Dictatorship's Self-Serving Anti-Terrorist Agenda
Harper Dictatorship's Self-Serving
When Does a Group or an Individual
Pose a Danger to Society?
It is clear that there are a lot of people across the
country who are very
disturbed by recent events. Under such circumstances, it is not
fruitful to incite
passions and fuel tensions by presenting opinion as fact as the Prime
and his Ministers have done and continue to do, or to enact more
which is self-serving and destroys the standards and due process
by a civil society based on the Rule of Law, as the Prime Minister and
Ministers are planning to do. On the contrary, what needs to be done is
into the heart of the matter and appeal to all people to draw warranted
conclusions and unite on that basis. The issue is to focus on what will
the crisis in favour of the people and what will not. The outlook that
Might Makes Right and enacts legislation on a self-serving basis will
permit any problem to be sorted out. On the contrary, it exacerbates
problems which already exist. This is especially true when the outlook
and targets mentally ill and socially displaced people for attack in
the name of
In this context, the question has been raised of when a
group or individual
pose a danger to society. Linked to this is whether a group or
the right to preach whatever they wish. The answer is that while such a
does exist, nobody can have the right to violate the standards of human
behaviour achieved by society. If a society is to be considered truly
democratic, merely holding or giving an opinion cannot be considered a
However, when an opinion is put into practice and turned into life, it
be closely scrutinized, not only in accordance with the prevailing
and political system but most importantly on the basis of the accepted
standards of behaviour. For instance, should an individual hold an
cannibalism is an expression of the highest form of civilized behaviour
preach such an opinion, they are free to do so. And so too those who
such a view must be free to do so. But as soon as such an opinion is
implemented, it becomes a crime, something which has been rejected by
established standards of human behaviour, judged according to the
norms which guarantee due process.
In this regard, the greatest
danger to the society is not posed by individuals
who commit crimes, because all the mechanisms are in place to bring
trial and hold them to account. The greatest danger is posed when
pass laws and endorse practices which permit ministers and security
to act with impunity, on the basis of arbitrariness, not Rule of Law.
such laws and practices go against the standards achieved by human
and their society and in fact constitute crimes, despite the opinion of
who enact such laws that they do not, then society faces a serious
The problem is that for governments to carry out their
activities, they confound fact and opinion. On this basis not of fact
but of their
opinion, they inflame passions and spread disinformation for
For instance, when speaking to Parliament on October 23,
the day after the
soldier was killed in Ottawa, Harper ignored the fact that the
behind the attacks is yet to be established and declared them to be
"Mr. Speaker, with regard to the events of yesterday and
in recent days,
a number of questions remain and will all be answered over the course
police security investigations.
"But I can tell the House this today: the objective of
both of those attacks
was to spread fear and panic in our country and to interrupt the
He proceeded to treat his opinion as if it were fact to
justify more legislation which
suppresses the rights of the people:
"For that reason and with the belief and security that
Canada is the
government's primary responsibility, we have over the years passed such
legislation as the Combating Terrorism Act and the
Strengthening Canadian Citizenship Act to better
Canadians and secure institutions.
"Last week, our Government proposed amendments to the
which the Canadian Security Intelligence Service operates.
"And as you know, Mr. Speaker, in recent weeks I've been
saying that our
laws and police powers need to be strengthened in the area of
attention and arrest.
"They need to be much strengthened and I assure you, Mr.
work which is already underway will be expedited."
News agency reports also corroborate that laws will be
passed which take
away the rights of citizens and residents on the basis of this
unsubstantiated opinion presented as fact. The Canadian Press points
out the Conservatives are
hinting that "more powers are needed to make pre-emptive arrests
deadly attacks on soldiers in Ottawa and St-Jean-sur-Richelieu, Que.
"That would come in addition to long-planned legislation
that would give
the Canadian Security Intelligence Service more power to track terror
abroad and provide blanket identity protection for the agency's human
CP points out that "Under existing provisions, leaving
Canada to take part
in terrorism abroad is a criminal offence.
"In addition, police have the power to make a preventive
arrest of anyone
suspected of planning a terrorist attack.
"They can also require people with information relevant
investigation of a past or future terrorist act to appear before a
This shows how dangerous it is for a group or an
individual who holds
opinions to go beyond advocating that their view should be considered
everything else and instead turn this opinion into law. It violates the
principles of democracy and poses grave dangers to society.
experience shows that the Canadian state and its agencies have more
not been implicated in sting operations which have incited individuals
out acts that they themselves, on their own, would neither think of
out, nor have the means to carry out. The individuals are subsequently
for the attacks. The state then provides itself with justification for
repressive measures, saying it stopped many more attacks thanks to its
This is what the Harper government is doing. It is
the right to conscience and is planning to ban it outright. It shows
government has itself become extremist. It justifies its actions on the
replacing facts with its own opinion, reverting to the medieval
defamation and outlawing individuals with whom it does not agree. Once
individual is declared an outlaw, he or she is "fair game" -- that is,
a target of
Furthermore, it continues to uphold double standards.
While condoning and
practising state terrorism in the name of the war on terror, it shouts
it is for rights and democracy.
For instance, it is a matter of public record that the
says it wants to stop "young jihadists" from committing terrorist acts.
the name of defending democratic values, it does nothing to stop the
approximately 145 Canadians enlisted in the Israeli Defense Forces
some 30 from Ontario alone, despite the fact that the IDF have
heinous crimes against the people of Gaza. Instead, the Harper
calls anyone who supports the Palestinian Resistance anti-Semitic,
which is a
hate crime. It has defunded organizations which support humanitarian
Palestine. People are asking whether it will now also imprison all
hold political opinions in favour of those who wage resistance
over the world? Will those who support the people of Venezuela, Cuba,
Palestine and Syria who are fighting foreign interference and terrorism
also be called terrorists?
Opinions about this or that group or individual cannot
replace hard facts.
The hard facts show that it is the actions of the Harper government
home and abroad which pose the greatest danger to society at this time.
individual right to conscience must be affirmed not violated. This goes
in hand with taking firm stands against all those who instigate or
violence. Everything has to be looked at according to its own merit.
Government of Canada must stop declaring that the violation of rights
and of international law abroad makes Canadians safer. Its duty is to
the rights of all. The conception that democratic liberties have
limits which are then defined on a self-serving basis is not a modern
conception or standard of behaviour. Rights belong to the holder by
being human. Those who trample them underfoot attack the very being of
targeted individuals, minorities and organizations and thus the very
The aim of legislation cannot be suppression at home and
This is why it is so important to take a bold stand in defence of the
all at this time. Let us unite all honest and sincere individuals and
bring about the renewal of the democratic institutions and process in a
which upholds the rights of all and provides them with a guarantee.
This is the
way to guarantee the security of Canada and its peoples.
Spying on Canadians
Harper Dictatorship Seeks to Increase Arbitrary
Powers of Warrantless
Private Information with Bills C-13 and S-4
Bill C-13, An Act to amend the Criminal Code, the
Act, the Competition Act and the Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal
Act passed third reading in the House of Commons on October 20 and
then passed first reading in the Senate on October 21. Also known as
the Protecting Canadians from Online Crime Act, and
the cyberbullying bill, it was first introduced on November 20,
Justice Minister Peter MacKay. Great concern has been raised by the
that although the bill makes it illegal to distribute intimate images
consent, its main thrust is to grant new powers to the police and the
violate the right to privacy of Canadians. It would also grant immunity
telecom providers who hand over their customers' private information to
authorities without a warrant.
Meanwhile, a similar piece
of legislation, Bill S-4, An
Act to amend
the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act and to
make a consequential amendment to another Act (Short Title: Digital
Act), was referred to second
reading in the House
of Commons on October 20. Bill S-4 purports to "enhance online privacy"
permits internet service providers/telecom companies to hand over
information to any organization investigating a possible breach of
S-4 was introduced in the Senate on October 16, 2013.
Recent news reports indicate the rate at which
private data is
being handed over to state agencies under existing laws. For
telecommunications companies gave individual customer data to the
Border Services Agency (CBSA) 18,849 times between April 2012 and March
2013. This information includes the content of voice mails and text
websites visited and the rough location of where a cellphone call was
according to government data. In 99 per cent of cases, the CBSA asked
and received basic subscriber information without obtaining a warrant.
was handed over in all but 25 cases. In 2011, three telecom providers
disclosed information from 785,000 customer accounts.
In most cases, the
companies could have rejected the requests and asked that a warrant be
obtained. However, Canada Border Services appears to have an
with telecoms whereby basic subscriber information is handed over
without a warrant, news reports state.
In a May 2 Toronto Star op-ed Michael
Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law at the University of
Faculty of Law, points out that Bill C-13 will expand warrantless
of subscriber information to law enforcement by including an immunity
provision from any criminal or civil liability (including class action
for companies that voluntarily disclose personal information without
warrant. The immunity provision makes it more likely that disclosures
occur without a warrant since the legal risks associated with such
Geist added that Bill S-4 proposes extending the ability
subscriber information without a warrant from law enforcement to
sector organizations. The bill includes a provision that allows
disclose personal information without consent (and without a court
any organization that is investigating a contractual breach or possible
of any law. This applies to both past breaches or violations as well as
future violations. The disclosure occurs in secret without the
knowledge of the
Geist also pointed out that "the industry has
steadfastly refused to
address the lack of transparency concerns regarding its practices.
admit that they do not notify customers that their information has been
requested, thereby denying them the ability to challenge the demand in
Moreover, documents released earlier this year suggest that companies
as Bell have even established a law enforcement database that may
authorities with direct access to subscriber information. The systems
create great efficiencies for law enforcement -- click, access
and receive a bill from the telecom company -- but they suggest a
is entirely devoid of oversight with even the Privacy Commissioner
from ensuring compliance with the law."
Bill C-13 and Supreme Court Ruling on Privacy Rights
Last June the Supreme Court declared that law
enforcement requires a
warrant to get even basic subscriber data.
"A warrantless search, such as the one that occurred in
this case, is
presumptively unreasonable," Justice Thomas Cromwell wrote for the
"The Crown bears the burden of rebutting this
The ruling also addressed the broader constitutional
issues raised in Section
8 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which protects
Canadians' privacy rights from unlawful search and seizure.
"In my view, in the totality of the circumstances of
this case, there is a
reasonable expectation of privacy in the subscriber information,"
"The disclosure of this information will often amount to
of a user with intimate or sensitive activities being carried out
on the understanding that these activities would be anonymous."
Government Tracking of Protests
Newly released documents show that the federal
government has tracked
some 800 demonstrations across Canada and around the world since 2006,
including "uneventful protests" and public university lectures.
These surveillance reports, in some cases provided by
CSIS or the
RCMP, were collected centrally by the Government Operations Centre, an
agency ostensibly assigned to prepare the federal government's response
emergencies. Some reports on international protests were collected by
Affairs, but the majority focused on domestic events, especially First
protests and environmental activism, the Toronto Star reports.
The documents, tabled in Parliament, indicate that the
level of surveillance
is not consistent with simply monitoring protests. Examples of these
surveillance reports include that of a September 2013 panel discussion
Concordia University on historical colonialism and race
Quebec, prepared by the RCMP. Another covers a May 2012 rally in Ottawa
by the Public Service Alliance of Canada and the Canadian Union of
Employees. And the list goes on: "Protests against a Canadian mining
in Brazil last September. A Montreal march and vigil for missing and
murdered aboriginal women in September 2013. A public discussion in
Toronto on the oilsands in August 2013. A workshop in non-violent
methods in Montreal in October 2013. Public Safety reported a protest
'lobster fishers' in New Brunswick in May 2013, while a shrimp
protest in Newfoundland was reported by Fisheries and Oceans a year
"Larger events that made national news -- the Idle No
Occupy groups, various student protests in Montreal -- were also
"But the Government Operations Centre received
information on much
smaller events, like an account of the occupation of a band
office on the Pheasant Rump Nakota First Nation in 2011. The southern
Saskatchewan community has a population of 383 people, according to
"Numerous departments have contributed to the Government
Centre's intelligence collection, including Aboriginal Affairs, the
CSIS, and the Privy Council Office -- the bureaucrats that support the
minister and cabinet."
Communications Security Establishment Canada
TML is posting
below an item by OpenMedia.ca about the
Communications Security Establishment Canada, one of the government
agencies that is involved in spying on Canadians, in particular
private electronic communications.
What Is CSEC?
Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) is
national electronic intelligence agency, the Canadian counterpart to
National Security Agency (NSA).
CSEC is supposed to secretly collect electronic
overseas in order to advance Canadian interests -- however their actual
operations are shrouded in secrecy. Even former CSEC chief John Adams
recently admitted: "[t]here's no question that CSEC is very, very
towards the less the public knows the better."
After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the
was also given unprecedented new powers to intercept the private
communications of Canadians and was told to collect private information
citizens. CSEC is required to have policies in place to protect the
Canadians, but it has not provided those policies to Canadians.
How Much Does CSEC Cost?
CSEC's budget has doubled in just the last 10 years. We
now spend $350
million in taxpayer dollars every single year on CSEC. Taxpayers are
the hook for over $4 billion to build and operate a new headquarters
which the CBC has called a "spy palace" and "the most expensive
building ever built."
Does CSEC Really Spy on Canadians?
Yes. Legal experts warn that CSEC uses secret
to read Canadians' emails and text messages, and listen to their phone
when Canadians are communicating with someone outside the country. So
every time you contact a friend or relative in the U.S., that
subject to CSEC spying.
Without these ministerial authorizations, this kind of
spying on our private
communications would be illegal. Sadly, the authorizations are very
don't even need to specify who'll be targeted or what information
Using a ministerial authorization, CSEC can read the
content of emails and
text messages, listen to the content of phone conversations, and watch
chats. Worst of all, the authorizations are kept secret -- this spying
anyone, at any time, and we wouldn't even know when we've been
Why Are You Concerned About All This?
CSEC now has enormous power to intercept our private
without any checks and balances or judicial oversight.
This is completely unlike the much stronger safeguards
that protect us
from other government spying agencies, such as CSIS and the RCMP. Those
agencies need to get a judge to sign a warrant before they can monitor
Unchecked government surveillance is a big threat to our
freedoms. Most Canadians don't want government spies monitoring their
everyday communications -- especially without any reasonable safeguards.
People Are Talking a Lot About Metadata --
What Is This
and Why Is it Important?
Under top secret authorizations from the Defence
Minister, CSEC is
allowed to collect metadata from Canadians. Metadata is highly
information that's automatically created every time you send an email
message, make a phone call, or search the Internet.
For example, if you phone a friend, the metadata would
phone number, your friend's phone number, the time and date of the
the length of the conversation.
By collecting similar information on all your phone
calls, texts, Internet
searches, and emails, CSEC can build a detailed picture of your
and your relationships with other Canadians.
Again, this widespread and hugely invasive spying is
taking place without
any real oversight or accountability. It's totally incompatible with
Does CSEC Share Information with Spy Agencies in Other
CSEC is a member of the "five eyes," which include spy
agencies from the
U.S., U.K., Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. CSEC shares information
with those spy agencies -- but does not tell Canadians what information
shares, or whether this includes information it has collected about
What Kind of Oversight Is There for CSEC?
Unlike in countries like Britain and the U.S., there is
oversight of CSEC. Nor is there any court or committee that monitors
CSEC is collecting our private information.
The only government office responsible for reviewing
CSEC is the Office
of the CSEC Commissioner. This CSEC Commissioner reports to the
of National Defence -- so the same Minister oversees both CSEC, and the
office supposedly responsible for ensuring CSEC doesn't break the law.
While CSEC itself is a huge agency, employing over 2000
people and with
an annual budget of $350 million, the CSEC Commissioner's office is
comparison. It has a budget of only $2 million and a staff of just
What makes things even worse is that the CSEC
Commissioner does not
review CSEC's spying activities before they take place. He can only
at activities CSEC has undertaken in the past.
However the Office of the CSEC Commissioner has raised
CSEC's spying on Canadians. It has repeatedly recommended that the law
amended to better protect Canadians' private communications from being
on. Despite this, no such amendments have been enacted.
Why Is the BC Civil Liberties Association Taking the
to Court About CSEC?
The BCCLA's lawsuit calls on the government to come
clean and state
clearly who they are watching, what is being collected and how they are
handling Canadians' private communications and information. The BCCLA
filed this lawsuit to force the government to enact specific safeguards
protect the rights of all Canadians.
What Are Canadians Doing to Put a Stop to Illegal
OpenMedia.ca has launched a national campaign calling on
to show their support for the court challenge launched by the BCCLA.
OpenMedia.ca is Canada's largest civic engagement organization that
to ensure the Internet is open, affordable, and surveillance-free.
Canadians are invited to stand with the BCCLA and show
their support by
speaking out at https://OpenMedia.ca/csec
OpenMedia.ca and the BCCLA are also part of a recently
broad-based Protect Our Privacy Coalition of citizens, experts,
and businesses who have come together to protect the privacy of
resident of Canada against intrusion by government entities. This
now includes over 40 major organizations from right across the
spectrum -- any individual Canadians are welcome to join too. Just add
name at: http://OurPrivacy.ca
The Case of Omar Khadr
Lawlessness of the Harper Government's
For the second time this
year, a Canadian court has issued a judgement in
Omar Khadr's favour and a sharp rebuke to the Harper government. In Khadr
2014, a Federal
Court judge has upheld
Khadr's right to expand his civil lawsuit against the Canadian
government, first filed in 2004. Earlier Statements of Claim focused on
events surrounding Khadr's interrogation at the hands of Canadian
2003 and 2004 at Guantanamo. The new version examines the Canadian
government's role from the time Khadr was captured in 2002 through to
imprisonment at Bagram prison in Afghanistan and later at Guantanamo
up until his repatriation to Canada in 2012.
Justice Richard Mosley approved Khadr's Amended
Statement of Claim
on October 23, allowing Khadr to proceed with his lawsuit against the
Canadian government for conspiring with the U.S. government to torture
and breach his rights. "Whether Canada conspired with foreign officials
violate the fundamental rights of a citizen is not a trivial matter,"
in his ruling. "If anything, adding conspiracy to the statement of
the nature of the controversy between the parties and facilitates its
comprehensive examination by a court."
The federal government opposed the expanded claim,
arguing among other
things that international law bars Khadr from naming the U.S.
his civil action in a Canadian court. Justice Mosley dismissed this
and virtually all the other objections of the federal government as
Defendant's argument that it will suffer prejudice that cannot be
with costs is not persuasive. Whether the tort of conspiracy can cover
state-to-state conduct is a matter that should be decided by a judge at
with the full benefit of evidence and legal argument. It should not be
with by a motion...To avoid this prejudice, the Defendant ought to
viable defence. It should not ask this Court to extend an overly
interpretation under Canderel, ... so as
made against it."
The court also awarded costs to Khadr as a clear rebuke
to the federal
government. Only a handful of the government's arguments had any merit,
Justice Mosley pointedly stated. By opposing the motion the government
increased the costs and delay of this complex action, which has
courts for more than ten years.
Alberta Court of Appeal Orders Omar Khadr's Transfer to
In an earlier judgement, the Alberta Court of Appeal
ruled on July 8 that Omar Khadr must be transferred to a provincial
jail as he
is serving a youth sentence, overturning the trial judge's decision to
Khadr's writ of habeas corpus. The court agreed that the International
placement in a provincial correctional facility for adults, not in a
penitentiary because he was given a youth sentence. The federal
had attempted to argue that the U.S. military kangaroo court had given
one youth sentence and four adult sentences, with the aim of delaying
release from prison. The Appeal Court demolished the Harper
flimsy arguments which it said seemed to be an attempt to impose a new
harsher than imposed by the U.S. military kangaroo court.
Free Omar Khadr
outside court hearing in Edmonton, September 23,
The federal government immediately applied for an
injunction to prevent
Khadr's transfer to a provincial facility pending appeal of the
decision to the Supreme Court of
Canada. Lawyer Nathan Whitling explained that the decision means that
can now ask a youth court judge to order his release from prison to
rest of his sentence in the community, rather than appearing before the
board. An application will soon be made to a youth court judge, and for
reason Khadr has agreed to remain at the Bowden
medium security federal
institution to where he has been transferred from the Edmonton maximum
security institution pending his application for parole.
In its finding that Khadr should not have been placed in
a federal prison,
the Alberta Court of Appeal issued a strong rebuke to the Harper
noting, "While not explicitly stated, it appears that underlying
[Attorney-General of Canada's (AGC)] position on this appeal is the
cumulative sentence of eight years for the five offences to which Khadr
guilty is not sufficiently long to reflect the seriousness of the
other words, the Harper government wants to substitute its own longer
sentence, despite the fact that it agreed to the transfer. Under the
terms of the ITOA,
made clear, Canada cannot lengthen a sentence of the foreign power, but
reduce it if the sentence violates Canadian law -- for example if a
offender were given a sentence longer than permitted by Canadian law.
The court also pointed out that the Harper government is
in danger of
falling through the thin ice on which it stands if it continues
to try to
circumvent its legal obligations:
"Further, were it open to the
[Attorney-General of Canada] to challenge the substance of the
sentence imposed by the Convening Authority, this would then open up
possibility of Khadr's challenging the substance of the verdict. His
might well argue that Khadr made a deal. In exchange for receiving no
than eight years for all five offences, Khadr agreed to plead guilty
and give up
his legal rights, including the right to contest the admissibility of
evidence against him. And if the AGC were able to treat the sentence
to in the plea agreement as five concurrent sentences of eight years
Khadr's counsel might seek to have Khadr's guilty pleas struck on the
not only that the plea agreement was being contravened but that the
against Khadr would have been excluded in a Canadian court. The legal
process under which Khadr was held and the evidence elicited from him
been found to have violated both the Charter and international human
law: Khadr I, supra at paras 3, 6, 22 - 27; Khadr II, supra at
- 18, 24 - 26.
"To take another example, one of the offences
for which Khadr was
charged in 2007 and pled guilty, providing material support for
not a crime under international laws of war: Hamdan v United
696 F3d 1238, 1248 - 1252 (DC Cir 2012) [Hamdan II]. Though it is
now an offence under the MCA [Military
Guantanamo detainees whose offence date, like Khadr's, preceded 2006
had their convictions in the United States vacated on the grounds that
not until the 2006 MCA that this offence was criminalized and
MCA does not apply retroactively: Hamdan
The court's warning fell on deaf ears as far as the
Harper dictatorship is
concerned. In announcing that the government would seek an injunction
appeal the decision, Public Safety Minister Steven Blaney stated on
radio news, "We do not agree that a youth sentence is appropriate for
who is seen on video making the same type of improvised explosive
that killed many of the 158 Canadian Armed Forces members who died in
Afghanistan. That is why the Government of Canada will appeal this
and seek a stay to ensure that he stays in federal prison where he
This statement only confirms what the court implied:
is attempting to lengthen the sentence.
Omar Khadr has been imprisoned since his capture at the
age of 15 in
Afghanistan on July 27, 2002. Khadr is the only U.S. captive ever
murder in the death of a soldier fighting in the illegal U.S. invasions
against the people of Afghanistan or Iraq. He is the first juvenile
for war crimes in modern-day history, in violation of numerous
agreements and principles which offer children special protection and
rehabilitation and the reintegration of child soldiers into society,
The Harper government has
yet to take a single step to
provide redress for
the violation of Khadr's rights that has been confirmed by the Supreme
it is pursuing a reckless course, disregarding the rule of law,
including international agreements it has signed concerning
child soldiers.It is a prime example of how the Harper dictatorship
the threat of terrorism to cover up its violation of Canadians' rights
contempt for the rule of law, both at home and abroad.
The Harper government is not only trying to delay
Khadr's release as long
as possible, it is using this case to throw mud at the judicial
cover up its own dictatorship and use of privilege to act with
impunity. The court acted to uphold a law enacted by Parliament. The
perverse logic of the
Harperites is that any challenge to its arbitrary and illegal decisions
the courts are overstepping their bounds and interfering with
Harperites are hell-bent on redefining
what a democracy looks like and
imposing a permanent state of exception, trying to
once again that the law is what the Harper government declares it to be.
This spectacle of the Harper dictatorship doing
everything it can to increase
the sentence imposed by a kangaroo court in violation of international
precedent regarding child soldiers and with total disregard for any
of due process as Canadians have known it is further evidence of the
extremism of the Harper dictatorship and the urgent necessity to defeat
1. Canderel Ltd. v.
Court of Canada
2. Khadr v Edmonton
In the News
Obama Accuses Himself of Terrorism
Protest against U.S. drone
strikes, Multan, Pakistan, October 8, 2014.
Nearly two years ago, in November, 2012, Barack Obama
remarks that today would seem inconceivable coming from him. The
of the United States said that "there is no country on Earth that would
missiles raining down on its citizens from outside its borders."
Obama's statements, of course, were designed
to act as
protection for the Zionist settler state of Israel as it launched and
launch violent campaigns of slaughter and extermination against the
Palestinians. Thus, Obama reiterated his position by stating that the
States supported Israel in its "right to defend itself" against
on people's homes and potentially killing civilians." This referred to
Palestinian acts of protest against the occupation of their territories
In an article published on the Activist Post website
October 6, the prolific
American writer on international political issues, Brandon Turbeville,
that "even leaving the Israeli question aside, and while neglecting to
that, at the time of the statement, Obama's own government was involved
the bombing of Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia, and had just concluded the
bombing of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya, one might fast forward to 2014
the United States rains down bombs on sovereign Syrian soil."
Following its illegal and immoral attacks on the Syrian
people which have
produced alarming amounts of civilian casualties within only a matter
the United States recently announced that it is "relaxing" its policy
killings in Syria. Indeed, the White House is now backing away from
that it will only use lethal force where there is a "certainty or near
that no civilians will be killed.
The reports of significant civilian casualties as a
result of U.S. airstrikes
in the following days were the first indication that the Obama
was ignoring its own rules in the war on terror."
"Yet the reality is that the United States has never
been worried about
civilian casualties, neither during the tenure of this President or
that of the last.
Any pretense to the contrary is naiveté at best," writes
Similarly, drones are touted for their surgical
precision and laser-guided
targeting system, yet they have killed civilians in Yemen, Somalia,
Afghanistan, and more notably in Pakistan, which has been the subject
390 covert drone strikes since 2008.
Although, according to independent investigative
journalists' estimates, 710
civilians had been killed by drone attacks, Amnesty International
number of civilian casualties in Pakistan alone can be as high as 900.
at an accurate number is extremely difficult, but when human rights
able to go into the affected areas and investigate individual strikes,
of civilian casualties is always substantially higher than what was
the government, which counts all men of military age as enemy
and never identifies a single civilian among the dead men of that age
In other words, when civilian casualties become too
obvious in the eyes
of the public, or too politically damaging, the answer is to change
semantics and the wording of policy so that the casualties disappear
radar screen of public opinion.
While any unintentional killing of Syrian civilians by
government was presented to American audiences as premeditated
against innocent people, American airstrikes continue to be presented
from heaven, designed to rid the world of Islamic terror and brutal
at the same time.
Palestinians, Syrians, Iraqis, Afghanis, Somalians,
Yeminis, are acceptable
casualties. Israelis are not. Palestinians, Syrians, Iraqis, Afghans,
and Yemenis are required to accept "missiles landing on people's homes
potentially killing civilians" without resistance. Israel can act with
Thus, Barack Obama, while setting the international
standard for response
to bombing a sovereign nation and killing its civilians by his
regarding Israel's so-called safety, in essence, openly stated that the
States is guilty of terrorism, a claim that few of its victims will
Obviously, this presidential statement means very little
in the way of actual
policy. Hypocritical proclamations and even outright lies serve only to
the true agenda lurking underneath. Informed observers already know
Those who take such statements seriously have much to learn," concludes
Global Day of Action
Against Drones, October 3, 2014.
Top to bottom: Berlin, Los Angeles,
From Africa's Richest State Under Gaddafi,
State After NATO
This week marks the three-year anniversary of the
assassination of Libya's former president, Muammar Gaddafi, and the
one of Africa's greatest nations.
In 1967 Colonel Gaddafi inherited
one of the poorest
nations in Africa;
however, by the time he was assassinated, Gaddafi had turned Libya into
Africa's wealthiest nation. Libya had the highest GDP per capita and
expectancy on the continent. Less people lived below the poverty line
After NATO's intervention in 2011,
Libya is now a failed
state and its
economy is in shambles. As the government's control slips through their
fingers and into the militia fighters' hands, oil production has all
The militias, variously local, tribal, regional,
or criminal, that have
plagued Libya since NATO's intervention, have recently lined up into
warring factions. Libya now has two governments, both with their own
Minister, parliament and army.
On one side, in the West of the country, Islamist-allied
militias took over
control of the capital Tripoli and other cities and set up their own
chasing away a parliament that was elected over the summer.
On the other side, in the East of the Country, the
dominated by anti-Islamist politicians, exiled 1,200 kilometers away in
no longer governs anything.
The fall of Gaddafi's administration has created all of
worst-case scenarios: Western embassies have all left, the South of the
has become a haven for terrorists, and the Northern coast a center of
trafficking. Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia have all closed their borders
Libya. This all occurs amidst a backdrop of widespread rape,
and torture that complete the picture of a state that is failed to the
America is clearly fed up with the two inept governments
in Libya and is
now backing a third force: long-time CIA asset, General Khalifa Hifter,
aims to set himself up as Libya's new dictator. Hifter, who broke with
in the 1980s and lived for years in Langley, Virginia, close to the
headquarters, where he was trained by the CIA, has taken part in
American regime change efforts, including the aborted attempt to
Gaddafi in 1996.
In 1991 the New York
Times reported that Hifter may have
been one of
"600 Libyan soldiers trained by American intelligence officials in
other guerrilla skills; to fit in neatly into the Reagan
eagerness to topple Colonel Qaddafi."
Hifter's forces are currently vying with the Al Qaeda
al-Sharia for control of Libya's second largest city, Benghazi. Ansar
was armed by America during the NATO campaign against Colonel Gaddafi.
In yet another example of the U.S. backing terrorists backfiring, Ansar
al-Sharia has recently been blamed by America for the brutal
U.S. Ambassador Stevens.
Hifter is currently receiving logistical and air support
from the U.S.
because his faction envision a mostly secular Libya open to Western
speculators, and capital.
Perhaps, Gaddafi's greatest crime, in the eyes of NATO,
was his desire to
put the interests of local labour above foreign capital and his quest
for a strong
and truly United States of Africa. In fact, in August 2011, President
confiscated $30 billion from Libya's Central Bank, which Gaddafi had
earmarked for the establishment of the African IMF and African Central
In 2011, the West's objective was clearly not to help
the Libyan people,
who already had the highest standard of living in Africa, but to oust
install a puppet regime, and gain control of Libya's natural resources.
For over 40 years, Gaddafi promoted economic democracy
and used the
nationalized oil wealth to sustain progressive social welfare programs
Libyans. Under Gaddafi's rule, Libyans enjoyed not only free
free education, but also free electricity and interest-free loans. Now
NATO's intervention the health-care sector is on the verge of collapse
thousands of Filipino health workers flee the country, institutions of
education across the East of the country are shut down, and black outs
common occurrence in once thriving Tripoli.
One group that has suffered immensely from NATO's
is the nation's women. Unlike many other Arab nations, women in
Libya had the right to education, hold jobs, divorce, hold property and
an income. The United Nations Human Rights Council praised Gaddafi for
promotion of women's rights.
When the colonel seized power in 1969, few women went to
Today, more than half of Libya's university students are women. One of
first laws Gaddafi passed in 1970 was an equal pay for equal work law.
Nowadays, the new "democratic"
Libyan regime is clamping
women's rights. The new ruling tribes are tied to traditions that are
patriarchal. Also, the chaotic nature of post-intervention Libyan
allowed free rein to extremist Islamic forces that see gender equality
Three years ago, NATO declared that the mission in Libya
had been "one
of the most successful in NATO history." Truth is, Western
produced nothing but colossal failures in Libya, Iraq, and Syria. Lest
forget, prior to western military involvement in these three nations,
the most modern and secular states in the Middle East and North Africa
the highest regional women's rights and standards of living.
A decade of failed military expeditions in the Middle
East has left the
American people in trillions of dollars of debt. However, one group has
benefited immensely from the costly and deadly wars: America's
Building new military bases means billions of dollars
military elite. As Will Blum has pointed out, following the bombing of
the United States built new bases in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United
Emirates, Oman and Saudi Arabia.
Following the bombing of Afghanistan, the United States
is now building
military bases in Pakistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.
Following the recent bombing of Libya, the United States
has built new
military bases in the Seychelles, Kenya, South Sudan, Niger and Burkina
Given that Libya sits atop the strategic intersection of
the African, Middle
Eastern and European worlds, Western control of the nation, has always
a remarkably effective way to project power into these three regions
NATO's military intervention may have been a resounding
America's military elite and oil companies but for the ordinary Libyan,
military campaign may indeed go down in history as one of the greatest
failures of the 21st century.
Britain's Phantoms of the Past in Palestine
Demonstration in London,
England, July 15, 2014, opposes Israeli aggression against Palestine.
It would be intellectually dishonest to reflect on the
British House of
Commons' vote of October 13 on a Palestinian state, without digging
into history. Regardless of the meaning of the non-binding motion, the
parliamentary action cannot be brushed off as just another would-be
to recognize Palestine, as was the Swedish government's decision on
Unlike Sweden, and most of the 130-plus countries to
Palestine, Britain is a party in the Middle East's most protracted
fact, if it were not for Britain, there would be no conflict, or even
which to speak. It is within this context that the British vote
As I listened to the heated debate by British MPs that
preceded the historic
vote of 272 in favor and 12 against, phantoms of historic significance
When my father was born in historic Palestine in 1936,
he found himself
in a world politically dominated by Britain. Born and raised in the now
long-destroyed Palestinian village of Beit Daras - which, like the rest
historic Palestine has now become part of "Israel proper" -- he, along
family -- were entrapped between two anomalies that greatly scarred the
otherwise peaceful landscape of Palestine countryside. A Jewish colony
Tabiyya, along with a heavily fortified British police compound that
largely aimed at safeguarding the interests of the colony, subjugated
The residents of the village, still unaware of the plan
to dispossess them
from their homeland, grew wary of the dual treachery with time. But by
1947-48, it was too late. The British-coordinated withdrawal from
was aimed at creating space for a Jewish state, today's Israel. The
for 66 years and counting, have suffered from more than homelessness
dispossession, but also a military occupation and countless massacres,
with the most recent Israeli war on Gaza. In what Israel calls
Protective Edge, nearly 2,200 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were
five-fold more were wounded. Yet, Palestinians continue to resist, with
ferocity than ever.
Because of this, and the fact that the British
government remains a
member of the ever-shrinking club of Israel's staunch supporters, the
the British parliament greatly matters. "Symbolic" and non-binding, it
matters. It matters because the Israeli arsenal is rife with British
armaments; because the British government, despite strong protestation
behaves towards Israel as if the latter were a law-abiding state with a
human-rights records. It matters despite the dubious language of the
linking the recognition of Palestine alongside Israel to "securing a
But there can be no two states in a land that is already
inhabited by two
nations, who, despite the grossness of the occupation, are in fact
geographically, demographically and in other ways as well. Israel has
irreversible realities in Palestine, and the respected MPs of the
parliament should know this.
The votes were motivated by different rationale and
reasons. Some voted
"yes" because they have been long-time supporters of Palestinians,
simply fed up with Israel's behavior. But if the vote largely reflected
attempt at breathing more life into the obsolete "two-state solution"
created by the British themselves, then, the terrible British legacy in
which has lasted for nearly a century will continue unabated.
British army boots walked on Palestinian soil as early
as 1917, after the
British army defeated Turkey, whose vast Ottoman Empire, that included
Palestine, was quickly disintegrating under the combined pressure of
powers. As soon as Jerusalem was captured by British forces under the
command of General Sir Edmund Allenby in December 1917, and the rest of
the country by October 1918, the will of the Palestinian people fell
the British Empire. The figures of how many Palestinian Arabs were
wounded, tortured, imprisoned and exiled by Britain since that date,
establishment of the Israeli state in 1948, is beyond depressing.
However, Britain's integral role in the suffering of the
Palestinians and the
establishment of Israel was hardly a coincidental policy necessitated
nature of its immediate colonial ambitions. It was calculated and
political and diplomatic intrigues that go back to the 19th century. It
predicated on an unmistakable element of racism, rampant in the
culture at the time. Its manifestations still bring shame to Britain
still refuses to fully and unconditionally reverse that early policy.
It is inexplicable that one century after the British
Palestine, which has proved its astounding failure, the current British
policy is not far removed from the language and policies executed by
British Empire when Foreign Secretary Arthur James Balfour "promised"
Palestine for a Jewish state. The Balfour Declaration is dated November
1917, before Palestine was even occupied by the British, thus
sheer arrogance and disregard of Palestinians and their rights. In one
letters at the time, Balfour so conceitedly wrote:
"For in Palestine we do not propose even to go through
the form of
consulting the wishes of the present inhabitants of the country ... The
great powers are committed to Zionism, and Zionism, be it right or
good or bad, is rooted in age-long tradition, in present needs, in
of far profounder import than the desire and prejudices of the 700,000
who now inhabit that ancient land. In my opinion that is right."
Encouraged by the overwhelming recent vote in favor of
Palestine at the
parliament (although nearly half of the MPs didn't show up or
can hardly deny the signs that both the British public and many in the
country's political establishment are simply disenchanted by Israel's
war and occupation which are the main reason behind the destabilization
region long before the Syrian civil war and other upheavals began. Many
British MPs are furious over Israel's violent, expansionist and
conduct, including those who were once strong allies of Israel. That
But it is hardly enough. When the British government
maintaining its pro-Israeli policies, and when the general attitude of
truly hold the reins of power in London remain committed to a farce
two states, defending Israel and disempowering Palestinians at every
Balfour vision of old will remain the real guidelines for British
Sixty-six years after ending its "mandate" in Palestine,
Britain remains a
party in a bloody conflict, where Israel is still carrying the same
colonial expansion, using Western -- including British -- funds, arms
political support. Only when Britain fully and completely ends its
Israel and financing of its occupation, and works diligently and
towards correcting the injustice imposed on the Palestinians a
ago, can one consider that a real change in British policies is finally
Without a clear course of action to help Palestinians
gain their freedom,
the British vote will remain another symbolic gesture in a conflict in
military occupation, war, siege, death and destruction are very much
when British leaders like conservative Prime Minister David Cameron
continue to parrot their unconditional support for Israel, even after
wars and massacres, one will also continue to seek even moderate proof
the Balfour legacy has truly and finally ended.
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