Matthew Behrens

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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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Canadians get on board the torture train

Photo: pmwebphotos/flickr

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Just before the annual orgy of Canada Day self-celebration, the Pew Research Center released a poll revealing that over one-third of Canadians supported the use of torture. This was no late April Fool's joke, but rather a shocking figure that was part of a global survey on U.S. foreign policy and the use of what has been referred to as "enhanced interrogation techniques."

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Canadian woman faces 33 years in U.S. prison for protecting kids from abusive father

Source: Women Who Choose to Live

When Justice Minister Peter MacKay announced he was leaving politics to spend more time with his top priority -- a family he began with his spouse, Nazanin Afshin-Jam, who advocates for an end to violence against women and children -- he missed the opportunity to protect a Canadian family of four who are all survivors of brutal violence inflicted by a U.S.-based father and ex-husband.

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Canadian citizen asks court to declare him… Canadian citizen

Photo: Doug/flickr

On Tuesday, May 26, Canadian citizen Deepan Budlakoti goes to court in an effort to be recognized as a Canadian citizen. Although he was born in Canada, the federal government, in a remarkably obtuse and obstinate campaign, has rendered him stateless and tried to shove him off to his ancestral India, where he has never lived and has no family.

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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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