Thursday, September 8, 2011

Losing civil liberties, plus billions in hard power will not make us safe in Canada

By Jane Taber, Globe and Mail, September 8, 2011
The Prime Minister (of Canada, Stephen Harper) told CBC’s Peter Mansbridge on Tuesday night that in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, the major threat to Canada “is still Islamicism.”

“Unfortunately, Stephen Harper continues to use divisive language for political purposes,” Mr. Dewar charged.
The Prime Minister also vowed in the CBC interview, which will be broadcast in full on Thursday night, to bring back two controversial clauses in the Antiterrorism Act, parts of which expired in 2007. One clause allowed police to arrest suspects without a warrant and hold them for three days without charges if they believed a terrorist act had been committed; the other clause allowed a judge to compel a witness to testify in secret under penalty of jail if the witness refused.
From the CBC website, September 8, 2011
There are other threats out there, but that is the one that I can tell you occupies the security apparatus most regularly in terms of actual terrorist threats," Harper said.

Harper cautioned that terrorist threats can "come out of the blue" from a different source, such as the recent Norway attacks, where a lone gunman who hated Muslims killed 77 people.
But Harper said terrorism by Islamic radicals is still the top threat, though a "diffuse" one.
"When people think of Islamic terrorism, they think of Afghanistan, or maybe they think of some place in the Middle East, but the truth is that threat exists all over the world," he said, citing domestic terrorism in Nigeria.
The prime minister said home-grown Islamic radicals in Canada are "also something that we keep an eye on."
If the most serious threat to Canada is "Islamicism" according to the Prime Minister, and he is privy to much more classified information than the rest of us so he should "know" then how can he reconcile the
two largest political and fiscally weighty decisions to spend some $60-$70 billion on Fighter Jets and armed ships...along with other unarmed ships?
The two positions are not congruent, nor are they reconcileable. The story of the threat of Islamicism, if it is true, prompts very different responses, such as enhanced study and intelligence work, not heavy military hardware....this is little more than a return to the long-ago changed past of the cold war mentality that seems to be governing the prime minister's so-called 'big thinking'. It is not, even with the recent interventions in both Afghanistan and Libya, primarily a future of threats from other states will large military establishments.
And even if we took the recent testing of fighter jets by China into the equation, we know that their intelligence and techno-savy far outstrips that of most, if not all, of the western countries, and their holding a significant portion of U.S. treasury bonds, leaves them with far greater leverage in geopolitical terms than a couple of hundred fighter jets and even a couple of hundreds nuclear submarines.
It is not reasonable to shove more fingers in the eye of the prime minister for "divisive comments" about Islamicism, but it certainly is reasonable to ask him to "square the circle" of his illogic.
This is a man and a government whose single ambition, while politically assassinating all democratic opposition, to mount a campaign of "hard power, return-to-the-past symbols and cold-war mentality" much like the Soviet Union, which, itself, has even moved on and into recognition and adaption to the new realities of the potential of non-state terrorism, of danger at the micro-level (not that 3000 victims on 9/11 can be reduced in significance nor in strategic planning) but that military and governmental thinking and planning must be recognizing how past strategies have not, do not and will not adequately fit current and future threats.
Here we have another "half-truth" resulting in many missed opportunities to bring Canada face-to-face with the realpolitik of the 21st century...and we get giant purchases of hard power, linked to giant gaps in very squishy thought and therefore not credible political leadership.
Plus, the removal of civil liberties, a significant part of the new anti-terrorism legislation, will be passed by the government majority, along with the major purchases of "hard power" and will lead to reduced safety and security, and another ruse on the part of the government on semi-sleeping Canadian voters.

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