Vigorous rally against US-NATO war conferences in Halifax and imperialist war preparations

We are posting two reports on the 10th anniversary rally against the U.S.-led Halifax war conference, one of two held in that city simultaneously. It cannot be a coincidence that precisely one week later, the NATO supplicant Ukraine launched its provocation against Russia in the Sea of Azov. The first report on the Halifax conferences posted below warned on November 17, “Let the people be warned! Let the people beware!”

Two war conferences in Halifax: Vigorous opposition in Halifax to imperialist war preparations

TML Weekly congratulates all those who are contributing to expressing the opposition of Canadians to the imperialist war preparations at the war conferences organized in Halifax this week, the International Security Forum which is conducting its proceedings in Halifax for the tenth year in a row from November 16 to 18 and NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly which is conducting its proceedings in tandem from November 16 to 19. Special thanks to the organization No Harbour for War which takes the initiative to make sure the city of Halifax and its harbour are not used for purposes of promoting imperialist war or engaging Canadians in the imperialist war preparations. Special appreciation also for all activists from all walks of life who see the necessity to speak out on the important questions of war and peace at a time grave dangers face humanity which only the peoples united on the basis of their own nation-building aims and the affirmation of their own conscience can avert.

A militant rally was held at the popularly renamed Peace and Freedom Park on November 17 to condemn the Halifax International Security Forum (HISF), being held in the Westin Hotel for the 10th successive year. Demanding that the HISF be banned, the rally also called on Canada to get out of NATO and NORAD, demanded that all foreign warships be banned from Halifax Harbour and that Halifax be declared a Zone of Peace. These demands are considered central to realizing an anti-war government that can ensure Canada is a genuine factor for peace and justice in the world.




Activists rally at Peace and Freedom Park against the war conferences in Halifax, November 17, 2018. The war conferences have been militantly opposed each year since they began in 2009.

Other than the use of the name Halifax, the HISF has no organic connection with Halifax. Everything is organized from Washington, DC, where the HISF has established its headquarters since 2011 as a separate entity. The Canadian Department of Defence has given some 30 million tax dollars in funding to the U.S. organizers since 2009. It claims the aim of the “discussion” is to “learn from each other, share opinions, generate new ideas, and put them into action” (emphasis added).

The agenda items discussed serve as weapons for the U.S. government in its confrontation with the world it strives to dominate. They are a specialized mechanism responsible for mobilizing high-ranking U.S., Canadian and international officials, especially military, and selected ideologues, journalists and organizations for hegemony and war. In this regard, the agenda at this year’s forum reveals attempts by the imperialist forces to cloak NATO’s war aims. The overall tone can be seen in a topic at this year’s gathering on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, “100 Years On: Are We Tired of Winning?” It is a telling indication of the outlook the organizers promote.[1]

In tandem with the HISF, the second war conference, the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, serves the same aims. It brings together 600 politicians from the 29 NATO bloc member countries, as well as delegates from partner countries “to discuss international security issues.” The Parliament of Canada is hosting this warmongering conference but other than that, its agenda has nothing to do with what the Canadian polity needs at this time and is also set in secret abroad within the corridors of power of the aggressive U.S.-led NATO alliance.

“It’s not by chance that they’re here on the same weekend,” boasted Peter Van Praagh, President of the HISF. “This NATO Parliamentary Assembly chose Halifax this weekend precisely because of the people who would be at the Halifax International Security Forum. Some of our experts and speakers are going over to educate and discuss things with the legislators while they’re in Halifax.”

“A major event will be a parliamentary debate and adoption of the resolutions presented in the committees on the High North, hybrid warfare, burden sharing, deterrence, space, energy, the South, defence innovation and Russian election meddling,” the Canadian Press reports.

The Plenary session on November 19 will be addressed by Assembly President Rasa Jukneviciene, NATO Deputy Secretary General Rose Gottemoeller and other senior officials, its media department informs.

NATO is, amongst other things, currently engaged in a high-powered campaign to celebrate the 70th anniversary of its founding on April 4, 2019. The agenda of the HISF and of NATO’s Parliamentary Assembly are examples of more to come as NATO uses every occasion to promote the war aims of this aggressive U.S.-led alliance in the name of peace, freedom and democracy.

NATO also works in conjunction with governments and has always had a hand in formulating the political structures which are to be permitted in not only Europe, the United States and Canada but, since the collapse of the former Soviet Union and former peoples’ democracies, in all countries which are deemed to be democratic and not subject to regime change by the NATO bloc.

In 2017, a meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence held in Brussels, on November 8 and 9 approved the outline design for an adapted NATO Command Structure and officially launched the expansion of NATO’s cyber warfare program and the inclusion of cyber attacks in the collective defence provisions of Article 5 of the Alliance’s Charter. This is germane to the agenda items being discussed at this time by the representatives of the biggest private interests, the think tanks, military commanders and parliamentarians whose main mission is to provide arguments for wars which favour the U.S. imperialists and their allies.

The stated aim of the new command structure is to “improve the movement of troops across the Atlantic, and within Europe.” Emphasis was placed on member nations’ submission of their infrastructure planning and procurement to move troops and military equipment rapidly, including across the national boundaries of its members and partners. Although presented as being for purposes of defence it clearly shows that NATO is preparing to move its troops and equipment against those it declares enemies. That meeting presented as vital the need to update military requirements for civilian infrastructure, such as roads, railways and airports. TML Weekly pointed out at that time:

“This means there will be more demands that the national governments of NATO member and candidate member states submit civilian infrastructure, both existing and planned, to NATO Command.” NATO added at the time that not only governments but the private sector and the European Union “have key roles to play.”[2]

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, during a press conference following the 2017 meeting of NATO Defence Ministers, stated that since 2014, NATO has

“made good progress in improving national legislation, removing many bureaucratic hurdles to allow us to move forces across Allied territory. But much more needs to be done. We need to ensure that national legislation facilitating border crossing is fully implemented. We need enough transport capacity at our disposal, which largely comes from the private sector. And we need to improve infrastructure, such as roads, bridges, railways, runways and ports. So NATO is now updating the military requirements for civilian infrastructure.”

Stoltenberg later explained that NATO was going to be dictating changes to the laws of member states to serve rapid deployment for war: “It’s about legislation, and of course it’s about making sure that NATO allies implement those standards and those requirements. We formulate the requirements and the standards, but of course it’s nations that have to implement them when they invest in infrastructure, when they make arrangements with, for instance, private providers of transportation.”

TML Weekly also pointed out at that time:

“This raises the possibility that NATO will demand private transport monopolies, for example in rail, come under its military control for purposes of moving NATO equipment and troops. If and when workers act to oppose the deployment of foreign troops in their countries they will be labelled as foreign agents or worse. It raises concerns for Canada specifically as the U.S. considers Canada a transit point for deployment of its forces to Europe. It may be that in building new transport corridors standards will be imposed to ensure that roads, bridges and the like are capable of carrying U.S. military equipment for deployment for war in Europe.”

Since 2017, the arrangements NATO is making and which governments are adopting are moving very fast. The reforms the Trudeau government has made to the Canada Elections Act as concerns third-party financing and who decides what conscience Canadians are allowed to express without being criminalized and considered enemy agents is all being set in law before our very eyes. The political parties which form the system of cartel party government are without exception part of this militarization of life itself and they must not be let go scot-free. It raises the serious issue of how and why governments and political parties which have no connection with the people’s will, including their opposition to war and aggression, should be permitted to take their marching orders from the aggressive military alliance NATO.

The NATO Parliamentary Assembly is part of the pervasive militarization of life facing the peoples of NATO member countries. The peoples of these countries are already disempowered through the use of electoral laws and elections and political systems that deprive them of having any say in the matters that affect them. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly claims that it serves “as an essential link between NATO and the parliaments of its member nations” and “works to build parliamentary and public consensus in support of Alliance policies. The NATO Parliamentary Assembly deals with social, cultural, political and economic issues, as well as military matters of paramount importance to NATO member nations. Parliamentarians meet and share information during regular Assembly sessions in North America and Europe.”

This is true. This is what the NATO Parliamentary Assembly does. Let the people be warned! Let the people beware!

TML Weekly, November 17, 2018 – No. 40

***

10th annual anti-war rally at the Halifax Peace and Freedom Park, photos and a poem by El Jones

 

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