Home News The West Block — Episode 10, Season 13 – Nationwide

The West Block — Episode 10, Season 13 – Nationwide

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The West Block — Episode 10, Season 13 – Nationwide

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THE WEST BLOCK

Episode 10, Season 13

Sunday, November 19, 2023

Host: Mercedes Stephenson

Friends:

Masih Alinejad, Iranian Human Rights Activist

Roy Chun Lee, Taiwan’s Deputy International Affairs Minister

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat- New Hampshire

 

Location:

Halifax, NS

 

 

Mercedes Stephenson: We’re right here in Nova Scotia on the 15th annual Halifax Worldwide Safety Discussion board. The discussion board couldn’t be happening at a extra vital time. From tensions with China to considerations about Iranian interference, the battle within the Center East and Russia’s struggle in Ukraine, everyone seems to be right here from decision-makers to dissidence to generals, looking for a approach ahead in our world that generally looks like its exploding.

I’m Mercedes Stephenson. The West Block begins now.

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The October 7th assault by Hamas in Israel has put the position of Iran in supporting Hamas and Hezbollah beneath growing scrutiny. However critics of the regime say nations like Canada are additionally in danger.

I sit down with outstanding Iranian activist Masih Alinejad, who says Prime Minister Justin Trudeau must take motion now.

And what’s going to the brand new tone between Washington and Beijing imply for Taiwan? Because the nation ready for presidential elections in January, I communicate to Taiwan’s deputy overseas minister concerning the fixed menace of Chinese language navy motion.

The Iranian regime casts a protracted shadow world wide, one which has change into much more apparent since Hamas attacked Israel on October 7th. Tehran makes use of proxy terrorist teams like Hamas and Hezbollah throughout the Center East. However a World Information investigation discovered the regime’s tentacles lengthen to proper right here in Canada.

Our Negar Mojtahedi, uncovered proof of greater than 700 regime operatives right here on Canadian soil. From cash laundering to threats to homicide plots, the impunity with which the regime seems to be working in Canada is surprising.

Famend Iranian human rights activist Masih Alinejad sat down with me to share a contemporary warning and a bone chilling message for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Masih thanks a lot for becoming a member of us at this time. I do know that it was really a harmful factor, probably, so that you can come to Canada.

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Masih Alinejad, Iranian Human Rights Activist: Even saying this, it’s like—it’s so bizarre. Prefer it’s harmful to be in Canada? Oh, I like Canada. Thanks a lot for having me. However sure, it was due to my scenario being vital of the Islamic Republic there’s nonetheless a menace not solely towards me, towards everybody who criticizes Islamic Republic in Canada.

Mercedes Stephenson: You usually are in Brooklyn, and also you spoke with 60 Minutes and advised the story about how the Iranian regime not solely needs you kidnapped, they need you useless. They tried to have you ever killed. What occurred?

Masih Alinejad, Iranian Human Rights Activist: Whoa, yeah they need me useless. To begin with, they hate girls like me, such as you. I imply you’ve obtained stunning hair, in order that even makes them extra hate you as a result of they don’t need you to point out your hair. However me, due to really campaigning towards obligatory veiling, campaigning towards Islamic Republic, they hate me so much. In order that’s why first, they went after girls who had been sending movies to me. Like you already know merely strolling unveiled and making a video and saying hello Masih, we benefit from the wind—air. We need to be free. That is my you already know follow of civil disobedience. They introduced these girls on TV to denounce me publicly, made them to do false confessions. That didn’t work as a result of different girls joined, after which they went after my relations to love you already know put my brother in jail for 2 years to maintain me silent. Didn’t work. Then, completely different techniques: sending killers to New York, a person with loaded gun with AK-47 obtained arrested in entrance of my home. Sure, in Brooklyn.

Mercedes Stephenson: You see these tales. You hear them they usually sound like one thing out of a thriller novel or a nasty film, but it surely’s occurring right here. It’s occurring in New York, but in addition in Canada. We not too long ago did a documentary. We discovered that not less than 700 regime associates are right here in Canada and the Iranian diaspora inhabitants says they’re being intimidated by them.

Masih Alinejad, Iranian Human Rights Activist: However you already know what makes me indignant probably the most? It’s just like the relations are certainly one of—are well-known sufferer of the Islamic Republic—[00:04:39 Name] It’s important to see the video of her getting killed of Revolutionary Guards on the street, which went viral. So her relations had been denied visa by Canadian authorities, however on the identical time you see that the members of Revolutionary Guards themselves who’re capturing folks within the chest, coronary heart, receiving visas and being welcomed in Canada. That makes me indignant.

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Mercedes Stephenson: So why do you assume the Canadian authorities will not be doing extra to cease these folks from coming to Canada?

Masih Alinejad, Iranian Human Rights Activist: You already know what? This query needs to be requested in entrance of Prime Minister Trudeau. I need you to take a seat down and ask this query.

Mercedes Stephenson: And I’d really love to present you his response as a result of we did ask him that.

Masih Alinejad, Iranian Human Rights Activist: You probably did.

Mercedes Stephenson: And what his response was is that the federal government will proceed to do every part obligatory to carry the regime accountable. They are saying they’ve criminalized them so they aren’t allowed to enter Canada, however they haven’t designated the IRGC as a terror entity, which some activists right here say is critical.

Masih Alinejad, Iranian Human Rights Activist: These are cliché’s and empty phrases, and Prime Minister Trudeau—I need to use this digicam and speak to you straight—don’t be petrified of me and ladies like, you already know, you and important journalists and Iranian Canadians in Canada. We love Canada. We love peace and safety and democracy. We love Canada to be a shelter for, you already know, respectable folks. And also you’re placing the lives of Canadians in peril. So I need to meet you. That’s all I can say as a result of in any other case he’s going to provide you with lots of empty phrases, saying that we stand with the folks of Iran. No please, sit down and make choices learn how to defend human rights, learn how to defend democracy in Canada. That’s crucial. I used to be the one—4 years in the past in Canadian Parliament—I warned Prime Minister Trudeau’s authorities that put the Revolutionary Guards on the terrorist listing. They didn’t. What occurred? The identical Revolutionary Guards killed Iranian Canadians by capturing down the Ukrainian airplane. In order that’s why once we warn Prime Minister Trudeau it signifies that we all know that hazard is coming. Now Revolutionary Guards are all over the place.  In all places, sponsoring Hamas to kill civilians is Israel.

Mercedes Stephenson: And that’s one of many questions I needed to ask you. What would these members of the Iranian regime be doing in Canada?

Masih Alinejad, Iranian Human Rights Activist: Spying, cash laundering—every part—spreading the ideology of the Islamic Republic. Wow, they’ll do so much. That’s the objective of Islamic revolution since once they took over Iran 40 years in the past. Khomeini was saying that we have now to export our revolution, our values. Baby marriage, you already know this is likely one of the values of Islamic revolution, obligatory veiling and spreading terrorist ideologies, saying that if anybody doesn’t observe our values and beliefs, they are often eradicated.

Mercedes Stephenson: You had been warned by the FBI that Canada could be significantly harmful for you. I believe lots of Canadians could be shocked and horrified by that.

Masih Alinejad, Iranian Human Rights Activist: I don’t need Canadian folks to get indignant with me due to my scenario now. You hear that so much on media that Canada will not be secure. Canada will not be secure, don’t go there. However truthfully, that is really—to me, it’s a warning and all Canadians ought to really maintain strain on the federal government in Canada as a result of it’s not good to listen to really that as Canadian residents hear that more often than not that Canada will not be secure. Canada turned a haven for Islamic Republic brokers. Canada is a rustic that lots of people have respect for. In my nation, lots of people need to come to Canada and benefit from the freedom. However now, they are saying that oh no, let’s not go to Canada as a result of it’s not secure. Are you able to consider that? Or folks right here, like Iranians saying that. We see lots of not solely the brokers of the Islamic Republic, those that built-in us round us. So it’s past unhappy. It’s past unhappy. I believe we have now to resume democracy. Now we have to be vigilant and give it some thought once more that what are we going to do with our nation? America, the identical. I see lots of, you already know, family members of the Ayatollah’s, those that say that’s America. They’re having fun with their luxurious lives in America as properly and that’s unhappy.

Mercedes Stephenson: What did the FBI inform you concerning the RCMP’s capability to guard you in Canada?

Masih Alinejad, Iranian Human Rights Activist: I imply, I’ve to thank the FBI all the time really letting the police in Canada know and they’re all the time there to guard me, however that’s—I don’t need something for myself. I need them to guard Canada. I need them to guard individuals who stay right here. Yeah, I’m just one particular person. I’m not petrified of getting killed. I’m not truthfully scared for myself. However that is scary that in entrance of the eyes of the free world, we see that the Islamic Republic threatening nationwide safety of Canada and nationwide safety of America. Sure, I used to be advised by the FBI that the identical individuals who plotted to kidnap me; they had been the identical group making an attempt to kidnap two Canadian residents on Canadian soil. Sure, that was like public. You possibly can learn the indictment by Division of Justice in America at some point printed that. I used to be like wow. Then I’m not alone. The identical member of Revolutionary Guards who’re making an attempt to kidnap me, they had been after two Canadians and two U.Ok. residents. That’s why I say that: the place are you, the democratic nations?

Mercedes Stephenson: What has occurred to you by way of threats or exercise because you spoke to World New?

Masih Alinejad, Iranian Human Rights Activist: Nothing. I’m getting louder and louder. As you see me, I’m lively. You already know, I need to take pleasure in my life. I don’t need to stay in concern. I bear in mind the day when—yeah, when the FBI confirmed me just like the textual content message between the killers, one in New York, the one in Iranian Intelligence Service saying that as quickly as she got here out, the present is over. That was a textual content message between them. And the man in Iran was saying that that’s going to be a birthday reward for me. I simply turned again to my husband. I stated that they discuss my useless physique as a present. So it’s disgusting, no?

Mercedes Stephenson: Completely.

Masih Alinejad, Iranian Human Rights Activist: However I stated to him—I stated wow. I’m solely 45 kilos. I’m not carrying weapons. Nothing. However they’re petrified of me. So that provides me hope. So it’s like, you already know Iranian girls, youngsters. They’re scaring the entire regime with weapons and bullets, energy, cash, every part. However they’re petrified of Iranian girls’s hair. Like youngsters strolling within the streets, they put lots of morality police all over the place to arrest them, to kill them. That reveals we’re highly effective and they’re petrified of us.

Mercedes Stephenson: Masih, thanks a lot.

Masih Alinejad, Iranian Human Rights Activist: After all. Thanks a lot for having me.

Mercedes Stephenson: Nice.

Up subsequent, U.S. President Joe Biden says he made essential progress in his assembly with Chinese language President Xi Jinping. Will that defend Taiwan from Chinese language navy aggression?

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Mercedes Stephenson: A historic assembly between U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese language President Xi Jinping might have dialled down the specter of struggle with China.

President Joe Biden: “As you already know, I simply concluded a number of hours of conferences with President Xi, and I consider they had been a few of the most constructive and productive discussions we’ve had.”

Mercedes Stephenson: There may be nevertheless, a sticking level, the connection with Taiwan. Will the brand new tone between Biden and Xi assist to guard Taiwan from the potential for a Chinese language invasion?

I spoke to Taiwan’s Deputy International Minister of Affairs Roy Chun Lee.

There’s lots of concern that there may very well be an unintended third world struggle, basically. As you sit there and watch this from the Taiwanese perspective, what does this assembly imply for Taiwan safety? Has it helped or do you assume that there’s nonetheless a excessive potential for China to invade?

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Roy Chun Lee, Taiwan’s Deputy International Affairs Minister: Effectively to start with, the meeting between President Xi and President Biden positively helps to supply some degree of certainty in relation to the tensions that has been unfolding and creating during the last 24 months. We had been joking that there have been extra naval and struggle planes and naval vessels crusing via Taiwan Straits than business ships and airplanes these days as a result of it turns into a type of sizzling spot for all of the superpowers. Not solely superpowers by nations like Canada or Japan, and even South Korea and Germany. German warships at the moment are making an attempt to keep up the peace and stability within the Taiwan Strait by crossing via—crusing via the Taiwan Straits to make sure that there’s freedom of navigation. And China, however, is making an attempt to create a navy new regular by intimidating all of the struggle planes or naval ships which are crusing the Taiwan Strait.

One of many goals, we suspect, is that China is making an attempt to transform the Taiwan Strait into home water so it will likely be an inside water of China. It’s going to require Chinese language permission to sail via. They don’t seem to be there but, however they’re making an attempt to create a brand new regular in order that should you don’t push again towards that, it is going to change into regular. In order that signifies the significance of those [00:02:33] between Xi Jinping and President Biden as a result of President Biden has been comparatively easy to precise our considerations and reservations and oppositions to China’s actions, particularly in that a part of the world. And Xi Jining in fact reacted to these remarks or calls for by sharing nearly with us that they don’t have any plan to have struggle with anybody and they’re completely happy to renew the commerce talks in any respect ranges. In order that creates some safeguards or guardrails. Not essentially eradicating all of the threats and risks, however not less than some guardrails.

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Mercedes Stephenson: China has clearly been escalating by way of its menacing posture in the direction of Taiwan. Inform us what these threats have regarded like for you? What does it contain as a result of we simply see once they intercept a Canadian or American ship, or a Canadian airplane? It makes our information, however for Canadians on the market, what have the Taiwanese folks been dwelling with?

Roy Chun Lee, Taiwan’s Deputy International Affairs Minister: In case you are dwelling in Taiwan, the fact is that daily you get up, you flip down—you’re logging into web and you’ll verify on the numbers of Chinese language struggle planes which have approached Taiwan in a single day within the final 24 hours. Generally the quantity is 5. Generally the quantity is 90.

Mercedes Stephenson: Each day?

Roy Chun Lee, Taiwan’s Deputy International Affairs Minister: Each day.

Mercedes Stephenson: Wow.

Roy Chun Lee, Taiwan’s Deputy International Affairs Minister: Each day, so it turns into a part of the each day threats. So the menace will not be solely on the paper, it’s really within the sky, within the sea surrounding Taiwan. Consistently, there are 4-5 Chinese language naval vessels stationed on the 4 corners of Taiwan they usually change paths on a weekly foundation. After all, they aren’t into Taiwan’s territorial waters, definitely, however their posture is such that they’ll do this over the following 10 minutes. In order that’s how shut they’re and that’s how regularly they’re intimidating Taiwan on these navy fronts. However I want so as to add one other ingredient that’s intimidation and coercion within the digital world. Every day, we obtain 1000’s of cyberattacks. Final yr, Taiwan’s public sector acquired over 30 million cyberattacks each month. That’s 1,000 occasions greater than European nations on common.

Mercedes Stephenson: It’s extraordinary.

Roy Chun Lee, Taiwan’s Deputy International Affairs Minister: So it’s not solely the struggle planes. It’s not solely the naval vessels but in addition the cyberattacks and the disinformation, to not point out the election interference that Canadians at the moment are additionally conscious—so conversant in. For Taiwan, it’s additionally like every day that we face interference from China. So we describe this as hybrid warfare. It’s a warfare that’s together of navy threats, intimidation plus cyberattacks and disinformation.

Mercedes Stephenson: What do you assume the possibility is of a Chinese language navy invasion?

Roy Chun Lee, Taiwan’s Deputy International Affairs Minister: I believe within the foreseeable future, it’s fairly unlikely as a result of to start with, China will not be prepared militarily and economically. Russia’s invasion to Ukraine, you’ll notice that it’s not a contest between the {hardware}; it’s additionally about monetary capability. It’s additionally concerning the depth of your manufacturing sector, for instance. So in that regard, China is—China’s readiness will not be solely mirrored on what number of vessels they’ve. It’s additionally concerning the capability to maintain navy battle. So in the interim China will not be there but, however they’re working in the direction of that goal. And in addition, China’s inhabitants is predicated on additionally the uncertainty and the dangers related to the navy and particularly on their political authority in China. In order that they need to ensure that they need to win the struggle, the Communist Social gathering will keep in energy with or with out a struggle they usually need to do all these calculations. So what we have now been doing is to extend the uncertainty, improve the prices of a navy…

Mercedes Stephenson: Non-military deterrence.

Roy Chun Lee, Taiwan’s Deputy International Affairs Minister: Precisely. However they secret is, they proceed to train this navy intimidation for 3 goals. To begin with, to create concern in Taiwan, so all these navy workouts can present an element that may divide Taiwan society. Secondly, is the specific election interference as a result of in Taiwan, the political debate at this level of time is about whether or not the election subsequent January is a call between struggle and peace. So China is definitely offering artifical proof to help the argument that it certainly a selection between struggle and peace. Effectively they’re the supply of the struggle, however they’re saying that look, you must select—get your determination proper. Get the social gathering who might be creating struggle. Elect the social gathering who’re bringing peace. So to our perspective, it’s an specific direct interference of election. And lastly is offering chilling truth to the worldwide group in order that Taiwan might be remoted from different nations and high leaders from Canada will really feel somewhat bit involved to go to Taiwan.

Mercedes Stephenson: Thanks a lot for becoming a member of us at this time. I do know you’ve obtained lots of work forward of you on this journey and we look ahead to seeing the way forward for Taiwan.

Roy Chun Lee, Taiwan’s Deputy International Affairs Minister: Sure.

Mercedes Stephenson: Up subsequent, will Canada match its messaging from the Halifax Worldwide Safety Discussion board about elevated defence spending or proceed cuts and be not noted within the chilly by allies?

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Mercedes Stephenson: Now for one final thing…

The dialogue right here in Halifax has been all about strengthening defence and safety because the world turns into extra unpredictable and autocratic regimes are emboldened.

Canada’s Defence Minister Invoice Blair delivered a speech right here calling for enhanced defence spending. A place at odds with the present actuality as Ottawa plans navy spending cuts.

I requested U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen a robust Democrat who sits on the U.S. Senate Committee on International Relations and to the Senate Armed Providers Committee what message Canada might be sending if we don’t spend extra on defence.

Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Democrat, New Hampshire: Effectively I believe the message is one to all of our allies and never simply america however to all of NATO. I used to be simply within the Western Balkans in Europe, in North Macedonia the place they’re spending over 2 per cent of their GDP on defence they usually—as they stated to me, we’ve offered each weapon system we may to Ukraine. All that’s left in our nation now’s the band. And I believe we’re seeing that type of dedication and sacrifice on the a part of a few of the smallest allies in NATO, and so it’s essential for the larger companions to ensure that we’re additionally placing in our justifiable share.

Mercedes Stephenson: We’ll see if that defence spending comes via.

That’s our present at this time from Halifax. We’ll see you subsequent week from Ottawa.



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