August 6th -- A day to oppose terrorism in all forms, especially state terrorism and all opportunist conciliation with terrorism

Statement From A Concerned Anti-War Activist in Halifax

ON THIS DAY sixty years ago, Hiroshima, a medium-sized Japanese city, was virtually obliterated from the face of the earth by an atomic weapon. Excusing itself under a dubious claim of military exigency -- "saving American soldiers' lives" -- the United States government deliberately exterminated a non-military target and overwhelmingly civilian population of non-white, non-European people. Its aim was nuclear blackmail: to remind the restless peoples of Africa, Asia and Latin America in general, fighting for their complete social and national liberation from foreign imperial dictate, of their vulnerability to extermination by the world's leading imperial power as well as to signal the socialist Soviet Union in particular, its erstwhile wartime ally, that its people could be next. The defeat of the state terrorist regime of the Nazis and their occupation of Europe by the peoples served the interests of the US and other remaining imperialist powers, but the initiative of the peoples and the revolutionary potential of such initiatives to destroy the entire imperialist system had to be crushed. President Truman and his advisers thus determined that hundreds of thousands of Asian people, residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, be exterminated in three days.

The atomic blast was the largest man-made explosion in history to that time. It was prepared in part by studying what had happened in the world's previously largest man-made-explosion -- at Halifax, Nova Scotia 28 years earlier on 6 December 1917 -- the Halifax Explosion, as well as the firebombing and incineration of the civilian populations of such German cities as Dresden and Dortmund and Japanese cities such as Tokyo during the Second World War as part of the Anglo-American "total war" strategy. (1)

The world has subsequently come to know the extent to which the British Admiralty and Canadian political authorities back at that time connived at securing passive official support at all levels for, and marginalising serious public opposition to, their rule and their roles. (2)

Given this historical fact, it is hard to credit any longer the planners of the Manhattan Project -- even though it has long been assumed that they considered and compared only the physical and scientific effects of the scale of such a blast -- with ignoring this vital aspect of matters. For instance, it is now undeniable -- because historians have arrived on the scene with the opening of Pandora's box, namely, the documents from the archives of the Royal Canadian Navy -- that the Borden federal cabinet in Ottawa was in receipt in 1917 of literally hundreds of appeals and other expressions of anxious concerns from Haligonian civilian port and military administrative officials. They were well aware that a horrendous explosion and tragedy was waiting to happen, as a result of the British Admiralty's utter unconcern for civilian safety in their warmongering zeal to conduct the loading, unloading, storage and other handling of live munitions and ordnance with the greatest despatch. Whether or not one has explicit knowledge of the murder of civilians or not, or directly participates or not, is irrelevent; Ottawa ended up participating in and covering up a war crime. Modern day international law considers such indifference to the civilian consequences of war preparations -- an indifference expressing the reactionary quintessence of how modern imperialism and its policy actually operates -- to be a crime against humanity. Indeed: one of the charges against Slobodan Milosevic was deliberately framed this way by the Canadian jurist, Louise Arbour, a leading member of the court specially created to try him.

Our struggle is against the preparations for imperialist war, and the imperialist system itself. It is this aim and conciousness we bring to the just opposition of people against war and the nuclear weapons. Opposition to war and opposition to imperialism therefore cannot be separated. Nay more, there are those for whom the anti war movement is nothing more than a lobby group whose aim is to lobby and pull the coat of the warmakers themselves. In the name of not alienating the mainstream, they would separate opposition to war from opposition to imperialism to reduce this movement to an impotent protest movement and rump demanding "human security" from the gods of war and plague as its main aim. They insist that August 6 is all about, and only about, the atomic-ness of the weapon, radiation poisoning, etc, ad nauseam. They want to reduce humanity's fight to rid the world of the nuclear weapons in the hands of the big powers to the acceptance of their conventional weapons and aggressive armed forces and fleets as the lesser evil. They advocate the horror of the weapon and the weakness of this powerful movement of all humanity which represents a potential force greater than any atomic bomb. They advocate "multilateralism" versus "unilateralism" as the "preferred method" to carry out the US threats of "pre-emptive strikes" against the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Iran and other countries of the so-called "axis of evil" for allegedly posing the “nuclear threat”. What differences exist do so over method, not aim. Anyone raising such sideline concerns as the necessity to do something about the death-dealing consequences for billions of people of the continued rule of imperialism is pooping on their party, and stirring dangerously subversive and "extremist" thoughts. Far from building a "practical" and effective protest movement, this is opportunism propping up that reactionary quintessence. The real struggle against war, which is a component part of the broad global struggle against imperialism, is a sham and a fraud without the most tenacious and unrelenting opposition to such opportunism.

On this 60th anniversary let us therefore act in this anti-imperialist spirit. Let us put an end to the schemes for converting the peace movement into an onshore NGO participating in deflecting and diverting real mass popular opposition to imperialist war exercises in our city. The stand of the people of Halifax, and indeed of the people across Canada is: "NO HARBOUR FOR WAR!" The NATO fleet visit in June was an act of state terrorism. What happened around that so-called "French fleet visit" -- when "anti war" individuals from this and that "peace" NGO schmoozed comfortably in conference with the imperialist Masters of Global Destruction behind closed doors inside CFB Halifax and the DND's Centre for Foreign Policy Studies while the NATO fleet menaced our harbour -- was conciliation with this state terrorism. It should never be allowed to happen again.

Let us raise our voice as one in opposition to further involvement of Canada in the schemes of the US to commit aggression against others and in opposition as well to the use of Canadian territory and armed forces for such schemes, whether it is in Afghanistan, Haiti, the Golan Heights, or Bosnia.

Now is not the time to "reform" NATO, as the NDP leader Jack Layton was advocating in last year's federal election, but for Canada to leave NATO.

Now is not the time to strut and preen about how the Liberals saved Canada and its national honour from the quagmire in Iraq. Now is the time to withdraw Canadian troops from Afghanistan and cease sending any more as bullet-stopping stand-ins for US troops being diverted to contingents in Iraq.

Now is not the time to go ga-ga over a new governor-general "of colour" from an oppressed Caribbean nation; now is the time to step up our opposition to Canada's support for death squad "democracy" in Haiti in the name of "humanitarian intervention", and to demand withdrawal of all Canadian forces, including RCMP "help for the judicial organs", from that country.

Now is not the time to "humanise the occupation" of stolen Palestinian lands by the Zionist junta, as Halifax MP Alexa McDonough has been advocating. Now is the time for Canada to raise and support the demand for the full right of the Palestinians -- all nearly six million of them living in refugee camps or in other forms of exile around the world -- to return to their land and to implement UN General Assembly Resolution 273 of 1949 which required expelling the so-called "State of Israel" should it fail to comply with the just demand for full Palestinian right of return.

Now is not the time to fall for the anti-Muslim hysteria being whipped up everywhere. Now is the time to oppose and denounce all the attempts of the Canadian government as well as the governments of Bush and Blair to bring open fascism, including police shoot-to-kill practices, expanded "no-fly" lists, etc., under the hoax of "preventing terrorism".



1 Geomarine physicist Alan Ruffman notes in Ground Zero: A Reassessment of the 1917 Explosion in Halifax Harbour:

“…it is clear that the Halifax experience (helped scientists to) gauge the range of air blast effects and to estimate any possible tsunami created by a blast in a populated harbour city.”

Ruffman says the Halifax Explosion helped the scientists in their decision to detonate bombs in mid-air at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, to produce a greater range of devastation." Their research into what had gone before -- including the Halifax Explosion -- gave them insight into the potential of a nuclear bomb." The nuclear bomb exploded over Hiroshima was almost five times more powerful than the blast that levelled much of Halifax and Dartmouth, and radiation caused additional damage. Cited at the CBC Halifax Explosion Site,

The firebombing of Tokyo on 9 March 1945 killed some 87,000 people. This followed by less than a month the infamous firebombing of the German city of Dresden, on 13-14 February 1945 and again on 2 March 1945.

The firebombing of Tokyo is described as follows: “The first planes that reached the Japanese capital dropped incendiaries designed to start fires that would serve as markers in the target area for the bombers that followed. The target zone included industrial and commercial sites and densely populated residential districts with flimsy and highly flammable housing. Once the area was clearly delineated by flames, waves of B-29s dropped hundreds of tons of firebombs. They created a conflagration of monumental proportions, which was intensified by the winds that swept Tokyo that night. The fires consumed an area of about sixteen square miles, created so much turbulence that they tossed low-flying planes around in the air, and killed so many Japanese that the stench of burning flesh sickened crews in the B-29s.” (Walker, J. Samuel, Prompt & Utter Destruction: Truman and the use of Atomic bombs against Japan, The University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill: 2004. p. 27)

On the destruction of Dresden by firebombing, killing over 50,000 civilians, see “The Road to Berlin” excerpted from If Truth Be Told: Secrecy and Subversion in an Age turned Unheroic, by Stan Winer, Dossier on the 60th Anniversary of the Defeat of Fascim in Europe,

2 “Time to disturb the sleep of the unjust. The Halifax Explosion and the Royal Canadian Navy: Inquiry and Intrigue.” Shunpiking Vol 01 No 05.

Further Reading on the Halifax Explosion:

The Explosion - A Child’s Story
Darren Brackley, Shunpiking Vol 01 No 05 05HfxExplosionChildsStory2.htm

That Very Good Place Called School
Ardra Cole's journey back to the Chebucto School
Shunpiking Vol 01 No 05

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