Major NATO military provocation in Halifax on Labour Day: No Harbour for War!

No US or NATO warships in Canadian waters!

(Revised & updated September 7) – While the media presented the Canadian International Air Show in Toronto on September 4-5 sponsored by Lockheed Martin as a one-off, local and unique spectacle of “family entertainment”, the Trudeau government is simultaneously staging a major NATO naval exercise in Nova Scotia, Cutlass Fury 2021. On September 6, Labour Day, 14 NATO warships and aircraft were to perform a high profile, wartime Halifax Harbour Sail + Fly Past.  The sail / fly pass was then postponed until Tuesday, September 7 at 4:30pm and then again postponed another hour. The U.S. warships left early and the French brought up the rear of the bedraggled formation much later. As always, the U.S. makes the rules, decides what is to be done, and who is to be left behind! In turn this is the latest of a seres of such events that represent a warmongering outlook and program unacceptable to the majority of Canadians who want Canada to be a force for peace in the world. More and more not a single U.S., NATO or foreign warship can dock in a Canadian port without being met by demonstrators.

Nine Canadian warships and five visiting warships from three NATO countries of the US, UK and France will leave dock, sail to Bedford Basin and depart Halifax Harbour in a linear fashion. Royal Canadian Airforce aircraft including Cyclone helicopters, an Aurora as well as Alpha Jets will pass over the ships as they depart the harbour. The fly past is scheduled for 1:00 pm at an altitude of 500 feet (150 metres). In the midst of a pandemic, Haligonians are being encouraged to the waterfront to view the spectacle.

Various levels of government and private industry are facilitating CUTLASS FURY 21. Halifax Regional Municipal Council has approved the war games and the dangerous low-altitude fly-past.

CUTLASS FURY 21 is a bi-annual exercise taking place off the coast of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland from Sept 3-17. Details are deliberately vague and sketchy. All these 14 warships are ostensibly “to simulate surveillance and boarding of a civilian ship and will include operations with the Canadian submarine HMCS Windsor.” It is far more than that. The U.S. Navy ships are USS Thomas Hudner and USS Forrest Sherman, both of which are Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers. 

Canadian Armed Forces’ Maritime Command promotes the fiction that the exercise is “Canadian-led,” as if this is an exercise in sovereignty and legitimate defence, not one that is in the service of U.S. war preparations. Through NATO, Canada’s Maritime Command is under the control of the U.S. Second Atlantic Fleet in Norfolk, Virginia.

All of it underscores the necessity for Canadians to fight to extricate Canada from the U.S. war machine and the aggressive alliance NATO. Canada needs an anti-war government more than ever before.

For Your Information: Cutlass Fury War Exercises

2019.09.09.picket-in-halifax-to-oppose-the-cutlass-fury-naval-exercise-part-of-the-canadian-governments-war-preparations.jpg
September 9, 2019. Protest in Halifax against Cutlass Fury 2019

Cutlass Fury 2021 is the third such war games held on the east coast of Canada. It was previously held in 2016 and 2019.

Thus far, neither the Department of National Defence (DND) website nor the website of the U.S. Second Fleet Command has issued any news about Cutlass Fury 2021. DND does not list Cutlass Fury from any year in its list of operations and exercises.

In the case of the Cutlass Fury 2019 exercise, 22 warships and 36 aircraft from eight NATO countries were involved, with Halifax as the launching pad. It was twice the size of the 2016 edition. The exercise ran September 9-20 with the initial area of operation being approximately 50-100 nautical miles southeast of Halifax Harbour as well as off the coast of Newfoundland. The exercise focused “on anti-submarine warfare, air defence, amphibious operations and joint operations.” Details were deliberately sketchy.

The warships included the USS New Hampshire, a Virginia class, fast attack nuclear-powered submarine and the Royal Navy’s newest aircraft carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth, the HMS Dragon and RFA Tideforce and others from Spain, France and Germany. Queen Elizabeth was enroute for a second work-up deployment off the US Atlantic Coast, where it conducted a series of exercises with U.S. Navy and Marine Corps forces. During this trip, Queen Elizabeth for the first time operated British F-35B stealth fighters. 

Since 2019, as part of the Trudeau government’s campaign to promote membership in NATO as a “Canadian value” and the pillar of an “international rules-based order,” Cutlass Fury has featured high profile public relations events. In 2019 this included warship tours, a fleet review or sail past in the harbour, a ceremonial flypast and a so-called international soccer game of ship’s crews. Naval personnel themselves circulated promotional posters in the business area of Halifax (pictured), something not seen before. All of this could be seen as events designed to reinforce the power and legitimacy of NATO and the Canadian military.

Hurricane Dorion had a different plan. It made landfall 15 miles south of Halifax with its 100-mph winds, by which time the warships had long skedaddled from the port they were allegedly protecting, with all the pr events abruptly cancelled. To save face, the government hurriedly deployed 230 troops in the name of “disaster assistance” to pick up a few branches from fallen trees.

Far from being merely a military exercise, it was a massive psyop (psychological operation), in dramatic contrast to 2018 exercises held with the Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group held during the same period.

Cutlass Fury 2016, involved naval and air forces from Canada, the U.S., the UK, Spain and France. It was described in the Government of Canada’s Navy News at the time as “the largest ASW [anti-submarine warfare] exercise held in Canadian waters in more than 20 years. As part of ASW scenarios, CF 16 includes five maritime patrol aircraft, six helicopters, three submarines and eight ships.” The exercise ran from September 12 to 26.

Ostensibly a Canadian-led exercise, Cutlass Fury is ultimately under the command of the U.S. Second Fleet, headquartered in Virginia. It is one of eight numbered fleets of the U.S. Navy current active prowling the world’s oceans as part of imposing though force or threat of force U.S. hegemonic and geopolitical aims on the peoples of the world. The Second Fleet, formed in 2018, operates in the Atlantic Ocean from as far north the North Pole and south into the Caribbean, and eastward into the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The U.S. Sixth Fleet operates in the eastern half of the Atlantic Ocean. On July 1, 2008 the US reactivated the Fourth Fleet as a major command of the United States Navy in the South Atlantic – responsible for U.S. Navy ships, aircraft and submarines operating in the Caribbean, and Central and South America – operating as a component of the joint US Southern Command 

A 2018 major exercise featuring the USS Truman carrier strike force was also not listed and without any local publicity, except in the US naval press. At the time, Maritime Command did not even issue a press release. out of sight, out of mind. Full details are here:

(Excerpted from Tony Seed, “Research notes: The militarized Atlantic – From Norfolk and Halifax to the Irish and Baltic seas,” September 6, 2020, https://tonyseed.wordpress.com/…/military-madness-in…/)

For Your Information: The new “Battle of the Atlantic” and “the German method of war”

Halifax and its harbour have long held strategic significance for imperial powers 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 significant transcontinental rail connections. [1] The political significance of the Atlantic Coast ports in Canadian strategic plans was indicated in mid-June when Trudeau appointed James Quinn, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Saint John Port Authority, to the Canadian Senate.[2]

The Halifax Harbour Sail + Fly Past of CUTLASS FURY 21 aims to evoke wartime “Battle of the Atlantic” imagery when the inner harbour of the Bedford Basin was an important assembly area for merchant convoys in both world wars. It is a psychological operation staged to present war preparations during a global pandemic as routine, normal and defensive.

On July 15 General Mark Milley, chairman of the  U.S.Joint Chiefs of Staff, presided over a bellicose ceremony hailing the second NATO command in America  – both in Norfolk – on its achievement of full operational capability. NATO’s Joint Force Command – Norfolk (JFC-Norfolk ) joined NATO’s Allied Command Transformation (ACT) in the same city as the only NATO commands outside Europe. Its commander (Vice-Admiral Andrew Lewis) is simultaneously the commander of the U.S. Second Fleet. Canada’s Maritime Command falls under its command.

Joint Force Command – Norfolk is designed to expedite the deployment of troops and armour across the Atlantic; Joint Support and Enabling Command’s mission is to “speed up, coordinate and safeguard the movement of allied armour and infantry across European borders.” The two are thus integrally connected, including the Canadian Forces, ports and railway transportation infrastructure.

At the ceremony, Milley declared “It’s the mission of this command to fight the battle of the Atlantic in the event of armed conflict.”

Anti-Bellum online jourrnal reported that

“their joint purpose is to move military personnel and equipment from the U.S. across the Atlantic Ocean, then from European ports across the continent to the Russian border. The recent DEFENDER Europe-21, the largest since the Cold War with 31,000 troops from 27 nations (including Canada), activated the new system to expedite the transit of large military, including armoured, units from the U.S. to Russia’s western border.”

A major theme of the leading American general was naked promotion of a new “Battle of the Atlantic” and “the German method of war” as a model for U.S. and NATO warfare in this century, what the Pentagon formerly called achieving “full spectrum dominance”.

“Milly stated that although the former belligerents in the First World War all possessed the same technology, only one – Germany – successfully developed, integrated and applied technological innovations.

“Germany, combined those technologies, and the German way of war, and combine them to organizations and leader development in such a way that Nazi Germany was able to overrun Western Europe in 18 months. Other countries combined it in different ways. And they didn’t have success.”

The German model of the Third Reich is an exemplary one to be emulated. To leave no doubt, he brazenly added:

“‘And I would tell you that the same thing is happening right this minute. There’s a whole set of technologies that are driving fundamental change.

“‘I would argue that the country that masters those technologies, combines them with their doctrine, develops their leadership to take maximum advantage of them, is likely going to have significant and perhaps even decisive advantage at the beginning of the next war’.”

This is the naval doctrine guiding the operations and $30 billion dollar (and counting) expansion of the Canadian navy which does no honour to Canadian sailors and armed forces personnel.

Endnotes

1. According to Wikipedia, the Port of Halifax covers 10 km2 (3.9 sq mi) of land, and looks after 150 km2 (58 sq mi) of water.

“Strategically located as North America’s first inbound and last outbound gateway, the port of Halifax is a naturally deep, wide, ice-free harbour with minimal tides and is two days closer to Europe and one day closer to Southeast Asia (via the Suez Canal) than any other North American East Coast port. In addition, it is one of just a few eastern seaboard ports able to accommodate and service fully laden post-Panamax container ships using the latest technology.

“With 17 of the world’s top shipping lines calling the port, including transshipment, feeder ship services and direct access to Canadian National Railway (CN) inland network, the port of Halifax is connected virtually to every market in North America and over 150 countries worldwide supporting the delivery of all types of cargoes. Annually the port handles over 1,500 vessels, generates 15,000 jobs and $2 billion in economic impact. Halifax is one of Canada’s top four container ports in terms of the volume of cargo handled.”

2. According to its website, Saint John is “eastern Canada’s largest port by volume,” and “has a diverse cargo base, handling an average of 28 million metric tonnes of cargo annually, including dry and liquid bulks, break bulk, and containers.” It boasts that “with global connections to 500 ports worldwide, Port Saint John is easily connected to central Canadian inland markets by rail and road” and that it is “a facilitator of trade, providing a marine gateway to global markets.” It was the former port of choice for shipping arms exports to Saudi Arabia until longshoremen declared them hot cargo.

With files from Renewal Update, TML Weekly, Wikipedia and Anti-Bellum

See also

Research notes: The militarized Atlantic – From Norfolk and Halifax to the Irish and Baltic seas

Battle of the Atlantic: Citing Nazi Germany as model, US military chief hails new NATO command

1 Comment

Filed under Canada, Canadian Forces, No Harbour for War (Halifax)

One response to “Major NATO military provocation in Halifax on Labour Day: No Harbour for War!

  1. Pingback: Vigilance: Government resumes militarist spectacles | Tony Seed's Weblog

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s