Sovereignty in Jeopardy: the Militarization of North America
By Michel Chossudovsky
-- 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.
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.
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),
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."
Relations - Defense Partnership – July 2003, Canadian
American Strategic Review (CASR),
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.'"
and US Northern Command
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.
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
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",
improve current Canada–United States arrangements to
defend against primarily maritime threats to the
continent and respond to land-based attacks, should they
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.
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.
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.
2006, two months before the end of its mandate, the BPG
published a task force document on North American security
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
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
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)
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
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.
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
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.
Deployment of US Troops on Canadian Soil
outset of US Northern Command in April 2002, Canada accepted
the right of the US to deploy US troops on Canadian soil.
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)
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
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.
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.
Military Facility in Resolute Bay
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.
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
Security and Prosperity Partnership Agreement (SPP)
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
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:
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
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)
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.
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.
objective underlying the SPP is to militarize civilian
institutions and repeal democratic government.
"Integration" or the "Annexation" of Canada?
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
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.
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.
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
what is at stake is that beneath the rhetoric, Canada will
cease to function as a Nation:
borders will be controlled by US officials and
confidential information on Canadians will be shared
with Homeland Security.
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
But there is
something perhaps even more fundamental in defining and
understanding where Canada and Canadians stand as nation.
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.
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. .
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.