Canada’s Sovereignty in Jeopardy: the Militarization of North America
By Michel Chossudovsky
08/18/07 “Global Research” — — Canadian jurisdiction over its Northern territories was redefined, following an April 2002 military agreement between Ottawa and Washington. This agreement allows for the deployment of US troops anywhere in Canada, as well as the stationing of US warships in Canada’s territorial waters.
Following the creation of US Northern Command in April 2002, Washington announced unilaterally that NORTHCOM’s territorial jurisdiction (land, sea, air) extended from the Caribbean basin to the Canadian arctic territories.
“The new command was given responsibility for the continental United States, Canada, Mexico, portions of the Caribbean and the contiguous waters in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans up to 500 miles off the North American coastline. NorthCom’s mandate is to “provide a necessary focus for [continental] aerospace, land and sea defenses, and critical support for [the] nation’s civil authorities in times of national need.”
(Canada-US Relations – Defense Partnership – July 2003, Canadian American Strategic Review (CASR), http://www.sfu.ca/casr/ft-lagasse1.htm
NORTHCOM’s stated mandate was to “provide a necessary focus for [continental] aerospace, land and sea defenses, and critical support for [the] nation’s [US] civil authorities in times of national need.”
(Canada-US Relations – Defense Partnership – July 2003, Canadian American Strategic Review (CASR), http://www.sfu.ca/casr/ft-lagasse1.htm)
Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld boasted that “the NORTHCOM – with all of North America as its geographic command – ‘is part of the greatest transformation of the Unified Command Plan [UCP] since its inception in 1947.'” (Ibid)
Canada and US Northern Command
In December 2002, following the refusal of (former) Prime Minister Jean Chrétien to join US Northern Command (NORTHCOM), an interim bi-national military authority entitled the Binational Planning Group (BPG) was established.
Canadian membership in NORTHCOM would have implied the integration of Canada’s military command structures with those of the US. That option had been temporarily deferred by the Chrétien government, through the creation of the Binational Planning Group (BPG).
The BPG’s formal mandate in 2002 was to extend the jurisdiction of the US-Canada North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) to cover sea, land and “civil forces”,
“to improve current Canada–United States arrangements to defend against primarily maritime threats to the continent and respond to land-based attacks, should they occur.”
Although never acknowledged in official documents, the BPG was in fact established to prepare for the merger of NORAD and NORTHCOM, thereby creating de facto conditions for Canada to join US Northern Command.
The “Group” described as an “independent” military authority was integrated from the outset in December 2002 into the command structures of NORAD and NORTHCOM, both operating out the same headquarters at the Paterson Air Force base in Colorado. In practice, the “Group” functioned under the jurisdiction of US Northern Command, which is controlled by the US Department of Defense.
In December 2004, in the context of President Bush’s visit to Ottawa, it was agreed that the mandate of the BPG would be extended to May 2006. It was understood that this extension was intended to set the stage for Canada’s membership in NORTHCOM.
In March 2006, two months before the end of its mandate, the BPG published a task force document on North American security issues:
“‘A continental approach’ to defense and security could facilitate binational maritime domain awareness and a combined response to potential threats, ‘which transcends Canadian and U.S. borders, domains, defense and security departments and agencies,’ (quoted in Homeland Defense watch, 20 July 2006)
The BPG task force report called for the establishment of a “maritime mission” for NORAD including a maritime warning system. The report acted as a blueprint for the renegotiation of NORAD, which was implemented immediately following the release of the report.
On April 28, 2006, an agreement negotiated behind closed doors was signed between the US and Canada.
The renewed NORAD agreement was signed in Ottawa by the US ambassador and the Canadian Minister of Defense Gordon O’Connor, without prior debate in the Canadian Parliament. The House of Commons was allowed to rubberstamp a fait accompli, an agreement which had already been signed by the two governments.
“‘A continental approach to defense and security could facilitate binational maritime domain awareness and a combined response to potential threats, “which transcends Canadian and U.S. borders, domains, defense and security departments and agencies,’ the report says.” (Homeland Defense Watch, May 8, 2006)
While NORAD still exists in name, its organizational structure coincides with that of NORTHCOM. Following the April 28, 2006 agreement, in practical terms, NORAD has been merged into USNORTHCOM.
NORTHCOM Commander Gen. Gene Renuart, USAF happens to be Commander of NORAD, Maj. Gen. Paul J. Sullivan who is NORTHCOM Chief of Staff, is Chief of Staff of NORAD.
With a exception of a token Canadian General, who occupies the position of Deputy Commander of NORAD, the leadership of NORAD coincides with that of NORTHCOM. (See photo gallery below).
These two military authorities are identical in structure, they occupy the same facilities at the Peterson Air Force base in Colorado.
There was no official announcement of the renewed NORAD agreement, which hands over control of Canada’s territorial waters to the US, nor was there media coverage of this far-reaching decision.
The Deployment of US Troops on Canadian Soil
At the outset of US Northern Command in April 2002, Canada accepted the right of the US to deploy US troops on Canadian soil.
“U.S. troops could be deployed to Canada and Canadian troops could cross the border into the United States if the continent was attacked by terrorists who do not respect borders, according to an agreement announced by U.S. and Canadian officials.” (Edmunton Sun, 11 September 2002)
With the creation of the BPG in December 2002, a binational “Civil Assistance Plan” was established. The latter described the precise “conditions for deploying U.S. troops in Canada, or vice versa, in the aftermath of a terrorist attack or natural disaster.” (quoted in Inside the Army, 5 September 2005).
In August 2006, the US State Department confirmed that a new NORAD Agreement had entered into force, while emphasizing that “the maritime domain awareness component was of ‘indefinite duration,’ albeit subject to periodic review.” (US Federal News, 1 August 2006). In March 2007, the US Senate Armed Services Committee confirmed that the NORAD Agreement had been formally renewed, to include a maritime warning system. In Canada, in contrast, there has been a deafening silence.
In Canada, the renewed NORAD agreement went virtually unnoticed. There was no official pronouncement by the Canadian government of Stephen Harper. There was no analysis or commentary of its significance and implications for Canadian territorial sovereignty. The agreement was barely reported by the Canadian media.
Operating under a “North American” emblem (i.e. a North American Command), the US military would have jurisdiction over Canadian territory from coast to coast; extending from the St Laurence Valley to the Queen Elizabeth archipelago in the Canadian Arctic. The agreement would allow for the establishment of “North American” military bases on Canadian territory. From an economic standpoint, it would also integrate the Canadian North, with its vast resources in energy and raw materials, with Alaska.
Ottawa’s Military Facility in Resolute Bay
Ottawa’s July 2007 decision to establish a military facility in Resolute Bay in the Northwest Passage was not intended to reassert “Canadian sovereignty. In fact quite the opposite. It was established in consultation with Washington. A deep-water port at Nanisivik, on the northern tip of Baffin Island is also envisaged.
The US administration is firmly behind the Canadian government’s decision. The latter does not “reassert Canadian sovereignty”. Quite the opposite. It is a means to eventually establish US territorial control over Canada’s entire Arctic region including its waterways. This territory would eventually fall under the jurisdiction of US Northern Command (NORTHCOM).
The Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement (SPP)
The Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement (SPP) signed between the US, Canada and Mexico contemplates the formation of a North American Union (NAU), a territorial dominion, extending from the Caribbean to the Canadian arctic territories.
The SPP is closely related to the Binational Planning Group initiative. An Independent Task Force sponsored by The Council on Foreign Relations calls for the transformation of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) into a “multiservice Defense Command”. The CFR document entitled “North American Community” drafted on behalf of the SPP endorses the BPG March 2006 recommendations:
“As recommended in a report of the Canadian-U.S. Joint Planning Group [BPG], NORAD should evolve into a multiservice Defense Command that would expand the principle of Canadian-U.S. joint command to land and naval as well as air forces engaged in defending the approaches to North America. In addition, Canada and the United States should reinforce other bilateral defense institutions, including the Permanent Joint Board on Defense and Joint Planning Group, and invite Mexico to send observers.
(North American Community, Task Force documented sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) together with the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the Consejo Mexicano de Asuntos Internacionales)
The accession of Canada to this Multiservice Defense Command, as recommended by the CFR, has already been established, signed and sealed, approved by the Canadian Parliament in May 2006, in the context of the renewal of the NORAD agreement.
In all likelihood, the formal merging of “the renewed NORAD” and US NORTHCOM will be on the agenda at the August Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement (SPP) Summit meeting of President Bush, Prime Minister Harper and President Calderon at Montebello, Quebec. This decision would lead to the formation of a US-Canada NORTHCOM, with a new name, but with substantially the same NORTHCOM rhetorical mandate of “defending the Northern American Homeland” against terrorist attacks. The military of both the US and Canada would also be called to play an increasing role in civilian law enforcement activities.
The real objective underlying the SPP is to militarize civilian institutions and repeal democratic government.
“Integration” or the “Annexation” of Canada?
Canada is contiguous to “the center of the empire”. Territorial control over Canada is part of the US geopolitical and military agenda. It is worth recalling in this regard, that throughout history, the “conquering nation” has expanded on its immediate borders, acquiring control over contiguous territories.
Military integration is intimately related to the ongoing process of integration in the spheres of trade, finance and investment. Needless to say, a large part of the Canadian economy is already in the hands of US corporate interests. In turn, the interests of big business in Canada tend to coincide with those of the US.
Canada is already a de facto economic protectorate of the USA. NAFTA has not only opened up new avenues for US corporate expansion, it has laid the groundwork under the existing North American umbrella for the post 9/11 integration of military command structures, public security, intelligence and law enforcement.
No doubt, Canada’s entry into US Northern Command will be presented to public opinion as part of Canada-US “cooperation”, as something which is “in the national interest”, which “will create jobs for Canadians”, and “will make Canada more secure”.
Ultimately what is at stake is that beneath the rhetoric, Canada will cease to function as a Nation:
-Its borders will be controlled by US officials and confidential information on Canadians will be shared with Homeland Security.
-US troops and Special Forces will be able to enter Canada as a result of a binational arrangement.
-Canadian citizens can be arrested by US officials, acting on behalf of their Canadian counterparts and vice versa.
But there is something perhaps even more fundamental in defining and understanding where Canada and Canadians stand as nation.
By endorsing a Canada-US “integration” in the spheres of defense, homeland security, police and intelligence, Canada not remains a full fledged member of George W. Bush’s “Coalition of the Willing”, it will directly participate, through integrated military command structures, in the US war agenda in Central Asia and the Middle East, including the massacre of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, the torture of POWs, the establishment of concentration camps, etc.
Canada would no longer have an independent foreign policy. Under an integrated North American Command, a North American national security doctrine would be formulated. Canada would be obliged to embrace Washington’s pre-emptive military doctrine, its bogus “war on terrorism which is used as a pretext for waging war in the Middle East.
The Canadian judicial system would be affected. Moreover, binational integration in the areas of Homeland security, immigration, policing of the US-Canada border, not to mention the anti-terrorist legislation, would imply pari passu acceptance of the US sponsored police State, its racist policies, its “ethnic profiling” directed against Muslims, the arbitrary arrest of anti-war activists.