Monthly Archives: March 2004

REFLECTIONS ON THE PRESTIGE OIL DISASTER: (Part 3) ‘Don’t make me fish off Cape St. Mary’s’

The tourism ads hype Newfoundland as “the Far East of the Western world,” but its waters are the waste-oil dumps of the Northwest Atlantic


Part Three of a four-part series. Part One is here, Part Two is here, and Part Four is yet to be published.

HALIFAX  (March 25, 2004) – THERE ARE 365 islands in Newfoundland’s Placentia Bay. Fog reduces visibility to less than a kilometre an average 187 days a year. Hundreds of oil tankers – almost 300 in the year 2000 alone – enter that body of water and its prime fishing grounds, along with dozens of small fishing boats manned by crews who come from families that have fished the bay for centuries. The amount of shipping will be intensified with construction of the new Inco hydrometallurgical demonstration plant in Argentia in Placentia Bay to process concentrate from Voisey’s Bay, Labrador. It is scheduled to open in 2006.

Right from the time that the Come-by-Chance refinery opened in 1970, fishermen’s livelihoods were severely impacted by federal shipping lanes, which were charted to bring the oil tankers from Cape St. Mary’s through Placentia Bay right through their fishing grounds to the refinery in the fastest amount of time. Fishermen are repeatedly told that they must subordinate their interests to assist economic development in the name of “jobs” and “peaceful coexistence” with oil.

For the tankers, three football fields long, the small fishing boats are mere blips on the screen of the radar. As one fisherman apocryphally said, “don’t make me fish off Cape St. Mary’s.” Continue reading

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On the occasion of the first anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq

No to Occupation, Imperialist Aggression and War!

The Time to Prepare for the Dangers Which Lie Ahead is Now!

Take Up the Work to Establish an Anti-War Government in Canada!

– Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist)*, March 20, 2004 –

ON THE OCCASION of the first anniversary of the invasion and occupation of Iraq, CPC(M-L) sends its militant revolutionary greetings to the peoples of Iraq, Palestine, the entire Middle East and the seven continents who are fighting for their right to be on their own terms. The invasion of Iraq launched another period in the anti-imperialist democratic struggle of the world’s peoples for whom national sovereignty, peace and prosperity are a necessity. Continue reading

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March 20, 2004


MARCH 20 marks the first anniversary of the launching of the war of aggression and occupation of Iraq by the U.S.-led coalition in defiance of world opinion. The bankruptcy of the Anglo-American imperialists is such that within one year all their high-sounding justifications for this war of so-called liberation or the so-called elimination of weapons of mass destruction have become unraveled in their own ranks, destablizing and collapsing even allied governments and turning the “coalition of the willing” into a coalition of usurpers. The profound stand of millions of people of all seven continents against this war and against the use of force to settle conflicts between states in violation of the United Nations Charter and all relevant international law opens the path forward for humanity. Today all those forces around the world and throughout our country who have persistently stood against the Iraqi war and occupation are pledging to push further until their struggle succeeds. Continue reading

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REFLECTIONS ON THE PRESTIGE OIL DISASTER: (Part 2) The marine environment and sovereignty – lessons for Canada


Part Two of a four-part series. Part One is here, Part Three is here, and Part Four is yet to be published.

HALIFAX (16 March 2004) – JACQUES COUSTEAU once observed that oil spills such as that of the Prestige off the coast of Spain are like smoking – the problem is the cumulative effect over time. Canada is already addicted. The cancer has been caused not by cigarettes but by American oil monopolies, their international shipping clients and a neo-colonial state. And it is metastatisizing.

The Bahamas-registered ‘Prestige’ oil tanker is seen broken in two before sinking into the Atlantic Ocean some 150 miles off Spain’s coast in the Atlantic Ocean Tuesday Nov. 19, 2002. The stricken tanker carrying 77,000 metric tons, 20.5 million gallons, was towed some 244 kilometres, 152 miles, off the coast when it sank creating an environmental disaster off the northwest coast of Spain and Portugal. (AP Photo/EFE/Spanish Navy)

Every oil spill, no matter where it occurs, says the Canadian Nature Federation, “should remind Canada of the need to improve its existing policies and practices regarding the shipment of oil by sea. The Prestige disaster is particularly relevant, as it clearly underlines the magnitude of the threat our oceans face.” It also clearly underlies the magnitude of the threat our nation faces.

Prevention is a responsibility of both ship owners (e.g., from hull structure to trained crew, tanker positioning and speed) and the government, through standards, regulation and enforcement.

However, the marine environment is not just a technical question of pollution abatement and prevention, as some environmental NGOs suggest, or an absence of “political will.” The political questions of sovereignty and its framework are fundamental. Continue reading

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REFLECTIONS ON ‘EL PRESTIGE’ OIL DISASTER: (Part 1) Two years on, the killer spill continues

News analysis by TONY SEED, Copy edited by GARY ZATZMAN

Part One of a four-part series. Part Two is here, Part Three is here, and Part Four is yet to be published.


ON 14 MARCH 2004 the Spanish people voted to bury the Popular Party government of José María Aznar. This brought to an end eight years’ rule by a pro-Franco politician who dragged the Spanish people into the American occupation of Iraq and the massacre of the Iraqi people against their express will.

Aznar’s clique was especially detested in the northwestern Spanish province of Galicia, where the oil tanker Prestige sank in late 2002, spreading massive pollution of marine fauna and beaches, destroying tens of thousands’ of people’s livelihoods in the rich fishery of the region, and where Manuel Fraga Iribarne – the founder of Aznar’s party, Franco’s last police minister and a fascist-era relic – still retains a regional grip on power. Forests are being felled as we speak to provide the paper to print the oceans of commentary concerning the impact of Aznar’s defeat on the future of other European governments that signed on to the Bush administration’s so-called “coalition of the willing” – many of whom, like Aznar’s clique, have coveted access to Iraqi oil. Continue reading

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