Canada sends two warships to participate in Rim of Pacific war games near Hawaii
The Government of Canada has noted: “The Royal Canadian Navy will send two warships: HMCS Winnipeg and HMCS Regina with embarked shipborne helicopter detachments crewed by approximately 450 sailors and aviators.”
The two warships departed from Southern Vancouver Island on August 7 to take part in the war games that run from August 17-31.
Now, The Guardian reports: “The Rim of the Pacific (Rimpac) war games, which run through the end of August, come as Hawaii struggles to contain community spread of the coronavirus amid what has become the highest reproduction rate in the country.”
Significantly, the article highlights: “Critics of the exercise have protested against Rimpac for years, citing environmental degradation, increased sexual exploitation during military ‘liberty’ port visits, the unwanted militarization of indigenous land, water, and air, and now fear of increased Covid-19 risk.”
With respect to human rights violations, the article notes: “[Dr. Emalani] Case [a Kanaka Maoli and member of the Cancel Rimpac Coalition] says Indigenous voices are consistently ignored while Hawaii serves as a venue for training military forces who can export tactics learned at Rimpac as tools of oppression in their own countries. She points to Indonesian troops training at Rimpac and well-documented human rights violations of indigenous people in West Papua as what she calls ‘slow-motion genocide’.”
“Rimpac was established in 1971 as a joint exercise between Australia, Canada, and the US. In recent years, the biennial exercise has grown to include countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region and far beyond.”
The article adds: “Unlike past Rimpac exercises, this year there will be no amphibious assaults, no urban combat or sniper training, and no land-launched artillery, missiles or rockets. Instead, the exercise will focus on multination anti-submarine warfare, maritime intercept operations, and at sea live-fire training events that include a sinking exercise in which a decommissioned ship is fired upon and sunk in deep water.”
The Canadian Voice of Women for Peace has highlighted: “The Canadian government should be focusing time, resources, and money on citizens struggling during a pandemic rather than on a military show with other countries.”
VOW adds: “Canada has stated its full support of the United Nations call for a global ceasefire in order to combat COVID-19, yet still plans to participate in RIMPAC 2020. The global ceasefire was called by the UN to mobilize countries to focus on the current global pandemic which requires resources, money and consistent monitoring in order to be managed to lessen mortality rates.”
Last year, the Canadian Press reported that the Parliamentary Budget Officers estimated Canada’s plan to build 15 new warships starting in 2023-2024 will cost $69.8 billion over the next 26 years.
The full Guardian article can be read at ‘Bombs can’t kill viruses’: Hawaii faces backlash as international war games approach.