ADDITIONAL WORRISOME DEFICITS IN THE DEBATE ON BILL C-51:
1. (addressed earlier) 2015-02-25 The public debate on Bill C-51 (Secret Police) should include context, the comprehensive SURVEILLANCE that is already in place
2. “Terrorism” is being used to mean anything. By definition it is violence aimed at CIVILIAN POPULATIONS. Terrorists kill and terrorize innocent women, children, and men. That is DIFFERENT from the killing of SOLDIERS. If you kill soldiers from a country that is at war with your country, that is NOT an act of terrorism. It goes with the territory.
The Government and Journalists are irresponsible when they plaster the word “terrorism” on events that are not terrorist events. It is an emotional word that creates fear.
3. Decisions about C-51 need to incorporate the factual information that reveals:
The Government and Police clearly believe that the Laws do not apply to them. Which means they believe they cannot be held accountable to the Rule of Law.
Bill C-51 needs to be thrown out, for this reason, too. . . . Read on.
– – – – – – – – –
Bill C-51, the Anti-Terrorism Law
Canadians know by experience what happens when the Government and its Police Force apply the word “terrorist” to a person. Instantly, it puts the Government and Police outside the Rule of Law.
The Laws apply to us, but not to them. Which means that we do not have the Rule of Law. (In a democracy, the rules apply to everyone, regardless of status – – a basic principle of democracy)
Canadians know through more than one example: the Government and Police have become an elite not bound by the Laws.
The Laws in a democracy:
- do not allow holding a person in jail without charges being brought against them.
- do not allow a person to be held indefinitely without a fair trial – – due process.
- trials are open to the public. People are not tried and sentenced in secret.
- the Laws do not allow anyone to be tortured.
(Torture is gratuitous violence. Surely no one believes that I will tell the truth if they torture me. If they torture me, I will say whatever they want me to say; all I want is for the pain, humiliation, and fear to stop. Torture is a really dumb, not to mention inhumane and highly illegal strategy. And yet the Harper Government stood by it: give me a break. Note also (below) conclusion #1 of the U.S. Senate Report on Terror, Dec 2014 – – torture was not an effective way of gaining intelligence. Quite the opposite.)
Using just one example of what happens in Canada, a case I am more familiar with than the others: the word “terrorist” was applied to 15-year-old Omar Khadr. (2010-05-11 Omar Khadr, updates from his trial) Which exempted the Government of Stephen Harper and the RCMP from the Rule of Law:
- Khadr was held in detention for ten years without charge.
- Was there a trial open to the public?
- Not when the military and the Government might be held to account – – the torture and the illegality of it at Guantanamo and Bagram is well-known.
There have been no Charges against those who broke the Laws.
Harper simply acted in accordance with the American military / CIA. The U.S. Senate Committee Report on Torture, Senator Dianne Feinstein chair, reported on December 3, 2014:
Findings listed in the report
The 6,000-page report produced 20 key findings. They are, verbatim from the unclassified summary report:
(This is a numbered list (1., 2.,3,..) on my typed page. But the uploaded page shows a…b…c…. I don’t know how to correct it. Sorry.)
- The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.
- The CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.
- The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others.
- The conditions of confinement for CIA detainees were harsher than the CIA had represented to policymakers and others.
- The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice (DOJ), impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
- The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.
- The CIA impeded effective White House oversight and decision-making.
- The CIA’s operation and management of the program complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies.
- The CIA impeded oversight by the CIA’s Office of Inspector General.
- The CIA coordinated the release of classified information to the media, including inaccurate information concerning the effectiveness of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.
- The CIA was unprepared as it began operating its Detention and Interrogation Program more than six months after being granted detention authorities.
- The CIA’s management and operation of its Detention and Interrogation Program was deeply flawed throughout the program’s duration, particularly so in 2002 and early 2003.
- Two contract psychologists devised the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program.
- CIA detainees were subjected to coercive interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA Headquarters.
- The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained, and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA’s claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced interrogation techniques were inaccurate.
- The CIA failed to adequately evaluate the effectiveness of its enhanced interrogation techniques.
- The CIA rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable for serious or significant violations, inappropriate activities, and systematic and individual management failures.
- The CIA marginalized and ignored numerous internal critiques, criticisms, and objections concerning the operation and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.
- The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program was inherently unsustainable and had effectively ended by 2006 due to unauthorized press disclosures, reduced cooperation from other nations, and legal and oversight concerns.
- The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program damaged the United States’ standing in the world, and resulted in other significant monetary and non-monetary costs.
Other lists in the Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture include:
- Examples of torture and abuse of prisoners
- Misleading information provided by the CIA
- Innocent people imprisoned by the CIA
(These “other lists” are at Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture, I won’t copy them here.)
Stephen Harper has not been held to account for the failure to get Khadr out of Guatanamo. Every other western nation removed their citizens from Gitmo – – the torture being done there was well-known. Books were written about it.
Presumably, the leadership of the countries who removed their citizens, Australia for example, understood that they would be acting outside the law, and would therefore be subject to prosecution, if they knowingly left their ctiizens in Gitmo when they KNEW that torture was part of the game.
The reason Stephen Harper could leave Khadr in Guantanamo to my thinking, is that he believes he is above the Rule of Law, that the laws do not apply to him. He believes he will never be held to account for his role in illegal activity.
Aside: I believe that members of the Bush Administration, and others, will eventually be brought to Justice. See the CHRONOLOGY OF INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO GET BUSH ARRESTED Arrest George Bush. Rule of Law essential to democracy. The efforts have never stopped.
An interview with Louise Arbour, March 5, 2015 on CBC Radio, The Current, explains the complication that the U.S. is not a signatory to the International Law that established the International Criminal Court (ICC).
I would understand, then, that Bush’s lawyers advised him to cancel out of a talk he was to give in Geneva because he was at risk of being arrested for war crimes in that jurisdiction. He is at lower risk in the U.S. Some “influential” Americans are no longer travelling abroad.
The U.K. and Canada are signatories to the particular international law. I wonder if Justice, the Rule of Law, can be stronger than propaganda and national pride? Spain was behind the prosecution of Pinochet (Chile) for war crimes. Al-Bashir, President of Sudan, who was the driving force behind the prosecution of him? … it would be interesting to review the record – – outside nations versus the nation itself bringing charges against its leaders who bear some responsibility for war crimes.
(RE: ARBOUR. Among many accomplishments, she was the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, a former justice of the Supreme Court of Canada and a former Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda. She signed the letter from former Prime Ministers and Supreme Court Justices pointing out the dangers of Bill C-51.)
Media coverage of Bill C-51 talks about secret police and the further reduction in citizen rights.
There should be more effort to help people understand the impact that C-51 would have (if passed) on the ability of the Government, Police and Corporate elites to continue to defy the Rule of Law (I add “Corporate” elites because torture was “out-sourced” to, for example, Lockheed Martin Corporation through its subsidiary Sytex) .
REFERENCE: “Key Finding” above, #13: Two contract psychologists devised the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques and played a central role in the operation, assessments, and management of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program. By 2005, the CIA had overwhelmingly outsourced operations related to the program.
These elites already hold the view that the Laws of the land do not apply to them. George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Tony Blair can get away with crimes that persons from other (“not developed”) nations are prosecuted for. Why would Canadian leaders NOT think that they can get away with knowingly participating in torture?
C-51 takes the dismantling of democratic principles a step further: there will be none of the checks and balances that are known to be a necessity to prevent abuse of power. C-51 is a power grab by the Prime Minister. Very dangerous, police-state territory we are in.
2015-03-02 DAY OF ACTION AGAINST BILL C-51
You may also be interested in: 2013-10-27 Ego – its role in putting democracy to rest. (Ego wants to see the self as “good”. National identity is part of ego. Ego avoids information that conflicts with the perception that Canadians do good things in the world.)