I received a bulletin in my inbox recently about a push by those supporting Hassan Diab in his fight for justice to help him reach his goal. The effort is called “Hundred For Hassan Campaign.” I truly, truly hope people respond. (I can’t. I’m penniless.) I’ve obviously been following this sad, sorry story since it broke. Our criminal government has much to answer for. Not only has Hassan Diab been victimized by ‘our’ government (and the French government), but he is only one of the most recent victims of it’s psychopathy. Remember Maher Arar? The interested reader will find plenty of information about Hassan’s victimization at the hands of the Canadian and French corporatocracy governments. I guess they bonded over the rape of Haiti they carried out with their ally and boss uncle Sam.
Please visit the Justice For Hassan Diab website. The blog entry dealing specifically with the special push to garner support for Hassan’s impossible task of paying for his electronic surveillance carries the following link to the campaign section: “Hundred For Hassan Campaign”
The following is from “Hundred For Hassan Campaign”:
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Join the HUNDRED FOR HASSAN campaign and be one of 100 people of conscience who make a statement of support for Dr. Hassan Hassan by contributing $20 (or more) a month to cover the cost of his electronic/GPS monitoring. This is our way of taking a public stand and saying it is just wrong to make Hassan pay for his own surveillance.
Dr. Diab is an Ottawa professor who is falsely accused of a crime that took place in Paris in 1980. He has been ordered extradited by Justice Minister Rob Nicholson based on the flimsiest of evidence – evidence so weak that a Canadian judge declared that it would not stand in a fair trial. In a perverse twist, Canada has forced Dr. Diab to pay $2,000 per month for the cost of his own surveillance – a GPS device he is required to wear – or be imprisoned.
Until 2008, Hassan, a Canadian citizen, enjoyed a peaceful, productive life as a university professor. Suddenly, he was thrown in prison, after France expressed interest in him in connection with a bombing that took place in Paris in 1980. Even though the evidence is very flimsy and problematic, Canada initiated extradition proceedings. After four and a half months of detention, Hassan was finally released under very intrusive bail conditions, including a curfew, supervision when he leaves his home, and the obligation to wear an electronic/GPS tracking device around his ankle. Worse, he must pay for the device himself – $2,000 per month – or return to prison.
Why You Should Care
In the three and a half years since Dr. Diab’s arrest, France has been unable to produce any court-worthy evidence linking him to the crime. On the contrary, it was revealed during the extradition proceedings that the prosecutors had suppressed evidence showing that Hassan’s palm and finger prints do not match those of the suspect. The whole case rests on secret intelligence from unknown sources that is likely to have been the product of torture. The only so-called “evidence” linking Dr. Diab to the crime is a deeply flawed French handwriting report claiming similarity between Hassan’s handwriting and five words on a hotel registration card. Internationally renowned handwriting experts have denounced this report as deeply flawed, biased, and unreliable. The Ontario court judge presiding over Hassan’s extradition case found the report to be “convoluted”, “very confusing”, and “with conclusions that are suspect”.
The judge also declared that the case is “weak” and “the prospects of conviction in the context of a fair trial seem unlikely”, but he said that his interpretation of Canada’s extradition law left him no choice but to commit Hassan for extradition. If Hassan’s case were tried in Canada as a criminal case, it would be thrown out of court. However, Canada’s extradition law is very accommodating to foreign governments that target Canadian citizens, and human rights and due process are trampled upon in the name of extradition.
If this travesty of justice can happen to Dr. Diab, it can happen to any one of us.
Even though it has emerged – astoundingly – that France has not formally charged Dr. Diab, Justice Minister Rob Nicholson announced in April 2012 that he intends to hand over Hassan to France. There, Hassan will languish in prison, possibly for years, while the French authorities continue a 32-year old investigation of a crime that he did not commit.
Hassan is appealing the Ontario court decision and the Justice Minister’s decision. Meanwhile, Hassan and his family must continue to raise funds every month to pay $2,000 for his own surveillance. This is on top of the fact that Hassan has been unemployed since the unfair termination of his University contract in 2009.
Call for Support and Solidarity
To many of us, “debtors’ prison” sounds like an archaic institution, something out of a novel by Charles Dickens. But the idea of imprisoning people who can’t pay what they “owe” is alive and well in Hassan’s case. Hassan will be put in prison if he does not pay his “creditor” – in this case, the Canadian government – $2,000 per month for the cost of his own surveillance.
The Hassan Diab Support Committee invites you to be one of 100 people – A HUNDRED FOR HASSAN – who care about due process and the presumption of innocence and oppose abusive extradition proceedings, by pledging $20 per month to share the cost of this enormous burden.
We are also inviting you to add your name to the following short statement.
“Canada has forced Dr. Hassan Diab to pay for his own surveillance since 2009. I support Hassan Diab’s right to be free from this burden, which I consider unjust and illegitimate. I believe that Dr. Diab’s case amply illustrates the unjust and abusive nature of the Canadian extradition process. I further believe that it is manifestly unjust to hand him over to a state which has not charged him, where he would face additional years of pre-trial detention, and in which he would be unlikely to receive a fair trial if he were eventually charged. I pledge a monthly contribution to ensure that the burden of this injustice does not fall on him and his family alone, but is shared by other members of the community who care about justice.”
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They said that there were in Afghanistan for the women. Uh huh. Things are as bad there as ever. They say whatever the hell they want and laugh about it. They talk about the Islamist extremists’ hatred for us because of our democracy and freedoms. Meanwhile, Here’s Hassan Diab. For sure, there’s barbarians in hot spots like Afghanistan and other places where imperialists are murdering at will. For sure, the resource-rich Right, solidly behind much of the conflict in faraway places where imperial armies are busy stealing countries for corporatocracy’s capitalist classes, will talk at us through their ubiquitous media outlets about their adventurism saying all manner things that we have to endure reading and hearing. It certainly doesn’t qualify as truth. It certainly qualifies as attitude.
When barbarians punish innocent female victims of perverted rapists instead of the rapists, and tell us that their acts of horror are demanded by their code of honor, How is that any different, in principle, than our government’s seizure of professor Diab, for who knows what reason, really, and calling him a terrorist on no real evidence, terrorizing him with the promise of future incarceration in France and then forcing him to pay $2000 per month for the GPS device he must wear or go back to jail from which he has been released temporarily? Way to go Canada! You too enjoy punishing victims. It proves to you, you think, that there is no God. There’s only you and your sick game of ‘riches for the strongest’. You are telling God to “bring it,” because he hasn’t done so so far (or since earlier times). And, considering all of your ways, you really don’t need God. The last thing you need is to have to face a real God who is also a God of justice. So you look for him, hoping desperately to not find him, thinking that when you can’t find him then that will console you. But your manner of looking for him is to ramp up your criminal behavior, your terrorist activities, to a point where, you figure, if there’s a God then he’ll have to show himself. You’re screwed!
Canada’s ruling class, which does more than just hold the bully’s coat, as Todd Gordon explains, mirrors the American ruling class, but not in such a way that it is the opposite in nature. (Which is another way of saying that uncle Sam mirrors Stephen Harper’s fascist regime, but not in such a way that it’s different in nature.) Gordon explains in his book “Imperialist Canada” how Canada’s ruling class (and by extension, elite) is perfectly brutal on it’s own, willingly and with extreme prejudice.
“On top of its efforts to develop its own forces, DND also has a $16 million a year program to support the development of other countries’ militaries. The Military Training Assistance Program (MTAP) provides language, officer and “peace support” operations training to roughly 1,300 military personnel from sixty-three different Global South countries a year. Sixty of those are “Tier One” countries, which means the training is entirely paid for by Canada. According to its directorate, the MTAP serves to “promote Canadian foreign and defence policy interests.” It “uses the mechanism of military training assistance to develop and enhance bilateral and defence relationships with countries of strategic importance to Canada,” and in the process raises “Canada’s independent national profile as a valuable player in the international arena.”
“It happens that many of the “Tier One” countries are ones with which Canada has, or is hoping to develop, strong economic ties. These include countries with records of human rights abuses, such as the Philippines, Tanzania, Peru, Argentina, Honduras and Ecuador, where social movements have organized against Canadian investment projects. The MTAP is also used to build backing for military engagements Canada supports while laying the groundwork for working with militaries that participate in the program. Eleven of the participating countries have served alongside the Canadian military in the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan. It is not a stretch to suggest, though, that the program is actually aimed at facilitating foreign interventions by the Canadian military in the future. MTAP’s 2005-2006 Annual Report actually states that “MTAP-trained countries are likely to cooperate with, and offer the Canadian Forces access to their country and their forces, when necessary.” -pg 312 of “Imperialist Canada”
“And the word of Jehovah continued to occur to me, saying: “Son of man, set your face against Gog [of] the land of Ma′gog, the head chieftain of Me′shech and Tu′bal, and prophesy against him. And you must say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: “Here I am against you, O Gog, you head chieftain of Me′shech and Tu′bal. And I shall certainly turn you around and put hooks in your jaws and bring you forth with all your military force… (Ezekiel 38:1-4)
“And as regards you, O son of man, prophesy against Gog, and you must say, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord Jehovah has said: “Here I am against you, O Gog, you head chieftain of Me′shech and Tu′bal. And I will turn you around and lead you on and cause you to come up from the remotest parts of the north and bring you in upon the mountains of Israel.” (Ezekiel 39:1,2)
“And one of the seven angels that had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying: “Come, I will show you the judgment upon the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, whereas those who inhabit the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” (Revelation 17:1,2)
“And the ten horns that you saw mean ten kings, who have not yet received a kingdom, but they do receive authority as kings one hour with the wild beast. These have one thought, and so they give their power and authority to the wild beast. These will battle with the Lamb, but, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings, the Lamb will conquer them. Also, those called and chosen and faithful with him will do so…. For God put it into their hearts to carry out his thought, even to carry out their one thought by giving their kingdom to the wild beast, until the words of God will have been accomplished.” (Revelation 17:12-14,17)
An excerpt from Heather Mallick’s Toronto Star article follows:
So Canada is at a low point in civil relations with the rest of the world. It is even planting billboards in Hungary warning that Canada rapidly expels failed asylum seekers.
The Star reports that the billboards, aimed at Roma refugees, have caused huge upset in a country where both Roma and Jews face prejudice. Last year the far right in Hungary’s fragile democracy called for lists of Jews to be drawn up. And Canada posts Keep Out signs?
Every day Stephen Harper looks more like a Nevada sheriff than a prime minister. But President Barack Obama looks statesmanlike — and brave on gun control.
A few words about Mallick’s article follow. I’m thinking it’s more like art than reportage. With art, the goal isn’t accurate reporting of facts. The Toronto Star is a rightwing org, but Mallick, and a few other journos attached to the Star, aren’t rightwing (so let’s see how long they last there). Her piece is striking for being interesting and it’s interesting because it stimulates us to think about things we already think about. There are no recognition issues, as there is with some art that doesn’t stimulate but only leads the viewer to ask “What is it?” We certainly know who Stephen Harper and Barack Obama are. They would have it no other way. There’s Barack Obama, publicly murdering people and torturing Bradley Manning – on American soil! That got our attention! And God’s!
“The Trials of Bradley Manning,” by Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan
An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:
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Pfc. Bradley Manning was finally allowed to speak publicly, in his own defense, in a preliminary hearing of his court-martial. Manning is the alleged source of the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history. He was an intelligence analyst in the U.S. Army, with top-secret clearance, deployed in Iraq. In April 2010, the whistle-blower website WikiLeaks released a U.S. military video of an Apache helicopter in Baghdad killing a dozen civilians below, including two Reuters employees, a videographer and his driver. One month after the video was released, Manning was arrested in Iraq, charged with leaking the video and hundreds of thousands more documents. Thus began his ordeal of cruel, degrading imprisonment in solitary confinement that many claim was torture, from his detention in Kuwait to months in the military brig in Quantico, Va. Facing global condemnation, the U.S. military transferred Manning to less-abusive detention at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.
As he now faces 22 counts in a court martial that could land him in prison for the rest of his life, his lawyer argued in court that the case should be thrown out, based on his unlawful pretrial punishment.
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There are two ways to get attention, which everyone needs. You can attract people to you by being interesting, helpful, kind and trustworthy for example. Rosa Parks is an example of that sort of person, for which reason forces on the Right have actually tried to deflect our attention from her, as author Jeanne Theoharis points out. The other way to get attention is to force it from people – because those other ways are cut off from you by you. In other words, You are ‘not’ nice, helpful or even – sorry Obama – interesting. Those who seek attention by forcing it from you will do noisy, scary things, ranging from annoying and tasteless but harmless to violent and criminal – to get your attention.
When Mallick accomplishes the pleasing strokes that give her piece symmetry, she fails in her reportage. She contrasts the now good Obama with the bad Stephen Harper. But the now good Obama doesn’t exist. He’s got too much blood on his hands, and impunity for it, to EVER be seen as a now good leader. And the blood spilling and criminal behavior of the man continues ‘and’ is ramping up. Art is important – and a good bit of reportage, in my view, is great art. Reportage is vital – if democracy and fairness is important. But reportage, especially about important issues (social justice), that gets bent out of shape by a journo who thinks her piece will ‘look’ better as a result of tweaking that report’s ‘form’ or ‘appearance’, without regard for the content, doesn’t work.
As an aside, I’m going to toss that above paragraph into discussion about Mallick’s piece on The Toronto Star’s website. That organization is something else. What a fake friend of the people! They recently re-designed, again, the website. Increasingly, Authors are hidden from view. But they can’t seem to bring themselves to go all the way. One senses embarrassment. When I read the Star (hard copy only when I see it kicking around in a coffee shop or some place), I look for author’s names. I don’t want to waste my time reading propaganda and I know the writers well enough to know who will tell me something factual (from a leftwing bias if you wish) and who will just tell me what the corporatocracy wants them to tell me. The Star’s editorial board is hopeless in that regard. In any case, I have adopted the habit of not reading ‘unsigned’ pieces, be they editorial comments or anything else. I will admit that I don’t follow the rule perfectly. I will overlook it when I trust the organization or when I trust it sufficiently. But I feel strongly that if you write an article, report or anything, then you should cop to it. It’s called accountability, transparency and democracy. I can’t call you on your errors or lies, and I can’t query you about important things you say, if I don’t know who you are. (My post, to my surprise, wasn’t disappeared. Maybe that’s because, despite being a fan of Mallick, I’ve sharply criticised her and cheered someone’s rightwing heart. She isn’t perfect but she has the right politics. Maybe the moderator/ gatekeeper, in a state of unthinking giddiness, figured “Let him stab her to death.” He or she is a stupid gatekeeper if that’s what he or she thought.)
We can’t blame the company who partnered with the Star to provide readers with the opportunity to comment on articles printed/ posted for the features that in fact make commenters not want to comment, even if we can note whether the system is generally okay or in need of tweaking. The Star would retain control over how that system operates. The way the Star has that system working now, you can’t view the whole conversation readers are having about an article because that conversation isn’t presented in it’s entirely. It’s chopped up into quite small sections that you have to open up individually. That’s what I mean by a fake friend of the people. The Star pretends to be of and by and for the people, but, like elites with whom it is allied, it views the people as the enemy, the rabble to be put in it’s place and it views the people’s views as being too much noise requiring some mechanism (anti democratic commenting features) to filter most of it out.
Some time ago the Star even let it slip that some among them feel that way and have no interest in allowing readers to give feedback publicly. The view of those particular writers was that a daily’s offerings were one-way and should be one-way, period. Talk about arrogance! But that’s one way to hide from the consequences of your ‘professional’ nonsense. That, on top of the problem of gatekeepers, like rats, infecting the organization. Also, Good luck getting the webmaster’s attention or getting it and keeping it. I tried clicking on a link to an article I commented on (which was accepted by the gate keeping moderator), a ‘day’ after the article was printed. The link is dead, which I emailed the webmaster to tell him or her. No response was forthcoming, even though I note that someone looked at the pic that that link leads to. I gave it only to that webmaster. I even provided a link to a screen shot of the page showing the link. The link’s prominent appearance implies that it works. If you’ve yanked the article – the Star can do what it wants, actually – and then you provide a link to it, that’s attitude. And that’s what I expect from this fake friend of the people.
Back to the subject at hand. Canada, thanks to the needs (sort of) and wants of elites and their tools, has all but ceased to exist. It’s just a sentiment now. I’ve worked with people who came to Canada from elsewhere and had an image of Canada that reflects an older version of Canada who ask me “What happened to Canada?” I then tell them. Elites, through their allied rightwing think tanks and the propaganda they churn out, have long sought to bring about “deep integration” of Canada and the United States. Ignore what they say about it. They are capitalists and that’s all that you have to remember. What capitalists want is more freedom – to make money. And they are unprincipled. They don’t care how they get that freedom. And they’re macho and they believe, conveniently, in inequality. That makes it easier for them to exploit others, as they’ve decided to do.
I just finished reading “The Selling Of Free Trade – NAFTA, Washington and the Subversion of American Democracy,” by John R. MacArthur. It’s about the 2000 page lie called the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The lie is that it would bring jobs to Americans and improve Mexico, notably by making it more democratic. The real reason for the ‘trade’ agreement was American capitalists’ access to cheap Mexican labor, which, for the politicians, meant money for their campaigns as they sought to demonstrate to their partners in the private sector that they could look after them. (Read the book to get the facts about the Mexican government’s position and the probable reason for Carlos de Salinas’s reasons – a quick infusion of money for broke Mexico and, crucially, Salina’s image – for wanting the deal.) Which is another way of saying that the goal of the agreement was to bring more freedom for corporations, since just wanting something only leads to a license to do it once government (neutral or captured) has passed laws saying that you can.
All free trade deals are essentially the undemocratic and lawless/law-making way the corporatocracy takes power from the people for itself. Since it’s easier to simply do it all behind closed doors rather than expend effort to lie about it, those deals, over time, have come to be put together more behind closed doors than they once were.
We could use some gun control here, Don’t you think: