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[OPIRG-EVENTS] NOWAR/PAIX march and article

The NOWAR/PAIX marches continue.

They start Saturdays at noon at the courner of York
and Sussex and they end at parliament hill. Along the
way we carry banners and signs with our messages, we
weave through the market and also usually distribute
literature and information that is not readily offered
on the front pages of your local mainstream papers. 

This week we will also be raising awareness to an
excellent article that did make the papers (The
Toronto Star, July 18th) by Steven Staples.  This
article has already appeared on the list serve, but it
is repeated below.  The article draws attention to the
 announcement that the Canada Pension Plan Investment
Board is investing $60 million US into the Carlyle
Group –the majority owner of United Defense
corporation.  This article ran last week, and we are
just trying to keep the article and information
circulating in circles that perhaps have not yet seen
it.  This is very important because it is too easy to
think that Canada is removed from the militarism we
struggle against. There are numerous ways/examples to
debunk that common comforting but inaccurate misnomer.
This is but one……. 

Bring your signs, noise and outrage! 
You can also bring any announcements about upcoming
events or groups that you feel would be relevant.
Canada's Connection to the Murky World of the Carlyle

In the world of business, a game of golf is just
another way to hold a
business meeting. This week in Moncton, two unlikely
businessmen met to 
hit the links: former US President George Bush Sr. and
former N.B. Premier Frank McKenna.

This unusual golf game has drawn attention to the main
sponsor of the
event - the Carlyle Group. Both Bush and McKenna are
tied to the 
Carlyle Group, a Washington D.C.-based private
equity-investment firm with $13 billion US in assets.
It buys and sells privately held companies and  claims
to be the largest investment firm of its kind.

The Carlyle Group has been dubbed "the Ex-Presidents'
Former-President Bush Sr. has served on its Asia
advisory board since he left the Oval Office. Carlyle
also claims James A. Baker III, George 
Bush Sr.'s former Secretary of State; Frank Carlucci,
Ronald Reagan's former Defense Secretary and former
Deputy Director of the CIA; John Major, former Prime
Minister of the United Kingdom; Fidel Ramos, former
President of the Philippines; and a host of other
Washington hawks.

The group's traditional involvement in the defence and
Industry and its roster of former national security
mandarins has placed the Carlyle Group in the murky
world of the military-industrial complex. When
President George Bush Jr. declared the "War on Terror"
and opened the floodgates of military spending, the
Carlyle Group was uniquely positioned to profit.

Until now few people had ever heard of the Carlyle
Group. Who even knew that there was a Canadian
Advisory Board? Apparently there is, and its
membership includes Frank McKenna along with Peter
Lougheed, the former Premier of Alberta; Power Corp.'s
Paul Desmarais, Bombardier's Laurent Beaudoin, former
Canadian Ambassador to the United States Allan
Gotlieb, and others.

Even more, since June every Canadian has had a stake
in the Carlyle Group. That's when the Canadian Pension
Plan Investment Board committed to investing $60
million US into a Carlyle Group venture fund over the
next five years. The board invests Canadians'
accumulated pension contributions that are not needed
to pay benefits.

The dramatic rise in the fortunes of arms makers has
cast a bright light on the arms industry and the
Carlyle Group, especially Carlyle's series of
"coincidences and ironies" involving U.S. defence and
foreign policies.

One of the biggest coincidences surrounds Carlyle's
crown jewel: United
Defense Incorporated - the U.S. Army's fifth largest
contractor and builder of armoured vehicles,
artillery, defence electronics and naval guns used on
destroyers. "It's the first time the President of the
United States' father is on the payroll of one of the
largest U.S. Defense Contractors," said one of
Carlyle's critics.

When Carlyle bought United Defense in 1997, it held
contracts to build a rapid-firing howitzer called
Crusader. This $20 billion US weapon 
Program was harshly criticized by the Pentagon's own
review panels as too slow and too heavy for modern
warfare. Nevertheless, Crusader was a difficult target
to hit on Capitol Hill.

President Bush Jr. continued to support contracts for
Crusader despite expert opinion. Following the
September 11th attacks, Carlyle took the
President's support for Crusader and the market's
scramble for defence stocks and made a public offering
of United Defense. In a single day,
Carlyle raised $237 million US from the sale of United
Defense stocks.

The Pentagon finally cancelled the Crusader program in
May, but not before Carlyle had reaped $400 million US
in dividends and capital gains from its original $170
million US cash investment.

From coincidences to ironies. One can't overlook the
fact that the 
Carlyle Group's investors once included the Saudi
Binladen Group, the $5 billion US construction firm
run by Osama bin Laden's estranged family. Relations
with the family were severed on October 26 2001, but
for a time they were in the strange position of
standing to profit from the war against their own son.

When the controversial CPP Investment Board was
created in 1997, many groups such as the Council of
Canadians and the Canadian Labour Congress argued that
the Board would overlook ethical and social concerns
that reflect Canadians' values. Apparently, the
critics were right.

The CPP Investment Board should divest from this shady
Carlyle Group, and instead invest in Canadians' needs
such as water infrastructure, medical research,
affordable housing, and other socially positive
endeavours that could guarantee a reasonable rate of
return and leave a positive legacy.

Steven Staples is Director of the Polaris Institute's
Project on the
Corporate-Security State.

In response to the horrific events of September 11,
the resulting declarations of war by the U.S.
government and its military allies, the attack on
civil liberties and the right to dissent, and the ugly
racist and xenophobic attacks on innocent people of
colour across North  America, a group of concerned
Ottawa-area citizens has recently formed the Network
to Oppose War and Racism (NOWAR).

This coalition has three goals:
1) to oppose terrorism in all its forms, the U.S. call
to war, and Canada's participation therein;
2) to oppose racism and the racist backlash against
people of colour, including attacks on immigrant and
refugee rights;
3) to oppose the erosion of civil liberties in the
name of national security.

Our network, which is made up of a diversity of
members from within the community, seeks to build a
broad-based coalition of organizations and individuals
within the Ottawa region to advance the above goals by
organizing events and increasing public awareness in
the coming weeks and months.

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