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Rich US Capitalists Meddle in Foreign Politics!

I ran across an interesting article in the National Post today highlighting what Murray Dobbin calls a “profoundly dishonest” strategy and “an insult” to progressive activists everywhere. Apparently rich Americans are trying to influence the politics of a soveriegn democratic country.

No, its not Egypt or Nicaragua. Its right here, in BC!

When I first started reading the article and saw that Murray Dobbin was outraged I was intrigued – what could be happening within the BC Liberal race that would outrage a progressive so much? As I read more I was also reminded of some stuff we’ve heard about Joel Solomon and Gregor Robinson.

Here’s the story in a nutshell: US charitable foundations are funding a political group here called Organizing for Change. OC wants to ban tanker traffic in BC waters, which would kill the pipeline from Fort Mac to Kitimat (and China). Apparently, OC has blanketed ridings with low Liberal Party membership encouraging people to join the Liberal party, even if they don’t plan to vote Liberal in the upcoming election, in order to influence the leadership vote. The idea is to get a BC Liberal leader who opposes tanker traffic.

It seems that this isn’t the first time these charities have spent money on BC issues – they’re also involved in conservation and local land control through the Great Bear Rainforest.

I’m not saying the causes aren’t laudable. Who wouldn’t want oil spill free BC waters? Who’s against conservation? And just because such things would also tend to secure American access to our dirty oil by outflanking the Chinese, who obviously want more of it…

You can read more about this at Vivian Krause’s blog, the National Post story itself, or Murray Dobbin’s column in the Sun.

For another take on it you can read this response to Dobbin’s original article by the COI.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor, pilot and all around super hero based in Vancouver, BC. I really enjoy flying, playing guitar and hockey, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting.

10 Responses to “Rich US Capitalists Meddle in Foreign Politics!”

  1. Nemesis says:

    “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.” – Henry John Temple, 3rd Viscount Palmerston

    And more often than not, Senor – they will seek to achieve those interests by whichever means prove most expedient… 😉

    Here’s a little background on Lord Palmerston… (you’ll enjoy the summary of the Second Opium Wars)…

  2. Nemesis says:

    And if that piqued your interest… Here is one of Palmerston’s ‘instruments of policy’…

  3. Nemesis says:

    More to the point, as Thomas Braden once said [he was the Head of the CIA’s International Organisations Division – a department within the Directorate of Operations]…

    “If the director of CIA wanted to extend a present, say, to someone in Europe—a Labour leader—suppose he just thought, This man can use fifty thousand dollars, he’s working well and doing a good job – he could hand it to him and never have to account to anybody… There was simply no limit to the money it could spend and no limit to the people it could hire and no limit to the activities it could decide were necessary…”

  4. Nemesis says:

    Of course, things are somewhat more ‘nuanced’ these days…

  5. Rob says:

    Thing is, these guys aren’t Palmerston or Braden. It seems pretty easy to track the money, and its not clear that its even US policy (or any “nation’s” policy).

    Without getting too conspiratorial its as if some US heirs, heiresses and accidental billionaires decided that aboriginal title and conservation and green-ness would be good things…the unintended consequence is that they end up influencing outcomes in ways they likely never imagined. Less puppet masters and more clumsy giants.

    But, if we can see it, do we want it? That’s a fair question, and one we should talk about. The oil is going to be burned. We’re going to sell it. Do we want one potential customer or many? Do we want to be closer to the States or more independent?

    Thanks for the links

  6. Rob says:

    Its always interesting to read about the CIA. There’s probably some sort of law or algorithm regarding how long any discussion about the CIA takes before the name “Arbenz” comes up. Of all the Central American worthies I think he gets a pretty easy ride as he makes the US look bad (the old “you will be known by your enemies” approach, in this case, perhaps, the “lite” version).

    Career soldier in a country with an institutionalized military, Defense Minister for 7 years and president for 3. Not a bad record. He took office in a coup against a non-military president and could arguably be deemed the first of succession (that lasted until the end of the wars in the ’80s)of military leaders. He stayed in longer than most of them, and it could easily be said that the Guatemalan army, not the CIA, removed him.

    I’m not trying to champion the CIA, but we’ve seen how little influence the US has, for example, in Egypt, another country where the military plays a big role. The military isn’t always an attack dog for the masters. Sometimes its the master itself.

    I guess what I’m saying is, the CIA is an evil mastermind one minute, and the next its trying to make Castro’s beard fall off. History tends to indicate, I think, that they’re reputation exceeds their capabilities.

  7. WoW says:

    Rob, the CIA wants Vancouver housing prices to CRASH?

  8. Nemesis says:

    “…an evil mastermind one minute, and the next its trying to make Castro’s beard fall off…”

    As any historian could tell you, Senor – all mighty regimes are inevitably doomed to end as parodies of their former glory… It’s kind of the institutional/political incarnation of the Second Law of Thermodynamics…

    As for Arbenz? Well, personally, I’ve always favoured the Samoza Garcia narrative… Principally for that apocryphal remark, attributed to FDR, “Somoza may be a son of a bitch, but he’s our son of a bitch.”


  9. Nemesis says:

    Speaking of parodies… Have a look at SB222 – proposed legislation currently pending in Missouri’s [The Show Me] state senate, which seeks to ‘amend’ existing child labour law… 😉

  10. Rob says:

    Somoza (the elder, or “Tacho”) really was something. He emerged as a result of the US abandoning the region, and cemented a regime that lasted from something like 1933 to 1979. Good run for a prince these days.

    Did anyone see Survivor the other night? They’re back in Nicaragua, and got dropped off by a pretty cool looking Nica armed forces helicopter. Talk about change. When the FSLN kicked Somoza (the younger, or, logically, “Tachito”) out they were armed with cast off arms and had a tank (a Toyota Landcruiser with steel plates on it) against Cessnas with wing mounted rockets. Carter wouldn’t help the old regime, and I think the annual military aid budget was in the low millions range.

    In comes Reagan, up jump the contras, in comes the USSR, and suddenly the place is armed to the teeth with ultra modern weaponry. On balance, not a good thing, I think we can agree.

    However, the greatest Cold Warrior of our time, with virtually unlimited funds (CA is a small, small place, and the dollar goes far) and the US still couldn’t stop the tide.

    Re: Missouri et al. The US faces a math crunch. We’re going to continue to see some amazing stuff happening there.