The First Decade of Fear
UPDATE: Prime Minister Stephen Harper claims that “Islamicism” (yes I know, don’t bother to look it up, it doesn’t exist – just another made up word designed to reinforce the middle-east-ness of the supposed threat) poses the greatest security threat to Canada and for declaring that his government will give police broad new anti-terrorism powers that were stripped from them four years ago.
Two items in the legislation should cause great concern for Canadians. Police were given new powers to arrest and detain people suspected of planning a terrorist attack. Under this change, they could keep people in jail for up to three days without having to lay a charge. As well, people suspected of having information about terrorist activity could be compelled to testify before a judge at a secret hearing.
Now mix this insanely undemocratic legislation with Harper’s proposed “Lawfull Access” legislation and you’ve set the stage for potential abuses on the scale the free world has not seen since similar powers were created in the US under the Patriot Act to make their country more secure from terrorism. And how’s that going south of the border? Well to date the numbers should be setting off alarm bells.
To date the Patriot Act has been used 1,618 times for drugs, 122 times for fraud,
and only 15 times for terrorism.
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As the tenth anniversary of 9/11 approaches I have been struck by the tenacity of American politicians and media seem to relish the idea of picking the scab of their 9/11 wounds for no apparent reason other than to further their relentless intrusion into the lives of their own citizens. Moreover I’m amazed at how passively and quickly, once staunchly independent Americans have given up that independence to top secret government agencies, many of which are so secret that elected officials do not know exactly what they do and how much they spend.
I watched PBS’ Frontline last night learning that virtually ALL top secret surveillance operations being conducted by the American government on it’s own people have continued unabated and even increased under President Obama and I called how vehemently Senator Obama spoke out against such operations while on the campaigning for the office he now holds.
The United States has spent TRILLIONS of dollars they do not have creating and maintaining a massive global surveillance operation even in the face of economic collapse, the current American administration continues to spend BILLIONS at home and abroad. In the meantime, both parties have tried to sell the idea that tax increases would harm an already slowing economy. An economy that has seen TRILLIONS of dollars pumped into it in desperate efforts to revive an economy gutted by decades of insane tax breaks and the off shoring of manufacturing to cheap third world countries and of course China.
Now a decade after America was shocked in the eye by one of the many terrorist organizations their own foreign policy helped to create. Many politicians and industrial military complex lobbyists continue to insist that the previous decade’s spending orgy on top secret surveillance and global military operations can and should continue full steam ahead. No one wants to be the one to slow or stop this spending for fear of being blamed should the United States face another attack similar to 9/11.
Problem is, Americans are giving up over 100 years of social progress for a false sense of security. Moreover, they are giving away hard fought civil liberties and freedoms because scab picking politicians refuse to let 9/11 go for fear that Americans will lose the fear that clouds their vision of the future and come face to face with the cold stark reality that the very country they thought they were protecting has been stolen out from under their feet.
Liberties, freedoms and a generation’s wealth, stolen by a political system corrupt to it’s very core by the power and money of over-sized, too big to fail corporations that continue to hold the very economic weapons of mass destruction that caused the last world-wide economic crisis to the heads of politicians to scared or bought to use their constitutional powers to limit the effect of corporations on the people’s republic they all claim to be protecting.
I believe that a decade of fear is enough. I believe that if the western world would reach out with with anything other than bombs and guns we would greatly diminish the “threats” that continue to drive this insane top secret arms race that is rapidly destroying the very fabric of America. I believe that if the western democracies do not stand up like the citizens of the Middle East and Europe to demand an immediate halt to empire building, military driven foreign policy and corporate welfare we will spend a lot more than the next decade under the thumbs of the very menace that we think we’re fighting abroad. Right here at home.
Prime Minister Harper has made it very clear that a major objective of the fall sitting of parliament is to pass an omnibus legislative package that includes the so-called “Lawful Access” bill that is anything but. This god-awful piece of draconian legislation is modeled very closely after many of the components of the United States spook laws and worst of all there will be little IF ANY court oversight. Meanwhile politicians, ministers and ISP employees will have unfettered access to your most private information, Internet travels and electronic communications.
Be on the watch Canada. This legislation is being sold as “the” way to stop child pornographers and shift out terrorists from their electronic hiding places. But it is all about giving up a century of civil liberties and freedoms too many generations of our forefathers and mothers gave their lives to protect.
Go forth Canada and defend the freedoms and civil liberties if not for yourself for your children and their children.