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Winnipeg: International Call to Action

road | 18.01.2006 15:24 | Anti-militarism | Social Struggles | London | World


The following is a call to join Winnipeg in opposing the occupation of
our city by an imperialist army, the Canadian Armed Forces. At the
bottom is an article from the Winnipeg Free Press with details of the
planned urban-warfare exercises.


The following is a call to join Winnipeg in opposing the occupation of
our city by an imperialist army, the Canadian Armed Forces. At the
bottom is an article from the Winnipeg Free Press with details of the
planned urban-warfare exercises. Please circulate this to as many
different people as possible, and make plans to be here in this crucial
time. Every effort will be made to facilitate lodging and other
arrangements. Send back comments – and then numbers of people and when
your group can arrive so we can organize from our end.

Stop the ‘Charging Bison’ in its tracks!

Beginning April 30th of this year, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) will be
conducting a week-long, large-scale urban-warfare exercise in downtown
Winnipeg. Taking place over May Day, International Worker’s Day, this
exercise is an outrageous provocation toward people’s movements and must
be opposed and resisted.

Around the world, the maple-leaf flown by the CAF has come to represent
murder, torture and oppression to those unlucky enough to see it flying.
In Afghanistan, Canadian Forces are helping to prop-up and defend a
vicious theocracy that is completely opposed to the basic interests of the
people there. In Haiti, Canadian Forces worked together with France and
the US to carry out a coup d’etat against the elected president of Haiti,
Jean-Bertrand Aristide, and to install a government of business elites who
are opening the already extremely-poor country to even more exploitation.

The urban-warfare exercise, already given the sobriquet ‘Operation
Charging Bison,’ will serve to train the CAF to better carry out their
reactionary, anti-people, anti-peace, counter-revolutionary, and
pro-imperialist role.

We, the activists of the World People’s Resistance Movement (Winnipeg) are
therefore calling for massive resistance. In the weeks leading up to
‘Operating Charging Bison’ we will be conducting mass work in the nearby
neighborhoods and communities where the exercises will be taking place.
This mass work will serve to build up a basis of support for the upcoming
actions as well as give us an opportunity to engage with the masses around
the questions of internationalism, anti-imperialism, opposition to unjust
war, and the possibilities of a much better world. During the operation
itself we will be participating in many diverse actions, including (but
certainly not limited to!) a May Day march calling for the withdrawal of
all Canadian troops from Haiti, Afghanistan, and our city. It is abhorrent
that they will be training to put down legitimate resistance movements –
and we need to ensure that they are not welcome.

In short, we want to change the whole political terrain, both in this city
and around the world. We want to put opposition to Canada’s terrible role
in Haiti and Afghanistan in the mainstream. We want to make a splash so
big that no one in the country will be able to ignore it. We want to send
a message to the people of the whole world -- from Port-au-Prince to
Kadahar to Fallujah – that we stand with them, against our government, in
unity and in hope for all-the-way liberation.

Drop your plans and come to Winnipeg for the weeks leading up to May Day.
Help place Winnipeg in the same category as Seattle, Quebec City, and
Genoa. Be part of history in the making. Because the world can’t wait.

World People’s Resistance Movement (Winnipeg)

Winnipeg Free Press
Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

Army to occupy downtown

Spring exercise to turn city into 'battleground'

Tuesday, December 27th, 2005

By David O'Brien

MORE than 500 army troops, backed by helicopters, armoured vehicles and
artillery, will turn downtown Winnipeg into an armed camp as part of a
military exercise to train soldiers for the modern battlefield.

Exercise Charging Bison will unfold for seven days and nights beginning
April 30 next year in what is believed to be the largest urban warfare
training exercise of its kind ever held in Canada.

There won't be live ammunition, but there will be laser weapons and a
variety of blanks and 'simunition' -- or simulated munitions -- that make
noise and smoke or discharge harmless projectiles.

The drill is designed to simulate the kind of complex conditions soldiers
would encounter in places such as Afghanistan and Iraq, where conventional
warfare is conducted simultaneously with humanitarian relief operations
and nation-building, said Col. Kelly Woiden, commander of 38 Brigade.

Urban battlefields are sometimes known as "three-block wars" because
troops could help people on one block, fight insurgents on another, and
guard convoys on another, Woiden explained.

"We're going to create a realistic environment of the situation that
individual soldiers can face today," he said. "You could be doing
humanitarian relief one moment and then fighting a war the next. It is the
most complicated terrain for a soldier."

The operation is also part of a long-term plan to prepare 200 of the
brigade's soldiers to support a 1,000-person task force in 2008, if
necessary, he said.

The 38 Brigade is a reserve unit responsible for a dozen formations in
Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario.

It will provide most of the personnel for the exercise, although some will
come from British Columbia and Alberta, and possibly from the United
States, Woiden said, adding 17 Wing will also provide logistics support.

About 100 police officers and civilians will be given a role in the
exercise, either as opposing forces or relief organizations.

The military may also recruit drama students from the University of
Manitoba to play the roles of demonstrators or insurgents.

"The purpose is to learn and we may rerun the same scenario several
times," Woiden said.

The operation will occupy a large swath of downtown Winnipeg from Balmoral
Street on the west, south to the Assiniboine River, north to the CP Rail
tracks and east into The Forks and St. Boniface.

Woiden said the exercise is still in the planning stages and the
boundaries could change.

A base camp will be established on the western edge of the city, but there
will be smaller camps downtown, he said.

The exercise will continue night and day, but Woiden said he did not
anticipate any significant disruption of traffic or commercial operations.

Military observers will keep score and determine who was killed and who
was wounded during the exercise.

"This is different than traditional training when the infantry were facing
open ground in front of them, with soldiers in a different uniform,"
Woiden said. "This is much more complex because we don't know who the
enemy is or where the threats are."

Reserve units have been used in the past to fill out the ranks of the
regular force, but Woiden said the military now wants the militia trained
to higher level of combat readiness.


The mission

What: Operation Charging Bison will involve 500 troops training in
downtown Winnipeg.
Who: The operation is run by 38 Brigade.
Why: It’s designed to train troops in urban warfare.
Where: A base camp will be set up on the western edge of the city, but
most of the exercises will take place in the downtown.
When: Day and night between April 30 and May 6.



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  1. Ignorance is not bliss.. — Joe .L.