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On February 9, following a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, U.S. President Obama announced he is considering shipping arms to Ukraine. Merkel is on a world diplomatic mission explaining that the Russian role in promoting civil war in Ukraine cannot be ended by military means.
A joint press conference revealed that the U.S. still thought it could increase the pressure on Russia by supplying arms to Ukraine, while Merkel wants more efforts to be made to engage diplomatically with Russia.
Canada's Conservative government is set to introduce expanded powers for surveillance agencies, likely for the Communications Security Establishment Canada (CSEC) and the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS).
This column is adapted from a speech delivered by Monia Mazigh at the conference "Arar+10: National Security and Human Rights a Decade Later" on October 29, 2014.
Let me start with a quote from George Bernard Shaw. The Irish playwright once said:
"Success does not consist in never making mistakes but in never making the same one a second time."
The Arar+10 conference is important for three main reasons.
"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.
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.
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.