The Halifax Explosion and the Royal Canadian Navy: Inquiry and Intrigue
John Griffith Armstrong
(Vancouver: UBC Press, 2002)
Hardcover, 256 pp, 6 x 9 inches, 16 b/w photos, maps
Index, Bibliography and Chapter end-notes
New in Paperback: July, 2003
ISBN 0774808918 $24.95
Reviewed by GARY ZATZMAN*
Painting of the Halifax Explosion
Was it an “accident”? Did the harbour-pilot do it? Why did the British Admiralty send such a dangerous ship into the harbour of Halifax in the first place? Why was it diverted from New York? Why did the Americans and the French load explosive cargo in such a way? How much did the navy know – and when did they know it? The Halifax Explosion of 6 December 1917, the most destructive man-made explosion before the dropping of The Bomb, left half the population homeless, levelled residential areas of the working class, the poor, parts of the African-Nova Scotian community at Africville and the Mi’kmaq community at Tufts Cove, discredited the reputations of a number of officials and continues to inflame controversy to this day. John Griffith Armstrong’s The Halifax Explosion and the Royal Canadian Navy: Inquiry and Intrigue heaps another faggot on this fire. Focusing on the official inquiry following the disaster, Armstrong clarifies the role and responsibility of the Royal Canadian Navy (RCN). Continue reading →
Infamy of the massacre of the Canadian people in Halifax
December 6th is the centenary of the horrific Halifax Explosion of 1917 – the largest explosion in history before the infamous devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by US atomic bombs in 1945. The tragedy is being marked by an intensive program of events and initiatives, including scores of books, exhibits, radio and TV programs, memorial meetings in Halifax and Boston, and a stamp issued by Canada Post.
The following article by Tony Seed reports on a paper presented by anti-war activists in Halifax in 1983 and expands on it for this publication. On this date, we pay our deepest respects to the families of all those who died as a result of this disaster.Continue reading →
It was the second of November 1917 when Arthur Balfour, the British Foreign Secretary, issued his infamous declaration in the form of a letter written to Lord Rothschild. It read:
“His Majesty’s Government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people…, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine.”
It is interesting to note that the four-letter word “Arab” occurs not once in this document. To refer to the Arabs who constituted, at the time, 92 per cent of the population of Palestine and owned 98 per cent of its land, as the non-Jewish communities is not merely preposterous but deliberately fraudulent. I do not need to tell you that this letter has no shred of legality, as Palestine did not belong to Balfour to assume such acts of generosity. Dr. Arnold Toynbee described the British role, in issuing this document, accurately:
“We were taking it upon ourselves to give away something that was not ours to give. We were promising rights of some kind in the Palestinian Arabs’ country to a third party.”
Similarly, the well-known Jewish writer, Arthur Koestler, summed it up aptly when he described the Balfour Declaration as a document in which “one nation promised a second the country of a third.” Continue reading →
Protest against Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s new security laws at the Peace monument in Hiroshima August 6, 2015.
One of the controversies about how the atrocities at Hiroshima and Nagasaki are remembered concerns the U.S. aims in dropping the bombs. History as written by the victors declared that this act was necessary to force the surrender of militarist Japan and bring an end to the war. The death and destruction was a tragedy but the Japanese people themselves bore responsibility for their own suffering, so the story goes. To this day the U.S. refuses to apologize for these war crimes and on a visit to Hiroshima on May 27 U.S. President Obama did not even acknowledge that the U.S. perpetrated the crimes or why, merely stating that “death came from the sky.” Continue reading →
On the occasion of the 71st anniversary of the first use of a nuclear weapon against human beings, the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist) calls on Canadians to go all out to make Canada a zone for peace that stands against all U.S. imperialist war preparations and gets Canada out of NATO and NORAD.
CPC(M-L) calls on Canadians to be on alert to the manoeuvres of the U.S. ruling elite to unite its warring factions behind a Hillary Clinton war president with their own program to “make America great again.” The biggest efforts of the U.S. establishment and its allies at this time are to block the resistance movements of the people, especially their political mobilization for democratic rights and against war and aggression, in particular against U.S. preparations for a third world war. On the anniversaries of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, CPC(M-L) emphasizes the internationalist duty of Canadians to ensure Canada is not a factor for war as well as to directly oppose the election of a war president and the acceleration of war preparations in the U.S. Continue reading →
Nearly seventy years ago, on December 12, 1948, soldiers of the British army carried out one of the most infamous acts of terrorism in living memory, the massacre of 24 unarmed workers in Batang Kali, a village in the Selangor area of Malaya, today Malaysia. Continue reading →