TML calls on everyone to support and participate in the actions to oppose the Second Halifax International Security Forum (HISF) to be held at the Westin Hotel from November 5-7. Last year’s inaugural event at the same Halifax hotel was opposed by many groups across the Maritimes.
In 2009, progressive public opinion in Canada and around the world branded this “security” forum and its establishment of a home base in Halifax for the warmongering event it really was, and the working people’s just demand that Halifax and Canada should provide “No Harbour for War!” was reaffirmed. This year, while the numbers of NATO “stars” on display seems to be in decline, even more groups across the Maritimes have joined the effort and have sent representatives to oppose this year’s event.
It is not by accident that a conference that is inextricably part of NATO is being imposed on Halifax. Halifax and its harbour have long held strategic significance for the imperialists and their monopoly interests. It is one of the largest natural harbours in the world and is North America’s easternmost port of call with transcontinental rail connections. In World War One, Halifax was central to the British imperialists’ war effort, which had a dramatic and drastic price for Haligonians. The Halifax Explosion of December 6, 1917 – caused by a fire on a munitions ship and the most destructive man-made explosion before the atomic bombing of Hiroshima – killed some 2,000 residents, wounded another 7,000 and destroyed the housing stock of half the city’s population. The area around Halifax harbour was at that time where most of the city’s working class, its main African-Canadian population and First Nations’ population lived.
In 2009, the inaugural version of this NATO war-planning event, falsely decking itself out as an “international security forum” and convened on what appeared to be the cusp of launching U.S.-led aggression against the Islamic Republic of Iran, pulled together more than 400 people. According to a list last updated October 27 by the conference sponsors, there are about 75 per cent fewer participants expected at this year’s event.
Of the 102 participants named so far, 67 come from elected and appointed government officials, defence establishments, war industries and associated think-tanks from most (but not all) 28 NATO member-states, plus the State of Israel and the Palestinian Authority, and a number of other countries (Japan, Montenegro, Pakistan and Yemen).
From the United States, there are 34 elected and unelected officials, journalists and representatives of the German Marshall Fund of the United States on the list.
From Canada, there is a grand total of nine, including:
– two current Conservative cabinet ministers: Vic Toews, Public Security, and Peter MacKay, Defence;
– former Liberal cabinet minister, former deputy Prime Minister now heading the Canadian Council of Chief Executives, John Manley;
– the Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walter Natynczyk;
– Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney;
– Senator and former CTV national news anchor and correspondent Pamela Wallin;
– journalist and former executive assistant to a Canadian defence minister Dan Dugas;
– current CBC News Washington correspondent Susan Bonner; and
– Canada-based foreign affairs think-tank director Janice Gross Stein, Munk School of Global Affairs at the University of Toronto.
The immediate sponsors of this event are the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Department of National Defence in Ottawa. The Forum’s agenda, however, is set in the Pentagon. Notwithstanding the fact that contradictions among NATO members over this agenda and its much-ballyhooed “new strategic concept” rage on behind closed doors away from public view, these contradictions are themselves objective and are deepening at this time over the U.S. bid to expand NATO and have it displace and replace any and all other military and security arrangements throughout the globe.
The people of Halifax have long rejected the use of their city and harbour to embroil Canadians in imperialist adventures abroad. Under the slogan “No Harbour for War,” they vigorously oppose the presence of U.S. warships and war criminals who consider their city as annexed colonial territory where they may come to do as they please, while quisling Canadian governments facilitate them.
Oppose the Halifax International Security Forum!
No Harbour for War!
Canada Out of Afghanistan!
End the Occupation and Bring the Troops Home Now!
Not a Single Youth for Imperialist War!
Canada Out of NATO! Dismantle NATO!
(For details of this year’s actions, see TML Daily, October 18, 2010 – No. 181)
Source: TML Daily, November 1, 2010 – No. 183