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The vilification of Julian Assange

Despite being granted bail, Wikileaks founder and editor Julian Assange remains imprisoned in London, awaiting extradition proceedings to answer a prosecutor's questions in Sweden. He hasn't been formally charged with any crime. His lawyers have heard that a grand jury in the United States has been secretly empanelled, and that a U.S. federal indictment is most likely forthcoming.

Politicians and commentators, meanwhile, have been repeatedly calling for Assange to be killed.


Beware the national security state

For those considering issue triage -- picking five or six issues to focus on -- in the fight to rid the country of the current government, one area that is critical to the outcome is exposing the Harper government's construction of the national security state.

I am referring here to the commitment of the Harper government to implementing policies that increase the importance of a war-fighting military in Canadian society, its preoccupation with tough-on-crime legislation, its blank cheque for security operations like the one "protecting" the G20 Summit in June and its continued efforts to convince Canadians that they face the constant risk of terrorist attack.


Threats to security start at home

Photo: Number 10/flickr

"Developments in other parts of the world, particularly in Iraq and Syria, threaten our security at home" (Barack Obama and David Cameron, in the Times of London). I'll say. In fact I think it's the only thing you can say with assurance about either crisis they're discussing: Ukraine and ISIS. But the threats I see at home may be different from those they have in mind.


Productive week for Canada's desk torturers in Harkat, Diab cases

Photo: Mike Gifford/flickr

Two judicial decisions released last week remind us that the concept of national security is incompatible with democracy: the former almost always trumps the latter, and various enemies-du-jour are regularly created and then served up on the altar of "security." In each instance, profoundly disturbing decisions were dealt to Mohamed Harkat, facing deportation to torture in Algeria based on secret hearsay, and Hassan Diab, facing extradition to France on clearly trumped up allegations likely gleaned from torture.

Photo: wikimedia commons
| April 9, 2014

Launching the Vigil campaign: Seeking justice in inadmissability cases in Canada

Monday, March 24, 2014 - 6:00pm


The Holy Trinity Church
10 Trinity Square
Toronto, ON
43° 39' 16.0128" N, 79° 22' 54.57" W

Come and learn about the problem of national security and "inadmissability" in the refugee context.

Oscar Vigil, journalist, community leader, loving husband and father, is a refugee claimant from El Salvador who was unjustly ruled "inadmissable" to Canada by immigration officials. Oscar faces the threat of deportation and sepration from his Canadian family.

Please RSVP to or phone: 647-606-0440

Everyone is welcome to come.


CSIS still the cat in the birdcage

Photo: rubyblossom./flickr

A few years ago, Canada's bird lovers came in for some well-deserved looks of bemusement when many wondered why their cute little budgies and canaries kept disappearing every time a cat was placed inside their birdcages. After all, it was argued, cats were subject to significant and robust oversight mechanisms such as the Feline Activities Review Committee, to ensure the birds would be safe from purring predators.

Chuck Strahl
| January 8, 2014
Photo: Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo/Secretary of Defense/flickr
| November 26, 2013

Science, ethics and torture

Image:  Lance Page / t r u t h o u t, Adapted From: bright-political / flickr

Growing up in Tunisia during the '80s and early '90s, I sometimes gleaned information from adults around me who whispered that the opponents of the regime -- first the Communists and then the Islamists -- were tortured in secret chambers where the services of a doctor were used, sadly, in an evil way.

People at that time said that the role of the doctor was to make sure that during the torture session, the prisoners are harmed severely but not enough to be killed. In a nutshell, the doctors were there to make sure that the torturers didn't send the prisoners to the "other world." Ignoring all the details around these stories, I felt horrified.

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