Posing the above question might surprise us Westerners as we had never imagined that our countries would one day go back to the dark ages. No one of course has a crystal ball to be able to predict the future and whether the answer to this question is a yes or a no. But by analyzing certain patterns and stories one can at least point to which direction many Western countries are heading in. After all police states are not just born overnight; it takes years, and sometimes decades, for them to become mature. I, like many other new Canadians, have the privilege of being able to detect the early signs of a dictatorship as I was born in one where I also spent my teen years.
The first story that I would like to bring to your attention is that of Mark Keneddy, a former policeman turned spy. Mr. Kennedy was hired by some European countries to spy on political activists. Posing as an environmental activist, he was able to gather extensive intelligence some of which was used by the police to storm a Danish community centre that had housed progressive causes for more than a century.
The second story is that of the famous Tommy Douglas, a former national NDP leader. It was revealed recently that he was spied on by the RCMP for over 40 years simply because the force suspected him of having communist sympathies. The Canadian Press has been fighting the government secrecy in court on this file for the last few years. The government has always argued (as usual I guess) that full disclosure of the Douglas file would endanger the country’s ability to detect, prevent or suppress “subversive or hostile activities” and could betray secrets of the spy trade. The department of Justice has fought tooth and nail for keeping the entire file secret but the Canadian Press was successful in obtaining 75% of the file. The remaining one-fifth of the file is still secret and one wonders what embarrassing information the government wants to keep away from us.
The third story is that of Cindy Blackstock, a life-long advocate for aborginal children. In 2007, she filed a human rights complaint accusing the Harper government of willfully underfunding child welfare services to First Nations children on reserves. It seems that was the main reason why federal officials began spying on her attending up to 100 of her meetings.
The stories I have just mentioned are by no means the only ones. In fact, the list is very long: police brutality at the G8/G20 2010 summit, detaining people under security certificates for undetermined periods of time, the Guantanamo Detention Center, FBI entrapment of terror suspects, extraordinary rendition of terror suspects for interrogation under torture, redefinition of torture as to exclude waterboarding, no-fly lists, etc.
What happened to accountability? What happened to transparency?
Do you see the writing on the wall?
This work by Prism Magazine is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.