News blackout on largest-ever US Homeland Security exercise within Canada

By TONY SEED

HALIFAX (April 19, 2005) – From April 4 to 8 US Homeland Security carried out a massive exercise, “Exercise Triple Play,” which included the provinces of New Brunswick and Nova Scotia, home of the strategic port of Halifax where US President George W Bush “visited” on December 3, speaking to 300 mainly homeland security personnel at Pier 21.

According to a press release on the Homeland Security website, the exercise was the largest ever conducted by the US, involving some 10,000 people at various levels of government in the United States, 19 Canadian federal departments and agencies as well as Britain. The irony of all of this is that, after such an intensive mobilization at the expense of millions of dollars, you couldn’t tell it by the media. A Google search reveals that there has so far been a complete media blackout in Canada on the exercise following the initial announcement one month ago.

This raises the question: was this exercise a “preventive” exercise or a totally criminal blackmail of gigantic proportions?

The media blackout contrasts to the great fuss by the mass media about every baseless “terrorist” sighting since 9/11 – the Egyptian sailing in a container who dropped out of sight in Italy, anonymous suspects crossing by ferry from Yarmouth to New England, alleged photo surveillance of air bases and nuclear plants, etc. The question arises: in what direction was all this fuss and hysteria leading to, and what is the essence of this massive speculation? Why is the media activated at one time and why is it silent at another?

All this is intended to blackmail and paralyze the will of the population and justify the violently aggressive “war on terror.” It paves the road for the US attempts to further intervene in Canada, which is done by creating new forms and possibilities of penetration. An orchestrated climate of fear is used to create a psychosis of dependency on the state of the “homeland” against alien forces. People have no other alternative but to seek shelter under the umbrella of Washington.

Taking into account the increasing revelations about White House control of the news media, an integral component of the US Homeland Security exercise involves media and perception management, as its press release admits:

“An internal Virtual News Network (VNN) and news website will provide real-time reporting of the story like an actual TV network would. The mock media will keep players up-to-date on unfolding events and enable decision makers to face the challenge of dealing with the real world media. Only participating agencies can view the VNN broadcast.”

In other words, apart from initial announcements, the exercise and its means are virtually secret. For this reason, Canadian newspapers did not say how the Americans were involved in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, whether they were armed or unarmed, whether they came here individually or in regular units, for a few days or a semi-permanent stay. However one thing is clear: thousands of US state personnel are not mobilized merely for prevention.

The Canadian government announced it would participate in the exercise on March 17. The government of Britain announced that it would also participate. The exercise, called “Top Off 3” (The TOPOFF Full Scale Exercise,  because it involves top officials, involved “a complex terrorist campaign.” This included a biological attack in New Jersey and a chemical assault in Connecticut, prompting national and international response. During the exercise, fire personnel conducted search-rescue duties, hospitals treated injured people played by actors, and experts will analyze the effects on public health. “Triple Play” was the designation given the Canadian portion and “Atlantic Blue,” the British portion.

The Canadian portion of the exercise involved 200 senior government officials at various agencies working from crisis centres, as well as 19 federal departments and agencies along with the provinces of Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.

The scenario involved how Canadian agencies might respond to calls for emergency medical, military and law-enforcement assistance after biological weapons attacks in New Jersey and Connecticut. According to Emergency Preparedness and Public Safety Minister Anne McLellan, the exercise “will assess our ability to put the National Emergency Response System into effect to act quickly, decisively and effectively in concert with international partners in the event of a terrorist attack or other emergency.” She told the Globe and Mail in March that the simulation should demonstrate that Canada can significantly help the Americans deal quickly with the consequences of a terrorist attack.

US Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff went to Ottawa to declare Canadian participation is important to test the protocols and procedures the two countries have put in place in the four years since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. It is designed to “put pressure and stress on [emergency response] systems to the point of failure,” Chertoff said, comparing it to the extreme conditions aircraft undergo in tests before safety certification. Chertoff said he wanted to make the announcement in Canada, his first foreign trip since his appointment in February, because the United States counts on Canada as a dependable neighbour that demonstrated its willingness to help after the September 11 attacks.

It is not by chance that politicians link border security and terrorism with acceptance of American proposals for continental security and perimeter defence. This reminds one of Andersen’s tale about the naked king who was convinced he was elegantly dressed. That is what the Americans are after with their “defensive shield.”

On October 1, 2002 US Homeland Security assumed command of NORAD with the new Northern Command (NorthCom) being established “to protect North America from global terrorists and respond to natural disasters.” The area of operations includes the US, Canada (including water 500 miles off the East and West coasts), Mexico, parts of the Caribbean including Cuba and Puerto Rico and the contiguous waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. NorthCom also commands the US-Canadian agreement signed in December 2002 allowing US troops into Canada and Canadian troops for use inside the US According to the agreement, US troops would be allowed to enter Canada in response to a “threat, attack or civil emergency” concerning critical infrastructure or to protect “potential targets” such as nuclear power plants or oil and gas pipelines.[1]

Border security was a major topic of discussion when President George W. Bush met Prime Minister Paul Martin and Mexican President Vicente Fox in Texas on March 23. White House spokesman Scott McLellan said the summit was about “making sure that we are all doing what we can to protect our borders, while also allowing for the free flow of goods and services and easing the flow of people among our borders.”

The orchestration of controlled panic and fear is a standard operating procedure of Washington, and one of the main methods of attaining full control over the Americas. The sphere of operation also raises the spectre of military rule.

The exercise provides Canadian public opinion with another example of how the US government is not only managing news and perception, evidently with the collaboration of the Canadian monopoly media and government at the federal and provincial levels. It also involves Canada in the “war against terror” and its state of engineered uncertainty and anxiety as a means for further political military and para-military integration. This also creates the justifications for discriminatory laws in the spheres of political and civil rights.

Note

  1. Tony Seed, “Canada Prepares for War: Halifax,” February 15, 2003, Shunpiking Online 

Slightly edited for this publiction

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Filed under Canada, Media, Journalism & Disinformation

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