By LOUIS LANG
(Oct. 24) – On the evening of October 22, Prime Minister Harper addressed the country about the tragic events of the day. He did so again in the Parliament the following day. His televised speech and address to Parliament were designed to continue the assault on people’s minds and to promote fear and a siege mentality which the police forces, security agencies and media propagated throughout this.
First Mr. Harper paid respects to the murdered reservist and offered sympathy to his family and friends, and to those of the soldier who was killed earlier in the week in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. He then set a tone to impose his own conclusions on the tragic events without basing himself on any facts.
He said that “in days to come we will learn more about the terrorist and any accomplices he may have had.” He also characterized the attack on the soldier in St. Jean as “ISIL inspired.” He made these statements even though in a press conference earlier in the afternoon, representatives of the police forces stated that their investigation was in its initial stages and there were no facts to justify coming to any conclusions about the motivation for this criminal activity.
Clearly, Mr. Harper used the opportunity of addressing the whole country to impose his own biased view which promotes hatred and fear among the people in order to justify his pro-war agenda. Instead of promoting a calm and thoughtful discussion about the problems facing Canadians, their society and the world, Mr. Harper further aggravated the situation by telling Canadians that “we are not immune to the types of terrorist attacks we have seen elsewhere in the world.”
For the leader of the Government of Canada to make such unsubstantiated and opportunistic statements only a few hours after the occurrence of events which require full investigation is irresponsible and unacceptable.
Mr. Harper also stated, “We are also reminded that attacks on our security personnel and on our institutions of governance are by their very nature, attacks on our country, on our values, on our society, on us Canadians as a free and democratic people who embrace human dignity for all.”
In the name of the high ideals of freedom and democracy and upholding human dignity, Mr. Harper unwittingly revealed the double standard that he wants to impose on Canadian society.
He said that an attack on “our security personnel and institutions of governance” is an attack on the country and the whole society. Yet, his answer to repeated demands from many sections of society that the cases of thousands of murdered and missing First Nations women and girls be investigated because they are a serious threat to our society, has been that these are criminal code violations and should be left to law enforcement.
So what “values” and “human dignity” is Mr. Harper talking about? His main concern has been to justify the use of violence and interference in the internal affairs of other countries, seeking regime change including supporting coups d’etat to overthrow democratically elected governments (like Ukraine), and to raise anarchy to authority and create instability anywhere in the world to support the economic and geo-political goals of U.S. imperialism in its striving for world domination against its rivals.
These are not the kind of values that Canadians need or will accept.
Mr. Harper’s speech also included several references to the “necessity” to strengthen the power of “security agencies” to defend Canada against terrorist threats. Already, CSIS and the RCMP have been promoting discussion in the monopoly media about the need for expanded powers like the ability to detain people “with extremist views” in order to prevent a repeat of the events of October 22.
It is well known that CSIS is already conducting surveillance of environmental groups, labour unions, anti-war groups and civil rights organizations, which has resulted in many human rights violations across the country. So too the spy agency, Communications Security Establishment Canada, is given licence to act with impunity in the name of national security. The increased powers that the Harper government intends to give the “security agencies” is intended to stop the people from organizing any resistance to the neo-liberal. anti-social agenda imposed at home and the foreign policy in support of the same imperialist ambitions abroad. A firm stand against this is urgent at this time.
These are the same “security agencies” that are already responsible for countless human rights violations.
Based on false information provided by the RCMP and CSIS to U.S. intelligence services, Maher Arar was kidnapped by the CIA while travelling in the U.S. and rendered to Syria, where he was detained, interrogated and tortured for almost a year before finally being released.
The imposition of security certificates without due process and based on information obtained through torture has already led to the unjust detention and surveillance of Canadian residents. Those accused by CSIS of being connected to terrorists don’t even have the right to know the evidence being presented against them.
One of the most flagrant violations of human rights by the Canadian government and the “security agencies” is the case of Omar Khadr, who was captured by U.S. aggressors in Afghanistan when he was fifteen and detained and tortured in Guantanamo Bay. In 2008, the Supreme Court of Canada condemned Canadian officials’ participation in the Guantanamo Bay process as a violation of international law. A second ruling in 2010 condemned Canadian officials declaring that their behaviour “offends the most basic Canadian standards about the treatment of detained youth suspects.” The Canadian government failed to implement the Supreme Court rulings and did nothing to remedy the abuses. To this day, statements from the Harper government brand Omar Khadr as a “war criminal” and a “convicted terrorist” – inflammatory characterizations that disregard both facts and laws.
It is clear form Mr. Harper’s address to the country that he intends to use these tragic events to eliminate any opposition to Canada’s participation in the U.S.-led armed aggression against Iraq and Syria. Canadians must not be taken in by hypocritical appeals based on high ideals as an excuse to allow the U.S. and its allies including Canada to carry on with policies that have already resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths and injuries and the displacement of millions of people. The terrorism of ISIS cannot be defeated by state supported terrorism. This false option which is presented must be rejected.
We must demand a peaceful resolution of conflicts amongst nations and oppose the use of force to sort out problems. Harper’s demonization of perceived enemies, cannot be the basis of unity of the Canadian people because it is based on hatred and discrimination and must be rejected by the Canadian people.
(Photos: TML, K. J. Tarasoff)
Source: TML Daily