Québecois oppose NATO Warships in Port of Montreal

Canada's participation in NATO is part of the overall strategy of the US to integrate its allies into its military adventures in the name of "inter-operability."

MONTREAL (3 November 2004) -- Activists firmly held two large banners reading "No Harbour for War!" and "One Humanity, One Struggle!" at a picket at the Port of Montreal on October 30 to denounce the presence of NATO warships docked there. In a single snapshot, visitors to the port could see Canada's involvement and participation in wars of aggression and the alternative which anti-war activists are presenting by firmly opposing Canada's involvement in the moves for world domination.

Passers-by expressed their support to the activists and saluted their resolve. Many families at the Port engaged in discussion with the activists and youth working at the Port also expressed their support for the picket as they went about their jobs. Others came over to have their pictures taken beside the banners. As people asked questions, picketers explained that Canada is participating in the NATO fleet and intervening in Afghanistan, Iraq, Haiti and elsewhere within the framework of Bush's "war on terror." The fact that the Canadian armed forces have been integrated into military operations and that such decisions are not taken in Parliament was a source of concern for many.

During the visits that had been organized on the ships, NATO's "humanitarian" side was promoted to hide the real aim behind the Naval Force under its command. For example, visitors were told of how one of the ships had participated in rescuing victims from a Swiss Air Flight 111 crash near Peggy's Cove, Nova Scotia in September 1998. The technological aspects of the ships were highlighted. Numerous attempts were made to portray NATO as a defensive and necessary organization to cover up that it is an aggressive military alliance.

Source: TML Daily, November 3, 2004

For your information
Why have NATO warships shown up in the Port of Montreal?

(30 October 2004) -- Six NATO warships including one from Canada have docked at the Old Port of Montreal. These ships are part of NATO's Standing Naval Force-Atlantic (STANAVFORLANT) and consist of five frigates and one tanker ship. Four of the frigates have been opened to visits by the public.

The force is visiting Canada and the US as part of its commitment to NATO's operations in the Mediterranean known as Operation Active Endeavour, a task force which conducts surveillance and monitoring of shipping in the Mediterranean.

On September 8, HMCS Ville De Québec left the Naval Dockyard in Halifax to join the NATO Response Force-Maritime (NRF-M), the maritime component of the newly formed NATO Response Force, prepared for high intensity conflict. The NRF is a "multi-national, multi-disciplinary force employing cutting-edge fighter aircraft, ships, army vehicles, combat service support, logistics, communications and intelligence." NRF-M is the naval aspect of this force. HMCS Ville De Québec's joining of the NRF-M marked the Canadian Navy's reintegration into the NATO fleet following an absence of over two years, as a result of its commitment to Operations Apollo and Altair. More specifically, this is Canada's first contribution to the new structured NATO fleet.

HMCS Ville De Québec comprises a crew of 246 sailors, including an air detachment of 21 personnel. Along with the other participating ships, they are sailing predominantly along the Canadian and US Eastern Seaboard and in the St. Lawrence Seaway. It is reported that member nations will "hone several techniques and practice, perfecting a wide variety of interoperability scenarios, which include refuelling at sea, boarding drills, flying operations and tactics and communications exercises." The duration of the exercise, which began in early September, is approximately four months.

At the end of September, James Jones, supreme commander of Allied Forces in Europe, also announced that NATO would send up to 3,000 troops to Iraq to train its security forces under an agreement reached by member states, including Canada. Though Canada did not officially join the US-led "Coalition of the Willing" and its illegal war on Iraq it contributed to this illegal war under the pretext of the "war on terror."

In a recent speech at a campaign rally in Greeley, Colorado on October 25, Bush outlined precisely the kind of support the US is getting from NATO countries like Canada and other countries: "All 26 nations of NATO have personnel in either Iraq, Afghanistan, or both. NATO has taken leadership of an international force in Afghanistan, the first out-of-area deployment in the history of our alliance. Japan has deployed forces in Iraq, the first overseas mission in the history of their democracy. Forces from South Korea are there."

However, on October 28, Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin again tried to insist that Canada is not involved in the occupation of Iraq. "The reason we made the decision on Iraq is we are very involved in Afghanistan," he said. Martin made this claim at a time Canada is training Iraqi police based on NATO's decision to train Iraqi security forces. If this isn't involvement in Iraq, what is?

As Bush has continuously stated, the participation of various countries such as Canada's in Afghanistan made it possible for the US to invade and occupy Iraq. Canada is one of the largest contributors to the occupation of Afghanistan with some 950 troops stationed there. The Department of National Defence has also announced its plan to increase Canada's troop strength by 8,000 with the intention to have Canadian forces available for more "out-of-area" interventions such as that which took place in Haiti.

Canada's participation in NATO is part of the overall strategy of the US to integrate its allies into its military adventures in the name of "inter-operability." NATO is an aggressive military alliance which is being used by the US to mobilize support and forces for its "war on terror." Canada must immediately get out of NATO and not allow its military forces, ships and ports to be used and placed under US command in its imperialist military adventures around the world.

Furthermore, the aggressive NATO military alliance must be dismantled.

Source: TML Daily, October 30, 2004 - No. 169

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