Canada Stands On Guard


Armed Drones & Dangerous Discussion Clubs

GPM # 36

Imagine this scenario:

A G20 summit is taking place near Quebec City. Protesters will be there. Among these, “anti-capitalists” vowing to disrupt the gathering, exploiting the presence of international media to further their radical cause.

Wise to their aims, the Canadian Air Force launches an unmanned surveillance drone that can carry weapons, but in this instance does not.

Severe storms looming on the horizon, the drone flies to the summit, through restricted airspace, under military and civilian air traffic control. It arrives on site, loiters over the noisy protesters for a while, confirming that there are no threats, but beaming back lots of photos to National Defense controllers, who place these images on file.

Here’s another scenario:

The same drone takes off from a runway west of Kandahar, in Afghanistan. A “High-Payoff Target” has been spotted beside a road where an alliance convoy will soon be traveling, so, this time, the drone has been armed with an AGM114 Hellfire Missile and a pair of 250-lb. GBU 48 laser-guided bombs.

Arriving at the scene of the potential threat, the drone spots three “Fighting Aged Males.” Zooming in with joy sticks, operators back in Canada spot a patch of disturbed earth near the three males. Circling for a closer look, they notice a wire emerging from the soil. One of the males appears to be holding a radio or cell phone.

He and is friends are clearly combatants, legal agencies and controllers conclude. They authorize the use of force and the three men are blown to bits. Mission accomplished. Safety has been restored.

These two imaginary scenarios were contained in annexes to a Request for Proposals issued by the Canadian Department of National Defense back in 2016. Canada, as it happens, is in the market for a fleet of drones that can perform these tasks for real.

Two weapons firms responded to the Canadian government request. Quebec-based L3Harris produces Israeli-style Heron drones. The American one, General Atomics, markets the MQ-9B SkyGuardian, a follow-up to the MQ-9A Reaper drone.

The GPM spoke about Canada’s putative future drone fleet with Matt Korda. Korda is a Canadian researcher at the Federation of American Scientists, in Washington D.C.

Listen to our discussion in today’s podcast. Click the play button on top, or go here.

Vladimir Putin at Valdai Discussion Club

In times of war, truth is the first casualty. So said the ancient Greek tragedian, Aeschylus.

In Western democracies, “it is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and to expose lies.” Noam Chomsky said that.

The GPM sat down for a lengthy discussion about truth and lies in times of war with two of its favourite guests. Radhika Desai is Professor in the Department of Political Studies and Director of the Geopolitical Economy Research Group at the University of Manitoba. Dimitri Lascaris is a lawyer, journalist and activist based in Montreal – and Greece.

Listen to our discussion in today’s podcast. Click the play button on top, or go here.

Listen to the GPM‘s complete conversation with Radhika Desai and Dimitri Lascaris here:

Thanks to Dan Weisenberger for his fabulous guitar instrumentals.