Thursday, July 17, 2014

When Did the Government of Canada Become the Government of Alykan Velshi?

When British Member of Parliament George Galloway was barred from entering Canada in March of 2009, because he worked for a relief agency that provided food and medication to Gaza, it was discovered that Conservative staffer, Alykan Velshi, was behind the move.

Galloway was painted as a terrorist, and threatened to sue the Canadian government. In a related case, brought about by an anti-war group, Federal Court judge Richard Mosley would state: "one might hope that a ministerial aide would exercise greater restraint in purporting to speak on behalf of the government ... "

In the same year that Velshi barred Galloway, he was instrumental in revoking the funding of the Arab Canadian Foundation, erroneously stating that they promoted hatred toward the Jewish people. Said Velshi: "Groups that promote hatred and anti-Semitism don't deserve a single red cent of taxpayer support. End of story."

What Velshi no doubt saw as anti-Semitism, was an article that ACF director Mohamed Boudjenane had published in the Toronto Star, where he suggested that HAMAS was gaining ground because of Israeli aggression, challenging the notion that Israel was only aggressive because of the strength of HAMAS.

There was nothing anti-Semitic in the piece.

Anti-Semitism is real and its results can be horrifying, but broadening it's scope to include any criticism of Israel, diminishes its true nature. If we criticize the policies of an African nation, it doesn't mean we are bigots. But the issue here is why does a political staffer have this much power?

In the latest controversy over the Harper government's targeting of charitable organizations that oppose their policies, it has come to light that Velshi is also apparently behind that.

In a column by Carol Goar, she discusses a paper written by Garett Kirkby on the subject.
Here are Kirkby’s conclusions: “I find that an advocacy chill is affecting charitable organizations that advocate on public policy issues though it varies in intensity and extent from organization to organization. I find that there is evidence in the data that the government is attempting, with some successes, to narrow society’s important policy conversations. Finally I find the data suggest that the current federal government is corrupting Canada’s democratic processes by treating as political enemies these civil-society organizations whose contributions to public policy conversations differ from government priorities.”

There is one development Kirkby noted but did not highlight. Many of the “political activity” audits launched by CRA since 2012 were triggered by complaints from Ethical Oil, a lobby group with strong ties to the Harper government and the petroleum sector.
And who is the founder of Ethical Oil? Yep. Alykan Velshi.

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies

It is well known that Alykan Velshi is a member of the American Enterprise Institute, where George Bush drew many members of his staff. However, Canadians should be more concerned with his ties to a Neoconservative think-tank; the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

Right Web, a group exposing war mongers who influence American foreign policy, says of FDD:
Founded in the wake of the 9/11 attacks with the goal of pushing an aggressive "war on terror" in the Middle East and a hawkish "pro-Israel" line in Washington, the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a neoconservative think tank that claims to defend democratic countries from "radical Islamism." It is the successor organization of a group called EMET, an education initiative founded earlier in 2001 as part of an effort to gain support for Israel's response to the Palestinian Intifada and to diminish public outcry against Israeli actions.
Think Progress adds:
FDD’s position consistently fell in line with the Bush administration’s militant “war on terror” and policies espoused by Israel’s right wing Likud party. In recent years, FDD has become one of the premiere DC organizations promoting more aggressive actions against Iran.
And after revealing their donors:
... Most of the major donors are active philanthropists to “pro-Israel” causes both in the U.S. and internationally. With the disclosure of its donor rolls, it becomes increasingly apparent that FDD’s advocacy of U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, its hawkish stance against Iran, and its defense of right-wing Israeli policy is consistent with its donors’ interests in “pro-Israel” advocacy.

While FDD has a 10-year history of engaging in alarmist rhetoric and fear mongering — e.g. in 2002 FDD aired a series of ads conflating Osama bin Laden, Yasser Arafat and Saddam Hussein — and helped promote the “Bush doctrine” which led to the invasion of Iraq ...
The FDD saw an increase in support after Barack Obama was elected president, including a ten million dollar boost from Home Depot founder, Bernard Marcus, a critic of the Obama Administration, blasting it as “amateurs in the White House” and “amateurs surrounded by amateurs."

They claim to be non-partisan, but looking at its roster of directors, advisors and supporters, it's clear that they are simply another vehicle for the Republican Party and the Conservative Movement.

Founding Members include Steve Forbes, Newt Gingrich and James Woolsey; and Clifford D. May, former Republican National Committee Director of Communications, is on the Board. Advisors include Gary Bauer, Bill Kristol, Mark Foley, Richard Perle, Andrew C. McCarthy and Eric Cantor.

Journalist John Walbridge went on a junket to Israel sponsored by the FDD, and reveals just how one-sided the group and its Israeli allies are.
There is a striking unwillingness to see things from the point of view of the other side or to recognize that the other side has legitimate interests that need to be taken into account. Apart from not asking the most obvious questions (“Why do people hate us so much that they are willing to blow themselves up to kill random Israelis on the street?”), I didn’t hear anyone talking about what Iran’s interests might be, what Hezbollah’s interests were, or how they should be taken into account.
They believe that Iran wants to take over the entire Middle East and that while "God was going to back up their property titles", in the meantime they are simply doing God's work for him.

The FDD applauds Stephen Harper's stand against Iran, and unflagging support of Israel's right wing.

They have also provided the Canadian government with an FDD representative, Sheryl Saperia, who like George Bush's former mouthpiece Ari Flescher, claims ties to the Canadian government. She is everywhere, consulting on immigration and foreign policy.

What's also interesting is FDD's attack on OXFAM, because of their criticism of Israeli occupation and human right violations. Alykan Velshi is simply following their mandate. Attack the NGOs and charitable organizations that stand in their way.

We believe that Stephen Harper's devotion to Israel is simply to garner the Jewish vote at home, but I think it's more than that. Aligning himself with such a well connected Conservative group, feeds his narcissism, and with growing criticism at home, he needs their praise to fuel his ego.

When he claims that Islamicism is the biggest threat to world peace, he may or may not believe it, but he knows his credibility with the American neons just went up a notch.

The biggest threat to peace comes from those who believe that Islamicism poses the biggest threat and sell the notion of preemptive strikes "just in case".

The Americans did not rid the Oval Office of George Bush and his ideologues. They just shipped them north, where they have taken up residency in the PMO.

Alykan Velshi is only an employee. No one elected him to any office, and in fact, if the Canadian people had a say in his hiring, we would probably reject his application given his strong ties to the U.S. Radical elite.

He does not get to say who can visit Canada, who can emigrate to Canada, and what charities we can support.

If Jason Kenney, John Baird or Stephen Harper can't function without him, they need to resign.

Velshi's Ethical Oil is only ethical in the Orwellian sense, and it's time he took a hike. Stephen Harper can destroy this country all by himself.


  1. The federal NDP is pro Netanyahoo and authoritarian just check out the banning of Paul Manly as a candidate and myself in Saskatchewan