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Backed By Western Money Derk Sauer Makes A Comeback At The Moscow Times

Derk Sauer comes with The Moscow Times, still receiving funding from the West and still promoting the anti-Putin Western line in Russia.

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Republished with the Author’s permission.  Previously published by Dancing With Bears.

Russia has grown up; Derk Sauer (lead image), boy scout for American, Dutch and NATO plots for Kremlin regime change since Boris Yeltsin left office, can’t.

Under cover of Russian frontmen, he has bought back the Moscow Times, and put his son Pyotr in charge of opinion. The opinion is the same as it was when Sauer started in Moscow in 1992. Mark Ames, the scourge of Moscow Times duplicity then, says now: “They’re trying to make the MT even more boring than it ever was, with just a hint of standard Moscow liberal politics. Right now Derk seems like a garden gnome I dreamed about long ago.”

Sauer started the Moscow Times on a shoestring in 1992. He recovered it with a shoestring in 2017.  For details of his start, read.

Owner of the shoe from whose string Sauer has dangled for this interval have included investors connected to the US intelligence services (he admitted to me himself); a Swiss entity owned by Mikhail Khodorkovsky; Vladimir Potanin, the Norilsk Nickel oligarch; a Dutch media conglomerate, VNU; a Finnish media group called Sanoma, together with the Murdoch media group and Pearson’s, when it owned the Financial Times of London; then a Russian journalist without money, Demian Kudryavtsev. He appeared when Sauer and his offshore partners surpassed the 20% maximum foreign ownership threshold enacted in the amended Russian Law on Mass Media (N 305-FZ) in October 2014; the measure took effect from January 2016.  Kudryavtsev has claimed he made the acquisition with the “moral support” of the coalmine operator, Dmitry Bosov.

MONEY AND MORALS — THE MOSCOW TIMES’S SUPPORTERS


Left to right: Mikhail Khodorkovsky (in Moscow before his arrest in 2003); Rupert Murdoch (in St. Petersburg to meet President Vladimir Putin, 2005); Pekka Ala-Pietilä, Sanoma board chairman since 2014; Dmitry Bosov; his role in financing Kudryavtsev is reported here.  

Sauer followed the advice of lawyers on how to restructure his Russian media operations “to divide the business so that the editorial and broadcasting activities are controlled by a Russian entity and the remaining part of the business remains foreign-controlled, e.g. separating the roles of the so-called founder (registration as mass media in Russia) and the editorial office/broadcasting entity, on the one hand, from the publisher being in control of the remaining business streams, on the other hand.”

Meantime, Mikhail Prokhorov employed Sauer in his RBC media group, until he was ousted in 2016. There was internal criticism of Sauer’s financial operations at RBC, followed by a police raid and threatened indictments for fraud.  For the story of the fraud and other allegations against Sauer, click to read.   He claimed he was forced to flee to The Netherlands  for political reasons connected to Prokhorov’s presidential campaign against President Putin. Sources with access to RBC’s accounts do not substantiate that version. An independent media investigation by Meduza reportedthat RBC became unprofitable when its “shadowy sources of income” dried up.

The financial collapse at RBC was the largest of Sauer’s loss-making businesses. The Moscow Times had also run up sizeable debts at VNU; more at Sanoma. When Kudryavtsev took over, Sanoma reported a non-cash transaction for €8 million in value for shifting Sauer’s debts off the Sanoma balance sheet.   How much of the debt accumulated at the Moscow Times isn’t known. Sanoma, like the Dutch VNU earlier, had been unable to dispose of it and cut its other Russian losses for several years.  Sauer has been unwilling to explain how he (or who) underwrote the losses.

In 2017, after Kudryavtsev, an Israeli, lost his Russian citizenship and transferred the Russian daily Vedomosti to his wife, Sauer returned. Sauer’s authorized version claims the Moscow Times became the operation of a Stichting 2 Oktober,  Dutch charitable foundation in which he, Kudryavtsev and Sauer’s wife were in charge;  then they devised a shareholding arrangement between a Chinese-Russian named Vladimir Jao (Zhao) with 51%; a Sauer trustie  named Svetlana Korshunova with 30%; and with 19%,  Sauer himself.

Jao (right) is reported in the Moscow press as the operator of a catering business called Aeromar, a joint venture owned by Aeroflot and Lufthansa to supply meals for commercial airlines and shops at Moscow airports. In 2016 it reported a profit of Rb874 million ($14.3 million). Jao also operates a Moscow club  called, after himself, Chinese Pilot Jao Da. “It is basically a big, dirty student den and as such makes a great venue for getting drunk”, reports a current review.

Sauer has described Jao as his friend and partner who “doesn’t control the publication”. There is no substantiation for Jao’s capital contribution, if any, through a Russian front company called Tiemti. The Russian word spells out TMT, Sauer’s acronym for The Moscow Times. Since Kudryavtsev passed the financial liabilities of the publication from the Dutch foundation to Tiemti, it has been Sauer who has been financing the balance of the debt and the accumulating losses.

Sauer’s son Pyotr, a dual Russian and Dutch citizen, is listed on the publication’s website as an editor.  Another listed editor, Eva Hartog Skorobogatova,  reports herself as a current journalist in Moscow but former editor of the publication.   Hartog is also a Dutch citizen.


Left to right: Pyotr Sauer on Twitter;   Svetlana Korshunova on Facebook;   and Eva Hartog Skorobogatova on Dutch  television.  

The loss-making of the Moscow Times has required subsidization from the start. That has produced another consistency in Sauer’s media career – promotion of US and NATO propaganda for Boris Yeltsin until 1999, and since then of regime change at the Kremlin. While US law in the past has prohibited US journalists working for US media from operating on CIA or State Department funding for information gathering or disinformation circulation, the restriction hasn’t applied to Americans working for foreign media, or to foreign journalists. The Moscow Times has been that type of operation.  Celebrating the publication’s tenth anniversary in 2002, then US Ambassador Alexander Vershbow wrote of Sauer’s “marvelous job chronicling Russia’s transformation over the past decade.”

As Sauer moved back into management, his editorial line has favoured the NATO and Dutch Government version of the Malaysia Airlines MH17 disaster;  and the Bellingcat version of the Skripal case.  According to Sauer junior, “the Skripal case has served to remind readers that, against the odds, there is still an appetite in Russia for investigative reporting. It has also begged the question of how long the Kremlin will allow it to continue.”

His website has proposed Ukraine as a model for presidential election campaigns in Russia;  Council of Europe supervision of Russian human rights;  and endorsement of State Department sanctions against Russia.  Anti-Russian campaigners like Leonid Bershidsky, the Israeli Zev Chafets and Bruno Macaes, a Portuguese politician employed by a US think-tank, are regular contributors.  The Moscow Times is the only publication in the country to refer to the “annexation” of Crimea in 2014.


Source: https://www.themoscowtimes.com/

Pyotr Sauer has posted a curriculum vitae in which he describes his career before joining the Moscow Times in August of last year. His previous job, he says, was at the London-based Control Risks organization, founded and run by retired British Army, SAS and UK Government officials.  According to Sauer, at Control Risks he was “Research Analyst. Compliance Forensics and Intelligence (CFI). Former Soviet Union.” That was in 2017 and 2018. In 2016, he was “Research Officer- Political Affairs Embassy of the Netherlands in Azerbaijan.” With university degrees from Utrecht and University College London, Sauer also identifies his association with the Organization for Security and Economic Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the International Crisis Group, and Amnesty International.


Source: https://nl.linkedin.com/in/pjotrsauer/de

The connexion between the Moscow Times and Control Risks isn’t coincidental, as there is more than one of them.  Nabi Abdullaev was one of Derk Sauer’s editors at Moscow Times until 2015.   When Sauer replaced Kudryavtsev, Abdullaev began appearing on the Moscow Times website until the end of 2018. Now, he and Control Risks say, he is a director in the Moscow office of the outfit.


CLICK TO ENLARGE
Source: https://www.controlrisks.com/ The company résumé says: “Prior to joining Control Risks, Nabi was the chief editor of The Moscow Times, an English-language daily newspaper in Russia, where he was a political and security writer for many years… Nabi has a Master’s degree in Public Administration from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government where he studied negotiation and conflict resolution.” Tim Stanley, British, runs the Moscow office.  The third staff man identified on the company website is Yevgeny Gordeichev, a British government employee. The company website says this about him: “Yevgeny worked at the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office, where he divided his time between the British Embassy in Moscow and British Consulate in Yekaterinburg. During this time he worked as a Risk Assessment / Immigration and Liaison Officer alongside international law enforcement agencies to investigate crimes such as immigration fraud, document forgery, illegal facilitation and human trafficking. Yevgeny has also worked on a number of short-term assignments for Schlumberger Inc. as a head of its subcontractor visa and immigration compliance department and as a Country Security Advisor at the OSCE (Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe) during the 2012 Russian presidential elections.” 

Abdullaev was telephoned and emailed at his office. He was asked how the relationship with Control Risks contributes to the journalism of the Moscow Times. He refused to answer.

Are Sauer and his TMT a target for the new amendment to Article 19.1 of the Mass Media Law  which is in review this month by government officials, as well as by members of the State Duma. Follow the details here.

The new amendment was prompted last year by concerns that the foreign ownership limit enacted between 2014 and 2016 isn’t extensive enough to cover internet aggregators moving translations of stories from foreign-controlled sources into the Russian audience.  There is also suspicion in media business circles that Sberbank wants tighter restrictions to help expand its control at Yandex, since the two commenced a joint venture in internet retailing in 2017 to compete against Amazon.

The revision of Art. 19.1 was also forced by a ruling of the Constitutional Court on January 17. The court had upheld an application by a Yevgeny Finkelshtein, part-owner of Radio-Chance (49%) and Russian Radio Europe-Asia (51%), and a dual-Russian Dutch citizen; read the ruling in full here.   Finkelshtein (right) had argued, according to the court transcript, that the law “disproportionately restricts the right to private property, the right to judicial protection, and the right to freely transfer, to produce and disseminate information (without contributing to limiting the excessive influence of foreign investors on the broadcasting policy of the media);  is discriminatory (putting citizens of the Russian Federation with foreign citizenship in a disadvantaged position compared to other citizens);  is insufficiently defined (not allowing to establish what share of participation in the authorized capital of a commercial company organizing broadcasts is recognized as permissible).”

In its ruling, the court judged that national security justifies the restriction of foreign information operations in Russia. The judges also agreed that the wording of the restrictions in the current statute is too ambiguous in interpretation and uncertain for application. They ordered that “the federal legislature shall – proceeding from the requirements of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and taking into account the legal positions of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation expressed in this Resolution — make the necessary changes following from this Resolution in the existing legal regulation.”

Leonid Levin, chairman of the Duma’s Information Policy Committee and a co-author of recent measures to stop “fake news” in Russian media, was asked to say if he considers Sauer and the Moscow Times a target of the proposed new amendment. He refused to say. Other deputies supporting the redrafting of Art. 19.1 are also determined to stay silent for the time being. Finkelshtein would not say what outcome he expects for his own radio stations, or for his fellow Dutch stakeholder in Russian media, Sauer.

Where Sauer’s money is coming from is the key. “Perhaps the secret is not in how but in why”, comments Ajay Goyal (right), publisher and editor-in-chief of The Russia Journal, a strong rival of Sauer’s publication in the Moscow market. “The how is easy. The online newspaper costs just a fraction of a print publication and it can easily avoid Russian legislative restrictions on [foreign ownership of] print media. Why he has this need to continue to be the fountainhead of anti-Russian poison is a mystery. This country [Russia] has given him everything. Sauer was a nobody when he came to Moscow. He would have remained that in Holland. Russia has given him everything he has and yet he pisses on this country in every headline, every editorial and every opinion or news piece. Why is he doing it? Perhaps he is just bored. Perhaps the man has developed a serious case of hubris and he wants to do regime change in the Kremlin single-handedly.”

“Or perhaps he senses another opportunity to get big money out of anti-Russia propaganda. There is that very juicy piece of fruit in info-warfare money from NATO, the EU and the State Department hanging low. There is no reason, Sauer thinks, not to grab it.”

Sauer and his wife, Ellen Verbeek, control the Stichting 2 Oktober — in Dutch stichting means a foundation — which is based in Amsterdam. Their purpose, according to the foundation website,  “is to support independent journalism in Russia and the CIS countries. Freedom of the press and freedom of information are vital for gathering and distributing reliable, fact-based news. Media play a crucial role in providing citizens with free and unrestricted access to information that can help them monitor the authorities and make empowered decisions. In Russia, where the vast majority of the media is state-controlled, it is of vital importance that objective news and information remain available to everyone.

The foundation’s mission statement is more explicit: “Stichting 2 Oktober supports the activities of The Moscow Times. Founded in 1992, The Moscow Times was and still is an inspiration for generations of Russian journalists. With its fact-based, unbiased and objective journalism, The Moscow Times has a long and distinguished track record which in many ways set the standards for decent journalism in Russia. Until 2015, The Moscow Times published a daily newspaper. Today, it is primarily distributed through themoscowtimes.com and several stand-alone print products.”

The foundation acknowledges that the journalists working at the Moscow Times are paid by the Dutch Foreign Ministry:


Source: https://www.stichting2oktober.org/our-work/

Pyotr Sauer was asked to explain, since his publication appears to run no advertising, how its costs are paid for. He was also asked whether the Moscow Times or its writers benefit, directly or indirectly, from grants or other payments from non-Russian government sources, or from non-Russian NGOs?  He refused to reply.

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Regula

The Moscow Times is in essence a CIA propaganda organ.

Food for Thought
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Food for Thought

So…what isn’t that’s in the public’s eye these days?

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Food for Thought

The US tried to go for Russia’s post-Soviet soft-underbelly but couldn’t handle it, so it went for Ukraine’s soft-underbelly instead, and couldn’t even handle that without creating a disaster.

Time to have a serious rethink there, NATO. Maybe you just ain’t up to the task. Military-type knuckledraggers rarely are. Neo-conniving draft dodgers even less so.

Platon
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Platon

The Moscow Times is the manufacture of shit, out of shit, by shits, to bypass sewage treatment regulations.

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Germany Wants Nuclear Bombers

Germany does not manufacture atomic weapons but has come to consider itself as a nuclear power because it has vectors to use them.

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Via VoltaireNet.org:


Germany’s armed forces are currently studying the possibility of acquiring nuclear bombers capable of using the new American B61-12 atomic bombs.

Meanwhile, the Pentagon itself plans to deploy these new atomic bombs in the German region of Eifel, in violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The German air force already has multi-tasking Tornado warplanes, which are already capable of deploying American atomic bombs. But those aircraft are going to be replaced, possibly, by European-developed Eurofighters, or by United States manufactured F/A-18 Super Hornets.

Either way, the warplane that Germany selects will have to be equipped with the AMAC (Aircraft Monitoring and Control) system, which allows the use of the new American atomic bombs and enables the regulation of the power of the explosion as well as at what height the bombs explode after they are launched.

Germany does not manufacture atomic weapons but has come to consider itself as a nuclear power because it has vectors to use them, and believes that this gives it the right to sit on the UN Security Council sharing the permanent member position occupied by France.

Both countries would thus represent the European Union, under the auspices of NATO.

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1st since Notre Dame: Yellow Vests back despite ‘unifying’ disaster & they are angry

‘Yellow Vests’ march in Paris for 23rd straight week.

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Via RT…


Yellow Vests protests brought clashes and tear gas back to the streets of Paris, despite politicians’ calls for “unity” in the wake of the Notre Dame fire. For protesters, the response to the fire only showed more inequality.

Saturday’s protests mark the 23rd straight weekend of anti-government demonstrations, but the first since Notre Dame de Paris went up in flames on Monday. Officials were quick to criticize the protesters for returning to the streets so soon after the disaster.

“The rioters will be back tomorrow,” Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told reporters on Friday. “The rioters have visibly not been moved by what happened at Notre-Dame.”

For many of the protesters, grief over the destruction of the 800-year-old landmark has made way for anger. With smoke still rising from Notre Dame, a group of French tycoons and businessmen pledged €1 billion to the cathedral’s reconstruction, money that the Yellow Vests say could be better spent elsewhere.

“If they can give dozens of millions to rebuild Notre Dame, they should stop telling us there is no money to respond to the social emergency,” trade union leader Philippe Martinez told France 24.

Saturday’s protests saw a return to scenes familiar since the Yellow Vests first mobilized in November to protest a fuel tax hike. Demonstrators in Paris’ Bastille district set barricades on fire and smashed vehicles, and police deployed tear gas to keep the crowds at bay.

Sporadic incidents of vandalism and looting were reported across the city, and some journalists even reported rioters throwing feces at police.

60,000 police officers were deployed across the country, and in Paris, a security perimeter was set up around Notre Dame. A planned march that would have passed the site was banned by police, and elsewhere, 137 protesters had been arrested by mid afternoon, police sources told Euronews.

Beginning as a show of anger against rising fuel costs in November, the Yellow Vests movement quickly evolved into a national demonstration of rage against falling living standards, income inequality, and the perceived elitism and pro-corporation policies of President Emmanuel Macron. Over 23 weeks of unrest, Macron has made several concessions to the protesters’ demands, but has thus far been unable to quell the rising dissent.

After Notre Dame caught fire on Monday, the president postponed a television address to the nation, during which he was expected to unveil a package of tax cuts and other economic reforms, another measure to calm the popular anger in France.

Macron’s address will be held on Thursday.

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O Canada! The True North Strong and Free – Not

Maybe it’s past time for Canadians to get serious again about their independence.

Jim Jatras

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Authored by James George Jatras via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Canadian visitors to Washington sometimes wonder why their embassy stands at the foot of Capitol Hill.

The answer? To be close to where Canada’s laws are made.

A main showcase of Ottawa’s craven servility to Washington is Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s complicity in the US-led regime change operation being conducted against Venezuela. Not content with ruining his own country with multiculturalism, polysexualism, and the like, Li’l Justin has acted in lockstep with Big Brother to the south inslapping sanctions on Venezuelan officials and serving as a US agent of influence, especially with other countries in the western hemisphere:

‘A Canadian Press report published at the end of January revealed that Canadian diplomats worked systematically over several months with their Latin American counterparts in Caracas to prepare the current regime-change operation, pressing [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro’s right-wing opponents to set aside their differences and mount a joint challenge to the government. “The turning point,” said the Canadian Press [Global News], “came Jan. 4, when the Lima Group … rejected the legitimacy of Maduro’s May 2018 election victory and his looming January 10 inauguration, while recognizing the ‘legitimately elected’ National Assembly.” The report cited an unnamed Canadian official as saying the opposition “were really looking for international support of some kind, to be able to hold onto a reason as to why they should unite, and push somebody like Juan Guaidó.”

‘One day prior to Maduro’s inauguration, [Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia] Freeland spoke to Guaidó, the newly-elected National Assembly speaker, by telephone to urge him to challenge the elected Venezuelan president.’

But that’s not all. Canada is out front and center in the “Five Eyes” intelligence agencies’ war on China’s Huawei – with direct prompting from US legislators and intelligence.  As explained by Col. Larry Wilkerson, former chief of staff to Gen. Colin Powell, it’s not that Huawei violated any law when circumventing US sanctions but it is the US that is acting illegally by unilaterally imposing sanctions that were never agreed to internationally. But that’s OK – when it comes to Washington’s claims of jurisdiction over every human being on the planet, Justin and Chrystia are happy to oblige!

Also, let’s not forget Chrystia’s role in keeping the pot boiling in Ukraine. It would of course be cynical (and probably racist) to attribute anything relating to Ukraine to her own interesting family background …

To be fair, the lickspittle attitude of Canadian officials towards their masters south of the 49th parallel is hardly unique in the world. Also to be fair, it’s natural and would be generally beneficial for Canada to have a positive relationship with a powerful, kindred neighbor rather than a negative one. Think of Austria’s ties to Germany, or the Trans-Tasman relationship of Australia and New Zealand, or the links that still exist between Russia and Ukraine despite efforts by the west to set them against each other (as, for example, Spain and Portugal were at loggerheads for several centuries, when the latter was a loyal ally of Spain’s foe, Great Britain, to such an extent that Portugal was sometimes shown on maps and globes in the same pink as British possessions; a similar situation existed between Argentina and British ally Chile).

A close and mutually advantageous relationship is one thing, but Canada’s de facto loss of independence is another. Not only does the US control Canada’s diplomacy, military, and intelligence but also her financial system (with, among other levers, the notorious FATCA law, which places Canadian institutions under the supervision of the IRS, with Canada’s revenue service acting, care of the Canadian taxpayer, as a cat’s paw for not only the IRS but the NSA and other snooping agencies). As explained by one Canadian nationalist (yes, they do exist!), the redoubtable David Orchard, trade is also a critical issue:

‘Canada …, after almost three decades of “free trade” with the U.S., has more than $1.2 trillion in federal and provincial debt, large deficits at every level, no national child or dental care, high university tuition, miserly old age pensions, years of massive budget cuts, and giveaway prices for its exports of oil, gas, timber and minerals.

‘For 150 years, great Canadian leaders have warned that without an economic border with the United States, we would soon no longer have a political border.

‘We once owned the world’s largest farm machinery maker, Massey Harris, headquartered in Toronto; built the world’s largest and most respected marketer of wheat and barley, the Canadian Wheat Board, based in Winnipeg; created a great transcontinental railway system, beginning in Montreal, which tied our country together; and saw Vancouver’s shipyards produce the beautiful Fast Cat ferry.

‘Instead of spending hundreds of billions on foreign-made machinery, electronics, automobiles, ships, fighter jets and passenger aircraft (even payroll systems for federal employees!), we can build our own, both for the domestic and export market.

‘We once designed and built the world’s most advanced jet interceptor, the Avro Arrow, so we know it can be done. [Emphasis added] With Canada’s resources and ingenuity, it could create a prosperous, domestically controlled economy that would give Canadians multiple benefits, security and pride of ownership. All that is required is some of the will that drove our ancestors to create an alternate power in North America. As George-Étienne Cartier, the great Québécois Father of Confederation, put it, “Now everything depends on our patriotism.”’ [Note: Orchard is the author of the must-read book The Fight for Canada: Four Centuries of Resistance to American Expansionism. To begin at the beginning, in the late 1680s, as part of English-French rivalry in North America, Massachusetts Puritans sought to root out the nest of popish deviltry known as Quebec. Following their disastrous 1690 defeat, they decided to fight Satan closer to home by hanging witches. The rest, as they say, is history…]

Scratch a Canadian patriot and you’ll hear about the Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow. As a watershed moment in Canada’s downward slide into subservience, the cancellation of what by all accounts was a magnificent aircraft – and a snapshot of what Canada’s international competitiveness (including in advanced aerospace) could have looked like had it been able to develop independently – might have been the point of being sucked into the American vortex. As noted by one response to my suggestion that Ottawa’s stance on Venezuela amounted to Canada’s annexation by the US: “Canadian here…unfortunately, the above is true (not literally of course, but in practice). It goes back even before the time of Diefenbaker, who canceled our Avro Arrow program on demand from the US – thus destroying our aerospace industry and causing brain drain to the US/Europe.”

To this day, the decision of then-Prime Minister John Diefenbaker to kill the Arrow project (and “put 14,528 Avro employees, as well as nearly 15,000 other employees in the Avro supply chain of outside suppliers, out of work”) on what came to be known as “Black Friday,” February 20, 1959, remains controversial and shrouded in mystery. A mix of budgetary, political, technological, and personality factors has been cited, none of them conclusive. Pressure from the US side, including unwillingness of Washington to purchase a Canadian aircraft when the US could pressure them to buy American planes and missiles, no doubt played a key role: “Instead of the CF-105, the RCAF invested in a variety of Century Series fighters from the United States. These included the F-104 Starfighter (46 percent of which were lost in Canadian service), and (more controversial, given the cancellation of the Arrow) the CF-101 Voodoo. The Voodoo served as an interceptor, but at a level of performance generally below that expected of the Arrow.”

While we may never know reliably why Diefenbaker cancelled the Arrow or how Canada or Canadian industry might have followed a different path, there’s no question of the superior capabilities of the Arrow. As it happens, one of the few pilots who had a chance to test the Arrow in an impromptu friendly dogfight is now-retired USAF fighter pilot Col. George Jatras, later US Air Attaché in Moscow (also, this analyst’s father). As he related in 2017:

‘I’ve received a number of messages in the last couple days about this bird, including some that say it may be revived. I don’t know how The Arrow would compare to today’s aircraft, but I had a first-hand lesson on how it faired against the F-102.

‘In 1959, I was stationed at Suffolk County AFB on Long Island with the 2nd Fighter Interceptor Squadron. We had an informal exchange program with a Canadian fighter squadron stationed near Montreal. From time to time, two or four aircraft from one of the squadrons would fly to the other’s base on a weekend cross country.

‘On one such exchange, I was #3 in a four ship formation led by [former Tuskegee airmanErnie Craigwell (I don’t recall who the other pilots were). As we entered Canadian airspace, cruising at about 40,000 ft., we spotted a contrail well above our altitude (probably at 50,000ft.) and closing very fast.  As the other aircraft appeared to be passing by, we could clearly see the delta shaped wing and knew it was the Avro Arrow that the Canadian pilots had told us about. Then, instead of just passing by, he rolled in on us! Ernie called for a break and we split into elements. When we talked about the encounter afterwards we all agreed that our first thought was, “This guy is in for a surprise; he doesn’t know that he’s taking on the F-102.”  Well, we were the ones in for a surprise. Even with two elements covering each other, not one of us could get on his tail. His power and maneuverability were awesome.  After he had played with us for a few minutes, like a cat with four mice, he zoomed back up to about 50K and went on his way. What an aircraft! What a shame that it never went into production.’

What is perhaps most curious about the Arrow’s demise is that “everything was ordered brutally destroyed; plans, tools, parts, and the completed planes themselves were to be cut up, destroyed, scrapped and everything made to disappear.”  Why? Well, security of course! Don’t engage in conspiracy theories …

The Canadian national anthem finishes with a pledge: “O Canada, we stand on guard for thee.” It should be noted that understandably resentful Loyalists fleeing the US following the American Revolution were a major contribution to the growth of Canada’s English-speaking population. American troops – back when we were the plucky underdog fighting the mighty British Empire – invaded Canada in 1775 and during the War of 1812 but were defeated. Relations got testy during the American Civil War as well, and even afterwards the US was wary of a proposed united “Kingdom of Canada,” hence the choice of the name “Dominion” in 1967. If today’s Canadians think we-all down here don’t know whom they’ve mostly had in mind to “stand on guard” against all this time, they’d better think again.

Maybe it’s past time for Canadians to get serious again about their independence – eh?

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