Let’s Make the Stealth Fighters an Election Issue

Yes, I can donate $25 to stop the stealth fighters

Dear peace supporter,

It’s been a pitched media battle with Harper’s Conservatives and his corporate defence lobby since I last wrote you.

And as you will read below, it’s about billions of dollars in military sales, deceit, corporate and government collusion, and an orchestrated campaign to deceive Canadians.

The campaign of deceit is aimed directly at Ceasefire.ca and at people like you. That’s why I hope that you’ll make your donation today.

Your donation is needed now to stop Harper’s plan to build “Fortress North America,” ringed with fleets of U.S. weaponry like the F-35 stealth fighters, ready to deploy at the Pentagon’s command for the next “shock and awe” bombing campaign.

This may be our most difficult and challenging campaign ever.

Billions of dollars are involved: the Harper Conservatives and the corporations are staking everything on seeing this fighter deal go through, no matter what the cost.

The Harper government has launched a massive public relations blitz to counter F-35 critics like us.

Many senior Cabinet ministers, Conservative MPs, retired and serving generals, lobbyists, and military-funded academics have been drafted to support Harper.

And we are on the front lines of this media battle.

Only two days after an article against the F-35 that I co-wrote was printed in the Chronicle Herald, Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Public Works Minister Rona Ambrose shot back. They said I was “misleading and inaccurate,” and that spending $16 to $21 billion on stealth fighters is “the right decision for the Canadian Forces.”

But the truth is that Peter MacKay is intentionally misleading Canadians. I was in the CTV studio when he told the interviewer about the “contract” for the warplanes – when he knows that there is no contract.

That’s why they are so afraid. The Conservatives have made a huge mistake by agreeing to buy the planes without bothering to settle on a final price or benefits to Canada.

This is just plain deceitful, and unacceptable for a member of the government, especially a Cabinet minister!

As well, Harper has brought in the corporations to attack critics like the Rideau Institute.

The powerful Aerospace Industries Association of Canada (AIAC) has joined the government in taking political shots at the opposition parties, and making false accusations.

The CEOs even sent a “spy” into our press conference. An AIAC senior vice-president tried to sneak into our media event in Parliament, claiming to security staff that he “was invited.”

Later, the aerospace corporations slammed our statements against the F-35 in a press release of their own.

I am very concerned that the media are not doing enough to expose the PR campaign that is going on. That’s why we have to watch every report and challenge reporters’ assertions, or readers will not learn the truth.

For instance, I was shocked to see a huge article in the Ottawa Citizen by two retired Air Force generals “dispelling myths” and promoting the F-35.

But the Citizen did not reveal that the co-author, retired General Paul Manson, was also the former head of Lockheed Martin Canada’s Board of Directors – the U.S. company standing to make billions in profits from the F-35.

I immediately contacted the newspaper, exposing the General as a lobbyist. As Embassy magazine later reported the incident:

Luckily, Steven Staples, director of the Rideau Institute and a long-time thorn in the side of the military establishment, outed Manson’s Lockheed Martin association in a letter to the editor the following day.

But the story doesn’t end there. Now we’ve learned that the F-35 stealth fighter deal is connected to Harper’s plan to build a security perimeter around Canada and the United States – a Fortress North America!

I first became aware of a potentially new deal when I was on a panel in Ottawa with a well-connected former Foreign Affairs official.

When he mentioned the possibility of a new security perimeter deal, I immediately pointed out that Canada would end up with our foreign and defence policies being faxed to us from the Pentagon.

Days later, that same official confirmed my fears. He told the Globe and Mail that talks were taking place, and that Prime Minister Harper promised President Obama that “if we have to look at perimeter defence . . . we’re ready to do it.”

The latest round of Canada-U.S. border security talks, launched innFebruary by Harper and Obama, could result in a massive expansion of North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) – the joint U.S.-Canada military aerospace command for North America.

Will Harper push Canada into George Bush’s Star Wars missile defence scheme? How far will Harper go?

Now that the secret negotiations are out in the open, a public relations campaign has already begun for deeper military integration with the United States.

A few weeks ago I was invited on CTV’s Power Play to debate Retired Lieutenant-General George Macdonald, the former Canadian head of NORAD.

General Macdonald was an early believer in Canada joining Bush’s Star Wars, and now, as a paid lobbyist for Lockheed Martin, he is pushing for Canada to buy the F-35 stealth fighters.

And guess what? He is also lobbying reporters to support expanding NORAD on a massive scale to include land and sea military operations!

The military establishment is ready to give away our sovereignty and independence. Why are so many generals, who have sworn to defend Canada, so ready to sell out to the Pentagon? Don’t they care about Canada?

The generals, the CEOs, and the Harper Conservatives are betraying our national independence, and our values as international peacekeepers.

That’s why it is so important to make your voice heard. I hope that we can count on your support for 2011.

Maclean’s Magazine called me “the most outspoken critic of the purchase,” and I will continue to try to live up to that compliment. I’ll challenge this government on the F-35 deal and expose the defence lobby at every turn.

We have already hired a campaign person to work with peace groups and with our 20,000 Ceasefire.ca supporters to make our work more effective.

It’s working already. Together, we’ve sent more than 5,000 messages to Harper saying “No Stealth Fighters!” during our historic “Be Heard on March 3rd” day of action.

And there is more to come. We have new research reports in the works to expose the growing militarism in Canada, rising military spending, and the danger of “Fortress North America.”

Our goal is to raise $15,000 to launch our “No Stealth Fighters” campaign for 2011.

I hope I can count on you to give generously.

We need to stop Harper’s pro-war agenda in Ottawa. We need to stop the corporate lobby. We need to stop the deceit, and put Canada back on the road to being a peace leader.

Let us know you support the campaign and enclose your contribution today.

In peace,

Steve Staples

Steven Staples, Ceasefire.ca

P.S. Harper and the corporate defence lobby are on the move. Please make your contribution now to help us stop Harper’s plans to give away $16 billion on the F-35 stealth fighters.

If you would prefer to mail your donation, just print out this form and mail along with your donation to: Ceasefire.ca c/o Rideau Institute The Hope Building 63 Sparks Street, Suite 608 Ottawa, Ontario K1P 5A6 CANADA

Tags: Elections, F-35, Steven Staples