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Canada engaged in colonial intervention in Afghanistan
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper reiterated his Conservative government’s commitment to an expanded Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) intervention in Afghanistan last Thursday, just hours after four CAF soldiers had been killed and ten wounded by Taliban insurgents. The press, which lauded Harper’s resolve, has called Thursday “the bloodiest day yet” in Canada’s Afghanistan intervention. In the coming days, the World Socialist Web Site will report on the reaction in Canada to the mounting CAF casualties in Afghanistan. The following article was published in French on July 25.
Since the election of a minority Conservative government in January, the Canadian media has launched a propaganda offensive aimed at rallying public opinion behind the expanded and increasingly bloody military intervention that the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) is mounting in southern Afghanistan.
Two thousand three hundred Canadian soldiers are at the head of a NATO-US counterinsurgency campaign in the Kandahar region, while a team of some 20 Canadian military and civilian personnel are acting as special advisors to the US-installed government of Hamid Karzai.
In the middle of May, the Conservative government succeeded in ramming a motion through the House of Commons that endorsed its decision to prolong the Canadian intervention in Afghanistan for another two years to February 2009. At the same time, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced that Canada will offer to assume command of the NATO-US occupation of Afghanistan for one year, beginning in February 2008.
Like the American military, the CAF is embedding journalists in its combat units with the aim of conscripting the corporate media as cheerleaders.
Embedded journalists must promise not to report on a long list of “non-releasable information,” including the rules of engagement that specify when CAF soldiers are authorized to fire their weapons. Journalists also face expulsion from their host military base if they spend “an inordinate amount of time” covering nonmilitary activities, such as the plight of the Afghan people, including the conditions in the schools and hospitals and the supply of electricity and drinking water. Nor can their articles be published without their first being vetted by CAF officers at the base.