Canada’s Corporate Terrorism?

There’s a pretty big discrepancy between Canada’s “brand” and the actual boots on the ground reality, not least when it comes to Canadian-based extractive industries in their operations around the globe.

That dissonance between the “brand” image and the reality, the good words and base deeds, was brought home by two articles that appeared in today’s Guardian that seem, ironically, very connected. The first is “Environmental defenders being killed in record numbers globally“, and the second, “The Canadian company mining hills of silver — and the people dying to stop it“, which is about Tahoe Resources’ mining operations in Guatemala. And this is not the first and only case of gross malfeasance by Canadian mining corporations in Latin America.

So, why haven’t successive Canadian governments, so eager to burnish and polish Canada’s “brand”, done anything, seemingly, to police the operations of Canadian-based extractive industries as regards their human rights violations overseas, despite clear and mounting evidence that some Canadian corporations are implicated in what can only be described as “corporate terrorism” against local populations. And how ironic it is that we all make a great show of outrage at Chinese capital and its links to human rights violations while we seemingly roll over and play dead when the shoe is on the other foot.

Looks duplicitous, doesn’t it? In fact, I put that question in an email today to Global Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau after reading these articles in the Guardian. Maybe I’ll even get an answer.

You can bet that the Chinese government feels it has nothing to apologise for to Western governments about “human rights” when it sees that Westerners no more police the activities of their own corporations as regards those human rights than China does. It makes me think, sometimes, that there’s this tacit agreement among governments that public expressions of concern about justice and human rights and universal principles are simply pro forma and a lot of pretense for public consumption (but, privately and amongst us, we shall agree that it’s a non-issue). There’s some evidence that this is so — the tacit consensus amongst supposed competitors — or vultures — for the remains of the Earth.

The kind of “corporate terrorism” described by these articles doesn’t seem to make much of an impression — the terror that “dare not speak its name“, as it were. There seems to be a tacit agreement among the defenders of the “Death Economy” that the killing of environmental defenders and activists shall not be construed as “terrorism”. But that any attempts to actually stop “the Death Economy” — Lewis Mumford’s “Megamachine” — shall be so construed as “terrorism” or “eco-terrorism”.

And much of the corporate media is complicit in this ruse. I know that because I had a running battle with the conservative National Post about just this issue when the last global figures were released on the murder rate of environmental defenders and of defenders of the Commons against the encroachments of The Death Economy. By a strange twist of logic,  it was the defenders were the “eco-terrorists”, not the death squads and other murderous hirelings.



13 responses to “Canada’s Corporate Terrorism?”

  1. Scott Preston says :

    Here’s another take on Canadian mining activities abroad — in this case, Africa — from Dissident Voice

  2. abdulmonem says :

    Oh Scott, This big discrepancy between the talks and the deeds is old. It started ever since the western appearance on the stage of the world . This is not to absolve other civilizations from the same but to put the present trend in its proper context. China is following suit. Things are well documented despite the classified and unclassified curtains. It is time for repentance. The blunders are very huge. Of course the scale of the blunder may decrease the pain and provide a better chance to amend. The tragedy, it does not want to diminish or abet but continue in full swing just look at the middle east scene and the agony of the people there that took some unimaginative forms, no food, no medicine, no shelter , no security some time I ask myself is the west insecurity is detached from the insecurity they have created in other lands . The dimension of the problems are beyond the current arrogant stupidity of our leaders who have became the source of the problems and not the solvers of them. The world mess can not be addressed without the involvement of the one who created the people who have created the mess and who can prepare some wise people that can address such a mess.

    • Scott Preston says :

      I sometimes think I should start a new Blog. It would be called “You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me!”. I’ld have something to post everyday. There wouldn’t be any titles, just “You’ve Got To Be Kidding Me! Day 1”, “You’ve Got to Be Kidding Me! Day 145” and so on. It would be a kind of Map of Modern Madness (or Post-Modern Madness as the case may be), perhaps of interest to future extraterretrial digital archaelogists sifting around in the digital refuse and ruins of a lost civilisation that ran to ground.

      As far as I know, no one has done it yet.

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      The dimension of the problems are beyond the current arrogant stupidity of our leaders who have became the source of the problems and not the solvers of them.

      More like the aiders and abettors of the problems — sometimes for their own gain; sometimes not; but always beholden to “the market” and its “invisible hand.”

      I’m reminded of a charming short created by Annie Leonard and produced by Free Range Studios titled The Story of Stuff, shared in 2007, which illustrated “the materials economy” for a predominately US audience.

      The reason the corporation looks bigger than the government is because the corporation is bigger than the government.

      To oversimplify the problem, extractive industries, rogue corporations (and our public institutions today are run as if they are themselves corporations) and predatory financial practices are under no nation’s, people’s or “global authority’s” control and beholden to no one. These unnatural forces have triggered a Natural response to which no one — not even “the 1%” — are immune.

      Of the primary themes of TDAB and The Chrysalis, one of the most prevalent is that our collective response to this as species is “crucial.” Whereas that term is most often used to mean “important to our (i.e. human beings’) survival,” Rosenstock’s (et al) sense of “crucial” is quite different than the “modern” understanding of the term, as beautifully illustrated in a recent post.

      • InfiniteWarrior says :

        It should be noted that the Victor Lebow quote included The Story of Stuff became the subject of quite a bit of controversy. It was intended as a critique, not a prescriptive.

  3. Scott Preston says :

    Another Canadian mining firm gets taken to task in an article in today’s Guardian, this one in Romania. Interesting picture that attends this article, too… an old historic church being submerged in a tailing pond. That says a lot in itself

    Another interesting article in today’s Guardian — the Long Read by Nikil Saval on the rise and fall of the idea of global “free trade” as a universal good (ie, neo-liberal globalisation). At least it provides a fairly good history of the idea

  4. abdulmonem says :

    Jokes are needed to alleviate the impact of the harshness of critical thinking, intentional killing and the wide spread aggression, to regain balance to move forward again until we meet god. Terrestrials never stopped scanning the refuse and ruins of humanity until they run in the ground. Our world are filled with the extraterritoriall violations of other territories rights. Scott, my conviction that the other side of god is going to be released on the world is what made me say what I say. The world is not godless and the falsification of his rules is tolerated for some some time then the operation of his paradoxicak names becomes effective.

  5. mikemackd says :

    Speaking from my part of the world, the world’s largest mining company, BHP, is known as the Big Australian, and as such gains the allegiance of Australians who want to huff up their egos and pocketbooks. It is big all right; the “Australian” part is not as clear-cut; it’s a mighty multinational: some of its executives were accused of murder following the Samarco spill in Brazil, but an out-of court settlement has been reached.

    Australia is also the world’s largest coal exporter. Last night there was a revealing program on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation with an accusation – how substantial, I can’t say – of how the miners control Australian politicians: “There’s an Australian Stockholm Syndrome built on donations, royalties, taxes, and threats”. Through funding by mining companies and the later Prime Minister Tony Abbott and his scaremongering about a “great big new tax” the then-PM, Kevin Rudd, lost power. The interviewee, Anna Krien, recounted how a mining company CEO said in London, “let that be a lesson to all governments around the world who are considering this kind of thing”, the kind of thing being a carbon tax.

    Anna Krien then remarked about there being a hollowness of values at the core of Australian politics. In our vocabulary, she said the relevant politicians are now the servo-mechanisms of the mining wing of the megamachine. She alleges that Parliament is now a transit lounge for cushy jobs in the mining industry once they have sufficiently served their miner-masters. Such jobs go not only to the politicians, but their staff.

    I wonder if the same can be said in Canada? If so, like here, the corruption is not just “out there” in countries that most voters can be counted on not to care about, but also “in here”, rotting the very core of national life. It would appear that most voters can be counted on not to care about that, either.

    • mikemackd says :

      There’s a book just republished in a Penguin edition called “Democracy in Chains”, about James Buchanan providing the brains and the Koch Brothers the brawn to implement the chaining. I wonder how many in other countries besides the USA might have been singing from the same songsheet?

    • Scott Preston says :

      BHP is quite well-known here. It has big stakes in the Saskatchewan potash sector. It was blocked a while back from trying to acquire even bigger stakes.

      Mining doesn’t have as high a public profile here as petroleum among extractive industries, and which is probably more often than not where a lot of politicians end up. Yet, there might even be more skullduggery in the mining sector than the petroleum. Only slowly are we learning about Canadian mining operations in other parts of the world (including, recently, a uranium mine at the Grand Canyon that is being resisted by indigenous people there).

      There is, I’ve discovered, a Canadian organisation called “Mining Watch” that keeps track of Canadian mining operations abroad. Until recently, I never even heard of it,

    • InfiniteWarrior says :

      If it’s viewed as lucrative, it is part and parcel of the “multinational” “resource wars.” There is little to nothing voters can do about it, but a great deal heightened awareness and consciousness can.

      HSBC triggers investigation into palm oil company over deforestation allegations.

  6. abdulmonem says :

    In the same painful context, Engelhardt has an article on his site, Bombing the rubble. What keeps me in a state of shock ,the way the emissary puppets under the wrongly called masters call the rubblization of things and people, victory.

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