In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us from nightmares. The most frightening of these is the threat of an international terror network. But just as the dreams were not true, neither are these nightmares.
– Introduction to the BBC Series “The Power of Nightmares,” a three part series that explores the myths surrounding “international terrorism,” broadcast in January 2005.
The threat of terrorism, we are told repeatedly, is omnipresent. It has been used to justify the ongoing wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is used to excuse the ongoing erosion of our civil rights. Our democracy is suffering the death of a thousand cuts. Incrementally our freedoms are being taken from us.
Whether it is “no-fly lists,” the decision to remain in Afghanistan against the will of most Canadians, or the secret negotiation of a “Security and Prosperity Partnership” with the U.S. and Mexico, our freedom as individuals and our sovereignty as a nation are in question.
When the history of this period is written, it may begin with the words “First they came for the immigrants . . .”
Until a year ago, the Canadian Security Intelligence Service could initiate a process which led to the arrest of permanent residents or refugees who had committed no crime, throw them in jail, and detain them indefinitely with the aim of deporting them, even in the face of potential torture and death. Neither they nor their lawyers were allowed to see the “information” used by CSIS to back their allegations.
This draconian law was used to imprison five Muslim men living in Canada on allegations that they were connected to Islamic terrorist groups. They were not permitted to answer to these allegations in a fair trial because, unlike a criminal trial, the evidence in a security certificate case remains secret for reasons of national security. Their names are Mohammad Mahjoub, Mahmoud Jaballah, Hassan Almrei, Mohamed Harkat and Adil Charkaoui. While only Mr. Almrei remains in jail at present, all are facing the threat of deportation to countries where they could be imprisoned, tortured and killed. Read more.
Last February, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the security certificate system was unconstitutional and gave the government a year to come up with something better. The Tories came back with Bill C-3, which maintained most of the features deemed unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. The only significant change was the provision for a “special advocate” who would have access to the government’s secret evidence but who would still not be allowed to share it with the suspect. Read more.
To save us from terrorism, our government insists on resorting to kangaroo courts and secret evidence. Don’t believe for a moment that they will stop there.
Allow yourself to consider, for a moment, that the danger posed by terrorists is greatly exaggerated. Fear of terrorism is a weapon wielded by those who want to control us, who want us to accept “security and prosperity” within a North American union, who want to control, through war, the energy resources of the planet.
Set aside some time and view The Power of Nightmares. The series is available, free of charge, at the Internet Archive. It places our “post 9-11 world” in an historical context and effectively challenges the lies of Bush, Blair and Co.
Then ask yourself, who are the real terrorists?