By TONY SEED on behalf of Ad Hoc Committee of Haligonians to Oppose the Halifax War Conference
Endorsed by Halifax Peace Coalition • Student Coalition Against War • Nova Scotia Public Interest Group • Canada Palestine Association • Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) • Food Not Bombs
THE Halifax International Security Forum is meeting on November 20-22 at the Halifax Westin Hotel to work out the justification for the global expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and to extend the ongoing illegal occupation of Afghanistan. It is an outrageous war conference that must be condemned by everyone.
The Harper government, the Department of National Defence, and the German Marshall Fund, based in Washington, are convening this event to work out new arrangements for NATO. This military bloc has launched a process to adopt a “new strategic doctrine,” as great divisions are emerging between the USA and Europe over its role.
Peter MacKay, Minister of Defence and the Atlantic Gateway, states the Halifax Forum’s inaugural meeting “will help build a closer relationship between Canada, the United States, and Europe, centred on a new and forward-looking global security agenda.” MacKay is handing $2.5 million in tax dollars over to the neo-conservative American agency to organize this massive war conference on Canadian soil.
From the keynote speaker, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to Gen. Stanley McChrystal (Commander of the Afghan occupation) to Sen. John McCain to U.S. Admiral James Stavridis (Supreme Allied Commander, NATO Europe) to Gen. Victor Renuart (U.S. head of NORAD) and Adm. Mark Fitzgerald (Cmdr. U.S. Naval Forces Africa) on down, militarists have been summoned to Halifax from a select handful of countries; the Defence Ministers of Belgium, Poland, New Zealand and The Netherlands, and such countries with U.S. military bases as Germany, Romania, Albania, Latvia, Estonia, Israel and Japan.
The NATO strategic concept
The anti-democratic war conference is packed with handpicked generals, admirals, diplomats, media, and 300 “officials and prominent security analysts from six continents.” What does this “global security agenda” entail? The U.S. with Canadian assistance aims to (1) extend the brutal occupation of Afghanistan; (2) consecrate NATO’s right to military intervention on a world level beyond the continent of Europe in the name of “security’; (3) extend Canada’s participation in U.S. and NATO war plans outside Afghanistan – as its deployment of ships and troops to the Black Sea, Africa, Latin America and North Korea illustrates; (4) restructure NATO into the world’s decision-making body in the service of the U.S. and at the expense of the United Nations; and (5) promote massive disinformation to conceal its real aims and the nature of the grave problems facing humanity.
It is noteworthy that the range of the “global security agenda” of the Halifax Forum makes it apparent that the U.S. and Canada are giving political, economic and social issues of health (pandemics), the environment (climate change, the Arctic), and the rights of peoples and nations (Middle East) a military dimension. These are pretexts to give NATO the right to intervene anywhere on the planet and in any sphere of life. The right of all peoples to self-determination and to live in peace is absent from the topics of the Halifax Forum.
It is shameful to see that Canada has also excluded the United Nations from the list of topics. The U.S. aims to invest in NATO the moral authority and power to intervene on global issues normally the purview of the international community as represented by the UN and its associated agencies.
NATO is a remnant of the Cold War. Instead of being dissolved, it has been expanded to 28 member states with yet another 25 states tied to it through “partnership for peace” agreements (four in the Persian Gulf). Its operations now include Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, and Singapore. The new U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) encompasses 53 countries. The disregard for the 192 members of the UN and the equality and sovereignty of all countries big and small in such a “global security agenda” is unmistakable. Collective security under the UN is being replaced – for the sake of the powerful – with the law of the jungle by the U.S. and NATO.
In March 2008, the Harper government under the hoax of a “free vote” in the Parliament extended Canada’s mission in Afghanistan to 2011. Harper and MacKay are now making it clear that they intend to extend the mission and defy popular will. Both Harper and Liberal Foreign Affairs Critic Bob Rae foreshadow future war crimes by calling for Canada to have “a stronger position” in NATO. Harper is expanding the military budget to $20 billion, commissioning new warships, and intensifying the recruiting of youth.
The Atlantic Gateway not only involves infrastructure for a rapid transportation route from Asia to the USA going one way but also the transit of war material going the other.
This statement is issued by an ad hoc committee of Haligonians from different anti-war, youth and student groups. We oppose all attempts to extend the mission no matter what the pretext. Every public opinion poll since October 2001 shows that Canadians are opposed to the occupation of Afghanistan. Canadians have rejected attempts to call the military occupation “a civilian humanitarian development mission.” Whether military or civilian, occupation is occupation. We call on you to take up the demand to Bring the Troops Home Now! and work to bring into being an anti-war government, so that Canada can be a force for peace in service of its own people and the peoples of the world. This requires getting Canada out of NATO and dismantling the aggressive alliance.
We call on you to immediately take the matter of opposing this dangerous war conference into your own hands as a practical matter. Discuss and organize with your work mates and union brothers and sisters, families, fellow youth and students, congregations, and neighbours. Photocopy and widely popularize this statement or issue your own. Poster your neighbourhood. Bring your friends, your placards, your banners, your conscience, your concerns, your voice.
Today, our challenges are clearer. No one will give us peace. Our only security is to struggle against these imperial practices and the preparations for war. The fact that the U.S., Canada and NATO still have to hold such forums to work out new arrangements shows that this battle is still necessary and possible, and that if people use their strength, which is considerable when united, we will be able to win.
Oppose the Halifax International Security Forum!
No Harbour for War!
Canada Out of Afghanistan! End the Occuaption and Bring the Troops Home Now!
Not a Single Youth for Imperialist War!
Canada Out of NATO! Dismantle NATO!
For further information: (902) 477-0470
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Picket at Opening of Forum
Friday, November 20 — 2:30 pm
Halifax Westin Hotel
Saturday, November 21 — 1:00-2:00 pm
Cornwallis Park, Barrington & South Sts
Organized by: Halifax Peace Coalition, Student Coalition Against War, NSPIRG, Canada Palestine Association, CPC(M-L), Food Not Bombs
Public Meeting: Malalai Joya
Speaks Out Against War
November 21 — 7:00-9:00 pm
Rosaria Bldg, Mt St Vincent University, 166, Bedford Hwy,
(Buses are: 16, 18, 35, 80, 81, 82, 86)
Malalai Joya is the youngest member of the Afghan Parliament and an outspoken critic of NATO’s war and occupation.
For information: halifaxpeacecoaltion.ca / firstname.lastname@example.org
Click here to download the leaflet (PDF format).