Matthew Behrens

Matthew BehrensSyndicate content

Matthew Behrens is a freelance writer and social justice advocate who coordinates the Homes not Bombs non-violent direct action network. His column "Taking Liberties" examines connections between national security and civil liberties. Behrens has worked closely with the targets of Canadian and U.S. "national security" profiling for many years.
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From Vietnam to ISIS: Canada needs to apologize

Photo: Bomb shrapnel, Xieng Khwang province, Laos. Credit: GothPhil/flickr

Trigger alert: This article includes graphic language about war.

Over a four-hour period, they "methodically slaughtered more than five hundred unarmed victims, killing some in ones and twos, others in small groups, and collecting many more in a drainage ditch…They faced no opposition. They even took a quiet break to eat lunch in the midst of the carnage. Along the way, they also raped women and young girls, mutilated the dead, systematically burned homes, and fouled the area's drinking water."

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Another reason to resist C-51: Canada's invasive financial war on terror

Photo: reynermedia/flickr

A recent run-of-the-mill telemarketing call from one of Canada's largest credit companies took on a threatening tone. Who knew that owning a credit card whose purchases produced redeemable points for free groceries also entailed an insidious trade-off that invaded our privacy and left a chilling aftertaste?

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How Canada lets people get tortured

Guantanamo Diary

by Mohamedou Ould Slahi
(Little, Brown and Company,
2015;
$32.00)

Following December's release of the U.S. Senate report on American complicity in torture, Prime Minister Stephen Harper quickly declared, "It has nothing to do whatsoever with the government of Canada." Despite the CIA's close relationship with Canadian state security agencies, as well as two judicial inquiries finding Ottawa complicit in the torture of Canadian citizens in Syria and Egypt, Harper preferred to ignore the facts.   

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Lost in the '50s with Harper's anti-terror pablum

Photo: James Vaughan/flickr

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Last Friday, viewers of the CBC's flagship news program, The National, could be forgiven for thinking they were back in the Leave it to Beaver 1950s. Indeed, they ran a saccharine story that would have done proud former Soviet and East German state news agencies. In fact, had it run during the Cold War, it would hopefully be touted in today's journalism schools as an embarrassing parody of what their profession is supposed to be.

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A Canadian in Paris: Hassan Diab's indefinite jail journey

Photo: www.justiceforhassandiab.org

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Was Ottawa 'terror' arrest timed to support repressive new legislation?

Photo: GRC - RCMP - DIVISION C - QUÉBEC/flickr

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Troubled times ahead with new anti-terror legislation

Photo: CPOA/flickr

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Just in time for an election campaign in which Stephen Harper is positioning himself as a war-time prime minister, Bill C-51 (Anti-Terrorism Act 2015) was recently introduced to play a dual role: granting extraordinary new powers to already hyperactive and unaccountable state security agencies, and baiting as "soft on terror" anyone who questions the bill's necessity and the human rights violations it will further legitimize.

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No Chelsea morning for hypocritical world leaders in Paris

Photo: European External Action Service/flickr

When a former U.S. army private awoke in her jail cell just over a week ago -- some 17 months into a 35-year jail sentence -- she could have been forgiven for thinking, in the immediate aftermath of the terrible Paris magazine attacks, that the commutation of her punitive sentence for exercising freedom of speech and conscience was about to be placed on President Obama's desk. Obama, like many world leaders, had just issued stunning, passionate statements about freedom of the press, human dignity, and all the great things that make countries like Canada and the U.S. just so undeniably terrific.

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No room at Canada's inn

Photo: Sara Prestianni/noborder network/flickr

Usually lost in the bustle of Christmas commercialism is the reminder that when Jesus' parents were looking for a place to stay, there was no room at the inn. For refugees worldwide, that same demeaning sign is hung at the entrance of far too many countries: you are not wanted, you are not admissible, you are undesirable, you are dangerous, you are alien, you are illegal, you are a virus, you are a threat.

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Militarism degrades, disrupts and destroys democracy

Photo: VAC-ACC/flickr

As the Canadian government plays at fighting wars in Iraq/Syria and in eastern Europe, we see daily examples of how militarism ultimately degrades, disrupts and destroys democracy. Indeed, we are subjected to a gravitational pull of obedience to martial values that blinds us to a series of uncomfortable realities that are visible in plain sight but unmentionable in mainstream discourse. While a slavish media hangs on every General's word, Ottawa refuses to release the costs of its overseas adventures. Politicians who voted against the Middle East mission now say we must rally around the troops.

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