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April 29, 2011

Canada's Halifax Herald Calls for invasion of Africa

In an editorial published on April 21st, the day before Easter Friday and Earth Day, the editors of the Halifax Herald Ltd. demanded that the United States escalate the war of aggression against Libya: "The only way forward is to use more force. The sooner NATO comes to this conclusion, the better."

The editors call on the United States, Britain and France "to take more risks", to establish a beachhead in North Africa and "land special forces whose job it would be to pinpoint Gadhafi's forces and target them with punishing naval gunfire."

The very same edition reported that the Obama administration has joined Britain and France in a major escalation of the war against Libya that entails the deployment of murderous US Predator drones, intensified bombing and the preparation of an invasion force. The drones, each equipped with multiple Hellfire missiles capable of intense destruction, are meant to spread terror amongst the inhabitants of the targeted country and weaken the resistance. The U.S. military uses drones in four of its war theatres: Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen and now Libya.  [1]

And who do the editors in the NATO port of Halifax not mention that is already in a forward position to "land special forces" and "target them with punishing gunfire"? The HMCS Charlottetown - one of the Canadian navy's most heavily-armed warships which reportedly carried Special Forces when it departed Halifax on March 1st. Canada then supplied six CF-18 jets, a general to command the attack and, politically, the unanimous vote of the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP and Bloc on March 21st to endorse the war against Libya. Nothing reveals the corruption of the so-called democratic institutions more than the fact that all the parties which make up the cartel party system voted to impose a variant of the same democratic system onto the people of Libya with tomahawk missiles.

The next day Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon called for "troops on the ground." As part of this warmongering, Prime Minister Stephen Harper recently said that he would consider increasing Canada's military role in Libya only when parliament is reconvened. This means that his re-election will be used as a mandate to unleash even more war, and the mass media such as the Chronicle Herald is already at the plate to prepare the terrain and encourage every act of aggression. This will not do.

In summing up the war, now entering its third month, the newspaper admits, "While successful in preventing the fall of the rebel capital of Benghazi, NATO air strikes have lost their lustre. Libyan loyalist ground forces have adapted, and civilian populations as well as rebel forces are once again on the losing end."

Even though the war has the stamp of legality conferred by the UN Security Council, it violates the UN Charter and is illegitimate and immoral. The war began with a controlled hatred directed against Moummar al-Gadhafi with the aim of paralyzing the anti-war movement by making him the moral issue.

Once again the Herald does not fail to convict the Colonel for "getting away with a wholesale massacre of the opposition." In violation of the most fundamental journalistic responsibility to the public, the Herald does not even provide empirical evidence to its readers beyond asserting it is so. Its editorial policy is pragmatic; anything goes - whatever rationale works can be cooked up, and becomes truth. It does not matter that, among its military objectives, NATO has bombed power plants, government buildings, factories, schools and health facilities, including child health care centres, in violation of the Geneva Convention, which the Herald ignores and hides from its readers. Hundreds of innocent victims are unimportant. This is morally indefensible.

A fascist raison d'etat

The raison d'etat of this U.S. mouthpiece - the self-appointed patron of the occupation of Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine, of NATO and Maritime Command - is to guarantee the victory of the U.S.-organized "rebel forces." The flagging fortunes of the so-called rebels who are "on the losing end" and "a motley crew, for sure" are one concern. Its "motley crew" seems to be inadequate in size, ability and determination to drive back the government troops.

Winning is everything, the only thing. The ruling elite's real concern is with the war readiness of the NATO bloc to whom they are supplying war materiel, personnel and propaganda: "Now that NATO is involved, it should be in it to win it. Unfortunately, since the U.S. took a backseat in the conduct of military operations, the alliance has appeared as chaotic and poorly led as the rebels at times." Military leadership of NATO by the European powers is "risky."

The pragmatists of the Herald call Libya "a doable war." It demands "decisive action" not from the people, nor from the United Nations' General Assembly, which is the sole international body that can authorize the use of force against a sovereign member of the international community, nor from the African Union, which is calling for a ceasefire. The decisive actor is the Pentagon and the blunt instrument is its arsenal of superior weapons. The Herald calls on the USA to take a front seat "in the conduct of military operations" to unleash "more force" against Libya.

Canada's real interest in Libya is clarified: regime change and the annexation of Libya. The United States and Canada (e.g., Suncor-PetroCanada, etc.) cannot be outdone by France, Britain and Italy in the furious scramble for control of Libya and its rich oil, gas and uranium resources, and to re-establish a strategic beachhead in Africa where the USA can operate with impunity over the Mediterranean and North Africa.

It is outrageous that the policy of the Chronicle Herald is guided by concern for the stability of U.S.-backed feudal sheikdoms and the fear of an anti-imperialist upsurge in North Africa and the Middle East. The editorial lauds the superiority of aggressor and his weapons and the futility of resistance.

"Because siding with the rebels - a motley crew, for sure - is an opportunity to tilt an Arab revolution in the right direction. Anything less will prolong the agony of this civil war for no good reason. It will also give foreign and home-grown jihadists more time to be drawn into the conflict. That will increase the chances Libya will turn into a failed state, which, in turn, could draw in its neighbours."

Time is running out. "The tradition of all dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living," wrote Marx, and the nightmare of the Arab and African revolt torments the individual brains of the Halifax jihadists into a frenzied call for a NATO juggernaut worthy of the Roman destruction of Carthage.

What is unacceptable to humankind - "more force," "land[ing] special forces," and "punishing naval gunfire" - is to be justified as acceptable in order to win. The use of force and war is justified as the main instrument to settle differences in international and internal affairs. Punish the people of Libya for their resistance and scare off "its neighbours" with brute force - the Hitlerite language of Lidice and collective reprisal.

The words peace and ceasefire, rights and sovereignty, democracy and freedom, do not appear in its editorial. The blunt language of the Herald serves an important purpose: to deliberately mock and undermine liberals and social democrats in Canada who are arguing that U.S. wars should have a humanitarian component that complicates their opposition to war and the attack on Libya.

The Halifax Herald Ltd. is an accessory in war crimes. Aggression - starting an unprovoked war - is the "supreme international crime" in the words of the judgement of Nuremburg. Those who help prepare such a war with their propaganda are as culpable as those who drew up the battle plans or manufactured the munitions.

Harper's armada: "front and centre"

To this end the Halifax Herald advocates a pro-war government for Canada, though not so openly. Canadians do not want a pro-war government. But it is only the voice of the political parties that stand for war and interference in the internal affairs of sovereign countries which appears in the Herald and the mass media in Canada day after day in the current federal election. This modus operandi shows why the Herald and the mass media simply refuse to acknowledge either the existence of any alternative or that anti-war candidates are even participating in the election or attempts to delegitimatize them as "fringe."

In parallel, the Herald, the liberal NDP government and the NDP candidates in Nova Scotia are creating a gung ho atmosphere to - in the literal words of premier Darrel Dexter in his Speech from the Throne on March 31st - "champion" the militarist agenda dictated by the Irving empire [2]. This monopoly is waging a furious corporate war for the pending $35 billion federal contract for a fleet of ships, including three new massive command-and-control warships, and attempting to line up workers and Nova Scotians behind its narrow aims to make the big score.

"We need to make sure we are front and centre on it," Dexter declared, giving the meaning to his party's slogan, "Working Together."

Sure enough, on April 12 the Herald featured on its front page two local candidates of the NDP, Peter Stouffer and Megan Leslie, both incumbents, at a rah-rah photo-op at the Irving shipyards precisely to "champion" the bid.

As part of this inter-monopoly struggle, the Ignatieff Liberals are demanding that Harper extend a May 18th deadline to allow the idle MIL-Davie shipyard in Lévis, Quebec, being acquired by an Italian defence multinational, time for restructuring and to submit its bid. In response, Jack Layton declared in Dartmouth, NS on April 17 that "Our plan is not to interfere with the deadline," the identical position to Harper, who hypocritically accused Ignatieff of "political opportunism."

The mass media such as the Chronicle Herald and each "major" political party is now openly linked with the predatory interests of global monopolies in shipbuilding, armaments and military-electronics who stand to make the biggest killing. Each is utilizing the mass media to pose as the greatest representatives of the regional interest. Québec stands at the centre of this chauvinist bashing. [3]

One does not have to be blind to see that Harper is commissioning his armada of warships, up to 100 ships, to be used - not for "peacekeeping," let alone "job creation" and "Canada's regions." [4]

An affront to the conscience of Canadians

The extremist warmongering of the Chronicle Herald, the mass media and these parties is an affront to the conscience of Canadians. It is devoid of any ethical or legal grounds and lacks credibility and support. Shame on them! Canadians and Québeckers in their majority do not support either the U.S.-led war against Afghanistan or Iraq, the inhuman illegal occupation of Palestine, or the new war against Libya. Seven thousand Nova Scotians did not demonstrate against the "visit" of George W. Bush on December 1, 2004 in order to support the wars of Barrack Obama and Harper.

This media and the pro-war cartel parties must be stopped. A colossal challenge faces us.

The political shift demands detailed, practical work to empower Canadians, to build a workers' opposition with its own thinking, agenda and media instruments to disseminate its own views and truthful information, and around it rebuild the tempo of the anti-war movement to end Canada's participation in wars of conquest and annexation.

Bring the Canadian Forces home now is the humanitarian act and call of Canadians.

What Canada needs is an anti-war government which will oppose the use of force and war to settle international conflicts.

What workers want and what Canada needs are a self-reliant economy and a nation-building program for shipping, merchant marine and sovereign and sustainable fisheries.

This is the No Harbour for War! program that I advocate and this is the decisive action needed on Libya.

I am convinced that justice will be served.

Vote for an anti-war candidate and against the status quo in your riding!

Tony Seed is a journalist and publisher of Shunpiking Magazine and of the Dossier on Palestine (2002) resident in Halifax.



1.  On April 22, Voice of America, an agency of the U.S. government, boasted of the "success" of predator drones in killing people, "U.S. drones fired at least five missiles at a house in a tribal region (of Pakistan) near the Afghan border, killing 25 people... At least two women and three children are believed to be among the casualties." The U.S. military has no hesitation in killing people indiscriminately if it serves its interests in expanding the U.S. Empire nor bluntly reminding people of the superiority of its weaponry.

2.  According to Canadian Business (Winter 2008/2009), the secretive Irving Empire includes more than 250 companies. They own 13 per cent of the timberland of New Brunswick and the largest stake in Maine. They hold 140th spot on Forbes magazine's latest list of the world's billionaires. Well-known as patrons of the Liberal Party (IrvingAir) as well as of Paul Martin's leadership campaign, they have now added the Nova Scotia NDP to their corporate holdings. Its government has transferred as much as $60 million from public funds to the impoverished family in the past two years to expand the Irving Shipyards.

3.  And Harper's Tories? Lockheed Martin has already established an office in the bowels of CFB Stadacona in Halifax. The missing page in Defence Minister Peter MacKay's résumé is that he worked as a lawyer for ThyssenKrupp, the corporate German combination of old Nazi capital, Thyssen and Krupp, and now the largest shipbuilder in Europe. ThyssenKrupp is prominently reported to be designing the new class of warships. Thyssen and Hans Schreiber, Brian Mulroney and Elmer Mackay (the father) were prominently linked and, by all reports, paid well for services rendered (the Airbus scandal).

4.  The multirole command-and-control warships, originally commissioned by the Martin Liberals in 2004, are aimed for offensive operations against coastal countries in the seven seas of the world. According to Wikipedia, "The Joint Support Ship will enable a Naval Task Group to remain at sea for up to six times longer than is currently possible. The Joint Support ships will provide the Canadian Forces with a greater flexibility to conduct a wide range of operations both domestically and internationally."

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On July 7, 2024 in Toronto, Canada, Dimitri Lascaris delivered a speech on the right to resist oppression.

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