December 6 2003
I just read the story about your proposing a Canadian version of the US "Office of Homeland Security" Time to consider need for national security agency, says solicitor general and I have a number of concerns about this undertaking.
FIrst, I do not have any serious objections to maintaining necessary security in Canada, and your general proposal of a review of the situation seems reasonable - but it seems to me that you are putting the cart before the horse, to use an old farming expression I am sure you are familiar with, in a couple of important ways - and indeed, the Canadian government has been doing so for the last couple of years, since SOMEBODY drove some planes into the World Trade Center in New York, and something else blew a hole in the Pentagon. I would urge you to recall, Wayne, that there has as yet been NO official investigation of any sort into the tragedies of that day, only a huge amount of, if you look past the hysterical presentation, almost wholly unsubstantiated innuendo about certain Muslim terrorist groups - and until such an investigation is conducted - and I mean in a fully open and transparent manner, not some farcical coverup such as, for instance, the infamous Warren Report into the Kennedy assassination or, closer to home, the mysteriously truncated Somalia inquiry a few years back here in Canada - then we have no business at all implementing policy on the basis of these unsubstantiated conspiracy theories concerning the very serious matter of terrorism as propagated by the American government and media (and certain segments of the Canadian government and media as well, unfortunately) - a government which, I might add, has just had its willingness to lie egregiously and shamelessly in pursuit of its goals undeniably demonstrated concerning their invasion of Iraq - EVERY major justification they gave for that invasion, starting over a year ago, has turned out to be a lie, as you well know. So why then should we believe their rather fantastical conspiracy theories about fanatical Arabs in caves in Afghanistan hijacking planes to cause terrorist acts in the US because they "hate freedom and democracy"?!?!? It is, quite frankly, a highly unlikely fantasy, and I am more than a little disappointed and saddened that the Canadian government is not being a little more skeptical about those stories. And very, very concerned that we are setting government policy for Canada based on such unsubstantiated bogeyman stories - we can do much better than that, Wayne, and should be.
So first, I would strongly recommend that before you jump the gun with your rather Stalinesque-sounding "Homeland Security" plan, you first conduct a full and OPEN inquiry into just what danger Canada and Canadians are in from so-called "terrorists" and "terrorism" (I use the quotation marks because the words are greatly overused these days, and very subjectively so - it seems that anybody who does anything against the US government or that it does not like these days is liable to have the term attached to them, but in reality the US government itself is currently, in the opinion of many, the greatest terrorist organisation in the world).
Such an inquiry ought to address such questions as:
First) exactly what are we going to define as a "terrorist" act - that is, a suicide bomber blowing him or herself up in an Israeli bus would undoubtedly qualify - but what about the Israeli army firing missiles into civilian areas in Palestine, and blowing up an equal or greater number of civilians? Is "terrorism" to be defined by the weapons or methods used, or the current relationship our government has with the people doing the killing (that is, "good" killing vs "bad" killing), or what? We really should have a clear and unambiguous answer to such a question, to help us deal with the situation - and a clear and unambiguous answer decided by the people of Canada rather than the government of George Bush, I might add.
Second) I also think it is absolutely necessary to clarify as much as possible, with actual evidence rather than rumor and innuendo and hysteria, what exactly happened that most notorious day we now call 911 two years ago - there are more holes than in Swiss cheese in the official story, yet nobody in official circles seems interested in getting at the truth here - and that is bordering on international criminality itself, since the US has now bombed two mideast countries in the name of this act, without ever legally or officially establishing any guilt of anyone, anytime! And the Canadian government has participated fully in one of these actions, and even now has troops on the ground in harm's way in the name of this act - that has never been officially investigated or official guilt levied on anyone!! It is quite unbelievable, really, and I do not see how you can possibly justify all of the measures the Canadian government has taken since that day without such an investigation. The time for striking blindly at suspected perpetrators, and equally blindly following the endless shrill demands of the hysterical US government on the heels of that day for more bombing and violence against named-without-proof "enemies", is long, long past, as is the time for an official investigation, and I would suggest that the Canadian government do NOTHING else in the name of this "war" on terrorism (a ludicrous notion in itself, when you stop to look at it rather than running along blindly behind the Americans, since to whatever extent it exists or is a threat to Canada, the military is not the proper response, but a criminal investigation - calling it a "war" just adds to the hysteria and unclearness of the whole situation) until such an investigation has been undertaken and satisfactorily completed (which may be problematical, given the obvious intention of the US government to allow no such investigation to proceed - which is to many a rather obvious indication of some kind of complicity - I mean Wayne, WHO exactly has the greatest interest, in general, in preventing an investigation into any criminal situation - innocent people or guilty people?!?!?!).
And Third) The inquiry ought to then, based on the findings from the first two questions, try to determine exactly what if any danger Canada might face from "terrorists", and why.
Only after such a public inquiry has cleared up such all-important preliminary questions should it then move on to consider exactly what steps it might be appropriate for the Canadian government to take, depending on just what level of threat the public inquiry has found to be realisitic.
My belief is that such an inquiry, truly honestly and openly conducted, would find that the great majority of what we now call "terrorism" in the world might equally be called "freedom fighting" from the other perspective - a response to conditions that virtually anyone would consider unacceptable, and when they can achieve no satisfaction through normal means, then, as revolutions throughout history have shown, violence becomes inevitable. I am not condoning such activity, merely trying to clarify it - when, for instance, some Iraquis bomb some American soldiers, perhaps they are doing so not because they are evil animals who blindly hate democracy and love violence as the American government would prefer to portray them, but because they are angry Iraqi patriots who are very angry at a foreign power who has invaded and occupied their country, and want them gone!!!! (would King George the IV have called the American Patriots "terrorists" during the American Revolution?!?!?!? - or you would never, I am sure, suggest that French patriots during WWII were "terrorists" when they blew up German trains and killed German soldiers, would you?? - although undoubtedly the Germans did!!! - and the dominant German media would echo those sentiments at the time!!!) - I am simply saying that we need to have some perspective on this, and not blindly resort to violence every time something happens we don't like as seems to be the new American way under their PNAC initiative - but perhaps those who are using the violence against Americans have a reason for doing so, and the way to deal with it is not, as the Americans prefer, to take their guns and bombs and create even more violence, but to try to address the root causes of that violence.
I strongly suspect, Wayne, that any truly honest inquiry into the root causes of the current phenomena occurring around the world we are calling "terrorism" would find that the roots of the situation could be traced fairly directly back, in most cases, to western imperialism - primarily American, since WWII, but all western countries must share the blame, through their participation in such IFIs as the World Bank, IMF and ,more recently, the WTO, which have enslaved most of the so-called developing world through huge "loans", on which most of these countries are now required to pay substantial portions of their tiny national income in "debt service" charges, and also open their countries to inexcusable exploitation from wealthy and powerful western corporations - we can see the final step of this process in the new American PNAC policies, which state clearly that they will simply destroy any nation in the future that even looks as if it might become a military threat to the US (one might also note that they rather pointedly do NOT exclude "friendly" nations such as Canada!!). The western powers have also been instrumental in propping up military dictatorships with modern armaments in these countries which have been used to terrorize their own people, and looked the other way while such dictators have stolen hundreds of billions of dollars of this "loan" money.
And upon recognizing such things, we might then also be able to understand that to truly combat modern "terrorism", we must look not to Arabs in caves somewhere, or piously condemn "suicide bombers" and their innocent victims, but much, much closer to home, to our own policies of the last century in regard to international "relations", to remove the roots of their anger, and give them back their freedom and let them enjoy and prosper from the wealth of their labour and resources of their countries as they wish, rather than having it all stolen by western imperialist governments. (And yes, if we are to act in a truly humanitarian and progressive way, that will involve helping such countries get rid of brutal dictators - brutal dictators which it must be acnowledged were only able to take power with the help of our "aid" dollars and armaments!!) - but not through bombing the societies back to the stone age or invading their countries!! - peaceful change is possible if we truly want to help achieve this - for instance, a major first step would be to simply stopping providing such dicators with western arms, and they would very quickly lose their ability to maintain their brutal control over their citizens! Where there is a will, there is always a way - and we must simply acknolwedge that the western "will" over the last century and more has NOT been freedom and democracy for these countries, but exploitation and repression.
Harsh words, Wayne - but true. Very true.
I would finally suggest, Wayne, that in order to further engage the citizens of Canada in this, and clarify the issues involved, you do not take any precipitate action, but instead you and the Liberal Party make it part of your next election platform, coming up in a few months - the Liberals can thus portray themselves as the "Tough on Terrorism" party, perhaps, proposing closer ties to the US and their "anti-terrorism, for-us-or-against-us" regime, support the missile "defence" plan of George Bush, and so on - while the NDP and their allies could propose a much more moderate (and sane) Canadian policy (I think we are both aware that the new "united right - cum - conservative party" of the far right has pretty much written itself out of the future electoral history of Canada (as anything more than a fringe group, at any rate) with their recent merger - very few Canadians really want much to do with their extremist ideas, and the Liberals have now established themselves over the Chretien-Martin years quite firmly, in the shifting political sands of the current era in Canadian politics, as the party of "the right" in Canada, leaving a vacuum in the "center-left" that they occupied for most of the last half of the 20th century, leaving a void which a new party will sooner or later fill, as most Canadians seem to prefer that area politically), a policy that would see Canada attempting to reduce terrorist-type activity by removing the causes of such activity around the world through recognizing and starting to undo the terrible effects of the last century of western imperialism, and that believed that the path to the future might lie in stronger, more equal alliances with a peaceful rest-of-the-world rather than being a sycophant of the increasingly militaristic United States, and so on.
I would like to carry on a little longer, about the second part of your speech concerning the related area of international crime, but I fear I have gone on too long already, so will leave that for another time.
I do hope you will give these ideas some serious thought Wayne -
(citizen RM -30- -30- -30- etc)