No Harbour for War!
Statement of the People’s Front (Halifax) • 28 November 2004
George W Bush and his entourage of armed bodyguards, spies, snipers, metal detectors, jet fighters and AWACS radar planes are to pay a lightning visit of several hours to the port of Halifax on 1 December 2004. Halifax is a strategic ice-free harbour regularly used by the US Navy for war exercises and refueling, the headquarters of Maritime Command and the main naval base from which the Government of Canada has been continuously dispatching warships to the far-off Persian Gulf since August, 1990.
The frenziedly-organized visit is purportedly at the demand of the White House. The media is widely spinning it as a “thoughtful” expression of “belated thanks” for the hospitality shown by the people of Nova Scotia (and Newfoundland) for hosting crews and passengers from commercial airplanes grounded during the 9/11 panic in 2001.
Nova Scotians and Newfoundlanders did so not to help the imperial project of George W Bush, but to assist the thousands of people, hailing from many different countries, stranded by the cynical decision of the Liberal government to divert the overseas flights to less populated centres in Atlantic Canada.
This flimsy pretext is to cover up the central reason for Bush’s visit to the most heavily militarized city in Canada, for any cultured and civilized person would have issued heartfelt thanks at the appropriate moment three years ago – as hundreds of the passengers actually did. It presupposes a level of human behaviour that the United States has descended well below – as the whole world sees in the brutality of US actions against the civilian population of Falluja, Iraq, where the casualty level is in the thousands and an ancient city on the banks of the Euphrates has been reduced to rubble.
If it is true, as the news agencies very briefly and originally reported, that Bush is to give public “thanks” to the Canadian navy for its participation in his obsessive crusade on “terror” then such demagogic “thanks,” “reconciliation” and smiles portends further grave danger not only for Canadians but also for the peoples of the world.
George W Bush aims to impose on Canadians the idea of intensifying what he calls the all-consuming struggle against terrorism in the name of “continental security.” Bush sees Canada’s armed forces “defending North America,” not defending Canada. He sees the men and women of the armed forces operating in far-flung countries as cannon fodder for US adventures. He demands more military spending to increase “troop strength” and its “interoperability” with US forces under Northern Command. He wants Canadians annexed to a system which divides humanity as never before and sustains global poverty, famine and continuous war.
Paul Martin’s objective is to integrate the Canadian economy, security, regulations and its conception of rights and sovereignty with those of the American superpower. With his “new multilateralism,” Martin extended the deployment of troops in Afghanistan and intervened in Haiti; placed military trainers in Jordan/Iraq and destroyers in the Persian Gulf; defended Zionist state terrorism as an expression of Israel’s “right to self-defence”; and rejoined the Standing Fleet of NATO whose theatre of operations has been extended into Balkans, the Middle East and Central Asia. Martin is preparing troops for jungle warfare and urban warfare, integrating the military forces, upgrading command-and-control systems, and preparing to extend the field of operation for an interventionist bluewater navy. All of this is going ahead at maximum speed in the name of democracy, peacekeeping, security and human rights. It must not pass!
During the Cold War, the Pentagon named Halifax in 1982 as a ‘forward deployment base’ for its fleets of warships and aircraft armed with nuclear weapons, which came and went together with the “oceanographic” ships of its rival superpower. Open and covert operations were launched against the sovereignty of other peoples too, to carry out aggression from Canadian territory. In 1984 the US used Halifax as a base for the mine-laying forces sent to illegally block the harbours of impoverished Nicaragua.
With terrorism replacing the Soviet Union as the menace, the militarization of the port of Halifax is being accelerated. Citing drug and arms trafficking, organized crime and “new transnational threats,” the media float fear-mongering stories, ludicrous anthrax scares, fictitious Al Qaeda “sleeper cells,” attacks on container shipping, missile-smuggling through the port, and even convict the longshoremen for suspect loyalties. US Homeland Security now extends into the port of Halifax, home to CIA and FBI units protected under Bill C-55 as part of the “national security” state. All these measures are being introduced in conformity with US demands that Canada militarize its harbours, provide safe havens for its warships, and enhance the colossal profits of its global shipping and oil cartels. This is the “thanks” George W Bush demands.
The People’s Front calls on Nova Scotians to take responsibility for what is at stake for the harbour of Halifax, the country and all of humanity as a result of the darkest reaction which George W Bush represents.
All out against the “visit” of George W Bush to Halifax!
This war criminal is not welcome in Canada!
US out of Iraq!
US and Canada out of Haiti!
No to the US state terror in which Canada participates!
No Harbour for War!
1. As revealed by former federal transport minister (and Toronto MP) David Collenette , 11 September 2002, The National, CBC TV
2. Bill C-55 provides that a “controlled access military zone” can be established around US warships in the ports of Halifax, Esquimault and Nanoose Bay.
Demonstrate against War Criminal George Bush and for Justice, Freedom and Equality
Wednesday 1 April 2004
– Meet at the Dalhousie Student Union by 9:30 AM for a rally and march to Pier 21
– Meet at the Grand Parade square (1841 Argyle St. in front of City Hall) by 10 AM for a brief rally and march at 10:15 AM to Pier 21.
Tuesday 30 November 2004
On Tue, Nov 30, Halifax Peace Coalition is holding a mock trial of George Bush at Victoria Park at 5 PM. March on the US consulate office at Purdy’s Wharf Tower II.
Also join the picket from 12-4:30 pm, office of SNC-Lavalin, Park Lane Mall on Spring Garden to denounce its participation in manufacturing 300-500 million bullets for the US military for their illegal occupation of Iraq. http://www.hfxpeace.chebucto.org