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Opposition to Afghan War will greet G20 leaders

The Canadian Peace Alliance is organizing a show of opposition to the ongoing war in Afghanistan, one of many protest actions that will greet the G8/G20 meetings in late June. The G8 countries, of course, are among the key players in NATO's occupation. This even includes Japan, a leading funder of the Karzai regime's police force. (Russia, the newest member of this elite club, is the exception, but then maybe the old G7 would be wise to consult the history of that country's invasion of Afghanistan.)

The G8/G20 meetings will occur during what is expected to be a time of heightened fighting in Afghanistan. NATO's long-planned Kandahar offensive, if it goes ahead, should be well underway by then.

Although the story has barely been picked up in Canada, the real facts on the ground in Kandahar continue to come out into the open. This recent story in the Financial Times tells a key part of the story:

"The US government is facing fresh questions on its oversight of war funding amid mounting evidence that a $2.16bn trucking contract is enriching Afghan warlords linked to the controversial half-brother of President Hamid Karzai...

Carl Forsberg, a researcher at the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, says Mr Karzai relies on militias and security companies benefiting from US contracts to project power in the province.

In a report released last month, Mr Forsberg identified one of the companies that helps Ahmed Wali Karzai extend his influence as Watan Risk Management, an Afghan security company run by members of the Karzai family. The company is a big player in escorting convoys and also guards the $50m Dhala dam, Canada's flagship irrigation project in Kandahar, Canadian officials say. The company declined to comment on the report.

'You have about 30 oligarchs who have built little empires with Isaf money,' Mr Forsberg said. 'We are ultimately creating a shadow government.'"

Call them oligarchs or warlords, you get the picture on whose behalf NATO's pending military assault in Kandahar is going to be waged. This week, another Canadian death was announced, bringing the overall toll of troops killed to 144. That number, as well as the much greater number of Afghan civilians killed, is bound to go up significantly this summer. And that's just one reason it's crucial to bring a strong anti-war message to the streets of Toronto when the G8/G20 assembles. Here is the statement from the Canadian Peace Alliance.

"The Canadian Peace Alliance is calling on peace groups and individuals to join us for a rally and march during the G20 meetings on June 26th, in Toronto. We will be meeting at a rally organized by our friends in the labour, environmental and social justice movements at Queens Park for a mass march through downtown Toronto.

The G20 countries are some of the biggest arms dealers in the world, responsible for more than 85 per cent of global military spending and 95 per cent of global arms production. They will spend $1.2 trillion on the military this year. The CPA is demanding that this money be re-allocated for food, education, green jobs, environmental programs, health-care and to improve the lives of the people of the world.

Poverty and environmental degradation are chief causes of conflict in the world. Spending massive amounts on the military, rather than addressing the root causes of conflict is a wasteful and counter-productive process. True security comes when the people of the world can meet their basic needs for a happy, healthy life.

In Canada, the Harper government has overseen the largest military spending increases since the WWII. The Canada First Defence Strategy, the blueprint for the militarization of Canada, allocates an unprecedented $490 billion to buy tanks, warships, bombers and other weapons. Canada is now the 13th largest military spender globally and is 6th among NATO countries in war spending.

The Government of Canada has already spent more than $20 billion, and the lives of 143 Canadian soldiers and countless Afghan civilians to wage war in Afghanistan. The majority of Canadians are opposed to the war yet the Harper government has announced that they will keep Canadians in Afghanistan to train the corrupt Afghan Police and Army to continue to prop up a government of drug warlords. In typical fashion, this secretive and deceitful government has announced that there will be no debate in the House of Commons on the extension of Canada's role in the war.

It is time for the people to stand up to the G20 war mongers and call for an end to war. Join us to raise the voice of peace at the G20 meetings this June.

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