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Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Paid shill to support human rights abuses.

Canadian think tank under fire for accepting donations from arms maker

A high-profile Canadian think tank that just published a paper defending this country’s controversial $15-billion combat-vehicle sale to Saudi Arabia recently accepted donations from defence contractor General Dynamics – the parent of the arms maker in this export contract.
At least four of the Canadian Global Affairs Institute’s “fellows,” or affiliated academics, have also written columns this year arguing in favour of the deal to sell weaponized combat vehicles to Riyadh in publications from The Globe and Mail to to Legion Magazine. The institute also published a piece in its quarterly publication The Dispatch, with the same thrust, called The Saudi Arms Deal and the Inconvenient Truth.
This all came out even as international condemnation grows over Saudi Arabia’s abysmal human-rights record as well as the Mideast country’s bloody conduct in the war in Yemen, where it stands accused by a United Nations panel of targeting and indiscriminately bombing civilians.
While the Calgary-based Canadian Global Affairs Institute (CGAI) acknowledges it accepted money from General Dynamics to help sponsor an Ottawa symposium in May, it won’t divulge precise details of the corporate or major individual contributions it receives annually.
The organization’s 2015 financial statement reports $735,520 in donations and $201,184 in grants and project funding.
Colin Robertson, vice-president of the institute and a former Canadian diplomat, said the organization, which is registered as a charity, complies with all Canada Revenue Agency rules for reporting funding. But these rules do not compel CGAI to divulge the identities and amounts paid by each contributor.
Corporate logos featured on some of the CGAI’s products offer some insight into donors but Mr. Robertson said there are a number who want to remain anonymous or low-key.

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