*edit, April 28, 2014 – The Toronto Star has carried another article relating to this story. I’ve linked to it at the bottom of the post.
*edit, April 27, 2014 – I’m going to add in a few links. They are from a few articles I recently read on The Dominion website. They just help to make Todd Gordon’s, and my, point so well about the fact of Canadian imperialism. I won’t add commentary. There’s no need.
An excerpt from the above linked-to article by Oakland Ross follows:
A leading member of Canada’s Hispanic community faces deportation and the probable breakup of his family because he once acted as an informal liaison arranging contacts between armed rebels and foreign journalists covering the civil war that convulsed El Salvador during the 1980s…
According to lawyer Steve Foster, who is handling the case pro-bono, Vigil has been snared by an extremely broad provision of Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Protection Act that bars admission to anyone who has ever belonged to an organization that “engages, has engaged or will engage in” the subversion of a government by force (or, in the case of a democratic government, by any means at all, forceful or otherwise).
“That’s the hook they’ve caught him on,” said Foster. “The act would catch Nelson Mandela in the same way.”…
Vigil was a university student in El Salvador during the late 1980s and, like many others, got caught up in the civil war then raging through the country, pitting leftist rebels known as the Farabundo Marti National Liberation Front against the country’s U.S.-backed government and its often brutal army.
Working as a journalist, Vigil sometimes arranged contacts between foreign journalists and the rebels, and he briefly served as the FMLN’s press secretary in 1992 after the guerrillas laid down their arms and morphed into a legitimate political party. Because of repeated death threats from right-wing elements, Vigil and his family fled to Canada in 2001 and sought refugee status…
Following the war, a truth and reconciliation commission blamed the army and other right-wing security forces for 95 per cent of the carnage and the FMLN for just 5 per cent.
Meanwhile, the FMLN has been the duly elected government of El Salvador for the past four years, enjoying full diplomatic relations with Canada.
Really, What more needs to be said? What pigs Stephen Harper and his associates are!
What these lawless law and order governments do, they always do, ostensibly, for national security or as part of their war on terrorism. As Noam Chomsky points out, however, national security is about protecting the abusive state from angry, abused citizens. Toss in a generous amount of propaganda and ideology and the abuse becomes positively spicy. Here’s a man who survived state terror, aided and abetted by the US, a country whose ruling class has always been, to an extent, Canada’s de facto ruling class, idolized and serviced by continentalist, corporatist Canadian ‘leaders’ like Brian Mulroney, Jean Chretien and Stephen Harper (and other leaders to a lesser extent), and you get nightmares like that which the innocent Oscar Vigil is experiencing.
Another YouTube vid bites the dust. I don’t know whether this one, below, was it, but I’ll use it anyway. (“Noam Chomsky on Terrorism” by Chomsky’s philosophy)
Let me repeat something I quoted from Ross’s article, adding in my own emphasis: “Following the war, a truth and reconciliation commission blamed the army and other right-wing security forces for 95 per cent of the carnage and the FMLN for just 5 per cent.”
Stephen Harper is another general in the army of darkness waging war on the light, causing untold suffering to billions. Say this for the man, He knows where he stands and it isn’t with regular people. He stands with fascists and neo-Nazis, not just in his recent siding with the neo-Nazis and fascists who helped force Ukraine’s President out of office, but in other ways as well. He plays ‘riches for the strongest’ aggressively. He’s cunning and a great ally of this dark world’s powerful special interests as he misses no opportunity to assist them in their pursuit of glory and riches. He may mouth nice things about human rights and democracy and denounce countries like China for not caring about those things, but when push comes to shove, what we see is his complete refusal to let a lack of democracy, alongside regular human rights violations, get in the way of his partners in the private sector doing profitable business with human rights abusers wherever and whoever they are.
Stephen Harper and his corporatocracy colleagues running various countries have made their choice to reject the creator and play the great, Darwinian game of ‘riches for the strongest’ in which there has to be losers so that eager rule-breakers like him can have glory. When you (and your partners) steal the means of survival from others, those others can’t help but notice. That gives the lawless one a great thrill and allows him to imagine that he’s strong, which has become important to him now that he’s modded himself and possesses those values. While Harper talks, cunningly, about Canadians and Canadian values as though nothing perverse is going on, nothing but perversity is going on. And there’s something else terrifying about it all. ‘Generals’ and other officers in the army of darkness don’t just torture and kill, literally, their enemies. They also win them over, increasing their ranks.
I call it mysterious lawlessness. When people without a moral foundation observe their religious, political and other leaders breaking laws and acting perversely, they are mystified more than they are disgusted. And they easily conclude that “Those people are educated and know lots about the world. And they call themselves democrats and Christians and say they believe in the rule of law and in God. Therefore, When they behave wickedly, that must mean that sometimes wickedness is good.” As Jesus said, “If the light that is in you is darkness, then how great that darkness is.” (Matthew 6:22, 23) Leaders who know better and set a bad example for the people are especially wicked.
Harper, and other leaders, like Dianne Feinstein, routinely, reflexively include everyone (of their fellow citizens) in their declarations of innocence and good intentions. Stephen Harper talks a lot about Canadians and Canadian values, implicating me and many other Canadians, in his programs of state terrorism. There’s nothing I can do about it other than blog about it. Dianne Feinstein (who disgusts me), in expressing disgust with a recent report on George W. Bush’s torture and rendition program, said that it revealed a brutality that doesn’t reflect the values of American citizens. Meanwhile, She’s a staunch defender of the lawless National Security Agency and the lawless CIA. The ‘we’ talk can get really silly, as when Speaker of the US House of Representatives, John Boehner, in his praise for the rightwing judges’ ruling (5-4) in the McCutcheon v. FEC case, in which it was established that individuals can give what they want to candidates during elections, said “What I think this means is that freedom of speech is being upheld. You all have the freedom to write what you want to write. Donors ought to have the freedom to give what they want to give. This was—remember, all this goes back to this bizarre McCain-Feingold bill that was passed that has distorted the political process in ways that no one—no one who voted for it ever believed in. Some of us understood what was going to happen. And when you—it’s pushing all this money outside the party structure into all these other various forms. And I’m all for freedom. Congratulations.” Bernie Sanders responded to that statement with “Well, my response is that Boehner is right, in a sense. He’s talking about freedom for a few hundred of the wealthiest people in this country. If you go up to the average person and say, “Guess what! We’ve given you more freedom. Previously, you could only spend $125,000 in direct contributions to candidates; now you have the freedom to spend $4 or $5 million.” People will look at you like you are crazy. This is freedom for a handful of the wealthiest people in this country to undermine American democracy and to buy elections. That is, to my mind, not what democracy is supposed to be about.”
Public Citizen’s breakdown of the breakdown of democracy: “Historic campaign finance case, McCutcheon v. FEC, to be argued before Supreme Court”
I’m right now reading James Laxer’s “The Perils Of Empire – America And It’s Imperial Predecessors.” I was struck by something he said about the American Empire’s similarity to Athen’s in one respect. It related to legitimacy. “Athens became an imperial power despite the fact that its political culture was intrinsically anti-imperialist in important ways… That said, the twin ideals of citizens’ rights and national self-determination are embedded at the very heart of American political culture. That is why it has been unthinkable in popular American discourse for politicians and most analysts to even accept the notion of an American Empire. An empire in denial about itself as it transmits notions of national self-determination to those that fall under its sway is a highly contradictory beast indeed. The Athenian case would suggest that the American Empire will either have to be short-lived or, as in the case of Rome, have to pass through a period of intense political and cultural crisis and emerge as an imperial state that has banished the anti-imperial ideals on which it was originally based.” -pages 68 & 69. Athens didn’t start out with the intention of becoming an empire, but it became inhuman and undemocratic as time passed. And the city states it annexed resented being forced to belong to the confederacy (of Delos) that became an (Athenian) empire, not least for the reason that the democratic ideals that Athens never formally abandoned started to look really different than the practices which (non Athenian) subjects were observing.
“Banish” anti-imperial ideals? What does that mean? ‘People’ possess ideals and values. Banishing democratic ideals therefore means indoctrinating people so that they now view something evil as good. Imperialism, which means aggression by one nation, or group, toward another, not in self-defense (whatever the language used by leaders to garner support) but for gain, as always, for a minority in the country, or city state, now becomes a positive. With today’s pubic relations industry (propaganda industry), the people can be convinced that any poison is healthy and that any sin is righteous. Let’s hope that climate change and the death of bees through the application of pesticides doesn’t wipe out all food crops, lest we have to witness people eating people; criminals first but we’ll eventually run out of those. What will it look like then? And what will the government statements about that sound like? “If you give birth to criminals, then the state will confiscate them and use them as food.”
Idle hands are the Devil’s workshop and it’s a busy workshop. Stephen Harper and his gang can’t pull together with the rest of us to make a society that works for everyone precisely because they have decided to do the opposite. They are believers in inequality, because they have chosen a path in which one cannot believe in equality. You can’t worship yourself and riches ‘and’ God, nor can you worship yourself and riches and believe in equality. God, where formally religious people like Harper are concerned, is a problem. If he’s real, then ‘they’ can’t be God. If he’s real, then their willingness to take his place has cost them their souls. How has Stephen Harper and his associates come down on that question? We see how and that has involved more than merely hearing their lying words. They ‘use’ God, which is a way of paying attention to God that can’t benefit themselves or anyone. They don’t pay attention to God, in other words, in any positive sense. Jesus said, “For as they were in those days before the Flood, eating and drinking, men marrying and women being given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and they took no note until the Flood came and swept them all away, so the presence of the Son of man will be.” (Matthew chapter 24)
Here’s some writers’ thoughts about Stephen Harper and the American Empire which is he is down with.
“The old ideas that effectively portrayed Canada as a subordinate nation with little or no imperial ambition of its own and dominated first by Britain and then the United States, which have in fact been a mainstay of much of the Canadian left as much as other parts of the Canadian political spectrum, are simply not relevant to understanding its role in the contemporary world order (if they were even relevant in their heyday thirty years ago)… While some left nationalists have occasionally identified some of the problematic actions of the Canadian state and capital in the Third World, they have failed to develop a systematic analysis of Canadian imperialism. Just like other major capitalist powers, Canadian capital is driven by a logic of expansion… Canada’s stature as a sub-superpower nation… does not gainsay the fact that it faces pressures to search out new markets and has the ability to project its power in its own political and economic self-interest, regardless of the cost to indigenous communities at home or to the people of the Third World…
“…Canada actively pursues one-sided trade and investment agreements with poor countries, forcibly liberalizes markets in the South through International Monetary Fund-imposed structural adjustment policies, ignores flagrant human rights violations committed in defence of Canadian investments and is pouring increasingly large sums of money into the development of a military with the capability to project its power abroad…
“There is no bright side to Canadian investment in the South. It is accomplished by displacing indigenous people and poor peasants from their land (to get at mineral and oil deposits, for example), destroying ecosystems and ruthlessly exploiting the sweat labour of typically poor women in the region’s export processing zones, where workers’ rights are minimal if they exist at all. We can also add to this the steep burden of debt obligations Third World governments are forced to pay Canadian banks, money which otherwise could go to social programs for their own citizens.” – from the introductory “Rethinking Canada’s Role in the World,” of Todd Gordon’s book titled “Imperialist Canada.”
Noam Chomsky, in “Hegemony Or Survival,” has some useful things to say about the definition of ‘terrorism’. Consider:
“Take 9-11. It is widely argued that the terrorist attacks changed everything dramatically as the world entered a new and frightening “age of terror” – the title of a collection of academic essays by Yale University scholars and others. It is also widely held that the term terror is very hard to define.
“We might ask why the concept of terror should be considered particularly obscure. There are official US government definitions that fall well within the range of clarity of other usages that are regarded as unproblematic. A US Army manual defined terrorism as “the calculated use of violence or threat of violence to attain goals that are political, religious, or ideological in nature… through intimidation, coercion, or instilling fear.” The official US Code gave a more elaborate definition, essentially along the same lines. The British government’s definition is similar: “Terrorism is the use, or threat, of action which is violent, damaging or disrupting, and is intended to influence the government or intimidate the public and is for the purpose of advancing a political, religious, or ideological cause.” These definitions seem fairly clear. They are close enough to ordinary usage, and are considered appropriate when discussing the terrorism of enemies.
“The official US definitions are the ones I have been using in writing about the topic since the Reagan administration came into office in 1981, declaring that a war on terror would be a centerpiece of its foreign policy. The reliance on these definitions is particularly appropriate for our purposes because they were formulated when the first war on terror was declared. But almost no one uses them, and they have been rescinded, replaced by nothing sensible. The reasons do not seem obscure: the official definitions of terrorism are virtually the same as the definitions of counterterror (sometimes called “low-intensity conflict,” or “counterinsurgency”). But counterterror is official US policy, and it plainly will not do to say that the US is officially committed to terrorism.
“The US is by no means alone in this practice. It is traditional for states to call their own terrorism “counterterror,” even the worst mass murderers: the Nazis, for example. In occupied Europe they claimed to be defending the population and legitimate governments from the partisans, terrorists supported from abroad. That was not entirely false; even the most egregious propaganda rarely is. The partisans were undoubtedly directed from London, and they did engage in terror. The US military had some appreciation of the Nazi perspective: its counterinsurgency doctrine was modeled on Nazi manuals, which were analyzed sympathetically, with the assistance of Wehrmacht officers.
“It is this common practice that allows for the conventional thesis that terror is a weapon of the weak. That is true, by definition, if terror is restricted to their terrorism. If the doctrinal requirement is lifted, however, we find that, like most weapons, terror is primarily a weapon of the powerful.” pages 188 & 189
From Noam Chomsky’s book titled “Deterring Democracy,” the following:
“The threat of nationalism is recognized in the public record as well. Thus, after the successful CIA-backed coup that overthrew the parliamentary regime of the conservative nationalist Mossadegh in Iran, restoring the Shah and leaving US oil companies with 40 percent of he formerly British concession, the New York Times commented editorially that all of this was “good news indeed”; however costly “to all concerned” (primarily Iranians), “the affair may yet be proved worthwhile if lessons are learned from it.” The primary lesson is spelled out, mincing no words:
Underdeveloped countries with rich resources now have an object lesson in the heavy cost that must be paid by one of their number which goes berserk with fanatical nationalism. It is perhaps too much to hope that Iran’s experience will prevent the rise of Mossadeghs in other countries, but that experience may at least strengthen the hands of more reasonable and more far-seeing leaders,
who will have a clear-eyed understanding of our overriding priorities.
“It was also recognized that the plans for the targeted countries would be unpopular there, but for their populations, no subtle measures of control are necessary. Under the cover of US government aid programs (USAID), “public safety missions” trained local police forces. The reasoning, as outlined by the State Department, is that the police “first detect discontent among people” and “should serve as one of the major means by which the government assures itself of acceptance by the majority.” An effective police force can often abort unwanted developments that might otherwise require “major surgery” to “redress these threats.” But police operations may not suffice. Accordingly, US planners stressed the need to gain control over the Latin American military, described as “the least anti-American of any political group.” Their task, the Kennedy “action intellectuals” explained, was “to remove government leaders from office whenever, in the judgment of the military, the conduct of these leaders was injurious to the welfare of the nation” – an obligation that they should be equipped to carry out once US training has afforded them “the understanding of, and orientation toward, U.S. objectives.”
“Converting the mission of the military from “hemispheric defense” to “internal security,” the Kennedy Administration and its successors were able to overcome the problem of nationalism (or “ultranationalism,” as it is sometimes termed in the internal planning record) by establishing and backing National Security States on a neo-Nazi model, with consequences that are well known. The purpose – as explained by Lars Schoultz, the foremost US academic specialist on human rights in Latin America – was “to destroy permanently a perceived threat to the existing structure of socio-economic privilege by eliminating the political participation of the numerical majority…,” the “popular classes.” US support for these regimes follows essentially the model of the 1920s and European fascsim, already discussed…
“These policies are givens; their basic thrust is subject to no challenge and no debate. It would be misleading to say that there is near unanimity on these matters in Congress, the media, and the intellectual community. More accurately, the basic doctrines are out of sight, out of mind, like the air we breathe, beyond the possibility of discussion.” pages 50 & 51
Indeed, the (regular) people everywhere – conveniently, for leaders who have already chosen to embrace the paradigm of ‘riches for the strongest’ that requires that there be loser slaves whose resources and labour shall be seized – are the enemy. That was a paradigm shift, at least in doctrine, under the Kennedys, as Chomsky notes in the above excerpt. While the people of the South in the western hemisphere have done a remarkable job of resisting imperialism and the Washington Consensus (neoliberal capitalism), they haven’t succeeded entirely. Colombia and Mexico are lost. Still, Their struggle against the US-imposed Nazi regimes is inspiring. Indeed, the only way you can keep south American people down is with US backed and trained armies and death squads. Unfortunately, Within the American-led corporatocracy, Independence, where a state’s ruling class seeks solidarity not with foreign investors and governments, but with their own citizens, is a no no to the world’s most powerful political rulers and their partners, to be met with increasing hostility until things change for the better – for the fascists. Venezuela’s president can say no to uncle Sam, but uncle Sam just soldiers on in various ways, including through it’s USAID organization, to get it’s way. Look at the situation Cuba finds itself in today. John Perkins explained it well enough. If an economic hit man (which John was before he turned whistleblower) can’t con or enlist a national leader, turning him or her against his own people, then that leader needs to be taken out by the CIA. And if that doesn’t work, the army will be sent in to get at those weapons of mass destruction or for some other nonsense reason.
Stephen Harper knows the score when it comes to how imperialism works today. Todd Gordon notes that Ellen Meiksins Wood has studied imperialism carefully and argues, in her book titled “Empire Of Capital” that “not only is the contemporary global order shaped by imperialism despite the fact that the major powers are not actively pursuing direct territorial conquest, but what we are seeing today is in fact the most fully developed form of capitalist imperialism the world has thus far witnessed.” One can perhaps understand Harper’s excitement and desire to be part of the history books that look back on this time. While imperialism is now market-driven and appears to be less violent, Gordon notes that “Wood herself acknowledges that “more traditional forms of coercive colonization” aren’t necessarily ruled out today.” He adds that “while very insightful for our understanding of the current global order, the stress on the shift from classical to contemporary market-based imperialism, whereby the latter is presented as the most fully developed form of capitalist imperialism, can potentially tempt us into treating the two types of imperialism as mutually exclusive stages rather than as different strategies that, while responding to different material conditions, nevertheless exist on a continuum of imperialist state power.” pages 27 & 35
And the immigrants, and Canadian citizens like Oscar Vigil, who Harper gleefully sends to South America, or for whom he makes it difficult to come to Canada in an effort to escape poverty and terror, are being sent to or confined to a region that Harper and his American co-imperialists regard as good for nothing but resources that can make important people like Harper and his class comfortable and rich. And they will make it so with or without an invading army. And however that comfort for important people is gained, it will be glorious since all victims’ eyes will be on those who, like God, exercise the power to give and take life.
“In Canada’s Immigration Law, Anyone Can Be A Terrorist” by Oakland Ross