language of revenge, who is in the pay of military contractors, and who speaks to an audience of war-profiteering businessmen and politicians at a pretentious hotel, deserves to be actively protested and disrupted.
WHO IS SPONSORING TODAY'S SPEECH?
The main sponsors of today's $90/plate lunch are several companies that profit from war; they include the following Quebec-based companies (all citations are from their public documents and websites):
-- SNC-Lavalin (455 René-Lévesque Blvd. West), who until 2006 sold bullets to the American military for use in Iraq, and who maintain many military contracts thru various subsidiaries. For example, SNC-Lavalin PAE Inc. "provides a range of logistics support services to the Canadian military on deployed international operations," including in Afghanistan.
-- Bombardier (800 René-Lévesque Blvd. West), whose military division helps to train NATO pilots, the same pilots who go on to bomb in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
-- CAE (8585 Côte de Liesse), a company that "develops, designs and manufactures aviation training systems for civil and military applications." Military contracts account for 50% of CAE's business, again, to help pilots and soldiers to kill
-- Oerlikon (Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Québec), who openly brag that 50% of their business is for the Canadian Department of Defence. In their words: "we are one of the largest providers of land defence systems and battle management systems to the federal government. Our business also comprises sales to international defence customers and commercial sales in the homeland security sector."
Other chief sponsors today include L-3 Communications, who are the sixth largest defense company in the United States, as well as Quebec-based companies such as CMC Electronics (active in military aviation), Consoltex and Logistik Unicorp.
The link between O'Connor -- a former military industry lobbyist and PR hack -- and the military-industrial complex, couldn't be clearer and more direct. Today's luncheon is a celebration of war-profiteers, hiding behind the camouflage of "development" and "security" (as well as various police and hotel security). We are here to protest the war-profiteering companies just as much as Minister O'Connor. In collaboration, the Canadian government and Quebecois capitalists are profiting from the so-called "War on Terror".
THE "LOGIC" OF MAJOR-GENERAL ANDREW LESLIE
Major-General Andrew Leslie is Canada's military commander in Afghanistan. Commenting in the summer of 2005 on Canada's increasing military presence in Afghanistan, General Leslie publicly stated: "Afghanistan is a 20-year venture. There are things worth fighting for. There are things worth dying for. There are things worth killing for."
In the same speech, he stated: "Every time you kill an angry young man overseas, you're creating 15 more who will come after you."
Let's break down the general's logic:
1. Canadian troops will be in Afghanistan for 20 years
2. Canadian troops will be killing people.
3. Every time Canadian troops kill people more people will want to kill Canadians.
If you add Defence Minister (and former Brigadier-General) Gordon O'Connor's call for "retribution," Canada's role in Afghanistan sounds like a plan for disaster, mainly for the people of Afghanistan. No wonder that "reconstruction" and "development" are being used as cover for Canada's "killing"; and no wonder Canada's military is being used as cover for American-led imperialism in the Middle East.
BLOCK THE EMPIRE MONTREAL: A direct-action collective opposed to war and militarization, and their roots and manifestations: colonialism, imperialism and capitalism.