Halifax Media Co-op

News from Nova Scotia's Grassroots

More independent news:
Do you want free independent news delivered weekly? sign up now
Can you support independent journalists with $5? donate today!

HMCS Charlottetown is Libya-bound on Humanitarian Mission. Halifax Peace Coalition Wonders...

Blog posts reflect the views of their authors.
A Peaceful Journey? Many Have Doubts.
A Peaceful Journey? Many Have Doubts.

 As the HMCS Charlottetown, one of the Canadian Navy's most heavily armed warships, sets its course for the Libyan coastline, members of both the Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace, and the Halifax Peace Coalition, met on Friday, March 4th, at the intersection of Spring Garden Road and Barrington Street, to oppose Canada's military intervention in Libya.

 “There is no doubt that Canada's involvement in Libya differs very much from it's reaction and involvement into the crisis in Tunisia and Egypt, and that's because in 1959 Libya discovered oil, and the oil reserves in Libya are very lucrative.” says Tamara Lorincz, speaking on behalf of the NSVWP and the HPC.

 “Libya produces about 2% of the world's crude. It is one of the top oil-producing countries in the world, and it supplies Europe, China, the United States...And there are many Canadian companies that are in Libya right now, and many American oil companies that are in Libya right now... And there is no doubt why the real reason that we have a Canadian warship on it's way to Libya is to defend those corporate interests in Libya.” Lorincz continues.

Muammar Gaddafi, Libya's de facto leader, has never been an easy business partner for multi-national oil companies to deal with. Aside from the odd act of state-sanctioned violence against non-combatants, Gaddafi has also mantained a degree of autonomy on Libya's natural oil resources. This has allowed him to amass a vast personal fortune, and has also enabled him to make real threats towards nationalizing Libyan oil.

Leaked Wikileaks diplomatic cables suggest that prior to the unrest which is now developing between pro- and anti-Gaddafi forces, relationships between the Gaddafi government and oil conglomerates, Suncor and SN Lavanlin included, had been especially strained of late. One cable suggests that Gaddafi was putting more of a squeeze than usual upon the multi-nationals; this in an attempt to gain back some of the $1.5 billion dollars which in 2008 Libya paid into a terrorism-reparations fund for acts committed in the 1980s.

Given the CIA's extended history of interference in Libyan politics, it is not unrealistic to consider that the 'acts of revolution' that are erupting across Libya are not at all the spontaneous displays of a people vying for democracy, as many mainstream media sources are portraying them. And given the high-tech nature of the weaponry of the so-called revolutionaries, there is a certain sense that backroom armament deals have been made.

“Over the years,” says Lorincz, “the US CIA has been funding and arming rebels in (Libya), so we have no doubt that the US CIA is involved right now in destabilizing the country...We also heard the CBC report that there were Canadian Special Forces on the HMC Charlottetown that's on its way to Libya right now.”

While theories abound on the internet, there is little doubt that a Gaddafi-less Libya, replaced with a more pro-multinational-minded despot atop the proverbial throne, would suit the oil barons just fine. Issac Saney, representing concerned Haligonians and Canadians, suggests that any (further) intervention on the part of Canada in Libya would be nothing more than an enforcement of imperialist policy.

“The idea that the 'Gods of Plague',” says Saney, “...Those that invaded Iraq, those that invaded Afghanistan, and have caused such untold suffering...that they could bring a solution that would be in the interest and the benefit of the Libyan people...this flies in the face of reason. One cannot expect cures from the Gods of Plague.”

Stephen Harper, in sending the HMCS Charlottetown to rendez-vous in the Mediterranean sea with the American nuclear-powered aircraft carrier, the USS Enterprise, is perhaps advocating just such a Plague-ridden 'cure'.

On Tuesday, March 1st, when Harper first announced the Charlottetown's intended departure from Halifax, he claimed that the ship would “...assist in Canadian and international evacuation operations already underway in Libya.”

On Wednesday, March 2nd, Harper pledged $5 million in humanitarian to Libya. It is unknown whether the $5 million is in a suitcase aboard the Charlottetown, and if so, how Harper intends for the cash to be distributed once it gets to Libya, or to whom. Gaddafi has let it be known that any acceptance of foreign aid will be viewed as “high treason”, and while the 'revolutionaries' appear, at least ostensibly, to be fractured and splintered groups, it would appear that Harper already knows where the money should go.

Tamara Lorincz fears that the Prime Minister's decision to send the Charlottetown to Libya may well be the beginning of a Canadian military response. Says Lorincz:

“Canadians should know that there was not a comprehensive parliamentary debate on the deployment of the HMCS Charlottetown this week. We are also very concerned as to what the Minister of Defense, Peter McKay and the Vice-Admiral, Dean McFadden, said about the mission. Stephen Harper said...that the HMCS Charlottetown was going to be delivering humanitarian aid, but the Vice-Admiral and our Minister of Defence have given much more elusive and evasive answers, saying that the HMCS Charlottetown could be deployed...for up to six months, and the mission may involve other unknown activities...We're very concerned it might be a military response, because the HMCS Charlottetown is the most armed frigate in the Canadian Navy.”

For the avowed pacifists of the Nova Scotia Voice of Women for Peace and the Halifax Peace Coalition, the position is tenuous. On one side is the regime of Muammar Gaddafi, who has violently attempted to suppress the protests in Libya. On the other side are the protestors, who many suspect have been put up to the task of violently overthrowing Gaddafi under the guise of the highly spinable, and suddenly media-friendly, 'Middle Eastern' revolution-fever. Caught in the middle are the Libyans, indeed all residents of North Africa and beyond, simply trying to survive.

“The Canadian Peace Community is very torn.” says Lorincz. “We don't support at all Gaddafi's oppressive and violent control of protest right now...But at the same time we don't believe that Canada and the United States and NATO should be using armed force against Gaddafi. There's got to be a diplomatic negotiation and a peaceful solution to the crisis in Libya right now.”

Issac Saney agrees.

“We want Canada to be a genuine force for peace on the world scale, which means basically opposing the principle that disputes between nations and within nations should be settled by force, ie, by the intervention of the Great Powers...When they intervene, (they) intervene in their own particular, narrow, selfish, interest...I think that one of the fundamental things that we can stand up for in Canada is...We stand against interference in the internal affairs of other countries. We stand against Canada's participation in imperialist schemes, which work not only against the interests of the peoples in the countries in which Canada will be participating in intervention, but also against the Canadian people.” 

Want more grassroots coverage?
Join the Media Co-op today.
1148 words

The site for the Halifax local of The Media Co-op has been archived and will no longer be updated. Please visit the main Media Co-op website to learn more about the organization.